Marsha Smashes European Record

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The 6-million gns Marsha | Tattersalls

By Kelsey Riley & Emma Berry

Newmarket, UK–M V Magnier has been plenty busy buying up quality broodmare prospects this fall, his shopping list also including the $8-million Tepin and the $6-million Stellar Wind, and he bested even those lofty sums on Tuesday when going to a European public auction record 6-million gns (£6,300,000, €7,162,344, $8,469,783), for the dual Group 1-winning sprinter Marsha (GB) (Acclamation {GB}) (lot 1848). Magnier’s Tuesday haul included two other young, speedy mares for seven figures: the 2.1-million gns Quiet Reflection (GB) (Showcasing {GB}), and the 1.5-million gns Different League (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}) in partnership with Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm.

A blockbuster of a session smashed the previous record for a single day’s aggregate of 36.2-million gns when the 175 fillies and mares sold on Tuesday brought a final figure of 45,665,000gns and a 79% rise on the equivalent session last year. The average of 260,943gns was up by 90% on 2016, while the median rose by 42% at 85,000gns and the clearance rate was 76%.

Theatre For A Queen…

Marsha’s class is perhaps defined by the fact that she finished off the board just twice in her 18-race career for owner/breeder Elite Racing Club and trainer Sir Mark Prescott, including career-defining wins in last year’s G1 Prix de l’Abbaye and this year’s G1 Nunthorpe S., the latter over the champion Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy). A cast of potential buyers fit for such an outstanding racehorse were assembled in the Tattersalls ring when Marsha made her entrance. The bay unsurprisingly drew international attention, with Sheikh Fahad’s advisor David Redvers and trainer Ed Dunlop, seated alongside leading South African owner/breeder Gaynor Rupert, active early, but they soon gave way to the European-based, global superpowers Coolmore and Godolphin. MV Magnier conducted the bidding for Coolmore standing in the sales ring entryway, and it was John Gosden in control for Godolphin hidden away behind the divider a few metres away.

Marsha soon surpassed the 4-million gns commanded by Dancing Rain in this ring four years ago, and then the 4.5-million gns brought by Just The Judge a year later. When she reached the 4.7-million pricetag of Immortal Verse in 2013, Magnier took a larger leap to 5-million gns, the previous highest-ever price achieved in the Tattersalls ring. It took a further million for Magnier to secure Marsha, with Gosden at last walking out when Magnier nodded yes at 6-million.

“She really is something special,” said Magnier, noting that Marsha was bought for a new partnership. “Sir Mark has done a great job with her, she was very fast and the lads were very keen to have her. She is the best sprinter of the year and she will go to Galileo.”

Marsha hails from a family that has served Elite Racing Club extremely well. She is out of Marlinka (GB) (Marju {Ire}), a listed winner for the syndicate that has also produced the stakes-placed Judicial (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}). Elite Racing Club also bred the second dam and raced the third dam Kalinka (Ire), the dam of its former flagship mare Soviet Song (Ire) (Marju {Ire}).

“I feel exhausted actually,” admitted Elite Racing Club’s Dan Downie. “But no, it is exciting, and it is a wonderful for Elite. We did have a price at which we would have taken her home, but we did think it was going to be unlikely. She has been wonderful and always takes everything in her stride. The funds will help with ongoing and long-term running of the Club, but we will, of course, take a look at our nomination plans, in particular for Marsha’s dam, Marlinka.”

On a day when emotions ran high, even the usually poised Sir Mark Prescott had a tremor in his voice as he paid tribute to his protege Marsha.

“I don’t really get too emotional but as the ring went quiet and I could just hear the sound of her hooves as she walked round I was surprised by how much it affected me,” he said. “This is such a great story for racing and a wonderful result for Elite Racing. I think there are 47 members of the syndicate here–they all arrived together on a bus. She’s going to a wonderful new home and she looked a million dollars, as good as she’s looked all year. But that’s so typical of her. She’s the most consistent sprinter and you can see why she’s been like that as a racehorse as she never turned a hair today. Aren’t we lucky?”

