Buyers Advice

Are the yearling sales the place to buy?

If you have decided to purchase the racehorse of your dreams, the yearling sales are an excellent place to start looking. New Zealand breeders offer almost a third of the annual 4500 foal crop as yearlings every year, most of these being sold at New Zealand Bloodstock's Karaka sales facility. With such numbers comes considerable variety and a range of prices from $1500 all the way up to the Southern Hemisphere record price of $3.6 million paid in 2003 for a colt at Karaka. That colt since won a Derby in Australia, tripling his value.

There are sales to fit all budgets, but unless you know what you are looking for, make sure you ask the advice of a trainer or bloodstock agent before you get the urge to flay your arm about in the auction ring. A trainer will advise, inspect and even purchase for an owner with the expectation of training the horse, while an agent will charge either a negotiated fee or a percentage of the purchase price (5-10%).



The world famous Karaka Sales Complex is situated just 30 minutes south of Auckland City, and 20 minutes from Auckland International Airport. Heading south out of the city on the Southern Motorway (SH1), take the Papakura exit, turn right at the end of the off-ramp and it is the first road on your left (after the motorway on-ramp). Heading north from Hamilton on SH1, take the Papakura exit and it's the first road on the left.

New Zealand Bloodstock Ltd is first and foremost New Zealand's premier thoroughbred auction house, and one of the leading thoroughbred auction houses in the world.

There are sales to fit all budgets, but unless you know what you are looking for, make sure you ask the advice of a trainer or bloodstock agent before you get the urge to flay your arm about in the auction ring. A trainer will advise, inspect and even purchase for an owner with the expectation of training the horse, while an agent will charge either a negotiated fee or a percentage of the purchase price (5-10%).

Depending on the session you are watching, anything from a few thousand dollars right up to a few hundred thousand. The high-profile Premier Session of the NZ National Sales held every summer is likely to post an average in the region of $100,000-$120,000 but the horses become more affordable as the sales go on. The next tier down is the Select Colts and Select Fillies. And at the Festival session many horses are sold for less than a couple of thousand dollars.

However, many great racehorses have been purchased for well below the average price at the sales. Bonecrusher was purchased for $3000 at the Waikato Sales and went on to amass a whopping $2,888,085 in stakes in his 18 win career.

The highest priced yearling is not necessarily the best racehorse, just the most sought after in the sale ring that day. It is important for potential buyers to identify what they would like to do with a horse (a potential Melbourne Cup starter will have different breeding and physical attributes to a horse bought to race as an early two-year-old) and to take the appropriate advice before making a purchase at auction.

What sort of money is needed to buy at auction?

Depending on the session you are watching, anything from a few thousand dollars right up to a few hundred thousand. The high-profile Premier Session of the NZ National Sales held every summer is likely to post an average in the region of $100,000-$120,000 but the horses become more affordable as the sales go on. The next tier down is the Select Colts and Select Fillies. And at the Festival session many horses are sold for less than a couple of thousand dollars.

However, many great racehorses have been purchased for well below the average price at the sales. Bonecrusher was purchased for $3000 at the Waikato Sales and went on to amass a whopping $2,888,085 in stakes in his 18 win career.

The highest priced yearling is not necessarily the best racehorse, just the most sought after in the sale ring that day. It is important for potential buyers to identify what they would like to do with a horse (a potential Melbourne Cup starter will have different breeding and physical attributes to a horse bought to race as an early two-year-old) and to take the appropriate advice before making a purchase at auction.


For more information: 

HEAD OFFICE

Karaka Sales Centre, 10 Hinau Road, Karaka, Papakura 2113
PO Box 97447, Manukau City, Auckland 2241
Telephone: +64 9 298 0055
Facsimile: +64 9 298 0506
Accounts Fax: +64 9 296 1563
Airfreight/Insurance Fax: +64 9 298 0337

Points of the Horse


Points of a Horse


Decoding the Jargon

Aggregate The total gross takings of a thoroughbred sale
Bid-spotters Staff at the yearling sales placed around the sales ring to take the bids of potential buyers
Bidder Someone who intends to buy at a horse sale
Black Type A horse that wins a Group or Listed races earns “black type” i.e. this achievements will be noted in the
pedigree page in BOLD or “black” type for any progeny of this horse
Broodmare A mare used for breeding
By A term used to refer to the sire of a horse. For example, is horse is said to be “by” Zabeel if Zabeel is its
sire
Clean legs Legs that are free of swelling, deformity or conformation faults
Colt A young male horse (3 years and under)
Conformation A horse’s anatomical make-up
Dam A horse’s mother
Draft Horses presented for sale by a stud or vendor
Fetlock The leg joint that is the equivalent of the human ankle
Filly Female horse (3 years and under)
Foal A baby horse still suckling its mother
Gavel The auctioneer’s hammer
Gelding A male horse that has been castrated
Halter A bitless bridle used for leading a horse
Hand The form in which horses are measured from the ground to the top of the wither (shoulder). One
hand is equivalent to 10cm
Horse/Stallion A male horse (4 years and over) that is used or will potentially be used for breeding purposes
Knocked down The term used to describe that the horse has been sold on the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer
Lot number The thoroughbred sale catalogue number allocated to each horse
Median The middle price of the sale i.e. where 50% of the catalogue is sold for more and 50% is sold for less
Near shoulder The horse’s left shoulder is referred to as the near should as this is the shoulder nearest to the rider
when mounting on the traditional left side
Passed In If the horse has failed to reach its reserve price at auction
Pedigree The family history of a horse
Reserve price The minimum price set by the vendor for the sale of the horse at auction
Rig An abnormally developed or improperly castrated male horse
Service The mating of a mare by a stallion
Sire The horse’s father
Stud The property where the broodmare and stallion are mated
Studmaster The person in charge of the stud