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New Zealand’s top yearling sale has made some small gains after some difficult years.

The average price at the two-day Premier Yearling Sale at Karaka was up 4 per cent to $150,881, and the key median mark up $10,000 to $120,000.

It’s good news for New Zealand breeders after a fall in averages from $181,557 in 2010 to $144,548 last year.

The falls were a result of a combination of factors, including the global financial crisis and a stagnant domestic market.

Adding to the difficulty in the last two years has been the weak Australian dollar, which means a New Zealand horse costs Australians much more.

“The Australian dollar has suffered a little bit, and that probably reflects in the sale results to a degree,” said New Zealand buyer Paul Moroney, the third-leading purchaser after spending $1.93 million on 10 horses.

Despite this, the Australians’ spend of $20.4 million was up 8 per cent on last year.

They were led by Duncan Ramage, who spent $2.26m on 11 horses, five of them bought in partnership with James Cummings.

“By and large we’ve had to pay a bit but they haven’t been overpriced,” Ramage said.

Waikato syndicator David Ellis was once again the top buyer, spending $3.57m on 22 horses, including the top lot of the sale, an $800,000 Fastnet Rock-Il Quello Veloce filly.

The leading seller for the second year was Waikato Stud, which sold 40 yearlings for a total of $6.86m.

Australian-based Fastnet Rock led the sires’ averages, with 13 yearlings sold at an average of $331,538. The leading New Zealand-based sire was Waikato Stud’s Savabeel, with 38 sold at an average of $189,342.

Petrea Vela, marketing manager for auction company NZ Bloodstock, was pleased to see the sale finish strongly.

“As is often the case, the second day was overall a stronger day of selling, and to post figures ahead of last year’s sale is a very pleasing result.”

The sale series continues on Wednesday with the Select Sale, which despite its second tier status still produces many top-tier racehorses.

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