Bahrain Boost For Arqana As Zoffany Colt Sets The Pace


The sale-topping Zoffany colt | Zuzanna Lupa

By Emma Berry and Brian Sheerin

DEAUVILLE, France–It wasn't until the wild-card selection after the end of the main catalogue that the day's top lot walked the ring at the Arqana Breeze-Up Sale, and that honour went to Willie Browne's Mocklershill team and their colt by the late Zoffany (Ire), who sold for €550,000.

Oliver St Lawrence had kept his powder dry for much of the day, but having warmed up with a €520,000 bid for a Siyouni (Fr) colt from Longways Stables, he went strong again for the session leader, with both colts having been purchased for a friend of Bahraini trainer Fawzi Nass. They will be trained in Britain by Roger Varian and Charlie Hills, respectively.

Of the top lot (148), St Lawrence said, “Roger Varian saw this horse this afternoon and really liked him. They just seemed to be getting harder to buy all day. He's a big, strong horse with a big shoulder on him and he went very well and did the ninth-fastest time.”

Bought at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale for 80,000gns, the half-brother to G2 Kilboy Estates S. winner Lemista (Ire) (Raven's Pass) was unsold at $65,000 when put through the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Having led allcomers in Deauville, the colt was naturally the star of the Mocklershill draft, which ended the day as leading vendor with eight horses sold for €1,690,000.

They included a brother to Group 1-winning juvenile Ten Sovereigns (Ire) (No Nay Never), lot 55, who was bred by Camas Park, Lynch Bages and Summerhill, and bought by Ross Doyle for €300,000.

“He is a very good-looking and imposing horse, like his sire, and this is the type of horse he throws,” said Doyle. “The sire is also having a very good season. He's just a very nice horse who was bought for an existing client.”

The sale's figures contracted slightly from last year's record-breaking turnover and median, but the latter figure, at €100,000, was only the second time in the auction's history that a six-figure median had been recorded. The average of €131,777 was down by 4%, and the aggregate dropped by 10% to €13,573,000, with five fewer horses sold this year compared to last. The clearance rate of 84% was recorded from 103 horses sold from 123 put through the ring.


Another 'Lucky' Siyouni For Longways

Mick Murphy and Sarah O'Connell already had good reason to love Siyouni (Fr) and their “lucky sire” delivered again when their colt by the French champion left the ring with a price tag of €520,000. Oliver St Lawrence saw off a range of potential purchasers, which included Sheikh Fahad Al Thani and Alastair Donald, and confirmed that the colt out of a full-sister to crack sprinter Mecca's Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), had been bought for a Bahraini owner.

“He was a horse that caught our eye. I wasn't expecting to have to pay that sort of money for him but it has been a tough day to buy the horse one wants to buy,” St Lawrence said. “He came up there very nicely and hopefully he justifies our confidence. He'll go to Charlie Hills.”

Vendors Murphy and O'Connell of Longways Stables have previously topped the Goffs UK Breeze-up Sale with a Siyouni 2-year-old and they also sold Le Brivido (Fr) here in Deauville for €105,000 six years ago. Beaten a short-head in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, he went on to win the Jersey S. at Royal Ascot.

“I love Siyouni,” said O'Connell, who was navigating the sales ground on crutches while awaiting hip surgery. “He's even a lucky sire for us and we've always had two or three by him every year from the word go.”

Despite turning this 200,000gns yearling into an expensive breezer (lot 124), the couple remarked that the breeze-up season has not been all plain sailing for vendors.

“It hasn't been a great year,” said Murphy. “We came here slightly up but we had a fair bit of money tied up in these horses so it is a relief to have sold him well.”

O'Connell added, “Everyone had expected there to have been a bit more of a buzz today. We had plenty of people looking in the last few days but the sale has been a little quieter than we thought it would be.”


Grove Has Good One Ready

Brendan Holland has rightly earned a reputation for being one of the best at his craft and, in producing a More Than Ready colt (lot 70) from a $90,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland in September to a €450,000 breeze-up star, he enhanced his already excellent record at this particular sale.

Michael Donohoe of BBA Ireland secured the colt and revealed that he viewed him as more of a dirt performer in the making.

Donohoe said, “He's a beautiful-looking horse, very intelligent, and he did a fantastic breeze. He looks to have a fantastic temperament.”