A short time later Magnier secured another Group 1-winning sprinter, with Tom Goff of Blandford Bloodstock conducting the bidding for last year’s Cartier champion sprinter Quiet Reflection (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) (lot 1861) and signing the ticket at 2.1-million.

“She’s a very special filly and a wonderful racemare,” said Goff. “She was very well trained and select by Karl Burke. She’s a filly people have been chasing privately for a long time. She’s a beautiful filly and we’re delighted. Her future plans haven’t been discussed yet, but I think she’s ready to go be a mother.”

Quiet Reflection was consigned by Jamie Railton, who also sold her as a yearling for £32,000. Her value significantly increased after wins in last year’s G1 Commonwealth Cup and G1 Sprint Cup, after which she became the first 3-year-old filly to be named champion sprinter.

Familiar Territory For Godolphin…

It didn’t take Godolphin long to gain some compensation for missing out on Marsha, with Anthony Stroud conducting the bidding and signing at 3.7-million gns for this year’s GI Man O’War S. winner Zhukova (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) (lot 1868) for Sheikh Mohammed. Trained by Dermot Weld and racing for John Murrell and Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez, Zhukova won a pair of Group 3s in Ireland last year and got her Grade I in New York in May. She is the fourth foal out of the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Nightime (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), whose current 2-year-old Ghaiyyath (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) was bought by Godolphin for €1.1-million as a yearling. He won this year’s G3 Autumn S. and is a Classic prospect for next year. Godolphin has in the past bought two other produce of Nightime: a 450,000gns daughter of Raven’s Pass named Midnight Fair (Ire) and an 800,000gns colt by the same sire named New Year’s Night (Ire). Godolphin also purchased Murrell and Regalado-Gonzalez’s G1 Investec Oaks winner Qualify (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) for 1.6-million gns at this sale two years ago. Stroud said it is likely they will follow Ghaiyyath’s mating and breed Zhukova to Dubawi.

“She’s a Group 1 winner out of a Group 1 winner, and logically she’ll be going to Dubawi,” he said. “It’s very simple. We had three to go on today and she’s one of the three.”

Of missing out on Marsha, Stroud said, “I thought she was a lovely filly and was so athletic and such a good mover and a highly rated filly. At the end of the day, we were disappointed not to get her, but I think we gave it a good try.”

Murrell and Regalado-Gonzalez also sold Monday’s session-topper, the 1.7-million gns Intricately (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), and Flaxman Stables purchase the couples’ other offering of the sale, the Group 3 winner Only Mine (Ire) (Pour Moi {Ire}), for 925,000 on Tuesday.

Another Pearl For Sheikh Fahad…

The buzz of the first part of the Ballymacoll dispersal began to die down shortly after Islington (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) passed through the ring, but things were just in fact heating up, as two lots later Sheikh Fahad went to 1.8-million gns to secure the Group/Grade 3 winner Wekeela (Fr) (Hurricane Run {Ire}) (lot 1828). The 5-year-old was making her third trip through a sales ring; she was a €90,000 yearling purchase at Arqana’s August sale by Jean-Claude Rouget, and won the G3 Prix Chloe for that trainer at three as well as finishing second in the G1 Prix Saint-Alary. Wekeela was bought by Martin Scwartz for €1.1-million at that year’s Arqana Arc sale the evening before finishing fourth in the G1 Prix de l’Opera, and she was transferred to Chad Brown in the U.S. thereafter. She picked up a pair of Grade I seconds in the Jenny Wiley S. and the Gamely S. last year before winning this year’s GIII Matchmaker S. She is a full-sister to champion Scandinavian filly Matauri Pearl (Ire), and her third dam, Mosella (Ger), has produced the great sire Monsun (Ger) as well as the dam of this year’s dual French Classic winner Brametot (Fr) (Rajsaman {Fr}).

“She’ll join Sheikh Fahad’s elite band of broodmares which he’s putting together,” said Sheikh Fahad’s representative David Redvers. “She’s beautiful, she’s young, the pedigree is sexy and hopefully she’ll go on to breed something magnificent. She’s everything you could really want in a mare so we’re delighted to get her.”

