Review of the 2024 Magic Millions Gold Coast January yearling sale

“I’m incredibly pleased with how it came together. We’ll reflect on this sale as a great sale as the year goes on... we did have an increase in million-dollar lots - 23 million-dollar lots which is the most we’ve ever had here."- Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch.

Lot 942. Extreme Choice- Mischief Night colt was the top seller at $1,400,000, on Day 5 of the 2024 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale ( Photo Magic Millions)

Tim Whiffler



After the last horse from Book 1 had been auctioned on Saturday night January 13, the Managing Director of Magic Millions (MM), Barry Bowditch, released the following statement:

“I’m incredibly pleased with how it came together. We’ll reflect on this sale as a great sale as the year goes on.

“Right now we are a tick over 2% under last year and that is pleasing considering things aren’t easy out there for everyone.

“We did have an increase in million-dollar lots – 23 million-dollar lots which is the most we’ve ever had here.

“To have an average of around $280,000, that is the third highest we’ve ever had and it was the last two years that beat that.

“The clearance rate of 86% is acceptable and I’d suggest that will only increase over the next 24-48 hours while we work with buyers.”

There is no doubt that higher interest rates have influenced the thoroughbred yearling market, this is reflected in the above comments. This market peaked in Easter 2022 then shortly after that interest rates began to rise, sparking a downturn. That trend is shown in the table below giving statistics for the last five MM Gold Coast (Jan.) Yearling Sales.

 2020-2024 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale

Year Average Median Price No. Sold %Clearance
2024 $278,278 $200,000 809 86.8
2023 $292,926 $210,000 783     89
2022 $294,159 $230,000 776 93
2021 $252,801 $180,000 783 89
2020 $247,645 $180,000 721 89


The trend at this sale usually reflects what the trend will be at Inglis’ Easter Yearling Sale as can be seen from this table for the last four of these Easter Sales:

 2020-2023 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale

Year Average Median Price No. Sold %Clearance
2023 $391,567 $280,000 351 83
2022 $407,500 $300,000 370 84
2021 $369,876 $280,000 363 90
2020 $307,643 $250,000 231 67* COVID


 The leading sires for the current season

1. I Am Invincible (AUS)
2. So You Think (NZ)
3. Zoustar (AUS)
4. Teoflio (IRE, sire of Without a Fight)
5. Snitzel (AUS)


Except for Teofilo (not represented), it was only to be expected that the progeny of these stallions would sell well, and that expectation was met as indicated on the list below.

The one exception was So You Think. The market does not seem to appreciate his merits. He has sired 51 SW including 11 individual G1 winners and in the 2022/3 season I Am Invincible was only beat for top place by a narrow margin. In this sale 21 of his progeny sold for an average of $220,238, his top lot cost only $375,000.

Last year, it was much the same, 22 lots sold for an average of $264,316 in a stronger market, the top lot was $650,000. On each occasion his progeny failed to reach the sale average. What distinguishes So You Think from these other four is that they are speed sires noted for their 2YOs and their sons have the potential of making sires. The reward is great on the Australian market to get a colt with G1 speed as a 2YO or 3YO who can then be sold on as a sire.

Nonetheless, So You Think’s son, D’Argento, who won the 2018 G1 Rosehill Guineas and was beaten a whisker in the 2018 Epsom Hcp has made a promising start to his stud career. His daughter Rag Queen at her only start came from a almost hopeless position to win a 2YO race over 1100m at Canterbury on January 5. As this season progresses and the distance of races increases his progeny will do better.

This year’s MM catalogue featured a number of promising freshman sires and the one which stood out was Wootton Bassett (GB). This was his first Australian crop but overseas he had proven himself a success with nine individual G1 winners, on latest count.

At the end of the 2023 season in England & Ire the leading stallion (on prizemoney), by a wide margin, was Frankel with 191 runners. Frankel had previously been top sire for the 2021 season.

On the 2023 list Wootton Bassett finished 11th but with only 58 runners. One must turn to the French 2023 list for a better picture. Wootton Bassett began his stud career there before Coolmore bought him in 2020 and switched him to Ireland. Here Frankel finished second with 31 runners, but Wootton Bassett was fourth with 117 runners. Wootton Bassett’s advertised fee in Ireland for this year stands at 200,000 euros.

At this sale, 32 of his yearlings averaged $465,625, more importantly his filly ex G1 winner Avantage topped the Sale going for $2.1M. This was the seventh highest average for any sire at this sale.

Wootton Basset is two years younger than So You Think but when one considers how differently this market has treated each of them it is beyond reason. Then again who said that this is a rational market?


