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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: New look to annual Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale

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Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. - Contributed

The Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale was held recently, and it was an unprecedented event with health regulations and weather playing a huge role. 

Attendance was severely limited with bidders grouped into pods of 50 people while windy conditions on the Confederation Bridge on Thursday and Friday kept 15 of the horses from being able to attend the main session of the sale. That left just 59 horses sold on Friday’s sale day, all of which were Island yearlings with the exception of consignors Greg MacKenzie and David White who came over on Wednesday. 

The sale had a strong slate of yearlings with breeders to be commended for the excellent looking animals on display where any yearling could be bid on with confidence. 

MacKenzie was rewarded for his foresight, as his Soul Assassin, sired by Malicious, was the top priced yearling of the day at $35,000 with Hollis Newson of Kingston signing for the colt. That puts Soul Assassin as the second highest yearling ever put through the ring behind the $100,000 record set by Astreos colt Seawind Gambler in 2004. 

Second highest of the day was Woodmere Sheldon, raised by Bruce Wood of Marshfield, with Donald MacRae of Vernon Bridge dropping $34,000 for the son of Stonebridge Terror. Robin Burke of Brackley had a strong day as a consignor, as he put five yearlings through the ring with a pair of them selling for $30,000 each. Girl In A Tavern, a filly by Big Jim and out of former Open Mares champion Drinking Games, was bought by MacRae while colt Magdalene Machine, from the first Atlantic crop of Tobago Cays, also sold for $30,000 to the Ultimate Stable of New Brunswick. 

The sale also saw a record for an Atlantic sired trotter with Cadillac going through the ring for $25,000 from the Eldred Nicholson consignment of North Wiltshire. Nova Scotia trainer Clare MacDonald signed for the Tad The Stud colt along with Wayne Burley. 

Out of the 15 horses that could not make it over on Friday, Charlotte Ranch of Sussex, N.B., brought their five over last Saturday morning with those Ontario breds selling at 9:30 a.m., topped off by Shadow Play filly Crimson N Clover being purchased by Maurice Coady of Charlottetown for $26,000. 

The addition of those five yearlings put gross sales at $993,250, good for an average of $15,520 smashing all previous records. 

Out of the stallions with three or more yearlings selling, Tad The Stud had the highest average with three yearlings selling for an $18,167 average. Next came Rollwithitharry selling nine yearlings for an $18,139 average. Stonebridge Terror rung in third with seven offerings at an average of $16,607. Tobago Cays had his inaugural Atlantic crop well received with six yearlings fetching a $15,833 average. Pang Shui was back in action this year after siring just one crop in Atlantic Canada previously, born in 2015. He had 13 yearlings pass through the sales ring for an average of $15,281 followed by Armbro Barrister at an average of $13,700 for five yearlings. Source Of Pride had four yearlings change hands in the sales ring for an average of $8,150.

Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at [email protected].

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