Ballyhimikin Double Top At Tattersalls

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Session-topping Kodiac colt | Tattersalls

By Chris McGrath

NEWMARKET, UK–Now this is a proper horse sale. A place to sort the wheat and chaff—and not just among the horses, but among buyers too. No more hiding behind the blatant pages and physiques of last week; or the commercial sires who had tended to dominate Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. The first of two Book 3 sessions brought out the traders and trainers, the horsemen with an eye that reaches deeper than their pockets.

Time after time, the name on a mid-priced docket matched that of the sire, rowing away against the tides of fashion. And from the moment, a few minutes into the session, that a filly by Sea The Stars (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire})—current fee €135,000, his reputation freshly gilded by Sea Of Class (Ire)—was knocked down to a judge as seasoned as Mick Easterby for 800gns, you could picture the queasy looks on the faces of the big spenders who, having left town the previous evening, peruse the returns this morning.

It says everything that the top lot of the day should have been an impressive pinhook nonetheless knocked down to a pair of expert judges who must depend on the animal’s continued development, by next spring, to draw out some extra value.

Norman Williamson and Mags O’Toole gave 135,000gns for a Kodiac (GB) (Danehill) colt out of a group-winning full-sister to G1 2000 Guineas winner King Of Kings (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells). Lot 1617 duly repaid his first investors after being picked up for Ballyhimikin Stud by LTM Bloodstock for €40,000 at Goffs last November.

“He was just a beautiful foal, with a wonderful action,” recalled Ballyhimikin’s James Hanly. “A big strong Kodiac, and we love Kodiac. And he has that great pedigree.”

“I saw him this morning with Mags and he was the standout colt today,” Williamson said. “He has come from a great farm, he has size and hopefully he will come back here to breeze in the spring.”

He acknowledged that the bar had been set high for that project, but reasoned: “Trade has been very strong at all levels. We’ve all been here through Books 1 and 2 and it’s been fantastic all the way through. Us breeze-up pinhookers will be complaining we couldn’t buy them—but if we could get them all there’d be no point to it, would there?”

Sure enough, as in the first two catalogues, the clearance rate kept up a very businesslike clip of 84%, with 250 of 297 changing hands. (Last year 249 were processed out of 306, at 81%). Other indices held exceptionally steady: the gross of 5,349,600gns inched past 5,256,550gns last year, at an average 21,398gns, likewise virtually unchanged from 21,111gns; the median slipped marginally to 16,000gns from 17,000gns.

Remarkably, the only yearling to have changed hands for a greater sum in Book 3 was also a son of Kodiac consigned by Ballyhimikin, for 200,000gns in 2016.

Still more impressive, then, that the only other six-figure sale on Tuesday—one of the final yearlings by Society Rock (Ire) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) to come under the hammer—was also presented by the Co Tipperary farm.

Until the Kodiac colt’s arrival late in the evening, in fact, the 100,000gns docket for this colt seemed to have put Alex Elliott’s signature on the highest of the session for the second day running. (The agent had topped the closing business of Book 2 with a 450,000gns No Nay Never {Scat Daddy} colt.)

Presented as lot 1496, he is the first foal of a Falco (Pivotal {GB}) half-sister to Italian Group 3 winner Stop The Fun (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) and was signed for here last December for 40,000gns by Anthony Stroud.

He was a poignant discovery for Hanly, who was the ill-fated sire’s part-breeder. “And he was the image of his father,” he said. “We loved him, and thought him a ready-made 2-year-old, ideal for the sales race [£150,000 Tattersalls October Auction S.]. If they are prepared to put up a prize like that, you could have confidence there would be a market for a good horse.”

Elliott was acting on behalf of Jeremy Noseda. “We’ve tried on a lot of horses the last few weeks, been underbidders plenty, so I’m delighted to get him,” the agent explained. “He looks a real 2-year-old, strong, beautiful colour, the kind of fast horse we were looking for that Jeremy does so well with.”

What A Week For Whatton Manor…

Whatton Manor Stud had some splendid results through Book 2 and put the icing on the cake with the 90,000gns sale of Lot 1538—a classic example, as a son of Champs Elysees (GB) (Danehill), of the kind of proper horse that could be unearthed in this catalogue.

A sire scandalously neglected by Flat breeders has been in predictable demand since being exported to a National Hunt farm—having meanwhile produced a Classic winner, after all—but had at least been given a chance with a well-related mare in Elpida (Giant’s Causeway).

Out of a half-sister to none other than Poet’s Voice (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), she has produced a group winner at the first attempt in Sporting Chance (GB) (Kodiac {GB}) and this imposing chestnut was in due demand with Charlie Johnston. But it was Kevin Ross who gained the day on behalf of Paul and Claire Rooney. “He’s a beautiful individual,” Ross said. “And we knew we’d have to push the boat out a bit to get him.”

Ed Player of Whatton Manor was delighted on behalf of the breeders: namely, Algy and Scrap Smith-Maxwell in partnership with Andrew Stone of St Alban’s Bloodstock. “The horse was born with us and we got him back this time last year,” Player said. “He’s always been a great, big, good-moving type, who’s been incredibly popular here. Not for the first time this week, though, I didn’t imagine we might get that price. I’m so pleased for the owners, who have put so much into the industry.”

