Trade Never Better At Tattersalls Book Two

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Alex Elliott purchased Wednesday’s top-priced No Nay Never colt | Tattersalls

By Chris McGrath

NEWMARKET, UK–In the words of the song: “Now I’m returning with gold in great store.” For with the first crop of No Nay Never (Scat Daddy) making such an electrifying start on the track, those who were ahead of the curve at the foal sales last year are now reaping the dividends.

In the final session of Book 2 at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, these included one old master of pinhooking in Willie Browne; a most promising recruit to the same trade in Morna McDowall; and, outstandingly on the day, Paul and Marie McCartan of Ballyphilip Stud.

Having produced both Battaash (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and Harry Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel Ire}) to achieve sprinting stardom last year from a broodmare band of no more than a dozen on their Co Limerick farm, the McCartans showed another dimension of their artistry in turning a €40,000 son of Coolmore’s star rookie into a 450,000gns prize for football agent Kia Joorabchian.

That helped Book 2 inch past last year’s record aggregate, up to 48,458,500gns from 48,022,000gns, and also to a new high of 45 transactions of 200,000gns or more (44 in 2017).

The closing session maintained the fine clearance rate across the catalogue, with 204 changing hands from 237 lots offered at 86%–compared with 196 of 252 last year at 78%. The gross for the day slipped from 16,262,000gns to 15,496,000gns, bringing down the average 8% to 75,961gns (from 82,969gns). But the median climbed 10% to 55,000gns from 50,000gns.

That median held across the three days, unchanged from last year, while the Book 2 average was marginally down to 76,796gns from 78,339gns.

Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony commented: “In 2011 the combined turnover of Books 1 and 2 was a little under 77-million guineas. Seven years later it has risen to a new record, well in excess of 150-million guineas. These are pretty staggering numbers, especially following on from the extraordinarily strong 2017 October Yearling Sales which we felt would be so hard to match.”

“The key to the huge advances in recent years is the quality of the stock. The leading British and Irish breeders, as well as a number of their French and German counterparts, consistently place enormous faith in the October Yearling Sale–and top- quality yearlings, combined with racecourse success, bring the buyers to the sale. Year after year horses purchased at the October Yearling Sale achieve superstar status, not only in Europe, but on the global stage and the strong international demand has been a real feature of the past three days of Book 2.”

“Buyers from throughout the Gulf region have been prolific this week and their consistent support and patronage is hugely appreciated. British and Irish trainers continue to regard Book 2 of the October Yearling Sale as the key date in the European sales calendar. And buyers–some of them new to Europe–from South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand have all made notable contributions to an impressive clearance rate of 86%.”

The final day’s top lot (1165), out of a sister to G1 Golden Jubilee S. winner Fayr Jag (Ire) (Fayruz {GB}), was picked up from Knockatriana House just a few minutes into the first session at Goffs last November.

“Marie found him,” said Paul McCartan. “She was determined to have him. In fact, she said: ‘I know the fella I’m going home with–and it’s not you!’ We wanted one by the sire, and he was early into the ring. He’s an absolutely gorgeous horse, the nicest I have had on the farm since Battaash.”

The latter was a 200,000gns graduate of this sale three years ago–but this colt soon raced past that figure, with Alex Elliott determined to land him for Joorabchian’s Amo Racing, for whom he will enter training with Michael Bell.

“Physically, he was very hard to fault,” the agent said. “It was a stretch but the brief is Royal Ascot and this was the ‘must-have.’ Kia’s given them a great rattle; we bought three in Book 1 last week, and No Nay Never has taken all before him–you can’t have enough of him.”

When Browne has a hunch, of course, he is normally at least one step ahead. Sure enough, his willingness to stake six figures on another No Nay Never colt at the same Goffs sale last November–through partner Mark Dwyer’s Oaks Farm Stables–proved an early signpost to the terrific success of Coolmore’s rookie.

