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Stars And Shalaa Lead August Closer

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Monday’s session-topping lot 193 | Arqana

By Kelsey Riley

DEAUVILLE, France–There’s always plenty of focus on Arqana August, not just as it is France’s flagship yearling sale but also because it ushers in the new season in Europe.

Amid political and financial uncertainty in the wider world, the bloodstock market—at the top end at least—appears to be continuing in rude health. The results in Deauville, which included record turnover of €43,019,000 (+14%), a record average of €187,039 (+17%) and a record median of €125,000 will have assuaged some fears ahead of other leading events in Britain, Germany and Ireland in the coming months.

None of those countries, however, can compete with French racing’s lucrative premiums system and though the August catalogue is by no means restricted to French-breds and the prize-money is about to drop, the vibrancy of the domestic breeding industry combined with a stronger than usual international line-up led to record-breaking trade.

The fact that the sale’s top 20 lots were bought by 13 independent entities representing Dubai, Japan, Britain, America, Denmark and Ireland is an encouraging place to start. At times, the identities of the top buyers can be almost intimidatingly familiar and while Godolphin—boosted by Sheikh Mohammed’s presence at Arqana for the first time in many years—was a dominant name with eight horses bought for €4,945,000, it was not along in its big spending.

Amanda Skiffington signed for six yearlings on behalf of effervescent owner Fiona Carmichael, who loves Deauville and was a significant investor in the sale, spending €2,305,000. Japanese trainer Mitsu Nakauchida signed for a pair of smart colts with stallions’ pedigrees just waiting for the race record to match, and they included the second-top lot of the sale, the Galileo (Ire) colt out of Prudente (GB) (Dansili {GB}) at €1.5 million.

Eleven buyers spent seven-figure sums, including Gerard Larrieu, Phoenix Thoroughbreds, King Power Racing and Satomi Horse Farm, while Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm followed up on what has been a terrific season on the track in France and America by purchasing three yearlings for €840,000 through Michel Zerolo’s Oceanic Bloodstock.

“It’s very encouraging,” said Arqana’s executive director Freddy Powell as the third and final day of the sale drew to a close. “When we were going around Japan and Saratoga recently it was good to see people opening the catalogues in front of us and being impressed by the pages. That is thanks to all the breeders who have invested in good, young mares and sent them to good stallions. It was the catalogue which made the buyers come here.”

A slightly tightened catalogue meant that those record figures were achieved from the sale of 230 horses at an improved clearance rate of 76%.

Powell added, “It gives us all hope for the season ahead. It’s a long season until we are all back here in December and we’ll see what happens, but one thing is for sure, we have happy vendors and they will be the ones reinvesting at the breeding stock sale.”

Following the two select evening sessions of Saturday and Sunday, Monday’s trade always drops down a level, but the session had a thoroughly solid feel to it. The day’s turnover rose by 6% on last year, with €10,194,000 accrued from the sale of 161 horses at an average of €87,128 (+5%), while the median dropped slightly to €66,000.

Once again, Ecurie des Monceaux led the vendors’ list, accounting for almost a quarter of the sale’s aggregate when selling 29 yearlings for €10,251,000, including the only two seven-figure lots. Haras des Capucines weighed in next with 27 sold for €4,692,000.

Anthony Stroud may have already vacated Deauville after a busy weekend at the sales, including signing the tickets on eight Godolphin purchases that made them leading buyer at €4.945-million, but his absence didn’t stop Stroud from securing lot 193, Monceaux’s daughter of Sea The Stars (Ire), for €320,000. With Sally Ann Grassick conducting the bidding, Stroud emerged successful on behalf of an undisclosed client. The filly boasts a pedigree to be envied, her third dam being the blue hen producer Rafha (GB) (Kris {GB}), whose dynasty includes the half-brother sires Invincible Spirit (Ire) and Kodiac (GB) as well as young sires Gustav Klimt (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Pride of Dubai (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}). Group 1-winning fillies Nayarra (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}) and Chinese White (Ire) (Dalakhani {Ire}) also appear on the page.