Different League Indeed…

Con Marnane took a filly from the first crop of German-turned-French sire Dabirsim (Fr) to last year’s Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale, but was unwilling to part with her at £14,000, having spent €8,000 on her as a foal. Waiting an extra 16 months to sell her proved a sublime decision when the filly, now named Different League (Fr), was sold to White Birch Farm and MV Magnier for 1.5-million gns on Tuesday as lot 1836.

The filly’s value, of course, was significantly boosted by her win in this year’s G3 Albany S. at Royal Ascot in the silks of Marnane’s wife Theresa, which prompted momentous celebrations from the family in the winner’s enclosure. Different League would go on to finish third in the G1 Prix Morny and second in the G1 Cheveley Park S. for trainer Matthieu Palussiere, and she will now join Aidan O’Brien.

The post-sale celebrations from the Marnane family–including Con, Theresa and daughter Amy, who consigned the filly under Amy Marnane Bloodstock–were not unlike those at Ascot, with tears flowing and congratulations being received by seemingly everyone on the sales grounds.

“She’s an unbelievable filly, she’s once in a lifetime,” said an emotional Con Marnane. “Words just can’t describe how good she is, and I hope that the new people that have her, that she brings the same happiness to them that she does to us. I’d like to thank all our team at home, everyone that was involved with the filly. I have an unbelievable team of people at home and this is the end result.”

Amy Marnane added, “It’s very emotional she’s gone, but she’s been an absolute queen for us, and I hope she’s an absolute queen for her next connections. We’re really grateful for them, and the amount of people that have come to see her; she had well over 500 shows.”

“And the last show was as good as her first show,” Con Marnane interjected.

“A filly like that, she’s a queen; I have no doubt she’ll be a phenomenal racehorse and she has so much more to come,” Amy continued.

Describing Different League’s progress from foal to unwanted yearling, Con Marnane said, “She was strong, she had great hips on her. Nobody wanted her. The sire wasn’t that popular at the time and he was only just starting off. She was very tall as a yearling and they probably thought she’d take too much time. They were very wrong.”

Emotional Conclusion To Ballymacoll Dispersal…

She may not have brought the highest price of the draft but Islington (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) (lot 1826) was always going to be the star of the show, and the sight of the great mare entering the ring led by Ballymacoll Stud’s long-term mananger Peter Reynolds will certainly have brought a tear to the eye of a number of those there to see her sell at Tattersalls.

And whether they were there to buy or simply to spectate, countless people packed the rotunda as an awed hush descended for several minutes until the hammer finally came down in favour of Tom Goff at 270,000gns.

“She is going to a good home–she was the most important one for me, she is very special,” said Reynolds of the 18-year-old, who is in foal to Kingman (GB).

Goff added, “The first thing Peter came and said was to ensure that she is well looked after–and she will be. I can’t say where she is going, but it is a great home. She will probably go to Ireland, at least for a mating, but I can’t divulge any more.”

He continued, “It’s hard to talk about a mare like this without sounding pompous. Everyone in the world knows who she is. We have bought from the family before–[Islington’s daughters] Bohemian Dance (Ire) and Upper Street (Ire)–and we tried to buy Angel Vision (Ire). People probably think we are mad but she didn’t look like an old mare; she looked fantastic. She always produces fillies and we felt with people like Cheveley Park and Moyglare investing, her family could really ignite.”

Just a few lots earlier (1820) Cheveley Park Stud’s Chris Richardson had been the successful bidder at 600,000gns on Angel Vision (Ire), Islington’s dual-winning 5-year-old daughter by Oasis Dream (GB) who was offered in foal for the first time to Invincible Spirit (Ire).

On price, the leader of the draft was Islington’s three-parts-sister Justlookdontouch (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) at 1.2- million gns, one of a number of expensive purchases on the day for Peter Brant of White Birch Farm, who fended off a fellow American underbidder in Greg Goodman. Offered as lot 1825, the 9-year-old mare was sold not in foal despite being covered by the Sea The Stars (Ire) in May. Several hours later, Goodman was successful in purchasing two of Justlookdontouch’s winning daughters when going to 1.05-million gns for the dual listed victrix Abingdon (Street Cry {Ire}) (lot 1876) and 400,000gns for 3-year-old Superioritycomplex (Ire) (Hard Spun) (lot 1874).

