October Book 1: 'The Cream Of The Crop'

Alex Elliott: “There's more American buyers here than I have ever seen before.” | Tattersalls


NEWMARKET, UK-It is going to require a Herculean effort to plunder the best of what is on offer at Tattersalls, according to leading bloodstock agent Alex Elliott who, on the eve of the eagerly-anticipated Book 1 session, described the stock on offer as being “the cream of the crop”. 

With Sheikh Mohommad, Sheikha Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum, Aidan O'Brien, John Gosden, Yoshito Tahagi, Chad Brown and a host of American and foreign buyers in attendance at Newmarket on Monday, Elliott is expecting more mayhem in the sales ring this week. 

Elliott, who spent almost £4 million on 13 horses at Book 1 alone last year, said, “There's a hell of a selection. It will be very hard to buy them. People have been talking about this sale for a while and I think it's going to be every bit of what people were expecting and more.”

He added, “I'm buying for a domestic person so it's going to be hard for me to buy exactly what I want. It's always hard to buy what you want but it's going to be even harder this time. Between the prize-money, the weakness of the pound and the amount of people here–it just won't add up as well for us as it will for the Americans for example. That's going to make things extremely difficult. 

“There's more American buyers here than I have ever seen before. There are people here who I don't even recognise. This is the cream of the crop. They are the best turf horses that get brought to the market in Europe, if not the world, and it's going to be a challenge.” 

A mouse in a room full of hawks would have enjoyed a more peaceful afternoon than Sir Mark Prescott did at Tattersalls with the local legend met with a hero's welcome after Sunday's Arc heroics achieved with Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}). 

Concurring with Elliott, the in-demand trainer said, “The stock is very good. It's a strong catalogue–we'll be short of money but we've enjoyed seeing them!”

He added on the reception, “My team are quite unhappy with me as we are taking too long and not seeing enough yearlings. I've had nothing but trouble! Too many 'thank yous' and 'not at alls' and so on. It's been marvellous.

“I'm very surprised by the reception. It's been extraordinary. It was just a great day and everything went right. I was saying to Aidan [O'Brien] that, if I hadn't trained the winner, I'd have enjoyed watching the race as she always seemed to be so well-placed. It just went perfectly well.”

The yearlings assembled at Tattersalls also came in for high praise from leading Irish trainer Paddy Twomey, who is expecting the demand for young stock to soar this week.

He said, “Tattersalls have attracted a lovely bunch of horses and you'd imagine that the strong trade from Goffs can carry over into the next two weeks.”

Barton Stud Bring A Big Draft

He may be one of the youngest stud managers in Britain but that infectious enthusiasm should stand Tom Blain in good stead as Barton Stud offer 22 yearlings in Book 1.

It is one thing bringing a big draft and something altogether different to offer up quality and, with two colts and a filly by Frankel (GB), a filly by Dubawi (Ire) and a filly and a colt apiece by the great Galileo (Ire) among the 22 on offer, expectations are high.

Blain said, “All of the right people are here and it was lovely to see Sheikha Hissa looking at a few of our yearlings and I understand Sheikh Mohammed is here. There are plenty of people here from America as well so there's huge interest.”

He added, “The pound is as weak as it's been for a while so, while that's not great for the country, it will help buyers. People vote with their pocket. You'd like to think that there are plenty of people who still have plenty to buy and that they will get stuck in so let's hope there's enough horses to go around.”

Barton has already earned a reputation as a proven source of top-notch talent with recent G2 May Hill S. winner Polly Pott (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}) the latest graduate.

Not only is this Barton's biggest draft of yearlings to offer up at public auction but the 34-year-old thinks it's the best.

He said, “I am really pleased with our draft. I've never sold anything by Galileo before and we've got a Dubawi filly who is very nice. There are three Frankels as well, one of which is particularly nice, and he sells on the last day [lot 436]. 

“This is what we do it for, isn't it? Try and be here competing at the top level and, most important of all, let's hope they go on and become good racehorses.”

Tally-Ho Out To Build On Dream Results

Whether it's buying, breezing or consigning, Tally-Ho Stud has an unrelenting ability to produce top-class winners, further evidence of which was seen on Sunday when homebred The Platinum Queen (Ire) (Cotai Glory {GB}) became the first juvenile since 1978 to win the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye.

She also became an important first at the highest level for the stud's up-and-coming sire Cotai Glory, not that Sunday's victory came as much of a surprise to Roger O'Callaghan, who is keen to build on the momentum with a 15-strong draft to offer this week. 

Trained by Richard Fahey and ridden to that momentous victory by Hollie Doyle, The Platinum Queen was bred and then breezed by the team at Tally-Ho, realising 57,000gns at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-up Sale last year.

Her success comes hot on the heels of the G1 Cheveley Park S. heroine Lezoo (GB) (Zoustar {Aus}) and G1 Beresford S. hero Crypto Force (GB) (Time Test {GB}), both of whom were breezed by Tally-Ho.

“It's the pinnacle, isn't it?” O'Callaghan says, nonchalantly. “You want to be good at your job, don't you? It's very satisfying but, today's headlines are tomorrow's fish and chips papers and we're concentrating on this week. But it's gratifying and, also, it's good for the breeze-ups as well.”

He added, “All I want to do is sell good horses. Lezoo was a very nice filly with a bad front leg. She just looked like she'd run and she did. I liked the Red Clubs (Ire) mare in the pedigree as well and she'd a great temperament.

“In fairness to Dad [Tony], he bred the dam of The Platinum Queen and he got 460,000gns from Niarchos. She didn't turn out to be much good but he bought her back for nine grand and this is the first foal out of her. Richard Fahey and Robin O'Ryan have done a fabulous job with her.”

Crypto Force represented something of a different theme for the Tally-Ho team when landing the G2 Beresford S. over a mile at the Curragh last month. 

However, that victory, according to O'Callaghan, proves that the renowned producers of equine talent can cater for every market, which could be seen with John Gosden, Kevin Ryan, Michael Donohoe and Mr Zhang, Hugo Palmer and Alice Haynes all busy inspecting the stock on Monday. 

O'Callaghan said, “Crypto Force was satisfying. He was a good-looking horse and I told everyone to buy him. Michael O'Callaghan out-bid Federico Barberini and the rest is history. “He's a different type of beast for us but we try to cater for everyone we can. We've a lot of races that we haven't sold the winner of.”

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