Florida-Bound Invincible Spirit Colt Leads Orby

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The top lot is heading to America to be trained by Wesley Ward | Goffs

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DONCASTER, UK—On a day without the millionaire highlights that we have become accustomed to at the Goffs Orby Sale, trade struggled to keep pace with recent strong renewals of this auction—a factor which had been widely expected in advance and has been seen throughout the 2020 yearling market.

Despite the industry being fuelled largely by dreams, only the foolhardy could dream that this year's trade would be unaffected by a global pandemic which is not only restricting international travel but also plunging plenty of businesses into precarious situations. To a certain extent, the upper tier of the yearling market remains immune to such outside forces but there was a more workmanlike feel to the first session which progressed at a rate significantly below recent levels.

It must be remembered that in 2019 the Orby was led by a €3 million filly—one of four seven-figure transactions at the sale—but even the presence of that Galileo filly's three-parts-sister by Sea The Stars (Ire) couldn't make a difference this year as the daughter of Green Room (Theatrical) was bought in at £775,000. But, having topped the Orby in the last two years when her daughters brought a collective €6.2 million, Vimal and Gillian Khosla's star broodmare, who is already the dam of three Group 1 winners, has already more than played her part and the retention of such a prized filly by her breeders is understandable.

Of course, with the sale's move from Ireland to England came a change of currency from euros to pounds. Direct comparisons are not being made by Goffs until the end of the sale on Thursday, and the most encouraging statistic to be drawn from the first day of trade is the 81% clearance rate.

“The clearance rate demonstrates a pragmatism and a realism from the vendors and once again we salute them. They've read the market well,” said Goffs Group chief executive Henry Beeby at the close of play on Wednesday.

The 165 yearlings sold throughout the day brought an aggregate of £11,504,000 (the corresponding figure during the same session last year was just over €23 million). The average price was £69,721 and the median £50,000.

Early Start For Campanelle Team
American buyers have increased their investment in European yearlings in recent years and it wasn't long before before their influence was felt at Goffs on Wednesday morning when Ben McElroy went to £420,000 for a son of Invincible Spirit (Ire).

Offered by the Irish National Stud as lot 12, the second son of the dual winner Aimhirgin Lass (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) will race for Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables, which enjoyed success at Royal Ascot this year with Campanelle (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), the winner of the G2 Queen Mary S.

“He's been bought for the same connections as Campanelle and will head to Florida to Stonestreet Stables' facility before joining Wesley Ward in the spring,” confirmed McElroy.

The mare's first foal, the once-raced Castlebar (Ire), was sold at last year's sale for €460,000. Like her son, Aimhirgin Lass was bred by the Irish National Stud and is out of the unraced Nebraas (GB) (Green Desert), whose three black-type performers and eight winners include listed winner Seeharn (Ire), also by Pivotal, and the Group 3 winner Yellow Rosebud (Ire) (Jeremy). Having delivered a filly by Invincible Spirit earlier this year, Aimhirghin Lass is now in foal to the stud's new recruit, Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain (Ire).

“I know the family pretty well as I was underbidder on Yellow Rosebud,” the agent continued. “And I remember the brother from last year. This is a really nice colt, just the type of horse we are looking for, and we hope he'll be a Royal Ascot horse.”

McElroy later bought a Bated Breath (GB) colt (lot 54) for £115,000. The son of Boragh Jamal (Ire), a winning Namid (GB) half-sister to G3 Molecomb S winner Whitbarrow (Ire) (Royal Abjar), was offered by Eddie O'Leary of Lynn Lodge Stud, who pinhooked him as a foal for €44,000.

Bold Pinhook Pays Off
Most vendors will say that trade was tough at Doncaster during the opening session of the Orby, but one of the highlights of the day came for Baroda Stud, which sold a Dark Angel (Ire) filly (lot 153) for £400,000 to CBR Bloodstock, bidding through a phone call to Goffs' Joey Cullen.

“I can't tell you much about the filly's future, other than that she will be trained in England or Ireland,” said Cullen after seeing off underbidder Michael Donohoe.

Baroda topped the first day of the Arqana September Sale when selling a daughter of Dubawi (Ire) for €620,000, having bought her as a foal for 300,000gns. The Dark Angel filly was also a bold foal pinhook, signed for at the Goffs November Sale by BBA Ireland for €260,000, but she had every right to be sought after even in her weanling days as she is a half-sister to the dual Group 3 winner Jack Naylor (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) by a sire whose popularity rarely wanes.