The half-brother to Group 3-placed Seaella (Ire) (Canford Cliffs {Ire}) [lot 1112] turned that €110,000 pinhook into a 250,000gns docket signed by Alastair Donald.

“Listen, he was a very nice horse, but it’s all about the sire,” said Browne. “We took a bit of a punt on him, and sometimes you get lucky. There isn’t a crystal ball, but he vetted very well so everything fell into place.”

Certainly this success will not be deceiving his seasoned judgement with the foal sales looming. “Foals are too dear, for sure,” he cautioned. “I think we’ll need to be vigilant.”

It augurs well for McDowall, meanwhile, that she too identified the potential of No Nay Never when making a private deal with the breeder of lot 1146 after the daughter of a Galileo (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) half-sister to prolific Italian stakes performer Vol De Nuit (GB) (Linamix {Fr}) had to be withdrawn from that same Goffs sale.

The Cork consignor was vindicated by a 200,000gns docket for the filly in the name of Charlie Gordon-Watson / MV Magnier. “She had a nasty cut but she was an athletic-looking filly out of a Galileo mare,” McDowall said. “She’s had a really good first year and there was plenty of interest from the right people. Pinhooking is a rollercoaster but this is great.”

McDowall made a fine impression with her breeze-up debut this spring, no surprise given the breadth and depth of her education in the business either side of the Atlantic. She worked for several years for some of the premier horsemen in North America before coming home to Ireland to lead the riding team at Grove Stud. Breaking the same arm twice in the last year did not assist the launch of her solo career, but she clearly knows what she is about.

Kingman Picks Up The Gauntlet…

Not to be outdone, another freshman to have made a splendid start surpassed No Nay Never as the top sire by average of Book 2. Kingman (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ir}) processed nine lots at an average 256,111gns–thanks in part to his son out of a Galileo half-sister to multiple group winner Loup Breton (Ire) (Anabaa) from the Wildenstein family of champions Loup Sauvage (Riverman) and Loup Solitaire (Lear Fan).

Presented as lot 1217, he became the latest to advertise the skills of Philipp Stauffenberg–this time on behalf of breeders Dayton Investments in France–when bringing 400,000gns from Stephen Hillen. He will be trained by Henri-Francois Devin for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.

“A gorgeous horse,” Hillen enthused. “Everyone wants a Kingman and I thought him the best horse in the sale. He was so relaxed walking round the ring. We thought 250,000-300,000 might do it, but upped our estimation when we saw him here. But that was the last bid. He has the premiums so while I know it’s a huge price, if he’s any good he has a chance of getting it back.”

Stauffenberg had sold a Dansili filly for 360,000gns the previous day. Not a bad 24 hours’ work given that the potential star of his draft–a half-sister to one of Kingman’s first star, Persian King (Ire)–had been a late scratching after the Group 3 success of his sibling down the road over the Rowley Mile last weekend. She has been retained to race.

“We’re very honoured to be sent horses from the breeders to prepare for sale,” stressed Stauffenberg. “This was a lovely colt and we’re grateful for the chance to be involved with these great pedigrees and horses.”

Players Mean Business…

The consigning laurels go to Newsells Park, who followed up their unprecedented tally in Book 1 as leading vendors in this catalogue as well-racking up 19 sales for 2,010,000gns turnover. A truly impressive double.

But it has also been a stellar week for Whatton Manor, responsible for a terrific tenfold pinhook on Tuesday with lot 937 and yesterday landing a 420,000gns payout from Alastair Donald for lot 1297–a Dark Angel (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) colt homebred from an unraced Oasis Dream (GB) (Green Desert) mare acquired here six years ago for just 46,000gns.

“It’s been an amazing week,” said Ed Player. “We knew we had a nice draft of horses, but couldn’t think it would go this well. We’re just so grateful to the team, both here and at home, they get up so early and work so hard and just do the most fantastic job. This has been a star of a horse, one of those that hasn’t put a foot wrong all the way along.”

