From Ten Sovereigns To Waldgeist – The First Season Sires To Note At Arqana 

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Deauville: the yearling sale begin with a bang in France this week | Zuzanna Lupa

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This is the week where the first serious claims are staked for future bragging rights in the stallion ranks and the season's hopes and waffle that goes with first-season sires are cast aside as the market provides some shape and substance. 

There seems to be a strong whiff of No Nay Never in the air after the devastatingly-good performance of Little Big Bear in Saturday's G1 Phoenix S. at the Curragh.

This, of course, is great news for Coolmore as Ten Sovereigns (Ire), one of No Nay Never's best sons, will be represented by a five-strong draft at the August Yearling Sale at Arqana. 

Hopes are high in the Coolmore camp that Ten Sovereigns, who won Group 1 races at two and three, can lay down a marker in Deauville. 

Mark Byrne of Coolmore said, “Ten Sovereigns has been an extremely busy horse since he retired to stud. He has roughly 140 yearlings in his first crop and we all know how brilliantly-fast he was given he won the Middle Park at two and then came back to win the July Cup as a 3-year-old. 

“We are being reminded of how fast these No Nay Nevers are on an almost weekly basis and we saw one of the best juvenile performances of the past decade from Little Big Bear on Saturday in the G1 Phoenix S. 

“It's fitting that No Nay Never won the G1 Prix Morny in Deauville so we are going back to the scene of the crime with the first crop of Ten Sovereigns. As well as that, Little Big Bear and G3 Albany S. winner Meditate (Ire) (No Nay Never) are graduates of this sale so it's a hugely significant place for us to be launching Ten Sovereigns.”

Byrne added, “The whole sire line is on fire and we're lucky to have so much of that blood around us, both here and in America and Australia. Take Justify for an example. He's got off to an incredible start and is responsible for two TDN Rising Stars already with Statuette and Justique. 

Sioux Nation may not be as high profile as Justify but he just keeps producing the goods and let's not forget there are Caravaggios set to be unleashed in America and his son Maljoom (Ire) was possibly one of the most unlucky horses at Royal Ascot when he got no luck in running in the St James's Palace. I think we're starting to see the influence of that Scat Daddy line which is why we're hugely excited about the future for Ten Sovereigns.”

With Al Shaqab, Ballylinch Stud, China Horse Club, Lady Bamford, Croom House, Juddmonte, the Coolmore partners and the Hyde and Shanahan families having supported Ten Sovereigns, the team has every reason to be optimistic ahead of the yearling sales. 

Byrne revealed, “There's so much excitement involved this week-and a few nerves as well. A lot of effort has been put in by a lot of people, from breeders to everyone here at Coolmore and from Aidan O'Brien and his staff at Ballydoyle for making these horses into stallions in the first place. 

“It's the culmination of a lot of hard work and you just hope that they are received well. No matter how much we like them at home, it will all be decided by the market. Thankfully, the three stallions we're launching have been extremely popular.”

Ten Sovereigns may be the ace in the first-season sire pack at Coolmore but in 2000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia (Ire) and the blisteringly-fast Coventry S. scorer Calyx, they offer something for everyone.

Both stallions hail from the Invincible Spirit sire line while Magna Grecia's page received a noteworthy boost after he retired to stud thanks to the exploits of his half-brother St Mark's Basilica (Fr).

“It's not often that a stallion receives a pedigree update by being a half-brother to a European Champion 2-year-old and a World Champion 3-year-old,” Byrne joked. 

“It's a beautiful-looking family. We all know St Mark's Basilica was a 1.3 million gns yearling but Magna Grecia cost 340,000 gns as a foal which, at the time, made him the most expensive foal by Invincible Spirit. He's the only Invincible Spirit to win a British Classic and he has everything going for him, being out of a Galileo mare.”

He added, “His first crop has been well-received and Jamie McCalmont bought a colt foal by him at Newmarket last December for 210,000gns. Looking at the sales entries, I see that there is a yearling colt out of Maria Lee (Ire) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) entered in Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale by Clare Castle Stud. That will be exciting to see.

“He has over 130 yearlings to run for him which is a healthy number. A lot of people would have liked to use St Mark's Basilica this year but maybe they had to go in at a different level so Magna Grecia has been quite popular. He represents value and we're looking forward to seeing how the two fillies [lot 81 and 131] are received by him at Arqana. Like Ten Sovereigns, he's been supported by some of the best breeders around as Al Shaqab, Lodge Park Stud, Highclere Stud, Juddmonte, the Coolmore partners and the Niarchos family all supported him massively.”

Calyx may have only graced the track on four occasions but he left a lasting impression. He will be represented by three yearlings at Arqana this week.

Byrne said, “Like Ten Sovereigns and Magna Grecia, Calyx has been well-supported and has a similar number of yearlings to run for him in his first crop. The three of them have 130-140 yearlings this year. Calyx is a slightly different type to Magna Grecia. He's by Kingman and, I will never forget on the morning of the G1 Prix Jacques Le Marois, bumping into John Gosden on the street in Deauville. The one thing he kept repeating was the acceleration that Kingman possesed. We saw that explosive turn of foot that afternoon as he won the race at his ease but we are also seeing it in his stock and Calyx is a perfect example. He had brilliance and hopefully he can emulate what his father is doing as a stallion. 

