Alpine Star and Alpha Centauri Sell For Record-Equalling €6m Apiece To Coolmore

MV Magnier: spent €19m on four mares from the Niarchos draft at Goffs on Friday | Goffs

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Coolmore Stud spent €19m and equalled its own record set for the highest price paid at public auction in Ireland 10 years ago for Chicquita (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}) by flexing its buying power to secure half-sisters Alpine Star (Ire) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) and Alpha Centauri (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) for €6m apiece from the Niarchos draft at the Goffs November Breeding Stock Sale on Friday.

Alpine Star, the brilliant G1 Coronation S. winner, and multiple Group 1 and Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Alpha Centauri, carried the Niarchos family's colours with great distinction throughout their glittering careers for trainer Jessica Harrington. 

Their former stablemate Albigna (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), winner of G1 Prix Marcel Boussac, also featured on Coolmore's shopping list along with That Which Is Not (Elusive Quality) (lot 1260), the dam of Irish Derby runner-up Piz Badile (Ire) (Ulysses {Ire}).

It was Albigna (lot 1212) who broke the million mark on the day but it didn't take long for Alpine Star (lot 1240) and Alpha Centauri (lot 1263), who rightly commanded star billing at arguably the most eagerly-anticipated Irish sale in recent times, to steal the show. 

Bidding from his usual spot to the right of the rostrum and under letter H, MV Magnier saw off Northern Farm for Alpha Centauri, with Yulong's Yuesheng Zhang involved in the running for the 2018 Cartier Horse Of The Year up to €5m.

 

 

Alpha Centauri was sold in foal to Sea The Stars (Ire) while her half-sister Alpine Star was sold in foal to Frankel (GB) having given birth to a colt foal by the Juddmonte stallion earlier this year. Meanwhile, Alpha Centauri has had one runner to date–the twice placed Saturn (Ire) (Galileo {Ire})–and had a Circus Maximus (Ire) filly last year.

Coolmore hasn't built itself up to being one of the powerhouse breeding outfits in the world without having a plan and Magnier revealed after signing for Alpine Star that their dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) is already being touted for the Kiltinan Castle Stud-drafted Royal Ascot winner. 

 

 

He explained, “When the time comes, we'll probably send her to Auguste Rodin. When Auguste Rodin won the Derby, I'd say it was 30 seconds later when Dad [John] rang me and said, 'this is the most important thing that has happened to Coolmore since Galileo (Ire) won the Derby.'

“That horse has absolutely everything–from Deep Impact to his mother being a champion, his grandmother being a champion, he's a Group 1-winning two-year-old and he's a dual Derby winner, Breeders' Cup Turf and Irish Champions Stakes winner as well. He's everything we're looking for and, when the time comes after next year, we're going to really get behind him.”

Magnier continued, “She [Alpine Star] was a very good race mare and it's an incredible family. Honestly, all our partners, everyone, we're just delighted to be able to buy these mares off Maria [Niarchos]. 

“She has been a huge supporter of ours as long as I am alive–like, she is the Godmother to my brother. It just means a lot to us to be able to give back to Maria after all the support she has given us for a very long time.”

Harrington, who managed the careers of Alpine Star, Alpha Centauri and Albigna, the winners of 12 races, six of which were Group 1s and well over €2m in prize-money, was in attendance to see the three queens amass €15.7m in the ring.

As was Alan Cooper, who has been a part of the Niarchos outfit since the early 1980s, and oversaw Friday's draft in the role as racing manager to the world-famous racing family.

He commented, “It's been a great tribute to decades of building these bloodlines. The family would like to thank everybody who has contributed to the success of these families over the decades, from those involved with foaling, right through to training, racing and back to breeding. It's very much mixed emotions, but as we said from the start it's a restructuring.

“That's been accomplished in the sense that the bloodlines are spreading out. We've still got access to all of the bloodlines through our two- and three-year-old fillies, yearlings and foals. Even though we've separated from these great race mares, we still have the blood.”

 

 

Cooper added, “It goes back many decades and it's become global. The Miesque line has been very successful in Japan with Loves Only Me winning at the Breeders' Cup and Real Steel. We had a look last week and descendants from Miesque and her dam, Pasadoble, if I'm not mistaken, include 91 black-type winners.”

