'Incredible' Book 2 Closes on a High

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A colt by Starspangledbanner topped Wednesday's session | Tattersalls

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NEWMARKET, UK-The prevailing mood at Park Paddocks this week has been a mixture of relief and amazement at the level of trade which, across each of three Book 2 sessions, has come close to matching the record sale of 2019.

Whether there is enough depth to the buying bench ultimately is questionable but there has certainly been variety and a decent amount of international participation which, in this year particularly, is remarkable.

Ever since the start of the breeze-up season, the general approach from vendors has been one of pragmatism, with realistic reserves generally being set to allow horses to be bought and sold in order to move on to the next sector of yearlings. Many consignors, when questioned on the state of the market prior to Book 2, expressed satisfaction that horses were being traded, even at a reduced rate, with most sales until now being down by between 20-40% on last year. But during this week, trade bounced back to the strength that has been seen at Book 2 over the previous three years, when turnover has been consistently above the 48 million-guinea mark following a big leap from 2016.

As the final yearlings of Wednesday were added to the ledger, the overall tally for the sale stood at 48,362,500gns, just 136,500gns adrift of last year. The clearance rate remained high at 85%, with 637 horses marked as sold (17 more than in 2019) from 747 offered. The average was down just 3% at 75,922gns and the median dropped 10% to 50,000gns.

The final session was almost a carbon copy of its counterpart 12 months ago, with 15,138,500gns being spent on 208 horses at a slightly improved clearance rate of 87%.

“Book 2 has without doubt benefitted from the momentum established at Book 1 and similar to last week, the buyers have consistently remarked on the quality of the stock being offered,” said Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony at the conclusion of the sale.

“As ever the consignors from Britain, Ireland, France and Germany have presented us with a catalogue of genuine quality and the buyers have demonstrated that, even in these challenging times, there is a global appetite for quality bloodstock and the sport of horseracing. Participation from throughout the Gulf region continues to be hugely influential and the sustained involvement from American, Australian and Hong Kong interests has also been notable alongside determined domestic involvement.”

Maktoum Support

The top lot of the day came near the end of the session when Anthony Stroud went to 360,000gns for lot 1323, a colt by Starspangledbanner (Aus) consigned from James Hanly's Ballyhimikin Stud. The half-brother to stakes-placed Kodiak West (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) is out of the winning Cadeaux Genereux (GB) mare Violet's Gift (Ire).

Hanly, who also bred the colt, said, “We felt he was a very special horse all the way along and we love Starspangledbanner. I just want to thank Helen and Frisk [Jones] who do the daily hard work, and for minding this horse so well.”

He continued, “This is a family we have had forever, we bred every single horse on the page. They are all very fast horses so hopefully this one will continue and will add to the family. It's lovely to be able to show horses such as this, it's a pleasure to be around them.”

Stroud and his business partner Matt Coleman have been busy for a range of clients this week with a number of their 32 purchases being made on behalf of Godolphin. Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell operation bought 36 yearlings and Rabbah Bloodstock bought 17, leading to a conservative estimate that the Maktoum family and associates accounted for almost a quarter of the Book 2 turnover, following on from almost 20 million gns being spent by Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan during Book 1.

“We're lucky to have the sale going on and there has been a great vibe from lots of different buyers,” said Stroud. “I think we are all grateful to the Maktoum family for everything they've done for the industry and it just shows their true mettle—to support the sale and to support people's livelihoods—in times like this it gives one hope. All these breeders have to breed their mares next year.”

He added, “We can't underestimate how much Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan have done. It's quite humbling.”

Top Fillies For Coolmore

The father-and-son training team of Simon and Ed Crisford recruited the top filly of the final session in partnership with MV Magnier. Lot 1111, a daughter of Coolmore's first-season sire Churchill (Ire), was signed for at 340,000gns and will join her half-brother, the five-time winner Roulston Scar (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), in the Crisford stable.

“She is very racy and athletic, and she showed herself off well. MV Magnier really loved her and she will be for a Coolmore partnership,” said Simon Crisford.

Bred by Denis Brosnan's Epona Bloodstock and offered through his Croom House Stud, the filly is a daughter of GIII Miesque S. runner-up Pussycat Lips (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), who has produced two black-type performers from her three runners to date.

Churchill was the leading freshman sire at Book 2 with 16 sold for 1,468,000gns and an average of 91,750gns and, while he has it all to prove, his tried-and-tested stud mate Mastercraftsman (Ire) appeared on the leaderboard alongside the day's second-most expensive filly (lot 1215). The sister to treble winner and listed-placed Simannka (Ire) is another who will be joining the Coolmore ranks, having been bought by Cormac McCormack on their behalf from breeder Denis McDonnell for 325,000gns.

“I bought [dam] Simkana (Ire) from the Aga Khan after she had foaled Simannka and this is a nicer filly than Simannka,” said McDonnell, who added that the mare's Kalanisi (Ire) half-sister to Sinndar (Ire), has a Ribchester (Ire) filly foal and is in foal to Zoffany (Ire).

Breath Held In High Regard

Juddmonte makes the occasional foray into the yearling market and backed up last week's purchase of a Frankel (GB) colt with another by Oasis Dream (GB).

Lot 1108 was brought to Book 2 by Newsells Park Stud on behalf of breeder Robert Barnett and the colt represents a family intrinsically linked with the Barnett family's former breeding base of Fair Winter Farm. His grandam Pure Grain (GB) (Polish Precedent) won both the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks in the Barnett colours during her champion 3-year-old season. The colt, who sold for 310,000gns, is a full-brother to the Richard Hannon-trained juvenile Pure Dreamer (GB), who has placed three times this season and was beaten a short-head at Windsor on Monday.

