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Danny Rolston- February 2020 Update

Firstly, I think it’s only appropriate to acknowledge the success of the Karaka Million concept. We can all be proud of the show that our industry puts on at Ellerslie to such a wide local and international audience. The impact it has on sales results can’t be understated. An amazing achievement by Jamie Richards and when the thick end of the spoils goes the way of people like the Lindsay’s and Te Akau’s owners, you can be fairly confident of an immediate return in the sales ring. From a marketing perspective a winner such as Vespa in 2014 as a $34,000 graduate is equally as important but this year it felt like the perfect storm.

We are currently in analysis and debrief mode ourselves, assessing every market and various aspects of the sale as we always do at this time of year. However, my initial observations and comments are as follows;

Book 1 was strong, to see an almost $4 million dollar rebound on Australian spend was a victory. In conjunction with a clearance rate over 80% indicates a number of things, there’s solid demand in that sector of the market, our breed is performing to a high enough level to meet the strict requirements of the buying bench, and as a sale company we are doing an accurate job of selecting the catalogue. Some of our key markets aren’t in the same position as they were 2 or 3 years ago and that makes our strategies in places like the USA, China and Japan all the more important and again highlights just how lucky we are to have a market with the strength of Australia on our doorstep.

Books 2 & 3 were very selective, nothing new but something that is accentuated as the domestic market continues to soften. We did take around 100 more horses in Book 2 in an effort to condense the sale series into one week, so the statistics become a little distorted. Whilst it has a negative effect on average and clearance, managing to condense the sale into 8 days we feel was a real victory for Book 2 & 3 when you see half of the top 10 buyers were internationals that stayed on for the full sale series. This is an endorsement to the quality and reputation of the horses you breed that we are able to maintain international interest right through to the final day of selling.

Karaka 2020 Combined Statistics 2016 – 2020 (as at 11 February)

Lots Sold858885915943979
Top Price$900,000$1,400,000$1,025,000$825,000$1,300,000

Full sale statistics can be viewed on our website.

The further 2018 gets behind us and we look across a 5-year comparison, it starts to look more and more like a watershed year. We have to hark back to 2008 to see a similar spike and herein lies the challenge of always judging a sale by the preceding year. So to put the most recent sale into context, to post the second highest average and equal second highest median for the 5 year period is worth noting. With increased spend by both NSW and Victorian buyers we are producing the right results on the track where we need to. The local industry has its challenges, but at an important turning point for the game we all love and choose to participate and invest in, it’s as important as ever to not only maintain a sustainable foal crop but also to keep a commercial approach when choosing how and when to sell stock. Which leads on to the South Island and May Sales, the last two options for entry to the Karaka Million. The South Island Sale entries are currently closing and we hope to know final numbers later this week with selling scheduled for April 17.

The May Sale is next on the agenda. Whilst we are proud of the success and the economic option that provides the industry, this is a sale we still feel a strong desire to maintain as a viable option for breeders, pin hookers and end users to buy and sell stock. This is still a great platform for launching the freshman sires as we saw with the first crop of Vadamos last year. Now the leading first season sire at 2 sales this will no doubt stand him in good stead coming into his fourth year at stud. There is also the incentive of a sliding commission scale for weanlings over $100,000 and for the first time ever, weanlings sold in May will be eligible for the Karaka Million series. There are advantages for both selling online or in the May Sale but we still firmly believe that a Breeding Stock Sale at Karaka is important to the industry as a whole and are committed to promoting that as a viable option.

There’s plenty to look forward to with Kolding, Melody Belle, Probabeel and Te Akau Shark among other top kiwi bred gallopers priming up for the Autumn in Australia. Add to that a promising group of 3yo’s at home. It’s a great time of year to appreciate the amazing animal that keeps the heart filled with a unique desire to own, breed, ride, train or just have a dollar each way on. Good luck and see you all out on the track or at a sale somewhere soon.



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