At the close of Book 1 Inglis reported 476 yearlings sold at a clearance rate of 85 per cent for a gross of $41,723,500, while the average was $87,673 and the median was recorded as $75,000.
The leading buyer this year was Star Thoroughbreds' Denise Martin and Randwick Bloodstock, who purchased six yearlings for an aggregate of $1,320,000. The leading vendor title by aggregate went to Yarraman Park Stud, who sold 22 yearlings for an aggregate of $2,425,500. Meanwhile, Fairhill Farm finished the sale as leading vendors by average selling three yearlings at an average of $170,667.
Inglis changed the format of the Classic sale cutting Book 1 back to just over 600 lots compared with 2019 where just over 800 were catalogued and Inglis managing director Mark Webster said the auction house made the right call changing the format.
During Book 1 of the 2019 sale, 608 lots were sold for $45,717,522 at an average of $75,193 and median of $50,000.
"My general remarks are that I am really happy with the way the sale has developed," said Webster.
"We changed the format. We pulled Book 1 down from 800 to just a shade over 600, so it is a little difficult to compare like-to-like. Classic is now averaging $89,000 and I think that is a good result.
"It was $75,000 last year and we have cleared 82 per cent and that will pick up again through the course of the day.
Webster also said he was pleased to see a versatile buying bench assembled for the sale, with plenty of money coming from around the globe, particularly in Hong Kong.
"I am particularly pleased with the buying bench that we have had here.There are quality buyers and the sale is not dependent on one big fish," said Webster.
"There's a good spread of buyers and I think that is healthy for the industry. Denise Martin from Star Thoroughbreds has obviously had a lot of success buying out of this sale with horses like Fiesta and that is bringing her back, so she finished on top.
"But it was good to see Triple Crown and Darby in there as well supporting the sale.
"The other big story is that, aside from the local trainers, there are a lot of people here from Hong Kong. The Upper Bloodstock, Ricky Yiu and the HKJC were able to get on the sheet and they weren't here last year and George Moore was here buying who are targeting the better types.
"If you go back five years you wouldn't find anyone from Hong Kong at a Classic sale, so it has evolved.
"Last year we had 2600 entries and we had 800 the year before, so it was difficult. We put 200 more in last year than what we would have liked to have done to try and help clear their stock but it didn't quite work.
"I think this year's results feel better and I think it is more workable for the buyers to get it done in three days, rather than five which is what we did last year."
Unsurprisingly NSW-based buyers dominate the score sheet at Classic, spening $23,077,000 on 314 lots accounting for 55 per cent of turnover. This figure was up marginally from last year when 369 lots were bought for $23,351,772, accounting for 51 per cent of turnover.
The spend by Hong Kong-based buyers however was up over 50 per cent compared to last year. At this year's sale 48 lots were bought by Hong Kong-based purchasers for $5,299,000 compared to the 26 lots bought in 2019 for a total spend of $2,745,000. Chinese-based buyers bought four lots this year during Book 1 for a total spend of $268,000, down from 2019 when 13 lots were purchased for a total spend of $649,000.
The spend of New Zealand-based buyers was comparable to 2019. This year 18 lots were bought for a total spend of $1,903,000 whilst at last year's sale $1,933,000 was spent on 22 lots.
Webster admitted that the results could have been stronger, but due to a few events which were out of their control namely the coronavirus and the inclement weather that hit Sydney at the beginning of the week, there were a few holes in the buying bench.
"Could the sale results have been better than they are? Yes, they could," said Webster. "There is no doubt that we were missing a bunch of buyers. I am estimating around 15 or so that we know of that didn't come from either Singapore, Hong Kong or China and even some from New Zealand because they didn't want to travel during the outbreak of this virus.
"From a weather sense, there would be others but I can't quantify it at this point in time. There are people who normally drive in from the south coast, the north coast and people who come in from over the mountains to buy one or two and there is no doubt that some of those people didn't come and that it has affected us.
"The results, particularly noting that, are very good and the format and everything else for next year is unlikely to change because under better circumstances it will be even better."
Inglis will hold their next sale in Melbourne with the Premier Sale getting underway on March 1 and Webster said the focus would now turn to Victoria.
"We have encouraged a lot of Victorian breeders to sell at home and you can see that in the catalogue and in the results in Premier coming up. That sets us up well for that sale," said Webster.
"We have always thought that this year Easter and Premier were the two sales that could really grow and this one was about consolidating and strengthening it and not necessarily about trying to it in numbers because we have pulled it back.
"They have all got a sprinkling. Some are buying in partnership with the syndicators and we are hoping that they like what they see in Melbourne. That is our focus from here on in to Melbourne. What we need now is to ensure that all the buyers get there so that Melbourne can go to another level."