High Clearance at Arqana Opener

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Valajani | Zuzanna Lupa

The first session of the three-day Arqana Autumn Sale got underway at Deauville on Monday, and at the end of trade, 163 horses-in-training across both codes had found new homes for a sparkling clearance rate of 89.1%, up 3.4% on last year's opening day. The gross dropped to €3,833,800, but it was a slimmed down first-day catalogue of 236 versus 283 in 2017. The average held steady at €23,520 (-.3%), and the median climbed 17.6% to €10,000.

Topping the proceedings was Valajani (Ger) (Jukebox Jury {Ire}) (lot 160) at €265,000 on the bid of Hubert Barbe of Horse Racing Advisory. Runner-up in the G3 St. Leger Italiano this term as well as placing in two German listed events for trainer Markus Klug, the attractive grey colt is bound for the Nation Hunt theatre. His dam is a half-sister to MGSW Vanjura (Ger) (Areion {Ger}), German Group 3 winner Veneto (Ger) (New Approach {Ire}) and German listed winner Vancovia (Fr) (Dream Well {Fr}).

Earlier in the day, Horse Racing Advisory had also snapped up lot 152, Pagero (Fr) (Nathaniel {Ire}) for €190,000, the third most expensive lot of the session. A dual winner for trainer Henri-Francois Devin after selling for €40,000 as an Arqana August Yearling in 2016, the gelded son of Group 3 heroine and GI E.P. Taylor S. runner-up Pagera (Fr) (Gentlewave {Ire}) ran fifth last out in the Listed Grand Prix du Nord on Nov. 7. Barbe also acquired 3-year-old filly Prima Perfect (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) (lot 68) privately for €28,000 from Julien Carayon to sit second on the buyers' table with a gross of €483,000.

Hubie de Burgh struck near the end of the session for the winning Francois Nicolle hurdler Francois (Fr) (Muhtathir {GB}) (lot 224). A half-brother to listed winner Capitaine Courage (Ire) (Bering {GB}), who also ran second in the G3 Prix Andrew Baboin, the French-bred gelding brought €210,000 from de Burgh who was acting for American interests.

“What I liked about him is that he's got a very good turn of foot,” commented De Burgh on his purchase. “He goes on the top of the ground and he is not an overly heavy horse but has a beautiful action, which will suit American racing. My client has been very successful on the flat and he also has a number of very good jumpers.”

Cat Tiger (Fr) (Diamond Boy {Fr}) (lot 190) rounded out the top four prices on Monday, selling for €180,000 to Guy Petit who bought nine lots and leads the buyers' standings at €487,500. The Dominique Bressou-consigned 4-year-old gelding has enjoyed success as a chaser in the G3 Prix The Fellow. His dam is a half-sister to the late MG1SW and sire Vision d'Etat (Fr) (Chichicastenango {Fr}).

Tuesday's trade will kick off at 1 p.m. local time with a day dedicated to National Hunt yearlings and 2-year-old stores.

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