Masterton Bloodstock agent Bruce Perry has been a constant presence on the buyer’s sheets throughout the three days of the Book 1 sale at Karaka this year, but he left his biggest hit until the 11th hour.
Lot 578, the Almanzor colt, who is a half-brother to Australian Group Two winner Subpoenaed, was the last horse through the auction ring on Tuesday and despite his position in the catalogue, had plenty of heavy hitters’ keen on him.
The auction ring action boiled down to a slugfest between Perry and former trainer Graeme Sanders, with Perry lodging his winning $560,000 bid on behalf of clients, Brae Sokolski and Chris Waller Racing.
“I was acting for Brae (Sokolski), who is one of the main owners in the colt’s half-sister Subpoenaed and Chris Waller,” Perry said.
“I was doing the work for them, so I had a look at him and just loved him.
“They were very strong on him, as it was a good fight to secure him, but I had Brae on the phone talking with me the whole way.
“I really just hope the Almanzors can run now.”
Perry has been keen on yearlings by the Cambridge Stud-based first season sire during the sale, having purchased seven individuals for local and international clients including three for Melbourne trainer Danny O’Brien.
“I knew this horse would be a $500,000 plus buy as he was a lovely type and mover, so the mare has done a good job,” he said.
“Brae and Chris had him on their radar, so I just did the legwork for them.”
Out of the five-win O’Reilly mare Notice Received, the colt was sold through the Hallmark Stud draft on behalf of Cambridge couple Wayne and Vicki Pike, with studmaster Mark Baker thrilled with the result.
“The colt is the perfect specimen,” he said.
“His x-rays, his scope, both perfect. He is perfect.
“The way he handled the pressure, right from when we got him all the way to ring, was incredible.
“We are grateful to be chosen to prepare him for Wayne and Vicki Pyke. It really was a pleasure.”
Vicki Pike was on hand to congratulate Perry after the sale and was delighted with the result.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to bits,” she said. “He was worth every penny of it though.
“We’ve been breeding for a long time and I think he is probably the best we have ever put in the ring.
“They rated him the best Almanzor colt born at Cambridge Stud that year and he has never gone backwards.
“He has always just gone forwards and improved into the product you saw today, and his temperament is just unbelievable.”
With the Pikes holding a share in Almanzor, Notice Received is back in foal to the triple Group One winner and European champion.
“We bought Notice Received for $52,000 out of a mixed sale in Melbourne and she has been very good to us. She has had two by Rip Van Winkle, including Subpoenaed who we initially raced and sold after winning impressively for (son) Tony.”
Hallmark Stud also sold a Tavistock colt out of their Group One winning mare Chenille for $180,000 on behalf of the couple, who operate from a boutique property in Cambridge.
“Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young bought him so he has gone to the best possible place for a Tavistock and we also sold a very nice Proisir colt,” Pike said.
“We’re thrilled. I can’t believe the positivity here and the domestic buying to go with the internationals.”
The Pikes have reduced the volume of mares they are breeding from 14 to six, with a focus on quality and couldn’t speak more highly of the preparation skills of Hallmark Stud.
“They’re very good friends, they’re like family to us,” Pike said. “They love the horses and they do a super job.” – NZ Racing Desk