Breeze-Up Season Concludes In Positive Fashion

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The sale-topping Kitten's Joy filly breezing on the Rowley Mile | Laura Green/Tattersalls Ireland

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NEWMARKET, UK–A turbulent season of disrupted breeze-up sales has seen many firsts. Goffs UK and Arqana teamed up as allies to stage a combined sale, while Tattersalls stepped in to the breach to host the final 2-year-old sale of the year for its sister company Tattersalls Ireland, which had only a year earlier combined forces with Goresbridge to host this particular auction at its Fairyhouse base. With quarantine rules still stricter in Ireland than in Britain, a late move was made to bring the Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze-up Sale to Newmarket, prompting yet another first: Tattersalls eschewing guineas at its UK home for the day to sell in modern-day sterling.

Whether in sterling or euros, the day's top price of £220,000 was way in excess of last year's €175,000 leader, and that was given for Grove Stud's daughter of Kitten's Joy (lot 74), who will remain in Newmarket to join David Simcock's stable.

Brendan Holland of Grove Stud is no stranger to being atop the leader board in this sector. He has sold the top lot at the Arqana breeze-up for the last two years running, and the highlight of this sale was a filly bought at Keeneland September for $27,000, having originally passed through that same ring for just $4,000 as a weanling. Bred by a partnership including Kitten's Joy's owner Ken Ramsey, the April-born filly is a daughter of the four-time winner Desertstormelite (Chester House)

“I bought her from my pals at Hunter Valley,” said Holland. She has done really well, she is a lovely filly and has loads of quality. She is very natural, always.”

The pinhooker admitted to a degree of relief at the end of a delayed season. He added, “This is a great end to the season. Personally, we have done fine, and most consignors are relieved it is all over and everyone is still in the game, I'd say. I look forward to relaxing and watching Goodwood next week, but we have got yearlings in and we are starting to prep them.”

Jamie Spencer did the bidding on Simcock's behalf and the trainer and jockey were also involved in the purchase of lot 17, a colt by Free Eagle (Ire), offered by Knockgraffon Stables and knocked down at £82,000.

“His breeze really caught the eye, the sire has been doing very well, and this is a horse for the future,” said Simcock of the third foal of the Exceed and Excel (Aus) mare Tristara (GB), whose first two offspring are both winners.

Relief All Round…

However strange and, at times, fraught this season has been, the most important thing for the breeze-up consignors and, in turn, the yearling sales to come, was to ensure that these sales took place in whatever format possible. The flexibility and patience shown by both sales houses and consignors should be applauded, and they have both been rewarded in the main with decent trade throughout the season–a relief all round when set against the backdrop of heavily reduced prize-money in Britain and Ireland and restricted access to the races for owners.

Last year's Goresbridge Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-up delivered an impressive clearance rate of 91% and though that couldn't quite be matched this year, the 85% recorded on Friday was still decent.

That was brought about through the sale of 125 juveniles from the 147 offered after a high number of withdrawals. This meant that the turnover of £3,473,000 (€3,816,490) was down by 24%, but from 54 fewer horses sold than last year. The figures for both average and median were up however: the average of £22,784 (€30,532) was an improvement of 9% and the median of £20,000 (€21,978) jumped by 22%.

“Firstly, I would like to thank the vendors who have risen to the challenge of today's sale being relocated to Park Paddocks at the 11th hour!” said Tattersalls Ireland Director Simon Kerins. “Like many in the bloodstock industry, the breeze up consignors have had to deal with difficult circumstances in the run up to the 2020 Breeze Up season, notably with today's sale original dated in May and they have met the change in date and venue with tremendous positivity and it was pleasing to see several vendors have excellent results.

“The bloodstock industry is truly resilient, and this was evident today by the strong demand for the choice lots. It was immensely satisfying to sell the second highest price ever for a two-year-old at the Goresbridge Breeze Up Sale with Grove Stud's Kitten's Joy filly selling for £220,000 to David Simcock. There were considerable increases in the average of £27,284 (+9% – €27,992 in 2019) and median of £20,000 (+22% – €18,000 in 2019) considering that the numbers offered were down significantly on 2019, while the high clearance rate of 85% also needs to be acknowledged. We can now look forward to the Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze Up Sale returning to Fairyhouse Racecourse and Tattersalls Ireland respectively in 2021.”

