'I Wouldn't Bet Against John Magnier' – Mare In Foal To Wootton Bassett Heads July Sale

Mick Donohoe | Tattersalls/Laura Green

The opening session of the four-day July Sale at Tattersalls revolved around the well-bred mares on offer and Mick Donohoe of BBA Ireland was once again on hand to take home the top lot when going to 350,000gns to secure Galileo (Ire) mare Sweet And Lovely (Ire) for 350,000gns from WH Bloodstock. 

In foal to Wootton Bassett (GB), one of the most exciting sires in Europe, Sweet And Lovely (lot 212) is a full-sister to Aidan O'Brien's Irish and Lancashire Oaks winner Seventh Heaven (Ire). 

The sale marked a memorable week for Violet Hesketh, who along with Mimi Wadham, runs WH Bloodstock, given she wedded Henry Lascelles recently.

Sweet And Lovely hails from the same family as Over The Rainbow (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) (lot 143), who Coolmara Stables pushed the boat out to secure at 270,000gns earlier in the afternoon, and it was this pedigree that was described as one of the most attractive in the sale by Donohoe. 

The leading buyer of the afternoon said, “To be fair to the lads in Coolmore, they are really banking on the Wootton Bassett cross and I wouldn't bet against John Magnier in making a stallion. We'll see what the foal is like but Wootton Bassett could be on the cards next year.”

Donohoe confirmed the top lot was purchased for an existing client, who operates in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, although couldn't divulge the name. Donohoe, one of the most familiar judges in the business, has bought a series of fillies/mares for Yulong over recent years. He is the operation's bloodstock advisor in Europe.


The leading agent was out on his own as the leading buyer on the afternoon with seven lots purchased for a total sum of 1,343,000gns. That included Different Light (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (lot 192), offered by The Castlebridge Consignment at 330,000gns and fellow Galileo mares Evening Hush (Ire) (lot 264) and Divintus (Ire) (lot 145) for 250,000gns and 235,000gns, respectively.


Of the 215 lots offered on Tuesday, 188 sold at a 87% clearance rate. The aggregate stood at 7,179,300gns for an average of 38,188gns while the median was 16,000gns.

First Flat Foray For Coolmara With 270k Dubawi Mare

Coolmara Stables is best known for producing top-class National Hunt stock, which was evident at the major store sales in Ireland this spring, but there has been a conscious effort on the farm to branch out on the Flat.

There were few better foundation mares for the County Cork men to target at the July Sale for such a venture than Over The Rainbow (Ire) and they duly delivered. 

The Dubawi (Ire) daughter of Irish and Lancashire Oaks winner Seventh Heaven (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) was knocked down to Paul McGrath, the farm manager at Coolmara Stables, for 270,000gns.

McGrath admitted afterwards that such a price was as strong as he was prepared to go for Over The Rainbow, but described himself as thrilled to have secured the well-bred broodmare prospect, who is in foal to St Mark's Basilica (Fr). 

He said, “This is a new division for us-we have been talking about getting a Flat broodmare band together for some time. We decided we'd make a start this week. She was not easily bought and went for a bit more than we thought, but we are delighted to have her.”

Coolmara Stables is home to classy National Hunt broodmares Petite Parisienne, Line Mexia (half-sister to Vautour), Tocororo, Ainsi Va La Vie, Reine De Whitfield and more. It is owned by farmer and breeder Kieran Mariga but it was McGrath who was representing the operation on Tuesday. 

He added, “Over The Rainbow is a foundation Flat broodmare, she has a good covering and she has a good pedigree–it's hard to get. We will make stallion plans once we have got the foal from her. 

“We want to keep the quality up and we will take it one step at a time with regards to developing a Flat band of mares. We will be aiming to operate on a commercial basis.”



'Kingman Has Been Good To Me – But This Mare Didn't Fall Through The Cracks!'

Noel O'Callaghan | Tattersalls/Laura Green

Noel O'Callaghan of Mountarmstrong Stud had his brothers Gay and Tony to thank for making Kingman (GB) filly Divine Spirit (Ire) (lot 155) expensive on him.

Part of the quality Godolphin draft, Divine Spirit was sold in foal to Cracksman (GB) to bloodstock agent Matt Coleman on behalf of the Mountarmstrong Stud operator for 210,000gns. 

