Craven Sale: Walsh In Dreamland As Godolphin Goes To 525k For New Bay Colt 

Lot 26: knocked down to Godolphin at 525,000gns | Tattersalls

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Nobody could accuse Katie Walsh of going around with her head in the clouds but, in the case of Tuesday's 525,000gns top lot, a colt by New Bay (GB), the leading breeze-up consignor revealed that she felt she had something worth dreaming about in the build-up to this year's Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale. 

And so it proved after the colt was knocked down to Anthony Stroud on behalf of Godolphin. Bought for 125,000gns from the Ogden family's dispersal at Book 1 last year, the already-named Anno Domini (GB) (lot 26) was one of the big eyecatchers from Monday's breeze that took place in some of the most challenging weather conditions that many key stakeholders said they could remember. 

After out-muscling BBA Ireland's Mick Donohoe, who filled the role as underbidder, Stroud explained how he empathised with some of the consignors and even the horses for negotiating such terrible weather conditions during the breeze.

“Struck early, go home early,” Stroud said, referencing the contrasting approach to last year's sale, where he was forced to stay to the bitter end to secure the joint-top lots, including what turned out to be the unbeaten superstar Vandeek (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}). 

Asked if he saw the colt last year, Stroud answered, “I did see him as a yearling. I probably should have bought him as a yearling, shouldn't I!? But sometimes, it's better to leave them and come back. It's good to keep the whole business rolling on. He is a very nice horse and did a very good breeze. Katie Walsh does a fantastic job. We're delighted to get him.”

He continued, “I thought it was really hard on consignors and mostly the horses [on Monday]. It was really hard. I think I would probably be more flexible in looking at the weather charts but it's difficult when you have people coming in on the Monday for the breeze to go and switch it for another day. I have never seen it that bad.

“Also, I sometimes think the concentration required for that length of time [during the breeze] is difficult. I don't know if you want to go and have them on two separate days but I do think that, if you are breezing 180 horses, it's difficult for everyone. If the weather had been really nice, it would have all worked out.”

The New Bay colt really was one of the big talking horses coming into the sale and he didn't disappoint. Stroud, who did his bidding at the back wall, held off the persistent challenge of Donohoe in the bidders' area, but there was a moment of confusion before the hammer fell.

Double checking with auctioneer John O'Kelly that it was, in fact, he who had placed the winning bid, the bloodstock agent was met with a typically witty response. 

“Don't worry sir, I'm an auctioneer–I'm here to look after you,” O'Kelly joked. 

As for Walsh, topping sales is something she has done in the past, but there was an extra layer of satisfaction to Tuesday's result given she owned a large chunk of the colt. 

“I can't believe it, really,” Walsh said. “But I guess I did dream a little bit as he had cost 125,000gns and he has the pedigree. The people who are into pedigrees couldn't knock him on it. He made sense on paper and then when he breezed well and vetted well, I knew we had a chance of getting a touch.”

She added, “In the moments after a big sale it is all a bit of a whirlwind as the phone is ringing from home, and you want to ring everyone, but it is brilliant–it's great for everyone. We are a family-run business with my sister Jennifer, my Mum and Dad, and my husband Ross. We are all in it together–as well as all the lads at home.”

Anno Domini hails from the Galileo (Ire) mare Alegra, who has produced five winners, including Listed scorers Pythagoras and Blue Gardenia.

 

Collins's Pinatubo Colt Off To Paddy Twomey

Paddy Twomey doesn't hang about. Along with his stable jockey Billy Lee, the leading Irish trainer day-tripped it to Newmarket on Monday before scouting the barns to catch a glimpse of the horses who caught his eye in the breeze.

Back at his base in Golden, County Tipperary on Tuesday, where he opened his yard to the Irish press, Twomey snapped up a colt by exciting first-season sire Pinatubo (Ire) from Johnny Collins's Brown Island Stables for 220,000gns through bloodstock agent Mark McStay. 

The Pinatubo colt proved to be one of the big hits on day one. Bought by Collins for 68,000gns from New England Stud at Book 2, he ended the session as the third highest-priced lot and will carry the colours of Mohammed Al Suboosi on the racetrack.

“It's great,” said Collins. “He's going to a very good trainer and I hope he's very lucky for him. He has a great temperament, he's a straightforward kind of horse. He breezed very well and showed very well all week and was just a pleasure to deal with.”

McStay and Twomey have teamed up with a good degree of success at the breeze-up sales and the bloodstock agent explained how the pair came to land on lot 22. 

The agent said, “He's been purchased for a very good client based in Dubai called Mohammed Al Suboosi who already owns some nice horses with Paddy–Procrastinate (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}), another breeze-up horse, and Noche Magica (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}), who'll come back for a sprinting campaign this year.”

