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By Graham Potter | Thursday, January 3, 2019

February 2, 1986. That was the date when the first Magic Million sale was held at the Gold Coast. The title then was in the singular. The change to the Magic Millions … in the plural … would come the following year, but on that first Sunday 200 Magic Million sale lots … all unreserved … were sold at an average price of $31 765.

Founder Carl Waugh’s vision was as uncomplicated as it was innovative … to stage a sale from which all yearlings sold would be eligible, under two conditions, to qualify to run in a $1 million race twelve months later and then repeat that cycle on an annual basis. Those conditions were a special $3000 nomination fee due by vendors and a further $3000 payment by buyers to secure the $1 million race eligibility.

The concept was not without opposition but that was outweighed by a willing show of support. The win of Snippets in the inaugural running of the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic was an important result in more ways than one as Snippets became a high-profile flag bearer of the Magic Millions sale as he went on to achieve nine career wins … including three Group 1’s in the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes, Galaxy Handicap and Oakleigh Plate.

Snippets’ influence has been acknowledged by Magic Millions with a race on the $10 million race-day now named after him … the Magic Millions Snippets …which is the only race on the card named after a former champion racehorse.

The second Magic Millions sale in 1987 saw the number of yearlings going through the sales ring double in number to 400 and the average price climbed to $43 702 … a health percentage increase in turnover from year one to year two and, to coin a phrase, the sale has never looked back.

In 1988 prize-money doubled with $1 million races being carded for both the two-year-old colts and the two-year-old fillies. In 1989 another $1 million race was added to the schedule … the Southern Cross Classic … and now the average sale price for that year was up to just under $70 000.

In 1990 a grey who become known as Subzero was sold at the sale. Subzero would go on to win the Melbourne Cup and become both a Hall Of Famer and a legend with his post career goodwill activities.

It has already been a phenomenal climb from concept to acceptance to success for the Magic Millions in those first five years. The company had changed owners along the way and had expanded its dealings into New Zealand.

Having set such a solid foundation it was always going to be a case of, as the saying goes, onwards and upwards from there.

**Last year, in 2018, twenty-three years after that first sale with 200 horses back in 1986 more than a thousand lots were offered. Book One of the sales catalogue achieved an average of $228 000 with the top colt selling for $2 million and the top filly being knocked down for $1.8 million. Not surprising then that, over the years, sales companies world-wide have adopted the Magic Millions sales / closed race concept. Carl Waugh’s vision has been vindicated in a way few would have predicted.

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