By Brad Bishop, Racing.com
Horse sales, like the Magic Millions offerings that are taking place on the Gold Coast, can often come across as just being big business.
Headline lots are regularly the subject of spirited duels by some of racing’s biggest names bidding against one another.
But Woolsthorpe based Colin McKenna showed the emotion attached to it on Thursday. The Victorian owner/breeder was on-site to see his mare Gregers go through the ring early on the third day of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.
You’d think he’d be overjoyed at seeing her sell for $1.75 million, which made her the new top lot of what has been a record-breaking sale.
Especially given the other high-profile lot he brought to the sale, Petits Filous, sold for $1.15m on opening day.
But it has been a week of mixed emotions for he and wife Janice.
“Of course it is,” a clearly emotional McKenna said. “We don’t like selling them, but you have to sometimes sell them.
“It’s not about the money, it’s just that they get too valuable to be walking around at home in some cases.
“Some of the owners wanted out, they were all quite prepared to back us and stay in, but there’s got to be a day when somebody makes a decision (on their future).
“Janice will be very disappointed.”
Gregers was a special horse to the McKennas from the time she won on debut at Moonee Valley.
She finished fourth in the Blue Diamond at her next start and contested another 10 Group 1 races for top-four finishes in the Thousand Guineas, Oakleigh Plate, William Reid, Sangster Stakes (twice) and The Goodwood.
The daughter of Commands never won at Group 1 level, but counted a Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude and Group 3 Cockram Stakes among her six career victories. It is therefore easy to understand why she was such a popular subject at Australia’s leading broodmare sale.
Yu Long Investments won the battle for the six-year-old, who is in foal to Golden Slipper producing stallion Written Tycoon, who stands at Woodside Park in Victoria.
“Mr (Yuesheng) Zhang just loves the family,” said bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills, who buys for Yu Long. “It was his favourite mare in the sale.
“He had to push for her, but she’s a rare offering I guess.
“(Witten Tycoon) is one of his favourite stallions, so that was probably the icing on the cake I’d say.”