Gun Runner Colt Tops 'Vibrant' Goffs Dubai Breeze-Up Sale

Sales-topping colt by Gun Runner | Goffs


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — A colt from the third crop of boom American stallion Gun Runner (lot 18) was hammered down to Stephen Hillen, agent for prominent owner Dr Jim Hay, for €543,210 to top Tuesday's second renewal of the Goffs Dubai Breeze-Up Sale, held in the parade ring at Meydan Racecourse. On behalf of the Scotsman, Hillen also acquired the second-dearest offering of the evening, a Justify half-brother to GISW Fog of War (War Front) (lot 2), for the equivalent of €518,519.

Following the withdrawal of 10 horses, 63 juveniles were presented to an enthusiastic group of bidders from a variety of jurisdictions and attended by Sheikh Mohammed and his advisors. Some 42 horses were reported as sold for AED25,814,178, a decrease of 18.2% from last year's AED31,580,000. The average of AED614,624 represented a 1% gain over the inaugural event, while the median of AED537,000 jumped by a whopping 37%. The clearance rate of 67% declined from 80% in 2022.

“The second renewal of the Dubai Breeze-Up in association with Goffs was another sale of vibrant sales ring action,” said Goffs' Henry Beeby. “Whilst the clearance rate was slightly down on last year, the average and particularly the median has grown considerably which demonstrated that the quality was selling extremely well.

“The old adage at these types of sales is 'breeze well, sell well', and those that caught the eye at the breeze were the most active in the sales ring. We built very solid foundations in years one and two and look forward to working with the Dubai Racing

Club to develop this sale into a truly world-class event, and the racetrack success of the first year certainly means that it has a bright future.

“Once again, I would like to extend thanks from all the team at Goffs to the Dubai Racing Club for the trust they have placed in us, and we salute the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed in adding the sale to this huge week of international racing at the Dubai World Cup.”

Hay Is For Horses

It was a busy evening for Stephen Hillen and Dr Jim Hay, who ended up securing not only the sale's top two sellers, but four of the top seven overall.

Lot 2 was bred in Kentucky by Orpendale, Chelston and Wynatt and was consigned to the sale by Willie Browne's Mocklershill on behalf of the breeder. Lead auctioneer Henry Beeby accepted an opening bid of a robust AED500,000 and bidding was steady up to and through the 2-million dirham level before Hay landed his first winning blow of the evening.

“We supported the sale last year,” said Hay, whose two purchases last year included a Gun Runner colt and a filly by Into Mischief. “We didn't do well with the purchases, but nevertheless, there are high-class pedigrees, the catalogue this year looks better. Stephen has had a good look at everything.”

Added Hillen: “He is by a top sire, Willie Browne thoroughly recommended him. I saw him at Willie's place about three weeks ago, big stride and by a good stallion. He'll probably stay here in Dubai to be trained by Bhupat Seemar.”

Hay has racing interests in all corners of the globe, but is encouraged about the trajectory of the local programme.

“The plan is to build up the stable in Dubai, this is where the prize money is and we need to race here,” he said.

“Very pleased with that,” said the consignor. “He was a beautiful horse by a stallion who is going places.”

A Justify colt also topped Monday's opening session of the OBS March Sale in Ocala, Florida, on a bid of $1.2 million.

A short time later, Hay and Hillen bought consecutive lots off Tom Whitehead's Powerstown Stud. Lot 17, a War Front own brother to the stakes-placed Stony Point, was acquired by Chad Schumer for $130,000 at last year's Keeneland September Sale and fetched €320,928 Tuesday, while Hay went back to the Gun Runner well once more when paying the sales-topping price.

“He was already a big horse when we got him, but he got broader and wider since,” Whitehead said of the Gun Runner son of Brazilian Group 1 winner Baby Go Far (Brz) (Elusive Quality), who was purchased for $160,000 at Keeneland last fall.

