Experience at the sales

We have attended sales before (at the Hokkaido Summer and Autumn sales), but this was from a buyer’s or student’s perspective. Our latest visit to the sales, to the JS Broodmare Sale, we were there as consignors.

Before the sales, each member of our team was allocated one mare, who we had to lead through the sales ring – easily the most exciting experience of this aspect of the horse business so far.

On the day of the sale, we set out at 4am and after arriving at the sales venue, we immediately began our busy day of work. First we walked the mare to keep her active, then cleaned the stables and fed the horses, before grooming the horses to make sure they looked their absolute best.

At around 9am, potential buyers began to come and view the horses they were interested in. We showed them to the guests and provided basic information such as their racing performances, pedigree and progeny performances using our basic Japanese. Because we had worked quite a lot with these mares before, we found it difficult to let them go. Kay said: "Now I feel like my daughter is getting married, my heart is ambivalent. I don’t want to let her go, but I hope she marries a good husband.”

In the afternoon, the main event came and we led the mares into the auction ring. After showing the mares around the outdoor and indoor parade rings, we led them to the sales ring, and as far as possible kept them in the middle of the stage, ensuring they were stood up well to show their conformation: the left side of the horse's body facing the audience, with the two nearside feet out and the two offside feet in. The audience can clearly observe the horse’s leg conformation when standing in this "八八" posture. Then the prospective purchasers started bidding, and continued until the hammer fell with a “bang” and we lead the horse away. Although the focus of the auction was on the mares rather than us, we were still very nervous and tried hard to present the mare as well as possible. When we heard bids continuing, we were very excited and hoped the price would go higher and higher.

It is worth mentioning that the mare Shell Seeker, who was led by Rebecca, sold for the fourth-highest price among the mares that Darley sold - 8.9 million yen. Rebecca jokingly asked Darley Japan's President Harry Sweeney for a 5% commission fee!

Team Japan