October sales arrest plunge in clearance rates

The Tattersalls October Yearling Sales produced record turnover

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) October sales arrest plunge in unsold lots By Martin Stevens 1:31PM 16 OCT 2016

A CAREFULLY managed and buoyant renewal of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sales arrested the plunge in clearance rates in this year's auction season.

The trend so far this year has been increased catalogue sizes to cater for a larger foal crop of 2015, but demand from buyers failing to keep pace. That has led to a steep increase in unsold yearlings.

At the end of the Goffs Sportsman's Sale last month we reported that, despite a 28 per cent increase in yearlings going under the hammer at all British and Irish auctions this year, the proportion of those who had changed hands had dropped dramatically from 88 per cent to 78 per cent. At that point, there were 528 horses who had failed to find a new home – more than double the number in 2015.

Tattersalls protected clearance rates at its October sales by cataloguing 13 per cent fewer lots across the auction's four books – 1,885 down from 2,173 in 2015 – in spite of the larger number of yearlings on the ground.

In the final reckoning, 1,688 of those 1,885 went under the hammer and 1,349 changed hands for a clearance rate of 80 per cent – on a par with 2015 when 1,563 out of 1,945 were sold.

Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony acknowledged the need to cut numbers to shore up demand in his end of sale statement.

"To have produced record turnover having catalogued almost 300 fewer yearlings than last year is a significant achievement," he said.

"We were overwhelmed by demand for places in the 2015 October Yearling Sale and we were acutely conscious that the larger numbers were challenging for purchasers and vendors alike.

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"It was important for all concerned to make the sale more manageable and decreasing the numbers has without doubt been the key to maintaining the momentum throughout the fortnight."

Good news for Tattersalls and the vendors who managed to get their yearlings into the October Sales, then, but the spectre of overproduction has not disappeared.

The record for all British and Irish yearling sales in 2016 (Goffs UK Premier and Silver, Tattersalls Ireland September Parts I and II, Goffs Orby and Sportsman's and Tattersalls October Books 1 to 4) is 3,263 lots sold from 4,130 offered for an overall clearance rate of 79 per cent. At this point last year the figures were 3,239 lots out of 3,853 who changed hands, or 84 per cent.

So the number of unsold yearlings this year stands at 867, with the Goffs UK Autumn, Goffs Open and Tattersalls December yearling sales to come next month.

A four-figure number of unsold lots by the end of the year does not look unfeasible and would be a damning indication of overproduction.

Comparison with 2015 in parentheses

Book 1

Catalogued: 551 (+7%)
Offered: 493 (+7%)
Sold: 386 (+4%)
Clearance rate: 78% (down from 81%)

Book 2

Catalogued: 774 (-15%)
Offered: 708 (-14%)
Sold: 594 (-13%)
Clearance rate: 84% (up from 82%)

Book 3

Catalogued: 474 (-30%)
Offered: 420 (-31%)
Sold: 326 (-33%)
Clearance rate: 78% (down from 79%)

Book 4

Catalogued: 86 (+34%)
Offered: 67 (+43%)
Sold: 43 (+59%)
Clearance rate: 64% (up from 57%)

All British and Irish yearling sales in 2016

Catalogued: 4,528 (+6%)
Offered: 4,130 (+7%)
Sold: 3,263 (+1%)
Clearance rate: 79% (down from 84%)

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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