It took only five yearlings to pass through the sale ring at this year’s Magic Millions January sales to reinforce Highgrove Stud’s reputation as a leading thoroughbred nursery.

The Toowoomba based stud, owned by Ron and Debbie Gilbert, offered five yearlings in the select sessions from boom sires such as Encosta De Lago, Elusive Quality, Flying Spur, General Nediym and Secret Savings. Its decision to limit broodmares numbers and focus on quality has paid off handsomely, with the stud grossing $1.6 million from the sale.

“It is a super result. The mares are doing a great job, as is the team on the farm,” Mr Gilbert said. Highgrove Stud was one of the leading studs on average price during the first four days of the sale, a worthy feat compared to the size of southern studs such as Darley, Coolmore and Arrowfield. They offered the highest-priced Queensland yearling, a filly by Encosta De Lago out of stakeswinner Anacarde. The filly, which had always impressed Mr Gilbert, was snapped up by Woodlands Stud for $600,000.

“We bought the mare off the track and she was served by Encosta de Lago before she came up to Queensland,” Mr Gilbert said “I just really liked the family. She is a stakeswinner, and young stakeswinners are hard to find.” Anacarde has a Lonhro foal at foot and is back in foal to Encosta De Lago on the strength of this year’s yearling.

The four other yearlings offered by Highgrove Stud all sold for more than $200,000, a fact Mr Gilbert puts down to the Aushorse Inward Buyer Scheme.

Australian breeders lobby group Aushorse threw its weight behind the sale and helped attract new buyers. The scheme brought in buyers from Hong Kong, South Africa, Japan, New Zealand, England, Ireland and Singapore.

“The sale was a tremendous success with the support of the Inward Buyers Scheme. The Magic Millions sale has really come of ago. It will go from strength to strength now,” said Aushorse chairman John Messara.

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