The second yearling crop of Golden Horn (GB) hits the ring this season and the Darley sire’s top price at Arqana was achieved on Monday via lot 298, Haras du Mezeray’s colt out of the multiple winner and listed-placed Lumiere Rose (GB) (Motivator {GB}).

He was another to meet the approval of Anthony Stroud who, bidding via telephone, went to €200,000 for an undisclosed client.

“I’ve been hearing plenty of positive things about Golden Horn’s stock and this was a very nice colt for an owner who has been a long-time client of mine,” he said.

Shalaa In Front Again

Shalaa (Ire) was the leading first-season sire during the select portion of the Arqana August Yearling Sale over the weekend, his seven selling on Saturday and Sunday averaging €242,143, and the son of Invincible Spirit (Ire) continued in a similar vein on Monday. His top seller on Monday was lot 169, Haras de Montaigu’s granddaughter of the G1 Prix de l’Opera winner Satwa Queen (Fr) (Muhtathir {GB}). The second foal out of the twice-placed Satiriste (GB) (Shamardal) was bought by Mandore International on behalf of Alain Jathiere for €260,000.

“I didn’t think I’d have to pay so much but I’m happy,” Jathiere said. “She’ll go into training in Chantilly. I also bought her for her broodmare potential.”

A short time later, American trainer Kenny McPeek went to €160,000 for lot 174, a Shalaa filly out of an unraced full-sister to dual Australian Group 1 winner Contributer (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire}). McPeek, who also bought a daughter of first-crop sire New Bay (Ire) for €140,000 on Sunday evening, said he has been to Arqana August before and jumped on a last-minute flight on the weekend.

“I came on short notice because I didn’t know if I was going to have runners at Saratoga this weekend,” he explained. “I was hoping to have an Alabama runner because I won it last year but Restless Rider didn’t make the race, so I thought it was a good time to come and I popped over and got the work done.”

McPeek said that both fillies were bought for longtime client Rick Greenberg.

“They will ship back to the U.S. to my farm in Lexington, Magdalena,” he said. “Both fillies that I bought were for Rick Greenberg and we’re going to offer some shares to some Magdalena partnership people. It’s exciting, Rick wanted to add some [future] broodmares and he’s over here with his fiance and he loves racing. I’ve had horses for Rick for 10 or 15 years. We raced the filly My Baby Baby [Grade III winner] and [listed winner] House of Grace and some others, but he’s a great guy and just loves the game.”

McPeek, who selected American Horse of the Year and leading sire Curlin (Smart Strike) as a yearling for $57,000 and who also trained the future champion broodmare Take Charge Lady to become a Grade I winner, has never been afraid to leave his own backyard to source runners. He regularly buys out of South America and selected the likes of Grade I winner Hard Buck (Brz). He has also started horses at Royal Ascot and in Dubai.

“When I came two years ago I learned a bit about the French pedigrees,” McPeek said. “It’s a small world nowadays, I see a lot of people here that I know, and some horses in these pedigrees have even run in the U.S. They’ll be an outcross for some American stallions later on, and we’ll see. More than anything we want to win big races with them.”

McPeek’s New Bay filly also provided a good advertisement for her sire, who stands at Ballylinch Stud for €15,000. New Bay won the G1 Prix du Jockey Club and was second in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches in 2015 and is from the family of Oasis Dream (GB) and Kingman (GB). Lot 139 is a half-sister to listed winner Ship Of Dreams (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) and from the family of four-time Group 1 winner Shirocco (Ger).

Yeguada Packs A Punch For Teofilo Colt

Spanish-based entity Yeguada Centurion broadened the sale’s international buyers’ list with a late purchase on Monday evening when going to €220,000 for lot 325, a Teofilo (Ire) colt out of the listed-winning Dubawi (Ire) mare Quanzhou (Fr), a half-sister to the outstanding stayer Mille Et Mille (Fr) (Muhtathir {GB}).