He added, “We liked everything about him to be honest. Plans are undecided, but he could race on turf or on the dirt. He's probably more of a dirt-type horse so he will probably end up in the Middle East.”

Holland has topped this sale four times in the past and sold The Grey Gatsby (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {GB}) and Ocean Atlantique (American Pharaoh) under his successful Grove Stud banner.

He said, “This horse has done really well from when he was a yearling. He's an exceptionally good-looking horse who breezed well. So far, so good. This sale has been lucky for me and we've had plenty of success on the track with horses we've brought here.”

More Than Ready stands at WinStar Farm in Kentucky and has had 12 horses break $1 million in career earnings. Holland's offering by the stallion is out of the unraced Sweet Lollipop (Candy Ride {Arg}), a half-sister to Danny Boy (Harlan's Holiday) and Meal Penalty (Tale of the Cat), who were genuine black-type performers in America.



Breeders' Cup-Winning Owner Buys Cracksman Filly

One of the main talking points in the build-up to this sale was the amount of international clients knocking about and Dean Reeves, who campaigned and now stands former GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno), made his presence felt by securing a Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) filly (lot 132) for €420,000.

Agent Stephen Hillen signed for the filly who will join Christophe Clement and, flanked by the leading owner, the pair could scarcely hide their delight afterwards.

Hillen said, “I saw her on the farm in Yorkshire about a month ago and really liked her. I think Cracksman could be a top sire. There have been a few by him breeze really well already and she's probably going to go a mile and a quarter. We think she's pretty exciting and she may not start until the autumn. Thrilled to get her. Well done to Dean.”

And with that, Reeves took the mic, where he outlined some ambitious plans for his new recruit. He said, “It's very exciting. We really wanted to get a nice filly to send back to the States and she fit a lot of the criteria. We think she will be very successful. The breeding is there for her to make a future broodmare so it's very exciting.”

Reeves added, “We'll take our time with her and Christophe is as good a trainer as you can find. He does a great job for us and Steven has done a wonderful job in selecting the horses. We've been very successful and that bodes well. My wife is here and we've met some wonderful people this week. Hopefully this filly will make us look pretty smart. We'll be back.”

The filly from the first crop of Darley's young son of Frankel (GB) was consigned by Church Farm and Horse Park Stud, who enjoyed a successful day as the second-leading vendor with 10 juveniles sold for an average of €150,800.

Also among their bestsellers was one of the early highlights when Anthony Stroud bid €300,000 for the second lot through the ring, a Sea The Stars (Ire) filly from the family of Group 1 winners Jakkalberry (Ire) (Storming Home {GB}) and Crackerjack King (Ire) (Shamardal). The agent revealed that she will be trained in Newmarket by John and Thady Gosden.


Power Play

Tom Whitehead's Powerstown Stud posted a pair of decent returns within half an hour of each other when two colts each sold for €280,000 to Dubaian and Saudi Arabian owners, respectively.

Colm Sharkey, acting on behalf of a client from Dubai, signed for lot 74, a well-bred Shamardal colt out of the G3 Prix de Ris-Orangis winner Thawaany (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) who was bought as a yearling for 92,000gns from the Shadwell draft at the Tattersalls December Sale.

“He's for a client in Dubai and he was the only horse we wanted from a very short list. He vetted well and breezed well, and cost a bit more than we thought but my client was keen to have him,” said Sharkey of the colt whose dam is a half-sister to the G1 Irish St Leger and G1 Grand Prix de Paris winner Kew Gardens (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Granddam Chelsea Rose (Ire) (Desert King {Ire}) won the G1 Moyglare Stud S. and has produced five black-type performers.

When lot 82 passed through the ring shortly afterwards, it was his American bloodlines that were the deciding factor for agent Marco Bozzi, who went to €280,000 on behalf of his undisclosed Saudi client. Whitehead had paid $60,000 for the son of Good Magic when buying him from breeder Hermitage Farm at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Three years earlier the breeders had bought his dam, the stakes winner Vieja Luna (Street Hero) in that same ring for $160,000.

“He's a horse that we went to see last week in Ireland. He's for a new Saudi client and this is the horse we wanted absolutely,” said Bozzi. “He passed the vet, he passed everything, and the pedigree is right. They love [Good Magic's sire] Curlin in Saudi.”

Bozzi also bought lot 23 for €125,000 from Powerstown Stud, which was third overall on the leading vendors' table but led by average, with five sold for €223,000.