Goodman, who owns Mt Brilliant Farm in Lexington, said, “They’re just such great families. It’s unbelievable to have this opportunity to get into them and we really liked this particular branch of the family. We didn’t think we’d be able to buy [Abingdon]. Everything about her we liked, including her sire Street Cry. She’ll go to the breeding shed. We haven’t decided on a stallion but it will be someone good. We’ll probably ship one of the two home but we’re not sure yet. There’s dirt ability in the family, which is one of the things that attracted us to them, as we can breed them either for the dirt or the turf.”

It was another of Justlookdontouch’s daughters, the Classic prospect Aim Of Artemis (Ire) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}) (lot 1875), whose sale paid the biggest compliment to Ballymacoll Stud, sparking as it did a battle between four major breeding operations. Niarchos family representative Alan Cooper exchanged bids with both Lord Grimthorpe of Juddmonte and Chris Richardson of Cheveley Park Stud before all three gave way to John Gosden, who placed the final bid of 1-million gns on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed.

“She’s a really attractive filly with a fabulous page,” Gosden said. “I was at Leicester when she won. She has a proper pedigree with a good frame and she should be a nice filly starting out over a mile and a quarter next year.”

In October, Aim Of Atermis’s yearling half-sister by Kingman fetched 1.7-million gns when bought by Moyglare Stud, which, through Fiona Craig, also bought the 7-year-old G3 Musidora S. winner Liber Nauticus (Ire) (Azamour {Ire}) (lot 1824) in foal to Derby winner Harzand (Ire) for 425,000gns.

“She was a lovely mare, a 2-year-old who won a Group 3 and was fifth in an Oaks. It’s the sort of mare we want to breed from and race produce out of. She’ll go to Muhaarar. I wanted to buy a mare for him and she was the one.”

Yarrow (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) (lot 1822), the winning half-sister to Classic winner Golan (Ire) (Spectrum {Ire}) and G2 Dante S. winner Tartan Bearer (Ire) (Spectrum {Ire}), will remain in England after being bought by Charlie Vigors for an unspecified client for 625,000gns.

“My client is upgrading his broodmare band and this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy into a family like this. She’s a stakes-placed mare with real quality and will be coming home to board at Hillwood Stud.”

Lot 1871, Arizona Belle (Ire) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), the half-sister to G1 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente (Ire) (Monsun {Ger}), joins a racing team with a distinctly Australian flavour after Hubie de Burgh went to 100,000gns to buy her for OTI Racing. The syndicate has already made significant investment in the family and owns the multiple Group 1-placed Tom Melbourne (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {Ire})–a son of the filly’s half-sister Roshanak (Ire) (Spinning World)–as well as another of Roshanak’s offspring, Araaja (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}), who earlier in the session was led out unsold at 400,000gns.

“We also bought [Arizona Belle’s] Cacique yearling half-sister in October so we know the family pretty well,” said de Burgh. “If this filly was appearing in a sale in Australia she’d probably make a fortune. She’s by Redoute’s Choice, who is such a great sire and broodmare sire.”

OTI Racing’s Terry Henderson indicated that the unraced Arizona Belle would most likely remain in Europe for the time being.

“She’ll probably stay here as it would be a shame to miss out on her 3-year-old season by taking her to Australia straight away,” he said.

The Ballymacoll Stud Dispersal began back in July with the sale of Arab Spring (Ire) (Monsun {Ger}) and by the time the hammer had fallen on the last of the 45 horses to be sold at Tattersalls, the tally stood at 11,527,500gns.

Birdwood Back Home…

The unraced Birdwood (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) (lot 1797) passed through this ring rather inconspicuously last year when picked up by Newsells Park Stud for 150,000gns from the Juddmonte draft. Birdwood enjoyed the ultimate pedigree update this year when her half-sister Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) ran away with five Group 1s en route to European Horse of the Year honours, and she will head back to Newsells after the operation went to 1.1-million gns to buy out its partners in the mare, David Redvers and Peter Winkworth. The bidding was conducted by Oliver St Lawrence on behalf of Newsells, who said, “She was owned in partnership. There was a figure that she was going to remain in partnership and there was a figure she was going to be bought out at, and she got to that.”

