Excelebration Colt Tops Guineas Sale

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Alan King and Anthony Bromley | Laura Green/Tattersalls

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NEWMARKET, UK—Alan King may be best known for his exploits with top-class jumpers such as Voy Por Ustedes (Fr) and My Way De Solzen (Fr) but he has been making an increasingly notable impact on the Flat scene in recent years. His 2020 Royal Ascot treble is undoubtedly the highlight of his diversification to date and, with the assistance of his regular agent Anthony Bromley, he added another four Flat-bred horses to his string on Wednesday, including the day's top lot, a colt by Excelebration (Ire).

“He was our favourite horse of the sale,” said Bromley after being pushed to 140,000gns for lot 108 by underbidder David Redvers. “We don't go on times, we go on the individual, their stride and general way of going, but inevitably the vendors end up telling you the times. We knew he had breezed well and that he would be expensive but we didn't think we'd have to go that high.”

The colt was bought for Niall Farrell and Max McNeill, the latter being the co-owner of another of King's Royal Ascot team, Tritonic (GB) (Sea The Moon {Ger}), who was beaten half a length when second in the Golden Gates H. and was bought at the Guineas Sale of 2019 for 55,000gns.

Out of the Mark Of Esteem (Ire) mare Open Book (GB), the April-born Excelebration colt, bred by Chapel Lane Farm, represented a significant pinhooking coup for Brian Slattery of Meadowview Stables who bought him for €18,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale.

The regular participation of King and Bromley at this breeze-up in particular over the years perhaps typifies the sale, at which one can expect to find a scopier and later-maturing individual than those generally catalogued for the earlier sales at Ascot or Doncaster. That is certainly what Jake Warren will be hoping to see from lot 87, the first son of the former German champion Lucky Lion (GB) to be sold at Tattersalls. Bought from Tally-Ho Stud, the son of the Galileo (Ire) mare Livia's Wake (Ire) was pinhooked by Matt Coleman from the BBAG Yearling Sale last August for €21,000 and is from the further family of recent G2 King Edward VII S. winner Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}).

“He could be a Derby horse,” said Warren after signing the docket on behalf of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing at 95,000gns. “It is unique for a horse like this to be at a breeze-up sale. He has size and scope, so to have breezed as well as he did has to be very positive. He should make up into a lovely middle-distance type, and the bulk of his career will come next year.”

The colt is a member of the first crop of G1 Grosser Dallmayr Bayerisches Zuchtrennen winner Lucky Lion, a son of High Chaparral (Ire), who also landed the G2 Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (German 2000 Guineas) before finishing runner-up in the G1 Deutsches Derby. He stands at Gestut Graditz for a fee of €4,500.

Referring to the trade for breeze-up horses this season, Warren, who bought six in total, added, “It has been a bit up and down, but without some of the key players in the market it has presented some opportunities for us.”

Trade Holds Up Despite Delays
Some regular top-end buyers have indeed been either absent or low key during the last fortnight of rearranged breeze-up sales. Godolphin, for example, bought seven horses at last year's Craven Sale for 2.94 million gns and a filly at Arqana for €800,000, but this year signed, through Anthony Stroud, for just one filly at last week's relocated Arqana Breeze-up for £380,000.

The Guineas Breeze-up, like all sales before it in the sector this season, had a high number of withdrawals and only 116 of the 157 catalogued lots made it to the ring on Wednesday. Of those, 94 were sold at a clearance rate of 81%. Trade had a reasonably buoyant if unflashy feel to it throughout the day and, while the median was down by 28% at 17,250, the average was just about static at 28,511gns. Turnover, from 27 fewer horses sold compared to last year, stood at 2,680,000gns (-23%).

“In the current climate we are all looking to accentuate the positives and I think we can reflect on solid if unspectacular trade at this year's renewal of the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-up,” said Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony. “This is, however, a year where 'solid if unspectacular' is a positive outcome and we would like to thank all those who have participated at today's sale for their contribution. The buyers have worked incredibly hard and the breeze-up consignors have had to endure uniquely difficult conditions in the run up to the 2020 breeze-up sales season, but ultimately everyone can look back on sales which have largely exceeded expectations.”