FRANKEL 4* sold $825,600 $1.0M (top lot)
EXTREME CHOICE 13* $703,462 $1.6M
I AM INVINCINBLE 29 $674,138 $1.7M
SNITZEL 33 $522,206 $1.75M
JUSTIFY 7* $500,714 $1.3M
ZOUSTAR 33 $472,879 $1.3M
WOTTON BASSETT 32 $465,625 $2.1M

 *Small sample size

Justify made this list because last season he had been the leading first season sire and his son Storm Boy had been a dominant favourite for this year’s 2YO Classic, which he duly won. Extreme Choice made the list because he does not have many progeny but his ratio of earnings to runners is high.

The only other freshman sire to exceed the sale average was Farnan. This reflected how much the market is optimistic about the stud career of winners of the Golden Slipper. His progeny (29 sold) averaged $309,483. His ex-trainer, the Waterhouse-Bott team, bought two of his three most expensive lots including the top one- lot 768 for $1.2M. This is the b colt ex the Snitzel mare I Am Excited winner of the 2020 G1 Galaxy. This colt is linebred 3 x 3 to Redoute’s Choice.

There is an interesting background story behind this sale. Farnan stands at Kia Ora Stud, established in 1914 in the Hunter Valley, which to many readers may mean nothing. In the pre–Golden Slipper (first run 1957) era, when under the management of Percy Miller, Kia Ora was one of the foremost studs in Australia.

Kia Ora Stud was home to Magpie (GB), champion Australian sire 1927/8; to Midstream (GB) champion Australian sire 1946/7, 1948/50, 1950/1 and to Delville Wood (GB) champion Australian sire for five consecutive seasons from 1951/2 through to 1955/6. The cross Midstream over a Magpie mare produced 10 individual winners of races which today are ranked as G1. During this era, the stud produced 6 Melbourne Cup winners, 15 Derby winners and 5 Cox Plate winners. Its current owner billionaire Malaysian businessperson Ananda Krishnan in 2020 undertook to restore the stud to its former glory and began by standing Farnan.

In the MM Sale, 39 of Farnan’s progeny were listed, which was about a third of all live foals from his first crop. It is not unusual for a stud to invest in its sire’s progeny to ensure that they are given every opportunity. So, Kia Ora linked up with the Waterhouse-Bott team to inspect and identify what were the best of the Farnans.

Furthermore, Adrian Bott said:

“We created a partnership to try and target the progeny of Farnan specifically this year.”

 So, lot 768 was selected as “the pick” and duly bought. It is recorded as sold to Waterhouse Bott/Kia Ora/Farnan Paternship/Mt Hallowell Stud.


OLE KIRK 24 sold $213,438 $1M (top lot)
ANDERS 10* $194,000* $330,000
BIVOUAC 27 $173,796 $675,000
KING’S LEGACY 27 $157,963 $775,000

*Small sample. Anders then had a further 8 lots sold from Book 2 for a gross of $605,000. This lowered his average to $141,388.

When studying these numbers, it is worth noting that STORM BOY, who cost $460,000 at last year’s sale, was the second highest priced yearling to win the MM 2YO Classic. The highest priced such winner to date was the 2019 winner Exhilarates. She had cost $600,000.

The Waterhouse-Bott team managed to buy Storm Boy’s half-brother by Pierro-one of Gai Waterhouse’s best ever, for $375,000. This team in addition to winning the 2YO Classic was able to pluck another three of the MM “plums” and so spent up. They were the biggest spender at the sales with 23 lots costing in excess of $8M. Waterhouse-Bott acquired the top lots by Frankel, by Zoustar and by Farnan as well as being part of syndicate which bought the second highest priced Extreme Choice for $1.45M .

Ciaron Maher Bloodstock acquired 24 lots for just over $8M. Its most expensive lot was a son of Too Darn Hot ex A Time For Julia which sold for $1.9M. A Time For Julia is a G3 winning daughter of Redoute’s Choice. Too Darn Hot won 3 G1s from only nine career runs and is a son of Dubawi who the leading UK & Ire sire in 2022. As Too Darn Hot’s G1 wins were over 7F and 8F it is reasonable to expect that his progeny will do better as the distance of 2YO races increases. Too Darn Hot has one Australian crop of racing age. 13 of his progeny were sold for an average of $367,692 and this figure was helped along when he had two winners over the MM carnival-Arabian Summer and Too Darn Lizzie. Their wins also advanced his standing on the first season sire’s list to be second. That list now reads:


ALABAMA EXPRESS 7 runners 3 winners $1,065,621
TOO DARN HOT 6 4 $709,200
BRUTAL 6 2 $439,000
TASSORT 9 3 $411,165
COSMIC FORCE 8 3 $319,800


Given this $1.9M sale, the average for Too Darn Hot’s progeny was lifted to be above that for Alabama Express. The latter had only three offspring listed in book 1 and they averaged $273,333. The top lot sold for $400,000 to Waterhouse-Bott who have trained his best son to date- Shangri la Express.

Alabama Express did have a minor win over this carnival. There was a race within a race for the 2YO Classic, a prize for the first horse home owned by a ladies only syndicate. That prize went to Poster Girl (6th) by Alabama Express.


Tim Whiffler





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