Rich history of yearling sale lot numbers

After eight decades of national thoroughbred yearling sales, New Zealand can roll out a breath-taking list of outstanding graduates in almost every major racing nation. That means there's a New Zealand yearling sale lot number attached to many of our most celebrated horses, among them Phar Lap, Rising Fast, Tulloch, Galilee, Dulcify, Octagonal, Happyanunoit and Starcraft.

New Zealand National Yearling Sale graduates: STARCRAFT (top), PHAR LAP, JEZABEEL & JOKERS WILD

The tradition of success began with the very first National Yearling Sale in 1927 when Lot 12 turned out to be Concentrate, winner of the Auckland and Wellington Cups, and a courageous third in the 1931 Melbourne Cup.

The second National Sale produced Phar Lap, who graced the covers of many subsequent catalogues and remains the standard by which the best New Zealand thoroughbreds are still judged. He was Lot 41, sold in 1928 for 160 guineas (about $13,000 today) by Alexander Roberts' Seadown Stud to Sydney trainer Harry Telford.

Several other early lot numbers have been notable at the various sales that have been part of the series. Lot 1 has been drawn by The Hind (1996), and Magnetism (2003), and horses sold as Lot 2 include Our Lafite (1983) and Just Call Me Sir (1997). Australian Group One winners Fair Summer (1964), Flitter (1991) and Bezeal Bay (1995) were Lots 5, 7 and eight. Brilliant filly Slight Chance was Lot 12 in 1991, Dulcify was Lot 53 in 1977 and Hong Kong Derby & Cup winner Vengeance of Raincarried number 89 in 2002.

Number 104 was worn in 1987 by New Zealand Horse of the Year The Phantom; a year earlier the amazing Super Impose was Lot 106. The 1938 sale's Lot 110 subsequently won the Auckland Cup, Great Northern Derby, Cox Plate (twice) and MacKinnon Stakes (twice), and 22 other major races. That was Beau Vite.

Lot 121 belonged to Australian Horse of the Year Octagonal in 1994, six years after his champion sire Zabeel was Lot 280. US Grade One winner Happyanunoit carried number 143 in 1997, South African star Hoeberg was number 144 two years later and world champion miler Starcraft was Lot 151 in 2002. The mighty Tulloch was Lot 178, knocked down to the 750-guinea bid of Tommy Smith in 1956. Dayana, another Australian Horse of the Year, was Lot 237 in 1971.

Melbourne Cup winners abound in New Zealand yearling sale history, highlighting Lots 31 ( Galilee, sold in 1964), 63 (Rising Fast, 1951), 66 (Gold And Black, 1974), 75 (Hyperno, 1975), 181 (Straight Draw, 1954), 198 (Even Stevens, 1959), 255 (Brew, 1996), 257 (Macdougal, 1955), 315 (Jezabeel, 1994), 386 (Think Big, 1972) and 467 (Dalray, 1950).

The list of New Zealand, Australian and Victoria Derby winners sold at New Zealand National Yearling Sales is even more impressive. Lucky Derby Lots include: 30 ( Redding, sold in 1991), 47 (Grosvenor, 1981), 73 (Xcellent, 2003), 107 (Headturner, 2004), 108 (Efficient, 2005; Taras Bulba, 1973), 215 (Ruling Lad, 1978), 231 (Popsy, 1992), 233 (Zonda, 1996), 245 (Hail, 1999), 258 (The Phantom Chance, 1991), 264 (Classic Mission, 1970), 311 (Red Anchor, 1983), 341 (Don Eduardo, 2000), 352 (Great Command, 1995), 387 (St Reims, 2001), 398 (Sovereign Red, 1979), 482 (Leica Guv, 2000), 520 (Ebony Grosve, 1995), 707 (Hades, 1998), 733 (Castletown, 1988), 753 (Wahid, 2004), 902 (Roysyn, 1994) and 1046 (Second Coming, 1996).

Prince Majestic was Lot 250 in 1979 and El Segundo was sold as Lot 262 in 2003.
Australian Horse of the Year Beau Zam was Lot 323 in 1986; and five years earlier, the marvellous McGinty was Lot 361.

Three years ago Darci Brahma was Lot 509. In 1968 Daryl's Joy, a major race winner in three countries, carried 555. Two-time Singapore Horse of the Year Ouzo carried number 573 in 1995.

New Zealand Horse of the Year Drum was Lot 651 in 1977, and other Group One winners in the 600's include Regal Empress, Weston Lea, Del Coronado, Pride of Rosewood, Cronus, Fun on the Run, Candide, Grout and Allegro. Lot 916 in 1990 was Cox Plate winner Solvit.

Plenty of current stars have also appeared among the later lots at the National Yearling Sales Series. Two years ago Jokers Wild was Lot 552, Lot 757 was Veloce Bella, 846 was Irlanda, and 965 was Keep The Passion. The Pooka was Lot 624 last year, and in 2003 Lots 673 and 784 were Sir Slick and Pentathon. A year earlier Lot 815 was Cog Hill. In 2004 Lot 896 was the yearling Kay's Awake, and Chettak was Lot 1077.

And buying Kiwi-bred horses at yearling sales does increase an owner's chance of securing a stakeswinner. Of all the horses born in New Zealand during the eleven seasons 1990-2000, 2.13% became stakeswinners. However, of the horses born in that period, and offered for sale as yearlings, 4.05% later won Group or Listed races.

Grateful thanks for sales data, statistics and race records to Arion Pedigrees: www.arion.co.nz, the Australian Stud Book: www.studbook.org.au, and The National Sale over 50 years by Allan T. Hunter, NZTBA Breeders' Bulletin, Summer 1975.

- NZ Champions Racing Museum


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