Juddmonte Back To The Fore

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Classic breeders Tanya and John Gunther at Tattersalls | Laura Green

By Emma Berry

NEWMARKET, UK—The traditional Wednesday evening slot for the Juddmonte fillies in and out of training delivered exactly what has come to be expected as the December Sale cranked down a notch from the frenetic trade of Tuesday.

A pair of 3-year-olds from celebrated families and by top-class sires shared the spotlight when each selling for 400,000gns just four lots apart. A number of the international visitors had disappeared from Park Paddocks by the third session of the sale but still in situ and waiting for the second part of their favourite draft were John Gunther and his daughter Tanya, who have enjoyed the sort of year that all breeders dream about.

It will be hard to top a year in which Glennwood Farm produced a Triple Crown winner in Justify and then celebrated a Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot in the Gunthers’ own colours, but the family is reinvesting in some European bloodlines in a bid to keep the top-level winners coming.

“You have to keep working,” John Gunther said with a smile as he signed the docket for lot 2204, Weekday (GB), a once-raced daughter of Dansili (GB), whose recent accomplishments as a broodmare sire include the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Expert Eye (GB) (Acclamation {GB}) and Saturday’s GI Matriarch S. winner Uni (GB) (More Than Ready).

“I bought Posset from the same spot so I just couldn’t stop bidding,” he adds. “She’s a lovely mare from a Juddmonte family with a couple of Dubawis to come [from her dam]. I’ve been so lucky with Juddmonte over the years—Without Parole is by Frankel—and I didn’t want to leave without buying something from the draft.”

Posset (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), a sister to Midday (GB) and a 625,000gns purchase four years ago, could yet be responsible for the Gunthers’ silks being carried to further glory in Britain and her first foal, the unraced 2-year-old Make My Day (GB) (Galileo {GB}), is in training with John Gosden and holds a Derby entry. Weekday will join her fellow Juddmonte-bred to Newsells Park Stud, the Gunthers’ choice of boarding farm in Britain, and is likely to visit Kingman (GB).

Reflecting on a memorable 2018, Gunther added, “It’s been a very exciting year with Justify winning the Triple Crown. You know, you just dream of breeding a Kentucky Derby winner and then for him to win the Triple Crown, it still hasn’t really sunk in yet. And then we went to Royal Ascot with our first runner and Without Parole won the St James’s Palace. To top it all, Prince Harry and Meghan presented us with the trophy. It was the best day of my life.”

The other Juddmonte filly to reach 400,000gns was Supporter (2200), a daughter of Dubawi and, more importantly, a grand-daughter of Hasili (GB) being out of the unraced Very Good News (Empire Maker).

Trainer Roger Varian was charged with bidding on behalf of his patron Nurlan Bizakov, whose Group 3 winner Altyn Orda (Ire) (Kyllachy {GB}) chased home Alpha Centauri (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) for second in the G1 Falmouth S. Also among the string of horses Varian trains for Bizakov are the G3 Chartwell Fillies’ S. winner Tomyris (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and listed winner Rasima (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}).

“Nurlan Bizakov is building a strong broodmare band at Hesmonds Stud and looking to add some decent blood the farm, so she certainly fits the profile,” said Varian of Supporter, a half-sister to the G1 Irish St Leger-placed Weekender (GB) (Frankel {GB}). “He’s had a very good year on the track and has some nice fillies in training.”

The third day of the mares’ sale couldn’t match last year’s equivalent session, with reductions in all sectors bar a very strong clearance rate of 87%. With 205 horses sold—22 more than on the same day last year—turnover was down by 19% to 5,257,800gns, while the average fell by 28% to 25,648gns and the median by 47% to 10,000gns.

Frankel Fillies In Demand
While the idea of digging deep for a Frankel (GB) cover is first and foremost to get yourself a racehorse, it would be easy to argue that the same kind of sum simply to take his unraced daughter Rekindle (GB) to the paddocks still represents pretty good value, given the page she brings with her.

That was certainly the way Jono Mills of Rabbah was viewing things after securing lot 2196, another of the Juddmonte fillies, at 170,000gns. The 3-year-old Rekindle (GB) is the first foal out of the G3 Nell Gwyn S. winner and Group 1-placed Hot Snap (GB) (Pivotal {GB})—obviously by a celebrated broodmare sire, and a half-sister to the six-time Group/Grade 1 winner Midday (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}). Their dam, moreover, is a half-sister to two elite performers in Elmaamul (Diesis {GB}) and Reams Of Verse (Nureyev).