Walsh Out In Front Again…

Former crack amateur rider Katie Walsh had a memorable day and her Greenhills Farm led the consignors' table with four sold through the session for a total of £323,000. That included two of the top four lots of the day.

The more expensive of the duo was lot 26, by Night Of Thunder (Ire) and the most expensive colt of the sale at £160,000, who was bought by Mark McStay of Avenue Bloodstock. The first foal of the unraced Fastnet Rock (Aus) mare Kymera (Ire) hails from a family which includes the Arc winner Sagamix (Fr) as well as dual Group 1 winner Japan (GB), who contests Saturday's G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth S. He will now return to Ireland to join John Oxx's stable on the Curragh.

“The sire speaks for himself, he is doing fantastic things,” McStay said. “This horse did an exceptional breeze, he vetted particularly well and was well presented by Katie. I am delighted to get a Night of Thunder, they are only going to get more expensive as the year goes on.”

The colt was bred by Micheal Ryan of Al Eile Stud and prepared for the breeze-up by Walsh, who said, “[The Ryans] decided they would go to the breeze ups, my father [Ted] trains for Michael Ryan, Micheal's father. He breezed really well and it is a fantastic result: great for the breeder, and great for Greenhills Farm, as well. Hopefully, he will go on now and be lucky for Mark McStay and his owners.”

Walsh added of the sale's move to Newmarket from Ireland, “Personally, I was delighted to see the sale moved to here. You need the British-based clients, and this is where they are. It is apparent when you go into the sale ring.”

She continued, “He is an April foal and the breeders wanted to give him every chance, as he is tall, scopey and rangey, and so the Goresbridge sale was always the plan. Goresbridge has been very lucky for me in the past and I was delighted to come here with him.

“Trade has been great–it has not been an ideal year for everyone–but trade has been really good and everyone's getting them sold, that's the main thing. We can all go back shopping in a couple of weeks now, and that is what it is all about, it has been a short turnaround for everyone.”

Walsh's other six-figure sale came with lot 172, a Lope de Vega (Ire) colt from the family of G1 Prix Ganay winner Corre Caminos (Fr), who was one of three juveniles signed for by Peter Nolan, this one at £100,000.

“They are for the same client, who is new to me, and they will head to Ireland,” said Nolan.

The sale concluded with a number of wildcards following the main catalogued lots and leading the way in this section was lot 244, a colt by American-based Dialed In out of the Medaglia d'Oro mare Sueno d'Oro and a half-brother to two winners. Already named Onesmoothoperator, his £140,000 tag was a huge lift from his yearling price of $5,000. The pinhooker in question was Ger Kennedy, who runs Sherbourne Lodge Stud with his wife Yvonne.

“Ger found him late on in the Fasig-Tipton Sale,” said Yvonne. “The sale companies have all been brilliant this season with everything this year. There is no place like an auction ring to find the true value of a horse.”

The colt was bought by Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock for the Never Say Die Syndicate which had already signed up an American Pharoah colt at the Goffs UK Breeze-up Sale earlier this month. After a break he will eventually be joining David Simcock's Trillium Place Stables in Newmarket.

“He didn't do a fast time at all, but he is bred to be a 10-furlong horse so you wouldn't expect it,” Brown said. “He is a phenomenal mover and has a wonderful way of going. We'll put him in a field for two weeks now and he will probably go to David's in September with a view to probably running on the all-weather through the autumn.”

Trainer John Ryan did the bidding for lot 94, the Dark Angel (Ire) colt from the well-credentialed family of top sprinter G Force (Ire) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf winner Flotilla (Fr) (Mizzen Mast). Offered by Knockatrina House and sold at £85,000, the son of Lethal Lena (Ire) (Thousand Words {Ire}) will race for Flash Figs Racing.

The popular young stallion Night Of Thunder was to the fore again in the sale of lot 98, the sole offering from Johnny Hassett of The Bloodstock Connection, who also fetched £85,000.

The filly, who traces back to the Meon Valley foundation mare Reprocolor (GB) and is out of the Lord Shanakill mare Elevator Action (Ire), will join the newly relocated stable of William Knight after being bought by Jono Mills of Rabbah Bloodstock.

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