The team at Juddmonte will doubtless have enjoyed the week of sales results for homebred stallion Bated Breath (GB), whose excellent year on the track has been reflected in the ring. After having a yearling sell for a new high for 260,000gns on Tuesday, that was surpassed twice during the final session of Book 2.

First up was lot 1205, Redpender Stud's colt out of Shy Audience (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}), who was sold to Matt Coleman for 280,000gns.

The dam is a daughter of Redpender's star broodmare Danetime Out (Ire) (Danetime {Ire}), who is also the dam of former champion 2-year-old Toormore (Ire) (Arakan) and dual Group 2 winner Estidhkaar (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}). The 6-year-old mare was bred by stud owner Jimmy Murphy's sons Brian and Eoghan Murphy.

“I bought the mare from them as a yearling,” he explained. “She has a colt foal by Expert Eye (GB) and is now in foal to Dandy Man (Ire).”

Shy Audience has already been represented by a winner with her first foal to race this year, Harold Shand (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), and her yearling will eventually be off to Hong Kong to be trained by John Size.

“He is ideal for Hong Kong,” Coleman said. “He has plenty of strength and size and a great attitude. Bated Breath is a proven horse and his stock go on fast ground. He gets fast horses, and we are trying to buy a horse with good physicality, with a good pedigree, by a proven sire that goes on fast ground. That Dansili line works very well out there.”

The Redpender colt didn't hold the record for long as towards the end of the day, Rory Mahon's Mountain View Stud presented one of the best pinhooks of the day in lot 1301.

The Bated Breath colt out of Tremelo Pointe (Ire) (Trempolino) brought the hammer down at 290,000gns, having been bought as a foal for 67,000gns from his breeder Lord Margadale. His full-brother Landshark topped the Goresbridge Breeze-up Sale three years ago at €210,000 and was a winner and Group 3-placed for Jessica Harrington.

The colt was one of 36 yearlings bought through Book 2 by Angus Gold for Shadwell.

“I've found it harder than normal to buy horses this week,” said Gold when reflecting on the bumper Book 2 trade. “Sheikh Mohammed making it so strong is fantastic for the industry but it made it harder for us, hence we've had to spend a little bit more than we thought we'd have to. But it has been incredible the support the whole business has had considering where we are in the world. It's pretty incredible that we've had a sale at all and, as one vendor said to me, this has given people a bit of a lifeline.”

He added, “Fair play to all the people who have supported the sale. The whole business is built on wonderful optimism.”

Gold's one issue of concern over the sale is the long sessions in Book 2, each of which this week has run for around 11 hours until at least 9 p.m. He said, “I do think these days are too long, particularly for the staff, who start very early in the morning. I think we need to do something about it, whether it is to have fewer horses or more sessions, because it's not fair on the staff.”

Gold also noted that Sheikh Hamdan has recovered well from a recent illness. “He sounds in great form and is hopefully back to his best,” he said.

Stallion Diversity

If the buying bench was diverse, so too was the list of stallions achieving decent results in Book 2. The top 20 yearlings for the sale as a whole were by 17 different stallions, including Kingman (GB), who provided Monday's top lot and was also represented on Wednesday by lot 1192, the Barton Stud-consigned colt which sold for 260,000gns to Shadwell.

Faisal Mishref Al Qahtani bought Secret Keeper (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) in foal to Pivotal (GB) for 45,000gns in December 2015. This was the second good result for the breeder with the offspring of Kingman at the October Sale.

Tom Blain of Barton Stud said,  “My client has been incredibly loyal to the stud. We sold another Kingman colt for him in Book 1 to Mike Ryan and we love doing well for him, he is great man. The mare boards with us and she is from a great Cheveley Park Stud family. She has produced some lovely stock and this colt is by far and away her best individual.”

Barton Stud ended the sale as third-leading vendor with 18 yearlings sold for 1,834,000gns.

Just as in Book 1, Newsells Park Stud filled the top spot on the consignors' list, selling 24 yearlings at an average price of 119,917gns, including the sale-topping Lope De Vega (Ire) colt at 675,000gns.

The continued demand for Ballylinch Stud's Lope De Vega saw him achieve an average price of 126,938gns from 16 yearlings sold in the last three days. His young stablemate New Bay (GB) also proved extremely popular with an average of 160,143 gns from seven yearlings.

Chairman's Gratitude

Plenty of people in attendance at Park Paddocks over the last fortnight have expressed their gratitude towards Tattersalls for being able to stage the sale in trying circumstances. Edmond Mahony, in his closing statement also issued his thanks to the who have contributed to its success.

He said, “At the conclusion of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale last week we expressed our sincere thanks to all those who contributed to a yearling sale which, although conducted amidst a backdrop of global turmoil, performed with remarkable resilience. The message at the conclusion of Book 2 of the October Yearling Sale is very similar. We are enormously grateful to every single participant over the past three days, not only for their individual contributions to a sale which has held up remarkably well under the circumstances, but for working with us every step of the way in our efforts to stage the sale in as safe an environment as possible. The COVID pandemic continues to wreak havoc in all walks of life and to have conducted nine sales here at Park Paddocks since the last week of June is a mighty achievement by all concerned and could not have happened without a huge collective effort.”

He added, “Newmarket is very much the hub of the European racing and breeding industries and the last few weeks have demonstrated that, despite all the obstacles, business has been able to continue, albeit at lower levels than in recent years. Newmarket has an extraordinary and unique infrastructure and never more has this been apparent than at Books 1 and 2 of the 2020 Tattersalls October Yearling Sales. Tomorrow we move on to Book 3 of the October Yearling Sale which is another Tattersalls yearling sale that consistently attracts buyers at all levels of the market  and we will conclude the 2020 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale on Saturday with Book 4.”

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