Just how highly sought after these bloodlines are among some of the biggest breeding operations the world over was evident by the truly international turnout at Goffs on Friday. Juddmonte underbid Albigna, consigned by Baroda Stud, earlier in the session where the Japanese-based Northern Farm once again played a strong hand for much of the bidding war. 

Magnier commented on €3.7m purchase Albigna, “She is a lovely mare. The whole Niarchos family, they have been very special friends of ours for a long time. We're just very happy that we can continue the relationship.”

Albigna has already produced a Wootton Bassett (GB) colt which realised €460,000 as a yearling and had a Dubawi (Ire) filly foal this year. Along with that Group 1 triumph in 2019, Albigna landed the G2 Airlie Stud S. as a two-year-old in a brilliant nine-race career.

Magnier added, “These kinds of mares don't come on the market very often and, with this mare, we are lucky that we have very good partners who will support us to try and buy these mares. St Mark's Basilica has had some very good foals and, if she has a good colt by him, it would make it easy to go back.”

 

 

Talking Points

  • It's been a good week all round for Goffs, with the foal sale exceeding expectations, and the trade on Friday was strong again with 53 mares making six-figures or more. Of the 53, there were five who rocked into millionaire status.
  • The Niarchos draft, split between Baroda Stud, Norelands and Kiltinan Castle Stud, did not disappoint and accounted for roughly €27m of the turnover on the day.
  • In a normal year, the Aga Khan draft would be front and centre at this sale, not least the €410,000 Jill Lamb spent on behalf of Childwickbury Stud for Siyouni (Fr) mare Suwayra (Ire). A winner at two for trainer Dermot Weld, Suwayra (lot 1194) was sold in foal to Sea The Moon (Ger), and will form part of Paul and Sally Flatt's burgeoning broodmare band at Childwickbury Stud in England.
  • It was interesting that the Aga Khan supported the Niarchos draft to the tune of €1.375m. Signing under Gilltown Stud, the Aga Khan bought Galileo (Ire) mares Malicieuse (Ire) (lot 1262) [who is in foal to Wootton Bassett] for €775,000 and Raja Ampat (Ire) (lot 1259) [in foal to Baaeed (GB)] for €450,000 as well as La Fiamma (War Front) (lot 1181) for €150,000.
  • Kildare-based trainer Takashi Kodama might be best known in this part of the world for his handling of talented stayer Pop Rock (Jpn) (Helissio {Fr}) over a decade ago but he also lands one with a major order at the big mares sales every now and again. Kodama paid €625,000 for Dubawi (Ire) mare Forever Be (Ire) (lot 1184) in foal to Wootton Bassett (GB) on behalf of the Japanese-based Champions Farm from the Niarchos draft. 
  • Cheshire Oaks winner Thoughts Of June (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (lot 1264), who raced in partnership between Moyglare Stud and Coolmore Stud, was bought out by the former for €2m. The classy filly was sold in foal to No Nay Never.
  • There was a notable French presence at Kildare Paddocks and Sumbe got in on the action for unexposed mare Provocateuse (Ire) (Pride Of Dubai {Aus}) (lot 1238) from the Niarchos offering. Sold in foal to Kingman (GB), it wouldn't take Einstein to work out who Provocateuse is being lined up to visit next year, given the French farm signed as Sumbe Belbek.
  • A sale like Friday's does not come around very often which was illustrated in the figures with a 153% rise in the aggregate to €39,507,500. The €203,647 average was up 166% on last year while the median climbed 5% to €44,000. Of the 240 mares offered on Friday, 194 were sold at a clearance rate of 81%.

 

Buy of the Day

Hats off to Ringfort Stud. The €48,000 spent on lot 1122, an Oasis Dream (GB) half-sister to The Fugue (GB) (Dansili {GB}) who is in foal to Sea The Stars, looks good value. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that the Sea The Stars foal could pay for the mare come this time next year and, while she's only bred one winner to date, it's a solid family to be getting into at that money.

 

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