6th Dec 2013
The first to blink decides the value of a horse. It is not the winning bidder but the under bidder who cries enough. In a year in which values of top level stock appreciated by 30%+ worldwide, it was impossible to predict when the blinking would start.
At Tattersalls we saw some interesting bidding duels. The “king of the ring” Adrian Nicoll bid with his usual rapid and committed style for a filly who quickly ascended to a figure north of 400,000. At 450,000 even the fearless Adrian paused, turned to his principal to confirm before submitting the winning bid of 475,000. The filly was “Forgive” a recent winner of a Lingfield Listed race which saw her rating unchanged at 100. Everybody wanted her, but one man owns her now.
We all assess our stock according to whatever criteria we have assembled through experience. We translate that into a financial value based on the blend of beauty, pedigree, ability or perceived future earning power. We have all overpaid along the way, and learned something each time we have done so. When we cry “enough already” and turn away from the auctioneers entreaties, we have calculated that the blend doesn’t match the price. We can never tell whether the winning bidder might have paid more. Sheikh Mohammed secured Dancing Rain on one bid.
In another remarkable bidding duel, a filly clearly described as to dissolve a partnership, was the subject of a bidding battle which resulted in the under bidders celebrating and hugging when the hammer finally fell at an enormous sum.
We have seen an Oaks winner make double what a Group 1 two-year-old makes, and we have seen some humble fillies by the likes of Windsor Knot, Big Bad Bob and Aussie Rules fight their way to the top table through raw ability. We have seen racecourse prowess converted into incredible bounty. When we weren’t blinking.