No consignor, however, has been able to lie up with Newsells Park through Books 1 and 2, and their Dutch Art (GB) (Medicean {GB}) filly out of Group 3 winner Gossamer Seed (Ire) (Choisir {Aus}) (Lot 1567) kept up the good work by raising 70,000gns from Michael Dods.

Unsurprisingly, she was bought for David and Emma Armstrong, for whom Dods has just added another Group 1 chapter to their incredible story through Mabs Cross (GB)—likewise a daughter of Dutch Art. “She’s a sweet filly,” Dods said. “And it’s all speed, which is what the Armstrongs want for their potential broodmares. Obviously David likes the stallion and same with the Pivotal filly we bought earlier [Lot 1424, for 50,000gns].”

Never Again – And Again…

The sire on a roll in Book 2 was at the other end of the spectrum from Champs Elysees—and No Nay Never (Scat Daddy) remained the toast of pinhookers when lot 1548, consigned by Jamie Railton, was sold to Katie Walsh for 90,000gns.

That is some dividend on the €17,000 paid by Jill Lamb for a filly with notable antecedents at Goffs only in February: bred by Aidan and Annemarie O’Brien’s Whisperview Trading, she is from the family of Group 1 winner and producer Sequoyah (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells). Since that sale her 3-year-old half-sister Damselfly (Ire) (Power {GB}) has been group-placed, while her 2-year-old half-brother Cosmic Horizon (Ire) (Excelebration {Ire}) was recently off the mark before being placed under 10st in a nursery at Cork last week.

With her sire’s first crop having created such demand for his second, the idea is that this April foal can turn a second pinhooking profit for Walsh at the breeze-ups. “That would be the plan,” she said. “It’s a lot to pay but everyone wants a No Nay Never, and there’s plenty going on in the family.”

Of those sires on the next round of the carousel, meanwhile, Hot Streak (Ire) (Iffraaj GB}) has certainly been living up to his name this week—and he registered another good sale when Mouse O’Ryan gave 62,000gns on behalf of Richard Fahey for lot 1466 from the New England Stud draft. Fahey was hardly going to miss the presence of his multiple Group 1 winner Ribchester (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) on the page under the Classic-winning third dam Mehthaaf (Nureyev).

“The sire is stamping them very well,” O’Ryan remarked. “This looks a fast horse from a good family, and we wanted one for the [sale] race.”

The colt was bred by Tom and Ben Harris, whose father Trevor owns Lordship Stud, from a Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway) mare picked up for just 10,000gns at the Horses-in-Training Sale here in 2013. She was acquired as a mate for the farm’s new sire Swiss Spirit (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and duly produced juvenile winners from both their trysts.

Ben Harris appeared to be playing up his winnings when later making the 70,000gns bid that landed lot 1530, a Tamayuz (GB) (Nayef) filly out of stakes-placed Dutch Rose (Ire) (Dutch Art {GB}) consigned by Lodge Park Stud. But it turned out that he was acting on behalf of Ed Walker, filling an order for Middleham Park Racing.

“She’s a smashing filly, an absolute belter,” Harris explained. “The mare’s meant to be gorgeous and it’s obviously rubbed off. And there’s obviously a good update with her first foal [triple winner Sunsprite (Ire) (Kodiac {GB})] who is now ]isted-placed and rated 99.”

Glebe House Lands Running…

A 80,000gns docket from Richard Frisby for a homebred Poet’s Voice (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) filly [lot 1463] was another valuable boost to a nascent consigning outfit in Glebe House Stud.

“This is the first year we’ve been doing this under our own banner,” explained farm manager Carwyn Johns. “And it’s gone very well. We had a very nice pinhook at Donny and sold a Mastercraftsman (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) first foal for 150,000gns on Monday. This is a big, strong filly for an April foal, but we couldn’t come here with any great expectation for this filly, in Book 3, out in EE [Solario Barn]. So we brought her up early and spent more time pulled out of the ring than walking round it—and she didn’t put a foot wrong.”

The dam, a sister to dual Group 2 winner Trumpet Major (Ire) (Arakan) and half-sister to the dam of recent French Group 3 winner The Black Album (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), was admittedly sold “to sunnier climates” last December but this was a fine parting gift. Her daughter is evidently staying put in Britain, albeit Frisby could not name either her buyers or her likely trainer as yet.

“I thought she looked a nice sharp filly,” the agent said. “It was hard to buy fillies at that level earlier in the week, and she stood out well as an individual.”

That being so, Stroud Coleman may turn out to have done well to sign a 62,000gns docket for lot 1509, a Footstepsinthesand (GB) (Giant’s Causeway) filly consigned by Avalon Bloodstock. Her dam, culled by Juddmonte, is an Oasis Dream (GB) (Green Desert) half-sister to Monarchs Glen (GB) (Frankel {GB})—who lines up for the G1 QIPCO British Champion S. at Ascot on Saturday.

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