“Again, when you look down through the breeders who supported Calyx, you have the likes of Adam Bowden, breeder of Onesto (Fr) (Frankel {GB}), Al Shaqab, Monceaux, Juddmonte, China Horse Club, Manister House, Oceanic, Moyglare Stud, Noel O'Callaghan and of course the Coolmore partners have been great supporters.”

It is going to take something special to stand out at Arqana this week given the strength and depth of the catalogue with siblings to Treve (Fr), Wings Of Eagles (Fr), Native Trail (GB), Sealiway (Fr) and Sottsass up for grabs.

Nobody knows this better than John O'Connor, managing director at Ballylinch Stud, who feels he has something buyers will appreciate. The first progeny of the brilliant Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Waldgeist (GB), one of the classiest sons of Galileo (Ire), who is now standing at Ballylinch, will go under the hammer this week and O'Connor is cautiously optimistic about how they will be received. 

O'Connor said, “He has undoubtedly been given a good chance by the syndicate. They have supported him from the start. He has covered six Group 1 winners, the dams of 30 Group 1 horses, 58 stakes performers and 144 producers of stakes performers. He's been given a very good chance and, from what we have seen so far, the market has responded pretty well to him. 

I think you are going to see some really nice yearlings by him, not only at Arqana, but at the rest of the yearling sales. We're consigning one ourselves at Arqana. It's a colt out of a mare called New Revenue (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) [lot 63] and I think he's a very good colt. When people see him, they will be taken by him as he's really powerful and is precocious-looking.”

He added, “One of the things that is very significant for Waldgeist is that he's actually a Group 1-winning 2-year-old. Most people will remember him for winning an Arc, a vintage Arc at that, but he also won the Criterium de Saint-Cloud as a 2-year-old. 

“I actually think he'll surprise some people by how precocious his stock will be. He could get some very nice 2-year-olds because he had precocity, class and soundness as a racehorse–he had the full package.”

Not only does O'Connor have his own Ballylinch resident Waldgeist to promote ahead of the sales, but he could also provide some early entertainment at Arqana with another first-season sire, as his Too Darn Hot (GB) filly out of Janicellaine (Ire) (Beat Hollow {GB}) is reported to be quite the looker.

Forming part of a seven-strong draft for the stud, the Too Darn Hot filly will be the third horse through the ring at Arqana, and is predicted to fly the flag nicely for the Darley-owned sire by O'Connor.

“It's a family we have been closely associated with down through the years–it's originally the Ingabelle family. This is a really nice filly, she's a really good example of a nice Too Darn Hot. You can see his influence in her–she's a big filly with a lot of quality and power to her. I think she'll be a good advert for the sire.”

Speaking about his draft in general, he added, “It's very strong. We're bringing a balanced bunch to Arqana and I'd encourage everyone to look at them all. There's two there by first-season sires but the rest are by proven stallions, including our own top stallion, Lope De Vega (Ire), of which there are three.

“Whenever we have a nice young stallion like Waldgeist, whose stock we like the look of, it obviously increases your expectation about what they might do. We like the physicals of his horses and they seem to have a really good temperament, which he does himself. They are also nice and sound and he should be a great influence for soundness.

“We've been lucky with our sires in recent times and there's no doubt that New Bay (GB) is emerging as a top-level stallion now. 

“Waldgeist shares a few things with Lope De Vega in that they were bred, either wholly or in partnership with Gestut Ammerland, who are outstanding breeders, and both were trained by Andre Fabre. Waldgeist has been supported by Gestut Ammerland quite strongly, just like Lope De Vega was, so if lightning can strike twice it would be wonderful.”

Too Darn Hot, the unbeaten Champion 2-year-old who won the Dewhurst and the Prix Jean Prat as well as the Sussex S. at three, will be represented by five yearlings this week. Sue Finley took a closer look at the international appeal of the son of Dubawi (Ire) in Sunday's TDN.

That is three fewer than fellow Darley-owned Blue Point (Ire), the awesome sprinter who boasts the rare achievement of winning the G1 King's Stand S. and the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. at Royal Ascot in 2019. 

Featuring among the draft is the Gestut Ammerland-consigned filly [lot 290] out of triple-Grade 1-winning Golden Lilac (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

Advertise (GB) is another speedster whose first yearlings will go through the ring at Arqana. A three-time Group 1 winner, who stands for £25,000 at the National Stud, will be represented by a filly [lot 308] and a colt [lot 118] apiece. 

There will also be appearances made by the progeny of City Light (Fr), Yoshida (Jpn) and Land Force (Ire), all of whom will be represented by just one horse respectively. 

City Light, who stands at Haras d'Etreham, scored twice at Group 3 level as well as finishing second in the G1 Prix de la Foret on his final start as a 5-year-old. His sole representative is a colt [lot 54] out of black-type performer Moisson Precoce (GB) (Lawman {Fr}).

Yoshida, a son of Heart's Cry (Jpn) who stands at WinStar Farm in Kentucky, won twice at Grade I company in America, and will be represented by lot 150, a colt out of an unraced Gio Ponti mare [Spinworthy] from the family of Planchart.

Like City Light and Yoshida, it will be impossible to judge the prospects Land Force has at stud by just one yearling, but the G2 Richmond S. winner, who now stands at Highclere Stud, will be represented by lot 11, a colt out of a sister to Group 3 winner Kenhope (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}).

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