Arqana Season Starts With Mixed Fare

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Arqana’s first sale of 2020 starts on Tuesday morning | Zuzanna Lupa

The wraps have already been lifted from Tattersalls and Goffs and this week it is the turn of Arqana to host its mixed February Sale to start the auction year rolling in Deauville.

The ‘something for everyone’ nature of these sales is always a draw even in the depths of winter, and though this lower-key debut will have none of the glitz and glamour of the August Sale, history relates that there are always gems to be found. Of course only time will tell whether any of the 431 lots catalogued will have the appeal of Sister Nat (Fr) (Acclamation {GB}), who was bought here as a short yearling in 2016 for €20,000—a fraction of the value that her subsequent racing career and family ties make the Group 3-winning half-sister to Sottsass (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) and Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire}) worth these days.

Among the 76 yearlings catalogued for sale this year is a Wootton Bassett (GB) first foal of the 3-year-old winner Look At That (Fr) (Monsun {Ger}), herself a daughter of German Group 3 winner Peaceful Love (Ger) (Dashing Blade {GB}). The colt is being offered as lot 351 by The Channel Consignment on behalf of Al Shahania Stud.

There are three yearlings from the first crop of Al Shaqab’s young sire Ectot (Fr) (Hurricane Run {Ire}) catalogued and the Group 1 winner’s half-sister Merville (Fr) (Montjeu {Ire}) is also for sale, from the draft of Wertheimer et Frère (lot 245) and in foal to Australia (GB).

Also of interest among the broodmares on offer is the treble winner Dixie Dance (Ire) (Orpen) (lot 265), a half-sister to G3 Dee S. winner South Easter (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and daughter of the dual Group 3 scorer Dance Treat (Nureyev). The 13-year-old mare has already produced three winners, including the listed-placed Light My Fire (Fr) (Camelot {GB}), and is being offered by Haras du Cadran carrying a foal from the first crop of Haras du Quesnay’s Recoletos (Fr).

Another mare to be carrying to a first-season sire is the Haras des Capucines-consigned dual winner More Than Famous (Fr), a daughter of More Than Ready and grand-daughter of Group 1 winner Infamy (GB) (Shirley Heights {GB}). The 10-year-old (lot 288) produced the listed winner Famous Wolf (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) as her first foal and is now in foal to Coolmore’s 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior (Jpn) on a May 17 cover.

The sale is not just mixed in the sense of the horses’ ages but also in regard to Flat and National Hunt prospects and breeding stock. Optimax (Fr) (Deportivo {Ire}) (lot 272), a 5-year-old full-sister to the Grade 1-winning hurder Optimus Prime (Fr) will have appeal to those searching for a young National Hunt broodmare, while among those already in production is Carmona (Fr) (Sleeping Car {Fr}), a winning sister to Grade 3 hurdles winner Sleeping Blue (Fr). The 13-year-old is being sold as lot 240 by J.K. Thoroughbreds in foal to Buck’s Boum (Fr), the full-brother of celebrated staying hurdler Big Buck’s (Fr).

A hallmark of the February Sales across Europe of late has been the high clearance rate, and last year’s sale at Arqana saw a mark of 84% achieved through the sale of 353 horses for just over €5 million and a top price of €500,000. The 2020 February Sale takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, starting at 10 a.m. each day.

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