She also wasn't the only popular Dark Angel filly in the Baroda draft as lot 67, out of the American Grade 3 winner Button Down (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) was another to fetch six figures and sold for £120,000 to Peter and Ross Doyle.

Baroda Stud got off the mark well when its first horse through the ring (lot 4), a filly from the first crop of National Stud stallion Aclaim (Ire), sold to breeze-up pinhooker Brendan Holland for £130,000.

Dark Angel was also on the list of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and Mick Kinane waited until the third-last lot in the ring (241) before making his first purchase of the day at £260,000. The colt, bred and consigned by Guy O'Callaghan's Grangemore Stud, is a full-brother to one of Dark Angel's early stars, the G2 Superlative S winner Birchwood (Ire), who is now standing at Haras de la Huderie in Normandy.

Bar one season, his dam Layla Jamil (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) has been mated exclusively with Dark Angel and she also has a filly foal by him this year.

Magic Mehmas
Members of the first-crop of Mehmas (Ire) have wasted no time in showcasing their sire's promise this season and on the back of their success on the track the Tally-Ho Stud resident was catapulted into the upper echelons of the bloodstock market on Wednesday morning when lot 51 brought the hammer down at £330,000.

Hugo Merry placed the successful bid for the Mehmas filly who is out of Big Boned (Street Sense) and thus a half-sister to German Group 3 winner K Club (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) as well as the listed-placed Back To Brussels (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}).

Bred by Nicky Hartery, the filly was conceived from a fee of €10,000. Big Boned has a colt foal by Mehmas's sire Acclamation (GB) and was covered this season by Ten Sovereigns (Ire).

“She's for a new client and there's been no decision on a trainer yet,” Merry reported. “She was a fairly obvious pick: she has a lovely pedigree and is by a very successful first-season sire. She just looks like she could be a very fast filly. I missed on a few Mehmas yearlings last year as I just thought they were on the small side, but he is not over-big himself and he is getting winners all over the place and we all have to get on board.”

Mehmas is now the sire of 33 first-crop winners, including last Saturday's G1 Juddmonte Middle Park S. winner Supremacy (Ire).

Father And Son Provide Late Highlights
Invincible Spirit was back in demand late on the first day, as was his son Kingman (GB). Mark McStay of Avenue Bloodstock went to £350,000 for lot 221, the Invincible Spirit half-brother to G3 Bengough S winner Eastern Impact (Ire) (Bahamian Bounty {GB}), who was bred and consigned by Airlie Stud.

He said, “He's got size, scope and a lot of class and Anthony Rogers just said to me that he thinks he's one of the best they have ever bred, which is quite a compliment from a high-class farm.

“He's been bought for an old family friend and existing client. The mare has already bred three stakes horses and of course Invincible Spirit needs no introduction, he just keeps doing it on the racecourse.”

Juddmonte Farms will have no shortage of Kingman's offspring in their paddocks but the introduction of some new bloodlines is required from time to time by even major breeding operations and Juddmonte's Simon Mockridge secured a Kingman filly whose pedigree combines at least three extremely popular stallions. Consigned and bred by Denis Brosnan's Croom House Stud, lot 228 is out of a Galileo (Ire) half-sister to Zoffany (Ire) (Dansili {GB}), who is just one of the three group winners produced by the Machiavellian mare Tyranny (GB).

Mockridge, standing with his colleague Barry Mahon, went to £280,000 for the filly whose family also includes recent St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco (GB) (Sir Percy {GB}).

Lightning Strikes
The sales ring at Doncaster is where the public had a first glimpse of the Siyouni (Fr) filly who would become known as multiple Group 1 winner Laurens (Fr). Another daughter of the Aga Khan Studs stallion (lot 161) was one of the bestsellers of Wednesday when knocked down to Ted Durcan for £250,000. Durcan could not name the filly's new owner who now has a lovely future broodmare prospect on his or her hands. The April-foaled daughter of 3-year-old winner Fork Lightning (Storm Cat) was bred by Cabalo Ltd and offered for sale through the Castlebridge Consignment. Her dam is a daughter of Nassau and Sun Chariot S. winner Last Second (Ire) (Alzao), whose 10 winning offspring include the Poule d'Essai des Poulains winner Aussie Rules (Danehill) and listed winner Approach (GB) (Darshaan {GB}), who is in turn the dam of dual Group 1 winner Coronet (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}).