McStay added, “We had a very select list and combined all our thoughts and this was the horse we hit on. I think the sire could be very promising and the mare has already done it by breeding Mrs Gallagher (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}). The colt came recommended by Johnny Collins, who I've known for a long time. His recommendation counts for a lot so I'm delighted to get this colt.”

O'Callaghan Begins With A Bang

Michael O'Callaghan makes no secret about the fact that he prefers to stock his Kildare-based stable with breeze-up horses rather than shopping at the yearling sales. The trainer struck early in the sale for a Mehmas (Ire) half-brother to the Aidan O'Brien-trained Coventry S. winner and Classic hopeful River Tiber (Ire) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) for 300,000gns. 

Consigned by Willie Browne's Mocklershill Stables, lot 6 got the sale off to a roaring start, with O'Callaghan revealing that he was taken by the professionalism of the colt's breeze. 

He said, “The horse has a great pedigree. He's a half-brother to River Tiber and it's a very good cross with Mehmas and an Arcano (Ire) mare–Supremacy (Ire) is the very same. He's been bought for an existing client.”

O'Callaghan added, “He was up early and, not long after he breezed, things were delayed because of the weather. The weather was bad so he was very professional and we're delighted to get him. Hopefully he can be a nice horse.”

 

Talking Points

  • Cormac Farrell told TDN Europe this week that his dream was to emulate top breeze-up handlers Willie Browne, Con Marnane, Norman Williamson and Eddie O'Leary by producing a champion. The Copper Beech Stables-based consignor, who went out on his own under the banner of CF Bloodstock last year, couldn't have wished for a better start to the 2024 breeze-up campaign when his Hello Youmzain (Fr) colt [lot 12] was knocked down to Blandford Bloodstock for 200,000gns. Bought for 58,000gns at Book 2, Tuesday's result represented a respectable profit for the man who sold top-notch prospect Bracken's Laugh (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) at Tattersalls last year.
  • The Rancho Temescal Thoroughbred Partners have lit up Park Paddocks in recent times and, in snapping up lot 20, a Havana Grey (GB) filly consigned by Cian Hughes, the American outfit got in on the action once again. Interestingly, the 180,000gns purchase will go into training with Newmarket-based handler, Dylan Cunha. 
  • Mick Donohoe may have been out of luck on the day's top lot but he didn't come away from Tattersalls empty-handed after picking up a City Of Light colt for 210,000gns and a Good Magic filly for 65,000gns. Both horses were bought for Saudi Arabian clients. The BBA Ireland agent said, “I bought two horses for Saudi Arabia today and hope to do a bit more business here tomorrow as well. I have been travelling to Saudi Arabia for 20 years now so you could say that the hard yards are paying off. I actually underbid the New Bay that topped the sale. He probably would have stayed in Britain before eventually going to Saudi Arabia but, anyway, we couldn't get it done.” He added, “We're very happy with the two horses we bought today. The City Of Light colt is a brother to a horse [Rational Choice (Candy Ride {Arg})] who has done very well out there and was a very good individual. The Good Magic filly was good value at 65,000gns and she has a good pedigree being a sister to a Group 3 winner. Happy with the day's business.”
  • Donohoe wasn't the only man representing Saudi Arabian interests at Tattersalls. Lot 46, a Knockanglass Stables-consigned colt by Munnings, went the way of Marco Bozzi for SBS Global. Bozzi said, “We saw the horse in Ireland last week and really liked him. The Prince likes Munnings and we know the family. So we think he is a good prospect to run in Saudi Arabia. He will go to Ireland for now and then ship over in August.”
  • It wasn't all a bed of roses on day one. Of the 75 horses offered, 53 were sold, representing a clearance rate of 71%. The aggregate was down 14% to 5,589,500gns, the median stayed the same at 77,000gns and the average dropped 4% to 105,462gns.

 

The Golden Touch: Lot 78
Filly by King Of Change (GB) out of Greatest Virtue (GB) (Poet's Voice {GB})
Consigned by Donovan Bloodstock 
Purchased by Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah
Danny O'Donovan and Adam Potts deserve some credit for turning lot 78, who was the cheapest yearling sold at Book 1 at 8,000gns, into a 80,000gns breezer. The filly is from the family of Sole Power (GB) and certainly caught the eye of some good judges by how well she breezed. In the end, the hammer fell the way of Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah [owner of Haatem (Ire) (Phoenix Of Spain {Ire})], securing a healthy profit for the two lads. 

Thought For The Day

Consignors might well have come away from day one of this year's Craven Breeze-Up Sale suffering from a heavy dose of deja-vu. The patchiness that dominated on day one 12 months ago was back again, which was represented in a clearance rate of 71%.

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