David Ellis went to $425,000 to secure the "nicest foal I've ever seen" at Karaka yesterday.
The Te Akau Racing boss was thrilled to get the Encosta de Lago-Ethereal colt from the draft of Cambridge's Pencarrow Stud and said he would be one of four colts syndicated among a group of owners.
"I've seen this colt right the way through. He was 70 kilos at birth, the nicest foal I've seen," Ellis said.
"I think he'll have enough speed for a 2000 Guineas and then we'll have a go at the staying races."
By star sire Encosta de Lago, the colt is out of champion stayer Ethereal, who won four Gr I races including the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups double in 2001.
Pencarrow studmaster Leon Casey said Ethereal was in excellent health at 15 years and since foaling the Encosta de Lago colt she had a Rip Van Winkle filly at foot and was in foal to O'Reilly.
"She doesn't look her age at all," he said.
Ellis was active on the first day, buying 11 yearlings, including a Fastnet Rock colt out of Gypsy Princess from the draft of Hamilton's Curraghmore Stud for $410,000, a colt which will also be among the four for the syndicate.
"He's a stunning colt and we're buying Fastnet Rocks for a pretty good price," Ellis said.
"He's a terrific sire. We've had the best one in New Zealand in Rock 'n' Pop and he's now at stud and that's our hope for this horse."
Curraghmore Stud enjoyed a bumper first day of selling, with five of the top eight lots sold from its draft.
It led the first day with a combined sales total of $6.27 million headed by the top-priced Fastnet Rock-Celebria colt making $1.975 million.
A Fastnet Rock-Episode filly was knocked down to Bart Cummings for $700,000 and the Hong Kong Jockey Club bought both a High Chaparral-Bombay colt for $480,000 and a Fastnet Rock-Distinctly colt for $400,000.
Curraghmore studmaster Gordon Cunningham was thrilled with his day's results.
"Right across the board, we're having a fantastic sale. We couldn't be any more pleased," he said.
Fix's Gr II double over the Ellerslie Christmas carnival was just the boost her half-sister needed to make $800,000.
The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained Gr II Eight Carat Classic and Gr II Royal Stakes winner's Zabeel half-sister was knocked to Australian owner Alan Bell, delighting vendors Haunui Farm.
"We knew Fix was a Group filly, but after what happened over the Christmas-New Year period, it just gave her the black-type on her pedigree," said Haunui studmaster Mark Chitty.
"We're rapt. We'd thought she might make $600,000 or $700,000 but the reserve was $350,000 so everyone had the opportunity. Destined is just a proper mare. All her progeny can run. She's a really good type of Zabeel and she could possibly be an autumn two-year-old."
Bell was hoping for the same sort of early speed from the Zabeel filly, who will be trained by Sydney's Tim Martin.
"She's the right article. She's a Zabeel and she's a sharp Zabeel. She's what we look for," Bell said.
"She's got an international pedigree which is increasingly what this business is all about."
Waikato Stud made the leaderboard when it sold an O'Reilly-Escada colt for $460,000 to the Hong Kong Jockey Club, much to the delight of studmaster Mark Chittick.
"I'm rapt. It's hard to get that sort of money but he's a quality animal and there was good interest in him," Chittick said.
"He had it all - great pedigree, lovely physically and for him to sell well tops it all off."
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