10 April 2016
by Jason Clout

Waterhouse spends $9 million at Inglis yearling sales

Gai Waterhouse

The average price of horses sold at Sydney's Inglis yearling sales was around $285,000, the second-highest sale price since global financial crisis, helped by leading trainer Gai Waterhouse, who spent around $9.2 million through her various groups.

She was only surpassed by Angus Gold of Shadwell Stud, a buyer for Sheikh Hamdan, who spent more than $10 million at the sales. Total sales this year were around $106 million, Inglis managing director Mark Webster said.

"The 2015 sales jumped $20 million on the previous year and it is very hard to sustain those sort of increases," he said. "But this was a very successful sale, with some new buyers coming from South Africa and North America."

The South Africans included people buying on behalf of leading South African businessman Markus Jooste.

The honour of the top price of the sale went to Ms Waterhouse. She spent $2.3 million on a colt who is a half-brother to the mare Winx. Her win in the Doncaster Handicap on April 2 prompted the winning connections to keep bidding for the yearling, underling the linkages between what happens on the track and the auction ring.

The yearling sales had the first progeny of wonder UK horse Frankel. A colt bred by John Singleton's Strawberry Hill Stud's with his mare More Strawberries sold for $1.6 million, fetching the top price on the third day of the sales.

But while the sales were impressive, there is growing frustration within the breeding industry about the lack of recognition by the federal government. That came to a head recently when the industry was denied a matching R & D grant.

The chief executive of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, Tom Reilly, said the Inglis sales "showed the quality of the bloodstock here".

The industry was disappointed the R&D request was knocked back. The industry sought a matching application for $400,000 but were unsuccessful despite many other primary industries receiving similar support.

"The importance of the breeding industry is not being recognised. We are still seen as an adjunct to the racing industry, rather than as our own industry," said Mr Reilly.

"There are about 5000 people directly employed in the breeding industry. We are second after the US in terms of the number of thoroughbreds."

Sydney's biggest week for the thoroughbred industry concludes with Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick, including the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Australian Turf Club's richest race.