A High Court sheriff has been appointed to oversee the sale of top race mare Princess Coup after an owners' dispute over its sale at next week's national bloodstock sale in Karaka.
Joint owners John Bromley and Ray Coupland have fallen out over the sale of the mare, a previous Horse of the Year award winner in New Zealand, that won $4 million on the track before its retirement this year.
Coupland entered Princess Coup in next week's sale at Karaka without consent from Bromley.
Bromley offered Coupland $1 million for his share but that was rejected, with Coupland seeking $1.1m, Justice Ailsa Duffy says in her written judgment released today.
It seemed Bromley had been unable to meet the latter price, she adds.
He contended that a better result would be achieved if the mare was sold at the Magic Millions sales in Australia in June.
"The respondent (Bromley) has provided evidence that establishes that historically the Magic Millions sales in Australia have achieved better average and median prices than the May sales in Karaka. The Magic Millions sales have also achieved higher top selling prices than the May Karaka sales," the judgment says.
But Coupland argued that the Australian GST liability, payable on the mare's entry into Australia, would wipe any financial gains resulting from a sale in Australia.
Bromley said this issue could be overcome by selling through an Australian agent and if the buyer was registered for GST in Australia.
Justice Duffy says she was satisfied the best price was likely to be obtained at the Magic Millions sales and if Coupland suffered any loss through the tax liability he could be compensated by adjusting the distribution of the sale price.
"In this way the respondent assumes the burden of risk of its view on the tax liability being wrong. If the respondent is not willing to assume this risk, the sale of the mare at the Karaka sales can proceed."
Both parties accepted no reserve price was necessary, though Coupland had suggested $2 million.
"There is the possibility that she might achieve a price well in excess of $2m in Australia. Another mare of similar quality to Princess Coup (Samantha Miss) recently sold in Australia for a record $3.8m."
Justice Duffy appointed the Hamilton High Court registrar/sheriff to oversee the sale and says that official would need the help of an independent agent if the horse was to be sold outside next week's Karaka sales.
She gave the parties 10 working days to agree on an independent agent to work with the registrar/sheriff for the mare being sold in Australia or by private treaty, if a private buyer was willing to pay a price acceptable to both parties.