Bruce Harvey admits it was almost a bit awkward buying the top lot of the Karaka yearling sale on Tuesday but he was still thrilled to get it.
Harvey buys at the sales on behalf of the all-powerful Hong Kong Jockey Club and went to $720,000 to buy the Savabeel-Lovetessa colt (lot 520) offered by Cambridge Stud.
The colt will eventually head to Hong Kong to be re-sold at their international sale for clients with Hong Kong racing permits and he was the horse Harvey, a great judge of horseflesh, wanted.
But Harvey says while he tried to buy the horse as privately as possible, that didn't quite go as planned.
"I went to a part of the sales ring I don't usually go to buy and thought nobody would see me there," said Harvey.
"But as soon as I got there Roger James [Cambridge trainer] came to the same spot and I knew this was his sort of horse, too.
"So it was a bit awkward being that close together and bidding. I just tried not to look at them and concentrate.
"But we are thrilled to get him to head up to Hong Kong because he is a beautiful colt in every way."
Although the colt was the star lot of the last day of Book 1 selling at the national yearling sale, many of the other big lots were by first season sire Almanzor, who has quickly established himself as one of the new kings of Karaka.
Standing at Cambridge Stud, the former European superstar had 48 yearlings in the premier sessions in the sale and the demand for them intensified as the sale progressed to the point of being quite fevered for his better lots.
He looks set to be one of the new heroes of the New Zealand breeding industry while there was also a huge result for first season Japanese stallion import Satono Aladdin, with a son selling for $360,000. He will head to Michael Moroney's Victorian stable.
Other major lots heading offshore include a $440,000 Tavistock colt (Lot 487) who will head to England to be trained.
After the first two days of the sale set the market, Tuesday was far stronger on the better lots, with plenty of disappointed domestic buyers who were blown out of the water.
Although the average for the sale will be down, it will be by around only $10,000 to close to $127,000, which everybody on the sales ground was hailing as a stunning success with no overseas buyers on the ground.
"It has been remarkable and we are very, very happy," said New Zealand Bloodstock managing director Andrew Seabrook.
"The online support has been superb and the clearance rate of over 81 per cent today is great, truly great.
"This was always going to be a tough year but we are proud of how a lot of people, including our staff and the vendors, have responded."