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The normally routine secondary session of the Australian Easter Yearling sale was the focus of attention on Thursday as a large crowd gathered when a half-brother to Golden Slipper winner Mossfun entered the ring.

The crowd wasn’t disappointed with the Magic Albert colt fetching $750,000, a record for the second book of the sale and a marked increase on the $85,000 paid last year for Mossfun.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, already a major buyer at the top end this year, secured the colt after his agent Tom Stakemire engaged in a spirited bidding duel with Hong Kong’s George Moore.

Like Mossfun, the colt will be trained by the Hawkes family partnership.

“He’s a lovely athletic colt, very much like her, just a lot more masculine,” senior trainer John Hawkes said.

“Hopefully he can run as far and as hard as she can.”

The first book of the sale ended early on Thursday afternoon with the seventh yearling to pass the million-dollar mark in the session.

Gerald Ryan paid $1.3 million for the Fastnet Rock-Defiant Dame colt on behalf of American buyers.

Although the sale lacked some of excitement of the past few years with no yearlings above $2 million, William Inglis managing director Mark Webster said the clearance rate of 83 per cent and average of $253,341 was pleasing.

The Queen’s bloodstock agent John Warren secured the sale topper, a $1.6 million colt, on the first day of the three-day sale.

Warren bought the Fastnet Rock colt out of Perfect Persuasion for a combination of Australian and international interests including the China Horse Club.

William Inglis managing director Mark Webster said the pleasing part of the sale was the strong middle market.

“The middle market was very strong,” he said.

“I still think the top of the market was quite good as well. The number of yearlings making a million or more compared to other sales in the region is still well ahead of what everyone else can do.

“My goal coming into the sale was to improve the clearance rate and get it into the low 80s so I think we have done that. The average is also very healthy for the main session.

“The other thing is we are not relying on any one buyer. The buying bench has been quite diverse with a couple of big buys for the Middle East, but we have had Americans, Hong Kong, Chris Waller buying, Gai Waterhouse, Peter Moody, Gerald Ryan and some syndicators have been able to buy as well.”

Fastnet Rock was the stallion in most demand, with 41 yearlings sold for an average of $300,000.

 
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