Nine-time Group One winner Avantage has fetched a whopping $4.1 million when sold to Tom Magnier of global breeding giant Coolmore via New Zealand Bloodstock’s online platform Gavelhouse Plus.
The stunning figure establishes a new world record for any horse sold online, a growing trend in the bloodstock industry.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock is the third highest-priced mare ever sold via auction in the Southern Hemisphere behind Milanova, who fetched A$5 million in 2008, and the A$4.2 million outlaid for Sunlight last year, with all three purchased by Coolmore.
It was virtual theatre at its best as Magnier, bidding under user name Danehill1986, fended off rival bidders with refreshed bids every thirty seconds for the best part of 15 minutes.
“Congratulations to David Ellis, Jamie Richards and the connections of this wonderful mare for what they have achieved with her on the track,” Coolmore Australia Principal Tom Magnier said.
“We love Fastnet Rock mares, and she has won more Group One races than any of them. He is making his presence felt as a broodmares sire throughout the world, and she is one of his best daughters.”
“A mare like her needs to go to an elite stallion and thankfully there are a plethora of options for her here at Coolmore, so the likes of Wootton Bassett, Pierro and Justify will be considered. We look forward to welcoming Avantage back to the farm where she was raised and grazed.”
The star mare’s racing career was brought to a sudden halt last Friday after suffering a tendon injury and the decision to disperse the syndicated six-year-old via gavelhouse.com was promptly made by the Te Akau Avantage Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).
By champion sire Fastnet Rock, with a deep pedigree and strong physique, Avantage commanded interest from major breeders around the world.
Initially purchased as a yearling at Karaka by David Ellis CNZM for $210,000 from the draft of The Oaks Stud, the high-class mare was prepared by Jamie Richards to win 16 of her 28 starts and $2.16 million in prizemoney.
A Group winner on both sides of the Tasman, Avantage boasts the largest haul of Group One wins of any of Fastnet Rock’s 41 individual Group One winners and was known for her versatility, as a Karaka Million winner at two, who won at Group One level between 1200m and 2000m.
“I believe in supporting New Zealand companies and am a very proud New Zealander tonight,” Ellis said.
“From the day Joe Walls and Andrew Seabrook came to me with the gavelhouse.com concept I’ve been supportive of it and it’s great to see a New Zealand company has broken the record.”
“I’ve been very impressed with the way she was marketed to the world at such short notice and it was great to see how much work Andrew and the NZB agents put in, alongside Haylie Martin and her team to get such a result.”
“Te Akau and Coolmore have had a fantastic association for a long time and it’s wonderful Avantage is heading back to where she was conceived and born, you can see why the Magnier family are the best in the world at what they do, they have fantastic stallions and buy the best mares out there.”
Out of the Listed winning Zabeel mare Asavant, who was also Group One placed, Avantage was bred by Bluff couple Willie and Karen Calder.
Asavant’s dam Pins ‘n’ Needles was a Group Three winner and is also the dam of Group One winning sprinter DB Pin, a star in Hong Kong. Additionally, Avantage is a half-sister to stakes-placed So You Think mare Asathought.
The result was a historic moment for gavelhouse.com and further outlined the importance of the digital platform in connecting New Zealand with the world.
“First and foremost a massive thank you to David Ellis and the team at Te Akau for showing their full confidence in our site by entrusting us with the marketing and sale of one of the world’s most sought after mares,” gavelhouse.com General Manager Haylie Martin said.
“We also thank Tom Magnier and Coolmore for their support and all of the underbidders.”
“This just shows what we can achieve with a bit of Kiwi ingenuity and teamwork in little old New Zealand, this is certainly a proud moment for the domestic industry.”