“It’s the Dubawi-Galileo cross that convinced us to buy her,” said the owner’s representative. “She’ll be broken in and pre-trained in Spain before joining Carlos Laffon-Parias, who has horses for us already.”

Yeguada Centurion will have its first runner in France today [Tuesday] when Venus Espagnola (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) lines up for the Arqana Prix de Montaigu.

Lesbordes ‘Sea’ ing Double

Jean Lesbordes was the man with the privilege of training the great Urban Sea (Miswaki), and he said it was “love at first sight” when he laid eyes on a daughter of Urban Sea’s son Sea The Stars (Ire) (lot 186) at Arqana. He and Nicolas de Watrigant of Mandore International, who signed the ticket, duly went to €200,000 for Ecurie des Monceaux’s daughter of Soho Rose (Ire) (Hernando {Fr}) on behalf of Sea The Stars’s owner Ling Tsui. Soho Rose was a listed winner in Germany and produced this year’s G3 Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial second Dean Street Doll (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}).

“Jean Lesbordes trained Urban Sea, and he said she looks like Urban Sea herself. He said he had a flashback when he saw her,” said de Watrigant. “We’re very pleased to purchase this filly, especially for Mrs. Tsui who is such a good supporter of the stallion. She’s going to be trained by William Haggas.”

De Watrigant said hopes are naturally high that the filly will emulate her Arc-winning paternal granddam or even Sea Of Class, who was trained by Haggas and carried the Tsuis’ yellow silks to victories in last year’s G1 Irish Oaks and G1 Yorkshire Oaks.

“We hope she’ll be another Urban Sea or Sea Of Class,” he said. “She’s a great individual but mentally she’s just so calm and so professional. Everything is so smooth with her and we really like her.”

De Watrigant later in the session added lot 306, a son of No Nay Never, to his haul on behalf of MV Magnier for €230,000. Last year’s champion first-season sire has provided the Coolmore connections with this year’s G2 Coventry S. winner Arizona (Ire), a graduate of this sale last year, in addition to the G1 July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns (Ire). Lot 306 is out of the winning Morello (Aus) (Commands {Aus}), a full-sister to a pair of Australian stakes winners.

Phoenix Strikes For Cobra Eye Brother

Amer Abdulaziz’s Phoenix Thoroughbreds went to €150,000 to secure a colt by Kodiac (GB) during part one of last year’s Arqana August Yearling Sale. Subsequently named Cobra Eye (GB), that colt broke his maiden at Glorious Goodwood for trainer John Quinn and ensured that the Phoenix team of Tom Ludt and Dermot Farrington had to stretch further, to €200,000, to secure his half-brother by Iffraaj (GB) (lot 224) at Deauville on Monday.

“Cobra Eye is a nice 2-year-old and this is a very good-looking horse too,” said Farrington. “She’s obviously a good mare, she’s breeding nice-looking horses so that’s why Amer decided to buy this relation. We paid enough for him but it’s a good sire and good dam, so fingers crossed.”

In addition to Cobra Eye, the placed dam Annie The Doc (GB) (Nayef) has produced a pair of winners of the Listed Prix Fontainbleau: Biraaj (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) and Lida (GB) (Lope de Vega {Ire}). Lot 224 is also closely related to the French champion 2-year-old and exciting young sire Wootton Bassett (GB); they share the same sire as well as second dam Susquehanna Days (Chief’s Crown).

Achieving the same €200,000 pricetag a short time later was lot 233, Capucines’s Siyouni (Fr) colt out of Candide (Bernardini). He was bought by Oliver St Lawrence on behalf of Fawzi Nass.

“He’ll go back to England but I’m not sure what trainer he’ll go to,” St Lawrence explained. “I thought he was as nice an individual who was here today; he’s a lovely individual.”

In addition to being a half-brother to the listed winner over jumps Candalex (Fr) (Alex the Winner), the bay colt is from the family of Grade I winner and former leading American sire Grand Slam.

St Lawrence said he had managed to buy a yearling each day of the sale, but it wasn’t easy.