He, too, will be trained by Seemar, who said the colt reminded him a lot of his G1 Dubai World Cup hopeful Bendoog (Gun Runner), who was most recently runner-up in the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3.

Hay's fourth purchase was a colt from the first crop of Mitole–Warm Breeze (Street Sense) (lot 14) for €246,914. The May 3 foal was consigned by Bushypark Stables, who bought him for $60,000 at Keeneland.




Schumer Happy, Surprised By Results

American agent Chad Schumer does plenty of business in the Gulf region and is responsible for having sold last-out Listed Al Bastakiya S. winner Go Soldier Go (Tapiture) at last year's Dubai Sale. He was more than satisfied with the sale of the War Front colt through Powerstown, but was generally perplexed at the end results

“It's a very good pedigree and we expected that colt to do well,” he said, taking time out from his work down at the OBS sale. “He was a beautiful yearling and vetted well. You never know until you get there so we are delighted.”

He continued, “Tom generally just tries to buy the right kind of horse. This horse was well below what we were willing to spend, so it was a nice surprise we were able to pick him up for that.”

Given the success of last year's event, he was a bit taken aback at the level of engagement this time around.

“It was a real surprise to me,” he said. “Last year it felt a bit spotty to me. If you didn't have the right type, there was no money at all and Goffs did an exceptional job in pushing to get those horses sold. This year, based on the fact that so many of the horses had won and there was the Group 1-placed horse in Japan, I would have thought there would have been voracious demand, but there wasn't. Maybe OBS going on at the same time causes a pull from this sale, I don't know.”




Mitole A Hot Commodity in Dubai As Well

The first-crop offerings by Mitole (Eskendereya) proved popular Monday at OBS, with three lots fetching six-figure prices, and those that went through Tuesday in Dubai made a favourable impression as well. In addition to Hay's aforementioned purchase early in the session, Oliver St Lawrence and trainer Fawzi Nass went to €222,222 for a half-brother to the multiple Canadian stakes winners Dene Court (City Zip) and Jacally (Bold Executive). Lot 66 was purchased by Roderic Kavanagh's Glending Stables for $60,000 at Keeneland in September.

“I liked this colt very much and it seems like the sire is making some good horses,” St Lawrence said. “They have good substance and are good doers.”

The Name's Stroud

Buyers at Tuesday's sale were identifiable by paddles bearing a three-digit number, and lot 42, a colt by Darley America's Street Sense was knocked down to agent Anthony Stroud–holding paddle 007–for €370,370, the joint-fourth highest price of the sale.

Bred in Kentucky by Lewis Thoroughbred Breeding, the bay colt is out of Gold Serenade (Medaglia d'Oro), whose superstar 11-times Grade I-winning dam Serena's Song (Rahy) was responsible for G1 Coronation S. heroine Sophisticat (Storm Cat) and graded-stakes winners Grand Reward (Storm Cat) and Harlington (Unbridled). This is also the family of US champion Honor Code (A.P. Indy).




No Nay Never Colt Leads Euro-Breds

Of the 18 2-year-olds offered during Tuesday's session by European-based stallions, lot 71 proved the most coveted, selling to the burgeoning Najd Stud for €209,877.

A son of 2012 G1 Irish 1000 Guineas third Princess Sinead (Ire) (Jeremy), the May-foaled bay was led out unsold on a bid of 40,000gns during Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Sale last fall.

“We are delighted with that,” said Colm Kennedy, whose Drumphea Stables consigned the colt as the property of a partnership. “We were very pleased with the way the horse presented and his breeze [Monday] was very nice. Certainly the sire helped him, but that was a very good result.”

Najd Stud, the operation of Saudi Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz, bought four lots Tuesday topped by a Constitution colt (lot 25) out of a half-sister to multiple graded winner and Grade I-placed Independence Hall (Constitution) for just over €395,000 off Brendan Holland's Grove Stud.

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