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Camilleri vindicated by big sale
By Alastair Bull
06:39 AEST Tue Jan 29 2013

John Camilleri's hunch his Fastnet Rock-Celebria colt would stand out more in the New Zealand sale ring than in Sydney paid off when he got nearly $2 million for him at Karaka.

The half-brother to Gathering and Florentina was bought by Coolmore Stud for $NZ1.975 million ($A1.6 million) at the Premier Yearling Sale on Monday after a spirited bidding duel with Melbourne trainer Peter Moody.

It was the only price over $1 million on a day when averages were up but the median down.

"He was such a regally-bred colt and I was wanting the right sale, and I thought this was a sale where he would probably stand out," Camilleri said.

"The only question mark in my mind was whether the buying bench was wide enough ... but I think that decision's been vindicated."

It was Camilleri's second biggest sale, the previous best being a Redoute's Choice-Egyptian Ibis colt which made $A2 million at the Sydney Easter sale in 2007.

The $1.975 million colt, to be trained by David Hayes, was the high point of a top day for Curraghmore Stud. Offering a draft with a number of Australian-bred progeny, Gordon Cunningham's farm produced five of the top eight sales of the day, four of which were by Fastnet Rock.

It put Curraghmore more than $3 million ahead on the leading vendor list from long-time leader Cambridge Stud, though Sir Patrick Hogan's stud has 28 yearlings due to be sold on Tuesday compared to Curraghmore's seven.

"The middle of the market softened a bit, but we have seen in the past that the first days have been light but the second days have been more vigorous," Sir Patrick said.

The top price for a filly was $800,000, paid by former Racing NSW chairman Alan Bell for a Zabeel half-sister to Filly of the Year series leader Fix.

The sale average for the first day was $161,332, well ahead of last year's $145,985 but undoubtedly boosted by the high-priced colt. The clearance rate was also up from 70 per cent to 77 per cent, but the median fell from $120,000 to $117,500.