Alarm bells ring as number of unsold lots rises

The Tattersalls Ireland sales arena: mixed fortunes for September Sales

Alarm bells as number of unsold yearlings rockets
By Martin Stevens 11:56AM 25 SEP 2016

DEMAND failing to keep up with increased supply continues to be the theme of this year's British and Irish yearling sales, after this week's Part II of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale featured a catalogue almost twice the size of last year but a drastically depleted clearance rate.

The 2015 September Sale at Fairyhouse was one of the success stories of the auction year, with improved figures and an outstanding 93 per cent of lots changing hands in the premier session and 86 per cent finding new homes in Part II.

Because of that buoyancy, and with a 2015 foal crop that rose by nine per cent year-on-year in Ireland and five per cent in Britain, Tattersalls Ireland was faced with an inevitable increase in applications from vendors for this year's sale.

Some 288 extra yearlings were accepted for this week's September Sale, with the bulk added to Part II – leading to a 97 per cent larger catalogue.

The select session featured only 13 per cent more lots than last year and figures during the first two days of trading were protected: the turnover and average and median prices were all up.

But Part II struggled badly under the weight of numbers. Despite 198 more lots than last year going under the hammer during an extended two-day run, turnover increased by only €224,200. The average and median prices duly showed significant decreases of between 22 and 29 per cent.

The biggest cause for concern, however, is the collapse in clearance rate in Part II to 65 per cent – meaning one in three lots there failed to find a buyer.

That follows last month's Goffs UK Silver Sale at which the number of lots on offer increased by around a third but the clearance rate tumbled from 83 per cent to 70 per cent.

Altogether at those British and Irish yearling sales to have taken place this year – Goffs UK Premier and Silver, and Tattersalls Ireland September select and Part II – 1,524 lots have gone through the ring and 1,178 have been registered as sold at a rate of 77 per cent.

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At the same stage last year, 1,249 lots had been offered and 1,102 – or 88 per cent – had changed hands.

Put another way, there are just shy of 200 more sales yearlings in Britain and Ireland recorded as unsold this year.

Some will have had deals made for them outside of the ring, while many of them will be reoffered at later sales or as two-year-olds. Breeders may have to put a fair few into training themselves, or put together syndicates or leasing arrangements.

But there are still plenty of yearling sales stretching ahead of us and talk of increased numbers at the foal auctions. It is difficult to see the imbalance of supply and demand being recalibrated any time soon.

The alarm bells of overproduction ought to be ringing loudly in the headquarters of racing and breeding administrations.


Year-on-year (comparison to 2015 by percentage in parentheses)

Tattersalls Ireland September Yearlings

Catalogued Offered Sold Clearance rate

533 (+13%) 501 (+14%) 407 (-0.5%) 81% (down from 93%)

Tattersalls Ireland September Yearlings Part II

Catalogued Offered Sold Clearance rate

461 (+96%) 410 (+93%) 265 (+46%) 65% (down from 86%)

Goffs UK and Tattersalls Ireland Yearlings combined

Catalogued Offered Sold Clearance Rate

1,649 (+22%) 1,524 (+22%) 1,178 (+7%) 77% (down from 88%)

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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