A feature of this season's sales conducted amid travel and quarantine restrictions has been the introduction of online bidding platforms by the sales houses. At the Guineas Sale, eight lots were bought by internet bidders for a total of 177,500 gns, while another five lots were underbid online.

Make Believe For Real
Just one lot before the top-priced colt entered the ring, Richard Brown had signed for the other six-figure horse of the day and the most expensive filly at 105,000gns. Like Sunday's G1 Prix du Jockey Club winner, lot 107 is by Ballylinch Stud resident Make Believe (GB) and was bought as a yearling for a tenth of her breeze-up price at Tattersalls Ireland by Justin Timmons and Danny O'Donovan of Kildare-based Dolmen Bloodstock, who consigned the filly to the breeze-up.

“She has an engine and we were very happy with her breeze. She has been very busy, but it is always hard to gauge, though we had the right people on her,” said Timmons of the first foal of three-time winner Olivia Pope (Ire) (Lilbourne Lad {Ire}).

Four years ago Katie McGivern of Derryconnor Stud was responsible for the top-priced filly of the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-up Sale when the subsequent G3 Nell Gwyn S. winner Daban (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) sold for 260,000gns and she was to the fore again on Wednesday with a daughter of Kodiac (GB). The more modest price of 90,000gns was given for the fastest breezer of the sale (lot 47) by trainer James Tate on behalf of Rabbah Bloodstock. She is out of the champion Italian galloper Fair Nashwan (GB) (Nashwan), the winner of the G3 Premio Federic Tesio and producer of Italian listed winner Fair Dubawi (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), and was bought back by her breeder Nafferty Stud for 42,000gns at last year's October Sale.

“She has loads of ability, and is very easy. She was always a powerful filly and looked like a colt, and she still does,” McGivern said. “She is ready to crack on with. The coronavirus didn't stop her as she is actually a middle-of-the-summer filly, a six-furlong or seven-furlong filly.”

She added. “I have sold everything I have offered so far. There has been a great sale at every sale I have been at, no different from any other year apart from the precautions we have had to take. For me there is a good solid market at every level.”

James Tate, who will train the filly for Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum, said, “She did a very fast time, I thought she was a stand-out filly in the catalogue. I thought she was decent value at that. I hope she will be running in July.”

Kodiac is a routinely popular sire at the breeze-ups and he was also represented among the day's top lots by 138, a colt out of the unraced Bahamian Bounty (GB) mare Smart Bounty (GB) who was bred and consigned by Tally-Ho Stud.

Micheal Orlandi of Compas Equine was the buyer at 82,000gns.

Trainer John Quinn won the G1 Darley Prix Morny and G2 Coventry S. with former breeze-up purchase The Wow Signal (Ire) and he understandably has a fondness for that horse's sire Starspangledbanner (Aus). The trainer's son Sean went to 77,000gns for another colt by the Coolmore shuttler (lot 6) early in the session.

Thomond O'Mara bought the son of the 3-year-old winner Adore (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) for 16,000gns at Book 3 of the October Sale from breeder Fergus Anstock.

“He did a very pleasing breeze and what I liked is that he got stronger as the breeze went on,” said Sean Quinn. “I didn't have any intention of buying a breeze-up horse, but when I saw him he caught my eye and I discussed it with dad and said he might be a good addition to the team.”

He continued, “Starspangledbanner is a very good stallion. This is a very late April foal so we will get him home, but there is no rush with the horse, we will let him tell us.”

Over To The July Sale
Selling continues at Tattersalls on Thursday and Friday with the mixed July Sale, which includes broodmares, fillies out of training and horses in training.

At the conclusion of the breeze-up, Edmond Mahony commented, “It has been challenging staging events of this nature with the prevailing COVID-related regulations still in place but, despite continued travel restrictions, today's Guineas Breeze-up has seen demand from throughout the world, including Australia, Bahrain, Dubai, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Kuwait, Qatar and Spain. The international demand has been accompanied by spirited bidding from the domestic British and Irish buyers and has resulted in some notable pinhooking successes, while the overseas buyers have made use of every possible means at their disposal to participate in the sale, including extensive use of our new live internet bidding platform as well as telephone bidding. It is a tribute to the resilience of the global bloodstock market that we continue to experience this level of international demand and we expect to see further widespread use of the live internet bidding platform at our two-day July Sale which commences [Thursday] morning at 10am.”

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