Horses sent to Australia to race were the first New Zealand bloodstock sold overseas. In 1859 Henry Redwood sold ZoU (winner of the second Champion Race) and Zingara to Judge Cheeke, of Sydney, for 1,000. Chevalier (a son of Flora McIvor) and Lurline were sold the same year. After the progeny of Traducer proved their worth more sales followed. Sir Modred, winner of the New Zealand Derby in 1880 and the best horse of his time, was sold to the United States in 1885, followed a few years later by his brother Cheviot, and another Derby winner, G. G. Stead's Maxim, by Musket. The dispersal sales of the Sylvia Park and the Wellington Park Studs, and Stead's stud and racing team, attracted many buyers from Australia. But interest in the sales of yearlings was spasmodic. An annual sale was started in the South Island and several breeders held annual private sales in the North. After a trip overseas in 1924, followed by discussions with breeders, C. E. Robertson, of Wright Stephenson Ltd., established the National Yearling Sales at which Ken Austin (later a prominent breeder) was the first auctioneer. The sales were held, as they still are, at Trentham in January during the Wellington Racing Club's summer meeting. The catalogue comprised 71 lots, of which 48 were sold for a total of 16,000 guineas, an average of 341 guineas. The best later performers sold were Concentrate, Second Wind, and Prodice. The sales were given a great fillip when the Limond colt Honour, which had sold for a record figure of 2,300 guineas at the second sales, won the Breeders' Plate at Randwick in 1928 and the New Zealand Derby in 1929. Though Australia has always been the main overseas market, yearlings have been bought by South African, South American, Indian, Malayan, Japanese, and United States buyers, the latter taking an increasing interest in the sales.
Sales have grown remarkably. It is noteworthy that nearly all the big breeding establishments in New Zealand breed for the sales. The yearlings sold have an outstanding record in classic and high-class races and, since the Second World War, have had more successes in Australia than ever. Phar Lap, sold for 160 guineas, was undoubtedly the greatest bargain to pass through the Trentham ring. The following table shows how sales have grown since they began:
|Year||Lots||Number Sold||Highest Price (guineas)||Average Price (guinease)||Aggregate (guineas)|
|1948||519||294||3,500||452 ½||133,017 ½|