The mare had lost a Siyouni (Fr) (Pivotal {GB}) foal and the Players were beginning to feel that she was becoming unlucky. But then her hard-working first foal Blyton (GB) (Kodiac {GB}) won for a third time in a nursery at York last week, already his 12th start, and it’s a deep family further down. The colt’s fifth dam, in fact, is none other than blue hen Coup De Folie (Halo).

Shadwell Spree Sustained By Lope De Vega…

It was a strikingly productive day for Lope De Vega (Ire) (Shamardal), who is beginning to reap the benefits of an upgrade in mare quality along with the rise of his fee and ended up as Book 2’s premier sire by aggregate.

Late in proceedings Jeremy Brummitt, acting for Bjorn Nielsen and Mikael Magnusson, gave 280,000gns for a colt out of the Listed winner Miss You Too (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}) consigned as lot 1308 by Hillwood Stud. “He has the Montjeu walk,” Brummitt said. “Let’s hope he has the Montjeu gallop.”

He had managed something beyond most this week, in responding smartly to every sally offered by underbidder Angus Gold. But the latter had already added a couple of sons of the Ballylinch sire to the Shadwell haul, and returned a few minutes later for another one: a colt out of listed winner Mousse Au Chocolat (Hennessy) presented by Pier House Stud as lot 1318. Purchased at Goffs last November for €75,000 by Peter & Ross Doyle, here he realised 230,000gns.

It was the third time in the session that Gold was the toast of pinhookers of the Ballylinch sire. The first, lot 1210, had been the work of John Foley.

Shoppers in Book 3 today will do well to match the bargain found by Tim Easterby two years ago, when Foley sold him subsequent Group 3 Acomb S. winner Wells Farhh Go (Ire) (Farhh {GB}) for just 16,000gns. If the consignor deserved more that day, he was amply rewarded–in his second year operating from his new Ballyvolane Stud base in Co Limerick–for taking aboard a Lope De Vega (Ire) (Shamardal) foal bought for 90,000gns by JC Bloodstock here last winter. This time the colt, from the family of Dream Ahead (Diktat {GB}), realised 325,000gns. “He was a strong, lovely-actioned foal,” Foley said. “He showed very well here and I’m glad he’s going to such a good home.”

Then there was lot 1290, a colt out of a Desert Style (Ire) (Green Desert) half-sister to G2 July S. winner Alhebayeb (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}). Bought here last December by Abbeylands Farm for 60,000gns, here he was presented by Rathbarry Stud as agent and made 230,000gns.

Shadwell duly ended the sale as its premier investor for the fifth year running, finishing up with 40 animals at a gross of 6,870,000gns.

Oasis Out Of The Wilderness…

His fee having been in mystifying freefall, Oasis Dream (GB) (Green Desert) has stopped the rot on the track this year and it was heartening to see his parallel resurgence at the sales–he processed 10 yearlings in Book 1 at an average 219,000gns–extended by Shadwell’s 280,000gns investment in a daughter presented by Barton Stud as lot 1118.

Out of a half-sister to that smart sprinter Chineur (Fr) (Fasliyev), the filly was bred and sold, albeit reluctantly, by Cyril Humphris. “I’m very sorry to sell her as it’s been a wonderful family and she’s a beautiful filly, she’s been very special from birth,” he said. “But the mare keeps having fillies, I have four from the family already, and at some point you have to put some money into the treasury. It’s a sprinting page, I can’t compete with Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) so I have to fish in shallower waters.”

The dam Goleta (Ire) (Royal Applause {GB}) has already produced Group 3 winner Dibajj (Fr) (Iffraaj {GB}) and is carrying a sibling to that horse. “I started with Iffraaj (GB) (Zafonic) when he was €6,000 and he’s now £40,000,” Humphris said. “Now I’ve sold this filly maybe I can afford to go back to him.”

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