Anticipation was high ahead of the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale, and the opening day didn’t disappoint with Yulong Stud splashing out a combined $7.1 million on Tofane and Away Game.
Persistent rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of bidders in a feverish ring at the Gold Coast, with four-time Group 1 heroine Tofane (Ocean Park x Baggy Green) fetching $3.1 million before Away Game (Snitzel x Elusive Wonder), a winner of three Group races for Ciaron Maher Racing, topped the sale at a mind-boggling $4 million.
A date with Yulong’s super sire Written Tycoon now awaits Tofane, who was originally scheduled to be sold at this sale 12 months ago before connections chose to press on with her racing career for one more campaign.
That decision bore spectacular fruit after Tofane added a trio of Group 1s to her CV, starting with back-to-back victories in the Stradbroke Handicap and the Tatts Tiara at Eagle Farm last June, before a dominant display saw her land the C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield in February.
Those wins elevated her value as a broodmare into the stratosphere, and it is anyone’s guess how much the potential progeny of a match between Written Tycoon and Tofane would fetch at a future yearling sale.
Yulong’s Chief Operating Officer Sam Fairgray, who is on the TBV Board, was understandably delighted to secure a mare of Tofane’s status and he revealed that she may continue her racing career before embarking on her new life as a broodmare.
“[Yulong founder] Mr Zhang has really liked her for a few years and we’ve tried to try to buy her on several occasions, so it’s great to finally get her today,” said Fairgray.
“I’d say Written Tycoon will be high up on the cards, but after the sale, we’ll sit down and have a look at what we do.
“We might give her a couple of runs through the spring and breed her, so she’s no certainty to go to stud this year. She showed in the last year that she’s getting better as she gets older, so if she’s still got an interest then we may race her on.”
Another figure in the room who was rightly proud of Tofane’s head-spinning sale price was her trainer, Mike Moroney.
Moroney put the polish on the daughter of Ocean Park throughout a 29-start career which yielded more than $3.5 million in prizemoney for an ownership group led by Rupert Legh of Chautauqua fame.
The Kiwi admitted to experiencing mixed feelings when witnessing his prized asset go through the ring, but after a stellar racing career Tofane had more than paid her way even before she became the eighth-most expensive Australasian broodmare in history.
“I actually got pretty nervous before she went through, it almost felt like a Group 1 race today,” he said.
“I thought she’d make $3 million but until the hammer drops, you’re never sure. But she looked fabulous and when you combine her race record with her looks, it’s no surprise she made as much as she did. If she was a human she’d be a model, she’s just got everything you look for in a mare and she’s very feminine.
“We thought she’d make around $2.5 million if we sold her last year, so she’s only gone for $600,000 more after three Group 1 wins, but there’s always a ceiling on these things plus she’s earned more than $2 million on the racetrack in that time and taken her owners on an amazing ride. She thrived on travelling and the owners loved following her around the country, so the last year has been hugely enjoyable but all good things come to an end.
“I’m really pleased she’s gone to Yulong, we knew they were very interested in her and I’m really happy she’ll stay in Victoria and be served by Written Tycoon. I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford her progeny in future years, but I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for them. Alabama Express went to Yulong and Rupert [Legh] also sold Grunt to them, so we have a good association with them. Who knows, I may even qualify for a discount!”