Double Delight for Derryconnor Stud

Katie McGivern had good reason to be quietly confident when she spoke to the TDN on the eve of the sale but, as every horseperson knows, it's never wise to be too confident before the horse has crossed the line in front, or exited the sale ring after selling well. For McGivern's Derryconnor Stud, the latter happened twice in three lots when the only two horses she had brought to Deauville rose sharply in value after posting professional and fast breezes on Thursday.

Marco Bozzi was in play again at €230,000 for the filly from the first crop of Sioux Nation, the Coolmore sire who has galloped off to a great start at stud with five winners from 15 runners. It would be no surprise to see this sleek, near-black filly out of Sparks (Ire) (Elusive City) join the list of winners before too long. Robustly made with an easy walk, lot 64 is the second foal of her dam, who is a half-sister to G1 Prix d'Astarte winner Marbye (Ire) (Marju {Ire}), who has in turn produced the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner Marcellina (Jpn).

Having paid 36,000gns for the Sioux Nation filly at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, McGivern pushed the boat out to €68,000 to secure the filly by Siyouni (Fr) at the Goffs Sportsman's Sale. Her boldness was rewarded with a winning bid of €160,000 from Nicolas de Watrigant of Mandore International Agency for lot 66, out of the winning Sea The Stars (Ire) mare Stars So Bright (Ire).

“Until you go through the ring and people fall in love with them you can never be sure. I'm still shaking at the moment but I'm sure when I reflect on it I still won't believe it,” said McGivern.

“I've always said that the good ones can cope with all the pressure and they don't let you down, and these two didn't. All the team at home have worked so hard and they'll be delighted.”

De Watrigant also signed for lot 114, a Tally-Ho Stud-consigned daughter of Exceed And Excel (Aus), at €360,000.

He said, “We really fell for her. Physically she stands out and she went well in her breeze, showing a lot of quality. She's by a very good sire and I've bought her for MV Magnier, so she will be joining Coolmore.”


Barberini's Expert Eye For A Well-Bred Filly

A huge amount of patience is required to find the right horse at the sales but, in Federico Barberini's case, he had been waiting for Mocklershill's lot 49 ever since he saw the Expert Eye (GB) filly at the Tattersalls December Sale.

He explained, “I thought she was a gorgeous individual and I actually remember her from the Tattersalls December Sale. She really caught my eye last year so I remembered her. She has done really well since.”

Another consigned on the day by Mocklershill, the filly, who cost 85,000gns at the Tattersalls December Yearling Sale and came back through the ring on Friday for €240,000, is out of an unraced Oasis Dream (GB) half-sister to the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Queen's Trust (GB) (Dansili {GB}), from a strong black-type family which includes treble Grade I winner Domestic Spending (GB) (Kingman {GB}).

Barberini added, “She comes from a very nice family and came highly recommended. The sire is going well with his first 2-year-olds and they are nice horses who look to have the scope to be more than one-hit wonders.

“She's for Apple Tree Stud, good clients based in Gloucestershire, and the plan is that she will be a very nice racehorse and then a broodmare for the farm. A trainer is yet to be decided.”


Amo Racing Continues Investment

Amo Racing swooped for Aguiar Bloodstock's Good Magic filly (lot 18) out of the Grade II-winning mare Luna Vega (Malibu Moon) at €280,000, with Kerri Radcliffe signing on behalf of the prominent owners.

Between Britain and Ireland, Amo Racing has enjoyed 16 winners already this season, including Queen Olly (Ire) (No Nay Never), who became a 'TDN Rising Star' after scoring impressively at York on Thursday.

Radcliffe hopes the Good Magic filly can prove another good acquisition and said, “She has been bought on behalf of Amo Racing who are having a great time at the minute.”

As well as being a Grade II winner, Luna Vega was Grade I-placed in America, and is the granddam of Shesawildjoker (Practical Joke), who won at stakes level as a 2-year-old in America last year.

Arqana President Eric Hoyeau and Executive Director Freddy Powell said, “We're delighted to be back at Deauville. The sale took place in very good conditions, notably thanks to the work and professionalism of our vendors to bring their horses in the best shape. We must also salute the quality of the track at Deauville and the sun that was with us. The market was solid, without extravagance, with a very international dimension. Our buyers came from the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Scandinavia, some of whom made the trip to Deauville for the first time.”

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