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Big Bucks Babies
Mon, 12 Feb 2018

$230,000 Bettors Delight-Linda Grace colt.
$140,000 Bettors Delight-Sossusvlei colt.
$130,000 Bettors Delight-Beach Parade colt.
$100,000 Sweet Lou-Love A Gamble colt.

By Michael Guerin

Jean Feiss has a very simple philosophy to buying yearling these days, the only problem is she bumped into somebody with the same attitude at Karaka yesterday.
 Feiss, best known as the owner of Auckland Cup hero Vincent, outlaid $230,000 to secure the sales topper at the Australasian Classic harness sale, huge money for a standardbred yearling in this part of the world.
She did something very similar at the same sale last year when she purchased that sale’s top lot in Jessie Duke, who has already won his debut and looks worth every cent of his $220,000 price.
 “My attitude these days is go and buy the horse you actually want, rather than miss him and buy one that is left,” says Feiss.
 “Obviously Bill (husband) and I are fortunate enough to be in the position to do that but because we are, my approach to the sales has changed a little bit in recent years.”? While Feiss was pleased to get her prime target it would have cost a lot less had one of the true big spenders of New Zealand racing in John Street not been the underbidder.
Street and Feiss went bid for bid in $10,000 increments from about the $100,000 mark and while it made for an entertaining minute on a largely sedate day, either one of them could probably have secured the colt for $150,000 and gone home happy had their other not been so keen.
 Their bidding war was indicative of how the sale played out, with the big buyers willing to spend up to $100,000 probably numbering around 10 and almost of all of them interested in the same 10-12 colts, with less appetite for the fillies.
Feiss is a filly buyer and will head to the Christchurch sale tomorrow looking for her next Spanish Armada but the fairer sex are becoming a harder sell in harness racing, with many of the top end buyers focussing on colts.
 Yesterday’s top lot was, as expected, a son of Bettors Delight and a brother to Linda Lovegrace, being the fourth foal of a mare whose only three progeny to race have all won.
 Bettors Delight was the big dog again siring the top three lots but Woodlands Stud were just as thrilled with their new stallion Sweet Lou producing the fourth highest lot, a half brother to Let It Ride, who finished second in the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on Saturday.
 Another big winner from the day was Canterbury boutique breeding operation Dancingonmoonlight Farms, the breeding business set up by Robert Famularo of Monkey King fame and now run by his daughter Sara.
 They sold two lots for $90,000 and one for $85,000, justifying their decision to send them north to be sold rather than waiting for tomorrow’s sale in Christchurch.
 Overall the sales average yesterday at $33,850 was down around 10 per cent on last season, partially because of the larger catalogue was also confirming the industry needs to attract new buyers, with the buyer’s list looking uncomfortably similar to last.
 The clearance rate of 73.36% will raise to around 77 per cent after the usual business is done on passed in lots but there were still plenty of vendors disappointed.
 Until harness racing finds 50 new buyers to boost the middle market, that won’t change.

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