The Grey Panel

ARQANA scores record turnover at €40,000,000

A new record fell at ARQANA’s August yearling sale as gross turnover broke the historical €40,000,000 barrier. It is a third consecutive year of growth for France’s major yearling sale, despite taking place in an uncertain economic climate.

Far from the downturn predicted by many observers, the August yearling sale carries on its upward path: the aggregate has now risen 75% since 2005, the year before ARQANA was formed as the result of a merger between Agence Francaise and Goffs France.

All key indicators register impressive progressions from 2007, which was already a record year:

• The average is up 13% at €111,017

• The median has risen by 16.7% to reach €70,000

Beyond the generally positive trend, the strength of the top market is particularly remarkable. No less than 51 yearlings changed hands for €200,000 or more. Only 37 had achieved this feat a year ago, and they were 23 in 2006.

The fact that those 51 lots were knocked down to 22 individual buyers is also of prime significance: it is the sign of a very healthy market, animated by numerous and diversified investors.

Top eight purchasers:

• John Ferguson, acting on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, who attended the sale in person, brought a dramatic end to a five-year drought at Deauville. He is the leading investor of the 2008 renewal, with a total spend of €4,990,000 on 15 yearlings, including the top price of the third day.

• Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum was also on hand and confirmed his support of the Deauville sales by signing for 10 lots at a total price of €3,070,000, including Saturday’s top price.

• French agent MAB, acting for Russian owner Valentin Bukhtoyarov among others, purchased 22 lots, the largest shopping list in this sale, for a total €2,182,000.

• Paul Nataf, notably representing the interests of Enrico Ciampi, of Lawman and Latice fame, was joint-leading purchaser by number of individual lots: he bought 22, grossing €2,122,000.

• Prince Mithab bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, son of the King of Saudi Arabia, made a remarkable first venture into the Deauville market – and European altogether. He got the last word for six yearlings — bought with the advice of Irish vet, Frank McGovern, under the banner SKAS — for a total of €2,100,000. The yearlings are heading for André Fabre’s yard.

• Roger Langley, who was making his very first purchases at a European yearling sale, represented the young Australian stud, Patinack Farm, at Deauville. Through French agent Bertrand Le Métayer, he invested in three yearlings by Galileo, Sadler’s Wells and Tiger Hill, for an aggregate €1,300,000. Among them is the top price of the entire session, a son of Galileo consigned by Haras de Meautry and who cost €770,000. All three horses will be trained in France.

• FIPS Agency, notably bidding on behalf of the Marquesa de Moratalla, acquired 14 lots for a total €1,192,000.

• Peter Doyle signed for 10 lots grossing €1,160,000.

• Demi O’Byrne, who was accompanied by Coolmore principals John Magnier, Paul Shanahan and Christy Grassick, acquired four lots for €1,160,000.

Other purchasers at €200,000 or more are:

• Meridian International

• Blandford Bloodstock

• Bruno Grizzetti

• Allevamento dei Sette

• Hubie de Burgh and Dermot Farrington

• Mark Johnston

• German International

• Haras de Saint Pair

• François Doumen

• Patrick Barbe for Japanese breeder Hidetoshi Yamamoto

• Broadhurst Agency acting for Australian owner, Peter Maher

• Oceanic Bloodstock on behalf of an American client

• Charles Gordon-Watson

• Börje Olsson

There was a strong market throughout the four days:

Friday’s selected session registered an average price of €217,938 against €182,777 a year ago, while the median jumped up 42% to reach €170,000. However, growth did not only affect the top bracket: indeed it was Sunday’s session that showed the strongest progression, with a gross turnover rising 33%. Such consolidation of the intermediary bracket was particularly difficult to predict considering the uncertainty of the international economy.

Eric Hoyeau, chairman of ARQANA, commented: “To achieve such a performance in an unfavourable environment is, of course, a huge cause of satisfaction for all the ARQANA team, who worked hard to upgrade the quality of the catalogue and promote the sale towards investors around the world. We would like to sincerely thank the vendors, who keep improving their preparation of the yearlings, as well as the purchasers who accepted our invitation to the Sales Paradise.”

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