The filly's third dam is the celebrated Lanwades foundation mare Alruccaba (GB) and her sale price on Wednesday represents a decent return on the 60,000gns given by Howson & Houldsworth Bloodstock to buy her dam when carrying this filly at the Tattersalls December Sale.

New Bay For New Venture
Dwayne Woods of Brook Stud was in action on Wednesday for his brother Sean, who will soon be training from Newmarket's Shalfleet Stables, the former base of Jeremy Noseda.

The brothers signed up another two well-credentialed yearlings in Doncaster, headed by a colt from the second crop of New Bay (GB), who has made an impressive start with his first runners this year.

Lot 187, from Ballylinch Stud and the son of G2 Prix de Pomone winner Highlands Queen (Fr) (Mount Nelson {GB}) was sold for £240,000 and will join the Exceed And Excel (Aus) half-brother to treble Group 1 winner and Derby Italiano hero Dylan Mouth (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {Ire}) (lot 92), who brought £170,000 earlier in the session.

“They are both for Sean, ” said Woods. “We've bought 10 yearlings so far and these two today are two nice colts. The New Bay was probably the pick of the sale for me, and I guess for a lot of other people two as there were plenty of bidders. He's just a beautiful individual.”

He continued, “We'll be looking at the horses-in-training sale as well. There are no horses in Shalfleet at present but there will be from November.”

Near the end of the session Shalfleet's former owner Jeremy Noseda signed for a first-crop son of Caravaggio (lot 236) on behalf of Michael Roy, whose parents Paul and Susan enjoyed great success with the trainer, including with St Leger winner Sixties Icon (GB) (Galileo {Ire}).

At £215,000, the half-brother to Chesham S. winner Suits You (Fr) (Youmzain {Ire}) was the most expensive yearling by Caravaggio at Goffs. His nine yearlings sold on Wednesday returned an average of £88,333.

Another Camelot To Australia
The dual Australian Group 1 winner Russian Camelot (Ire) has done a great job in promoting not just his sire Camelot (GB) but also the merits of buying European-bred yearlings to export to the southern hemisphere, and that is the plan for lot 124, who sold for £160,000 to Alex Elliott.

The agent was working in tandem with Australian syndicator Brad Spicer and was delighted to have been able to buy the son of Camelot from Galbertstown Stables.

He said, “Brad is unable to travel but he gave me a list of pedigrees and I looked at the horses for him and really loved this colt. He's a lovely individual out of a Shamardal mare and obviously Camelot has had a great year.”

The family offers plenty of scope for middle-distance targets in the colt's future. His winning dam Edwinstowe (Ire) is a daughter of the G1 Prix de l'Opera winner Lady Marian (Ger) (Nayef), whose other offspring include Loxley (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}), winner of the G2 Prix de Deauville for Godolphin.

The cross of Camelot on Shamardal has already been seen to good effect in Australia via another exported yearling, the listed winner Furrion (GB), who was bought by John Foote at October Book 2 for 60,000gns. The same cross has also produced the Lloyd Williams-owned G1 Irish Derby winner Latrobe (Ire).

Two Fillies For White Birch
Peter Brant's White Birch Farm bought subsequent dual Grade I winner Raging Bull (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}) from the 2016 Orby Sale and, though Brant was absent this year, Demi O'Byrne was in Doncaster to buy two yearlings for the owner on Wednesday. He was another to plump for a yearling by Camelot and signed for lot 143, a filly from the family of G1 Irish St Leger winner Duncan (GB), at £130,000. Bred by O'Connor International Ltd, the daughter of Ethel (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) was bought as a foal for €100,000 and was offered by the Mahon family's Mountain View Stud.

O'Byrne stayed in play for the following lot through the ring (144), a filly from the first crop of Caravaggio whose half-siblings have realised €260,000 and €220,000 respectively at the Orby Sale in the last three years. Their dam Euphrasia (Ire) (Windsor knot {GB}), won the G3 Blue Wind S and is the dam of 82-rated Goodwood winner Bright Eyed Eagle (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}).

D.J. Stable, West Point Make European Splash

By Kelsey Riley

The New Jersey-based D.J. Stable has been to the top echelons of American racing, having campaigned the likes of Jaywalk (Cross Traffic), the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and Eclipse Award champion filly of 2018.