Speaking outside the sales ring afterwards, O'Callaghan threw his head in the direction of the Yeomanstown Stud and Tally-Ho Stud maestros and commented, “put it this way, she didn't fall through the cracks–I wasn't the only family member on her! It's a public auction, they're there for everyone.”

He added, “To be honest, she's very good-looking. She could be a tad bigger but hopefully Cracksman will suit her. She'll be covered by a big stallion next spring but I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to which one until February or March. 

Kingman has been very good to me. I got 850,000gns for a yearling by him and sold another for 450,000gns, so he's been good to me. He's in the elite stallion bracket.”

O'Callaghan, whose famous white and navy silks have been carried by Group 1 winners No Speak Alexander (Ire) (Shalaa {Ire}), Alexander Goldrun (Ire) (Gold Away {Ire}) and Alexander Tango (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), admitted to having found the trade on the opening day of the July Sale to be strong.

He said, “They are making their value here. The nice ones are making their value. The market is very resilient for the good ones.”

Coleman was well versed on Divine Spirit. He was involved in the buying of the filly as a yearling for 95,000gns here in November 2018. 

Divine Spirit was later sold by Tally-Ho Stud to Godolphin for 850,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale and, after winning a maiden and achieving Group 3 black-type for Charlie Appleby, everything turned full circle on Tuesday. 

Coleman explained, “I know the filly well–I bought her with Roger O'Callaghan as a yearling to breeze and then Anthony [Stroud] bought her as a breezer for Godolphin. She is a filly I have known for a while. She was a very good-looking yearling and breezed very well, she was very fast. 

“I think she has a lot of Green Desert to her–she is medium sized, is a very good walker and is very strong. Her brother Manaccan (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) has done fantastically well this year and the pedigree has really exploded since she was bought as a yearling. It is a very happening pedigree.”

As well as being a half-sister to Manaccan and Raucous (GB) (Dream Ahead), Divine Spirit is out of the 2009 G2 Queen Mary second Shyrl (GB) (Acclamation {GB}). It's a speedy pedigree and one that will fit in well at Mountarmstrong Stud, according to Coleman. 

He said, “Noel likes these fast mares and he was keen to buy her. I think there was a bit of family competition for her! She obviously suits what the O'Callaghan family are renowned for breeding, [which is] fast horses. Fingers crossed she breeds some good foals for Noel. She had a good walk as a yearling and she has kept that walk.”

  • The Godolphin draft was the main attraction on day one with 30 lots sold for over 2 million gns. Along with Divine Spirit, Whispering Romance (Ire) and Pomology broke the 200,000 gns mark. Whispering Romance, another daughter of Kingman, was sold to Justin Casse on behalf of Magnolia Mares for 220,000gns while Sam Sangster snapped up Pomology (Arch) for the same figure.
  • Galileo may be gone but the demand for mares by the legendary stallion remains as strong as ever. Seven sold on Tuesday to the tune of 1,289,000gns at an average of almost 200,000gns which made him the most successful stallion of the opening day's trade. 

Basil Martini The Toast Of Haras du Thenney

Etienne Drion of Haras du Thenney made a flying visit to Newmarket for the July Sale with the aim of sourcing a classy broodmare prospect for the Deauville farm and left home for France a very happy man after buying Basil Martini (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) (lot 191) for 190,000gns.

A Group 3 winner for Joseph O'Brien as a juvenile last season, Basil Martini formed part of a small but select list for Drion, who made the visit a productive one. 

He said, “We came over this morning with 15 mares on our list. By the time we'd finished looking, we had five. All the other mares made too much money. She's a Group 3 winner at two and, while it's early days with regards to picking a stallion, she is an exciting mare for the farm. We'll go to a proven sire, I'd say, and we're happy with her.

“It's a young farm and we are building our broodmare band. We're slowly trying to get better quality mares. She's the only thing we bought today–that and a sandwich!”

Luckily for Drion, the sandwich didn't cost as much as Basil Martini, but he revealed how he thinks the latter could prove to be good value at 190,000gns. 

“We said we'd give it a go and we're happy to have gotten her. When we saw what the other mares were making, we didn't think we'd get her so, listen, you always want to pay less but there were so many people on the same mares, we knew we'd have to fork out a bit.”

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