Day At The Track
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Jean Feiss has a simple philosophy to buying yearling these days, the only problem is she bumped into somebody with the same attitude at Karaka yesterday. Feiss, best known as the owner of Auckland Cup hero Vincent, outlaid $230,000 to secure the sales topper at the Australasian Classic harness sale, huge money for a standardbred yearling in this part of the world. She did something very similar at the same sale last year when she purchased that sale's top lot in Jessie Duke, who has already won his debut and looks worth every cent of his $220,000 price. "My attitude these days is go and buy the horse you actually want, rather than miss him and buy one that is left," says Feiss. "Obviously [husband] Bill and I are fortunate enough to be in the position to do that but because we are, my approach to the sales has changed a little bit in recent years." While Feiss was pleased to get her prime target it would have cost a lot less had one of the true big spenders of New Zealand racing in John Street not been the underbidder. Street and Feiss went bid for bid in $10,000 increments from about the $100,000 mark and while it made for an entertaining minute on a largely sedate day, either one of them could probably have secured the colt for $150,000 and gone home happy had their other not been so keen. Their bidding war was indicative of how the sale played out, with the big buyers willing to spend up to $100,000 probably numbering around 10 and almost of all of them interested in the same 10-12 colts. Feiss is a filly buyer and will head to the Christchurch sale tomorrow looking for her next Spanish Armada but the fairer sex are becoming a harder sell in harness racing, with many of the top-end buyers focusing on colts. Yesterday's top lot was, as expected, a son of Bettors Delight and a brother to Linda Lovegrace, being the fourth foal of a mare whose only three progeny to race have all won. Bettors Delight was the big dog again, siring the top three lots but Woodlands Stud were just as thrilled with their new stallion Sweet Lou producing the fourth highest lot, a half-brother to Let It Ride, who finished second in the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on Saturday. Another big winner from the day was Canterbury boutique breeding operation Dancingonmoonlight Farms, the breeding business set up by Robert Famularo of Monkey King fame and now run by daughter Sara. They sold two lots for $90,000 and one for $85,000. Overall the sales average yesterday at $33,850 was down about 10 per cent on last season. The clearance rate of 73.36 per cent will raise to around 77 per cent after the usual business is done on passed in lots but there were still plenty of vendors disappointed. Until harness racing finds 50 new buyers to boost the middle market, that won't change. Big bucks babies $230k Bettors Delight-Linda Grace colt. $140k Bettors Delight-Sossusvlei colt. $130k Bettors Delight-Beach Parade colt. $100k Sweet Lou-Love A Gamble colt. Michael Guerin

After the explosive start at the Australasian Classic Sale at Karaka yesterday, more of the same was expected at the New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch. However the Christchurch sale was subdued early with six of the first fifteen lots being passed in by their vendors. John Street of Lincoln Farms was one of the few buyers to get busy early on buying Lot 159, the Bettor's Delight colt from the 1:55 McArdle mare Casteellina Lover ($39,779) for $70,000. A lovely type, one got the impression that he might turn out to be a cheap buy as the sale moves on. John Street didn't take long to back involved buying Lot 165, a Bettor's Delight colt from the smart Christian Cullen mare in Citylight ($29,707) with the dam being a half sister to the very well performed Belkmyster($116,715) John Street was back in the action not long after when he went to $50,000 for a Bettor's Delight colt from the well performed Mach Three mare Donthavtime 1:56.5 who won seven races and $53,182. Several other Art Major and Bettor's Delights yearlings were making around that $50,000 to $70,000 mark but after an hour and a half the sale had yet to get into full stride. Harnesslink Media

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