Jon Green, the general manager of D.J. Stable who runs the show alongside his father Len Green, said he has had his eye on European sales for a few years and on Wednesday D.J. Stable took the plunge, signing for two yearlings early during the opening session of the Goffs Orby sale.

First up was lot 5, a colt from the first crop of Caravaggio out of a daughter of the Group 1-winning Zee Zee Top (GB) (Zafonic), for £80,000. The unraced dam Zee Zee Gee (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) has already produced the stakes-placed Farzeen (GB) (Farhh {GB}), and it is also the family of multiple Group 1 winner Izzi Top (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) and Classic winners Colorspin and Kayf Tara (GB). Two lots later DJ Stables signed for a No Nay Never filly who is the first foal out of A Bid In Time (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), a half-sister to multiple group-winning sprinter Libranno (GB) (Librettist) (lot 7), for £52,000.

“We struck early, we bought two horses very early in the sale,” Green said. “We feel like there is an opportunity usually early on at sales to strike before everyone is finished their morning coffee. We loved those two horses, a Caravaggio colt and a No Nay Never filly, and we just felt like they were value at their price points and also their points in the sale.”

D.J. Stable campaigns A Thread Of Blue (Hard Spun), who won three stakes races on the grass in the U.S. last year including the GIII Palm Beach S., and Green said the venture into the European yearling market is the stable's next step in enhancing its turf programme.

“This is really a new twist on what we're trying to accomplish with our racing operations,” he explained. “When we took a look at where North American racing is trending it looks like there are going to be more opportunities to have turf horses and more opportunities to have distance turf horses.

“A couple years ago we made a very conscious decision to study what was going in Europe, study bloodlines, study racing and people we felt comfortable working with, with the idea that in time we would ultimately buy some of these racehorses.”

The 12 horses purchased by D.J. Stable at Keeneland September included a Galileo (Ire) filly out of G2 Cherry Hinton S. and G3 Albany S. winner Sander Camillo (Dixie Union) (Hip 368) for $285,000 and an American Pharoah son of Group 1 winner and producer Quarter Moon (Ire) (Sadler's Wells) (Hip 344) for $100,000.

Green said the ultimate goal is to campaign D.J. Stables' European purchases in the U.S., but he does not yet know at which point they will travel Stateside. In the meantime, the stable has gotten a jump start on its European racing stable with the private purchase of 2-year-old filly Earth Strike (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), a half-sister to Group 1-winning stayer Order Of St George (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) who won at first asking at Leopardstown on Aug. 20 before finishing seventh in the Listed Ingabelle S. on Sept. 12.

“She is trained by Joseph O'Brien and will be running in a stake next week at The Curragh,” Green said. “We've made a pretty heavy investment into European bloodstock and European bloodlines based on some of the opportunities we feel are going to present themselves in America in the next few years in racing.”

American-based syndicate West Point Thoroughbreds also got its name on the buyers' sheet on Wednesday, signing for lot 207, a daughter of Kodiac (GB), in conjunction with Peter Doyle for £85,000. West Point's Terry Finley noted that while the group has been active on the international stage in small ways in years past, shopping at Orby did mark a deviation from the normal business plan. He said West Point saw it as an opportunity to broaden their portfolio while the market may be down.

“We've been working on trying to enhance that pipeline from Europe,” Finley said. “I met Peter Doyle probably about eight years ago in South Africa and we've stayed in touch and we've tried to buy some horses, it just never really all fell into place. But everything has fallen into place now, we've been talking all week and I know they were very active. They said earlier today they thought it was a really great buying day. I think the pullback in the market seems to have been a bit more pronounced in Europe and we just thought it was a good opportunity to take advantage of it.”

West Point Thoroughbreds was a part owner of the 2017 GI Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, and more recent stars have included the likes of Grade I-winning mare Hard Not To Love (Hard Spun) and turf star Decorated Invader (Declaration Of War).

“You see more and more of our competitors both in the partnership world and the sole ownership world really diversifying their portfolios, and a big way to do that is with these kinds of horses,” Finley said, adding that the Kodiac filly is likely to join Decorated Invader in the stable of Christophe Clement.

“I saw Ben McElroy bought a couple that will be coming back to Florida so she'll be on that pallet too,” he said. “She'll go to Eddie Woods and then in all likelihood she'll go to Christophe Clement and we'll try to get her to the races at Saratoga next year.”

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