Group One winning Curraghmore graduate Provocative (NZ) (Zabeel) has topped the Inglis Chairman's Sale after Paul Willetts went to $1.2m to secure the mare presented by Newgate Farm.
Bred by Nearco Stud Limited, Provocative is by the late champion New Zealand sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram), Provocative won four of her eight starts for New Zealand-based trainer Tony Pike, including the last year's Queensland Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m).
The four-year-old mare, who was offered in foal to Tavistock, is out of the Group Three winning O'Reilly mare Betwixt, whose three foals have been winners.
Provocative's third dam is the dual Listed winner and Group Two-placed mare Icelette (Icelandic), whose five foals to race have all been successful on the track, and these are headed by South African Grade One winner Taupo Retreat (Centaine).
Paul Moroney purchased Provocative for NZ$250,000 at the 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore.
Paul Willetts, who bought her for a group of Australian and New Zealand breeders, told ANZ Bloodstock News that he was delighted to be leaving the sale with the mare, having been keen to buy her when he first saw her entered.
"We haven't got any immediate plans for her at the moment. I bought her for a group of breeders from Australia and New Zealand," he said.
"I've had a few dealings with the stable where she was trained and I knew how good she was, probably better than her form suggests. I love Zabeel mares and I just thought we have to have her.
"We'd been talking about it for a couple of months, knowing that she'd be in the sale and I had a couple of clients that were all keen to buy her and I thought we should join forces and buy her.
I wasn't surprised to pay that price for her at all, you can't buy four- year-old Group One-winning Zabeel mares in foal to the hottest stallion in New Zealand for any less."
Henry Field of Newgate Farm told ANZ Bloodstock News that he had expected the mare to make more than she realised, but he was happy to see her go to a good home.
"I thought the price was fair, she was a really good race mare and she's the last really great Zabeel mare," said Field. "We thought maybe she could make more than that but I'm really happy for the people that bought her. Paul Willetts is one of the shrewdest agents in the business and she's gone to a great home.
"She was raced by my mother and stepfather (Celia and Mark Wyborn), so we are very pleased she has gone to such a lovely home and she's in foal to a great sire.
"Those mares can make $1,000,000 or they can make $3,000,000 you just never know until they get to the sale. They are the creme de la creme, so you never know."