“It’s a very strong sale,” he said. “We’ve bought one on each night so far before this but we’ve struggled on all the big lots.”

Family Ties For Wootton Bassett Filly

Haras d’Etreham’s Wootton Bassett (GB) ended the sale with a healthy average of €122,500 for eight yearlings sold and among them was lot 319, a filly from the German Group 3 winner Peaceful Love (Ger) (Dashing Blade {GB}) whose five winners include the stakes-placed Fort Hastings (Ger) (Aragorn {Ger}).

Bred in partnership by her consignor La Motteraye and Gerard Ferron, lot 319 will eventually race in the colours of Steve Burggraf’s Ecurie de Montlahuc after Laurent Benoit placed the final bid on his behalf at €190,000.

The filly’s new owner, who has enjoyed high-level success with the Group 3 winner and Group 1-placed Homerique (Exchange Rate) and also raced listed winner Penny Lane (Ger) (Lord Of England {Ger}), a half-sister to the yearling’s dam, said, “We know the family well. Penny Lane gave us lots of joy. This filly is an exceptional individual and I had also seen her at the stud. She’s by a stallion who is producing good results and she will join Francis-Henri Graffard. Why change a winning team?”

Wootton Bassett has his first big crop of yearlings this year since his flagship son Almanzor (Fr) was named Cartier champion 3-year-old in 2016 courtesy of wins in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club, G1 Irish Champion S. and G1 Champion S., and he did not go unnoticed at Arqana. In addition to Lot 319 there was lot 223, a half-sister to listed winner King Of Leogrance (Fr) (Camelot {GB}) scooped up by trainer Jean-Claude Rouget for €170,000. Rouget should know what he’s looking at especially when it comes to the progeny of Wootton Bassett: he purchased Almanzor himself at this sale for €100,000 in 2014. Rouget also trained Lot 223’s dam, the listed-placed Amourette (GB) (Halling), and said he’d bought her fourth foal for a syndicate.

Later in the session Wootton Bassett had two more fillies sell for €150,000 and €105,000, respectively.

Princely Sum For Iffraaj Colt

A three-parts brother to G2 Lancashire Oaks winner The Black Princess (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) will follow his close relative to the UK to be trained having been bought by Mark McStay for €195,000.

The agent couldn’t name his client but was full of praise for the Iffraaj colt (lot 297) who is the first foal of Lucelle (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire}), a treble-winning half-sister to The Black Princess. Their dam Larceny (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}) is herself a half-sister to the Group 1 winners Lawman (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and Latice (Ire) (Inchinor {GB}).

“I love Iffraaj—he’s a stallion I know well from my Godolphin days—and this colt has a fantastic pedigree,” McStay said. “It’s a cross that has already worked well and he’s from the family of a Classic winner. The trade has been strong and they’ve been hard to buy but we waited especially to try for this one.”

The colt was bred by Lucien Urano’s Ecurie des Charmes in partnership with Joelle Mestrallet’s Haras de la Morsangliere and was consigned through the latter’s cousin Julie Mestrallet of Haras de l’Aumonerie.

Head Scoops Up Treve Relative

Should Haras du Quesnay’s Motivator (GB) filly (lot 199) live up to half the expectations that her pedigree promises, she would be worth many multiples of the €170,000 she cost trainer Freddy Head at Arqana on Monday as a three-quarter sister in blood to the great dual G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and six-time Group 1 winner Treve (Fr) (Movitator {GB}). The filly is the second foal out of Treve’s unraced half-sister Toride (Fr) (Fuisse {Fr}), who has a 2-year-old colt by Quesnay sire Intello (Ger) named Welcome Moon (Fr). Lot 199 was bred, like her great relative, by the Head family’s Haras du Quesnay. Whereas Treve was trained by the now-retired Criquette Head, this filly will go into the yard of her brother Freddy Head, who purchased her for Madame de Ganay.

“She’s a very nice filly that will progress a lot in her physique,” Head said. “She’s going to be outstanding in six months.”

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