Big-Race Winners In Waiting? Five To Follow From The Mares Sales

Pipsy: could do well in America |


The breeding stock sales are, by definition, where many of the best broodmares and foals are offered under the hammer, but many fine racing prospects have emerged from these sessions in recent years. 

Some farm the sales better than others, notably trainers Joseph O'Brien and Paddy Twomey, who have made a habit of replenishing their stables with high-class runners each winter. 

So who fared best this winter? O'Brien and Twomey were back again, with the pair signing for some interesting prospects with a view towards next season, while a number of mares with interesting profiles were sold abroad or to new partnerships with the aim of enhancing their profiles over the coming 12 months. Here are five to follow from the breeding stock sales.

Rogue Millennium

The case for Rogue Millennium (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) was an obvious one and it was bloodstock agents David Lanigan and Ted Durcan, working on behalf of American owner Scott Heider, who secured the classy filly to go into training with Joseph O'Brien. 

Rogue Millennium deservedly occupied star billing in the Sceptre Sessions and she lived up to her reputation when selling for 1.65 million gns. 

Fillies with genuine Group 1 form and the ability to race on don't come up on the market too often, and Heider, who has already had some classy performers with O'Brien, was forced to pay to secure the four-year-old. 

However, Rogue Millennium showed top-notch form for former trainer Tom Clover and owners The Rogues Gallery, with her runner-up effort behind the brilliant Tahiyra (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) suggesting that she is not far off making the breakthrough at the highest level. 

A Group 2 winner at Royal Ascot this season, Rogue Millennium rarely disappointed and her ability to handle quick ground could mean she is a candidate to take in races abroad. 

Given that O'Brien is a dab hand at travelling horses all over the world, Rogue Millennium could well be the type to be on her travels next year. Now, that would be exciting. 

It must be said that Rogue Millennium was not the only classy prospect that O'Brien snapped up at the mares sales this winter. At the opposite end of the spectrum, classy youngster Without Words (Mendelssohn), who Mick Murphy and Sarah O'Connell of Longways Stables put into training after failing to sell the filly at the breeze-ups, went the way of Justin Casse on behalf of the trainer for €450,000.

Without Words looked a smart prospect in the making when winning second time up for trainer Francois Rohaut at Toulouse and commanded a price tag to reflect that ability. She's another to note. 

Lady Tilbury: has an interesting profile |

Lady Tilbury

Word on the street is that Lady Tilbury (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}), a four-time winner over sprint trips for David Marnane, is off to Paddy Twomey after being knocked down to BBA Ireland for 150,000gns at Tattersalls. 

On the face of things, Lady Tilbury may not scream Group performer in the making, but the four-year-old has offered flashes of high-class form for Marnane. 

One thing we know about Lady Tilbury is that she is very quick. Something of a Tipperary specialist, she won three times at that track over the minimum distance, with her sole other victory coming at another speed favouring course in Cork. 

It may not be the craziest idea to compare Lady Tilbury's profile to that of Sonnaiyla (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), who joined Twomey rated 82, but improved 26lbs and bagged a Group 3 success for the Golden-based trainer. 

It will be a big ask for Lady Tilbury to improve to that extent but it's worth noting that Marnane thought highly enough of the filly to pitch her into Group 3 company on her final start for the stable at Dundalk in October. 

Things may not have gone to plan on that occasion but an argument could be made that Lady Tilbury's best days are still ahead of her and she is one to keep an eye on in 2024. 

It's no secret that Twomey has done extremely well out of the mares sales in recent years and La Isla Mujeres (Fr) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) was another interesting recruit to his yard at 330,000gns. 

Signed for alongside bloodstock agent Jason Kelly, La Isla Mujeres showed classy form for Ralph Beckett on behalf of Valmont, winning twice and reaching a rating of 93.

She was not far off achieving black-type for her former connections and, given her lightly-raced profile, rates another interesting prospect for next season.

Relief Rally 

It's fair to say the Yulong team likes to keep everyone guessing. Between buying online and signing under different pseudonyms, Yuesheng Zhang's major ownership vehicle made things interesting at Goffs, Tattersalls and more recently at Arqana. 

The top lot at Arqana, Place Du Carrousel, was rumoured to have been bought by the Yulong outfit under the banner of Portofino Bloodstock for the unusual sum of €4,025,000. It was also suggested by some in the know that the Group 1 winner would be continuing her career in Australia for the powerful operation, similarly to Alcohol Free (Ire) (No Nay Never). 

Relief Rally (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) could be another interesting one to have joined the Yulong team. One of the star juveniles this term, Relief Rally won four of her five starts for William Haggas, culminating with a brilliant victory in the G2 Lowther S.

She was knocked down to the unknown entity of Mrs A Sullivan for 800,000gns during a helter-skelter edition of the Sceptre Sessions at Tattersalls. 

Should time reveal Relief Rally to be another big-name signing for Yulong, she would form part of a strong group of older mares for the team to look forward to next year and definitely has Group 1 aspirations.


Young trainer Will Walden marked his first trip to Tattersalls by snapping up three quality fillies for just over 1.8million gns and Pipsy (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) could well prove the pick.

Pipsy went from strength to strength in three starts for trainer Ger Lyons, building on her debut second at Cork to run out an authoritative winner of a Curragh maiden before making the breakthrough at listed level back over the minimum trip at Dundalk.

The juvenile is just the type who could suit the style of racing in America and has already proved that she handles a quick surface in winning at Dundalk. 

She could be a name to note for Walden who also landed Aussie Girl (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) for 380,000gns and Olivia Maralda (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) for 725,000gns at the Sceptre Sessions.

Royal Grey

Nobody could accuse John O'Connor of Ballylinch Stud of being a rigid thinker and, while some people would turn their noses up at Italian form, he thought it worthwhile to partner up and buy Royal Grey (GB) from Endo Botti for €135,000 at Arqana last week. 

By the sire of the moment, Havana Grey (GB), Royal Grey showed a likeable attitude to win at listed level in Italy. What that form amounts to is hard to weigh up but she's clearly a filly who tries hard and is deserving of a tilt at black-type races in France. 

That's exactly what the plan is for Royal Grey, who was purchased alongside an unnamed partner to go into training with Nicolas Clement. There could be a lot of fun to be had with her over sprint trips in France next season.

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