Bouquetot Sires Shine at Arqana's Final Session

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The grounds at Arqana were decorated with the holidays in mind for the four-day sale which drew to a close on Tuesday. | Arqana

Al Shaqab Racing's Haras de Bouquetot featured heavily among the top lots on the fourth and final day of the Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale in Deauville. Both the topper and next dearest lot were mares in foal to Bouquetot residents, and the co-highest-priced foal of the day was also by one of their growing roster of stallions

Lot 784, the Frankel (GB) mare Bursa (GB) in foal to G1 Prix Jacques le Marois hero Al Wukair (Fr) from the Bouquetot draft proper, commanded a session-topping €38,000 from Haras du Quesnay.

Out of a winning full-sister to G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud heroine Plumania (GB) (Anabaa), Bursa is also closely related to fellow Group 1 winner Left Hand (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). She already has fillies on the ground by Bouquetot resident and MG1SW Ectot (GB) last year and Al Wukair this spring.

“I really like the mare, and the pedigree,” said Criquette Head of Bursa. “It's a lovely Wertheimer family and it's great to get into it. The mare corresponds to several of our stallions, but the choice doesn't stop there.”

Windfield Bloodstock was in action for lot 711, Al Hamla (Medaglia d'Oro), who was also offered by Bouquetot. Knocked down for €27,000, the 8-year-old is carrying to G1 Prix Jean Prat victor Zelzal (Fr) (Sea The Stars {Ire}). The resulting progeny would be her fifth foal. A daughter of GIII Locust Grove H. heroine Genuine Devotion (Ire) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}), Al Hamla's dam is a half-sister to Classic winner and Group 1 sire Mastercraftsman (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) and G1 Moyglare Stud S. bridesmaid Famous (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}).

“She a beautiful mare by Medaglia d'Oro with a page–her dam is by Rock of Gibraltar (Ire) and a sister to Mastercraftsman (Ire),” said Jean Biraben. “It's a young pedigree that could turn something up.”

A pair of mares brought €22,000–Haras de la Louviere's Perfect Day (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) (lot 643), herself a daughter of G1 Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Yesterday (Ire) (Sadler's Wells), went to Morten Buskop Bloodstock; while Agence BHB shelled out the same amount for lot 722, Haigoa (Fr) (Diktat {GB}). The former is in foal to Group 1 sire Galiway (GB) on a May 17 cover. Ectot is the covering sire of record for Haras du Berlais consignee Haigoa, a half-sister to G2 Premio Ribot scorer King Air (Fr) (Kingsalsa).

Al Wukair, Ectot and Zelzal all have their first juveniles running in 2021.

It was a two-way tie for most expensive foal of the day, with Meridian International striking first at €22,000 for a filly by Birchwood (Ire) (lot 676) out of Bourgeauville (Ire) (Le Havre {Ire}). Hailing from the Ecurie d'Auge draft, the bay's second dam won at listed level in France.

“She's a pretty filly [by] Birchwood, out of a Le Havre dam,” said Ghislain Bozo. “I think that Birchwood is a promising sire. His offspring are already pleasing their trainers, with good minds and look early types. I'm a fan.”

Equaling that price later in the session was a grey son of the aforementioned Al Wukair out of Green Media (Fr) (Green Tune) from La Motteraye Consignment. Lot 716 attracted the attention of Haras du Saubouas and is from the extended family of G1 French 2000 Guineas hero Style Vendome (Fr) (Anabaa).

From a statistical standpoint, Tuesday's session sported a 78.44% clearance rate (up over 12% compared to 2019), with 131 sold of 167 for a gross of €839,500. The average was €6,408 (-66.13%) and the median also dropped to €4,500 (-55%). In 2019, Arqana's final session was a mix of Flat and National Hunt horses. This year, due to COVID-19, the sessions contained fewer lots in order to meet pandemic restrictions, with all of the National Hunt breeding stock moved to the Nov. 19 Arqana National Hunt Breeding Stock Sale instead.

Overall, the clearance rate remained a bright spot throughout the sale, and moved up two points to 79.12% for 557 sold from 704 offered. The gross was €25,0284,500, while the median and average were €17,000 (-10.52%) and €45,394 (-7.85%), respectively.

Topping the buyers' sheets was Meridian International, which bought 14 head for €1,448,000. Shadai Farm was next with €930,000 for a pair of lots, while Blandford Bloodstock bought nine for a gross of €902,000. Wertheimer et Frere were in front on the consignors' table, selling 24 horses for a gross of €3,353,000, closely followed by Ecurie des Monceaux for €3,141,000 for 29 lots. Third on the vendors list was Haras d'Etreham which sold 26 lots for €1,748,000.

At the end of the four-day sale, Arqana President Eric Hoyeau and Executive Director Freddy Powell said, “The Breeding Stock Sale is a perfect reflection of the overall results for this year. The figures display a decrease of around 20% in sales volume, with the average falling by 15% but still remaining solid given the particular global context. We are relieved that all the efforts that we have made to mitigate the constraints imposed by Covid–from the development of Arqana Online to the more general aspects including inspection videos and chartering flights for our foreign clients–have borne fruit.

“However, these efforts would have been in vain without the help of the local authorities, with whom we have worked very closely to ensure that the sales could take place, as well as all of the players involved: all the consignors and buyers, who showed remarkable adaptability and complied with the protocols imposed by the health crisis, all the Arqana teams, the ground staff who worked to make the establishment as welcoming as possible despite the restrictions, Henri Morel and his teams who succeeded in completely rethinking their catering to continue satisfying the clientele, as well as all the European sales agencies that we worked with to arrange the sale dates in order to meet the needs of the sector.

“We would like to thank them all for their efforts and their contribution to the functioning of the market. It has been difficult in many ways, and this year has been marked by a great spirit of solidarity and resilience.”

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