Newsells’s Julian Dollar added, “From Newsells Park’s point of view, to buy out our partners and to buy the other half of her, even at that price, was still very good value in a market like this. She has a lovely page and is a lovely mare.”

Birdwood, whose dam Concentric (GB) (Sadler’s Wells) is a half-sister to five-time Grade/Group 1 winner Flintshire (GB) (Dansili {GB}), is in foal for her first cover to Lope de Vega (Ire).

One lot later, Newsells bought back the group-winning Restiadargent (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) in foal to Frankel (GB) for 950,000gns.

Pat O’Kelly of Kilcarn Stud was underbidder on Birdwood, but it wasn’t long before she was able to secure another beautifully bred mare in the aptly named I Am Beautiful (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}) (lot 1808) in foal to Kingman (GB) for 700,000gns. Raced by the Coolmore partners in partnership with co-breeder Flaxman Stables, I Am Beautiful finished third in the G3 Balanchine S. She is a half-sister to champion racemare and producer Rumplestiltskin (Ire) (Danehill), the dam of Irish champion 3-year-old and G1 Yorkshire Oaks winner Tapestry (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and juvenile Group 3 winner John F Kennedy (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Also under the first dam is the G1 Dubai Turf winner Real Steel (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), and the second dam is the great Miesque. I Am Beautiful’s first foal, a Dansili colt, was bought by Godolphin for 340,000gns at the October Sale here and she produced a War Front colt this year.

“We were underbidder on [Birdwood] a few minutes ago,” said John Clarke, who conducted the bidding standing alongside Kelly. “She’s a lovely mare in foal to a good horse. She has immense appeal and she had great ability and a pedigree to boot.”

Clarke said I Am Beautiful could visit Kingman’s sire Invincible Spirit next year.

“If I were to have a bet, I’d say we’ll discuss this later–she may be down for Invincible Spirit,” he said.

Oakley Girl To Phoenix…

Phoenix Thoroughbreds, a significant player through the breeze-up and yearling sales this season, have also started to accrue broodmares and went to 950,000gns for lot 1842, Oakley Girl (GB) (Sir Percy {GB}) for Phoenix Thoroughbreds.

A treble winner and placed in listed company, the half-sister to G2 Superlative S. winner Good Old Boy Lukey (GB) (Selkirk) hails from the Meon Valley Stud family of Reprocolor, her third dam being the G1 Irish Oaks winner and treble Group 1 producer Colorspin. To gild the lily even further, the 5-year-old was sold in foal to Frankel (GB).

“She’s a lovely young mare in foal to a great stallion and carrying a colt. I think we’ll probably send her back to Frankel,” said Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ agent Kerri Radcliffe.

Unbelievable to Pinecliff Racing…

Unbelievable (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), the unraced three-parts-sister to Peeping Fawn (Danehill), provided an early highlight when sold as lot 1747 for 800,000gns to Dean Hawthorne, who is being assisted at the sale by Badgers Bloodstock.

The 5-year-old, who has a colt foal by Gleneagles (Ire), was bought the previous year at Keeneland November by SF Bloodstock and Newgate Farm for $810,000 but, having been exported to Australia, was returned to Europe uncovered following the exploits this season of Peeping Fawn’s Classic contender September (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}).

“She’ll probably stay in the northern hemisphere for now,” said Hawthorne, who bought the mare for Pinecliff Racing, who currently race another good daughter of Fastnet Rock, the G1 Myer Classic winner Shoals (Aus). “We have a big commercial broodmare band in Australia but we’re looking to build a small presence up here. This is such a sought-after family and goes back to Best In Show. We see a lot of Fastnet Rocks in Australia but this mare had real quality.”

Hawthorne later added the young Galileo (Ire) mare Wooing (Ire)–already in foal to Zoffany (Ire) at the age of just three–to his list at 375,000gns. Sold through Castlebridge Consignment as lot 1807, she is an unraced full-sister to treble Group 1 winner Rip Van Winkle (Ire).

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