‘Life’s a competition’: Gerry Harvey on the art of the big sale
SELLING horses, selling fridges - it's all the same approach for Harvey Norman mogul and Magic Millions yearling auction owner Gerry Harvey.
With the megabucks annual sale kicking off this morning at the Bundall yards across from the Gold Coast Turf Club, Mr Harvey - a self-proclaimed horse-trading "tragic" - is as excited as anyone.
Mr Harvey and partner Katie Page - the Harvey Norman CEO - have turned the Magic Millions into a behemoth sale and among the country's richest race days plus a social calendar highlight.
"In business over the years I've always had to think how do I get to them? How do I get the crowd to buy a fridge for example," he said.
"If you can get to them and the other guy can't, like with an ad that sells 10 fridges instead of three, then you've succeeded. It's the same here with horses - if someone can get more people at their sale over another person's sale.
"It's a competition. Life is a competition. You'll never always get it right but the trick is to get it right more often than not," Mr Harvey said.
Having part-owned hundreds of horses in Australia and New Zealand, the businessman said being back at the sale feels right.
"If you're a tragic like me and other people here, the fact that we haven't had a sale for months makes you excited to go to one again," he said.
"It's part of what we do. It's all right doing it online but it's not with your mates and you don't get to see people you haven't for a while and talk horses and life.
"It's our happy time."
With international travel restrictions limiting the typically large overseas presence at the Gold Coast event including annual ambassadors Royal Zara Phillips and partner Mike Tindall, the event's co-owner said the early part of the sale could feel the effects.
"I'm heading into the sale thinking we're in a better position than I thought we would be," he said.
"It's not great but we're here. We don't have New Zealand or other internationals here but we have the rest of Australia, which wasn't looking like the case a few weeks ago. 30 to 40 per cent of our sales are overseas, so when you knock that out this is a very difficult sale.
"We know they have to buy. They might not buy as many but they have their representatives here, they've all got videos of the horses. So hopefully we still get that business from overseas.
"The weakest part of a sale is in the first fifty lots. My opinion is there'll be a lot of passes in the first 50. I might be wrong and that's what makes it exciting."
Originally published as 'Life's a competition': Gerry Harvey on the art of the big sale