It would be hard to put a price on access to such a family, not least as the dam is so young—this filly so far being followed only by a juvenile full-brother named Home Fire (GB), and a filly foal by Galileo (Ire). Moreover Midday’s half-sister by Frankel, Sun Maiden (GB), is staying in training after her Group 2 podium in the Ribblesdale S.

“Yes, obviously it’s a cracking pedigree but you’d like to think it can only go one way,” Mills reasoned. “They say the brother’s very nice, so fingers crossed we can get a few updates under the first dam, because that is a lovely page.”

Mills, who shortly afterwards walked away as underbidder to the joint-highest price of the day (2204), said that Rekindle had not been bought with a specific cover in mind.

Another unraced daughter of Frankel, lot 2203 Truva (GB), brought 150,000gns from Ever Union Shokai. She is a half-sister to the smart juvenile Sangarius (GB) (Kingman {GB}), who ran fourth in the G1 Dewhurst S. after his listed success at Doncaster this year, out of an Empire Maker daughter of Banks Hill (GB)—one of the champion performers who qualified her dam Hasili (Ire) (Kahyasi {Ire}) as one of the all-time broodmare legends.

Casse Steps Up For Etreham
Haras d’Etreham enjoyed Grade I success as breeders over the weekend via the Matriarch S. victrix Uni (GB) (More Than Ready) and the French farm added a member of the Juddmonte draft to its ranks on Wednesday with the purchase of At Your Pleasure (GB) (War Front). Justin Casse stepped in to do the bidding on behalf of the absent Nicolas de Chambure and, after signing the ticket for lot 2182 for 175,000gns, said, “I agreed with Nicolas in thinking that she is very good physically—a good walker with a nice shape to her. She’s a winner and of course the stallion is very popular. The plan is for her to go to Almanzor (Fr).”

Also on the side of the 3-year-old filly is the fact that she is the daughter of four-time American and Canadian Grade I winner Ventura (Chester House) but her page also includes plenty of black-type winners from farther afield—Australia, Hong Kong, France, Ireland and Britain included.

John and Peter Fagan had bought the listed-winning Havre De Paix (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) for 230,000gns through agent Suzanne Roberts on Tuesday and returned to the ring on Wednesday to add Clique (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}) to their Deerpark Stud broodmare band for 110,000gns. Sold as lot 2186, the 3-year-old was a winner earlier this year for Dermot Weld and is a half-sister to three stakes winners in Stronghold (GB) (Danehill), Convey (GB) (Dansili {GB}) and Take The Hint (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}).

Musical Art To The Paddocks
Though he was unable to share details of his clients or their plans, beyond her staying in Europe to be covered, a familiar and welcome face was on hand to sign—in the name of Avenue Bloodstock—for lot 2216 Musical Art (Ire) (Dutch Art {GB}).

John Ferguson, Sheikh Mohammed’s former bloodstock manager, is spending a lot of time nowadays exploring opportunities in the Australian and Japanese markets, but had picked out an appealing prospect here at 190,000gns.

The 3-year-old did not go on this year but was placed in the G3 Princess Margaret S. for Paul Cole as a juvenile, after winning at Newbury on her debut. She is out of a listed-placed Barathea (Ire) half-sister to that top-class filly Finsceal Beo (Ire) (Mr Greeley) as well as to another Classic winner in Frozen Power (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}), who won the G2 Mehl-Mulhens Rennen (German 2000 Guineas).

 Vivianite to Watson
The Ballygallon Stud homebred Vivianite (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) will continue her racing career in the UK after Tom Biggs of Blandford Bloodstock went to 160,000gns to buy her for a client of Lambourn trainer Archie Watson.

“She’ll race on next year after a little break to freshen her up,” said Biggs. “Her form is decent and she has plenty to recommend her on pedigree.”

Fourth in a listed race on her most recent start at Naas for Michael Halford, the 3-year-old (lot 2177) is now rated 93 and was a winner over a mile back in August. A half-sister to four winners, she is out of the listed-placed Crystany (Ire) (Green Desert), herself a daughter of Watership Down Stud’s G1 Fillies’ Mile winner Crystal Music (Nureyev).

Roedean Heads To Smart Nursery
Kingman (GB) has quickly made a fan of David Redvers, who credits the young Juddmonte sire not only with the best juvenile in whom his Qatar Racing patrons have a stake—namely the impressive Haydock winner Sparkle Roll (Fr), a half-sister to Wings Of Eagles (Fr)—but also with one of their very best acquisitions at the yearling sales. But a Kingman cover was just the icing on the cake as Redvers gave 125,000gns for lot 2117, Roedean (Ire) (Oratorio {Ire}), a half-sister to G3 Fred Darling and G3 Princess Margaret S. winner Maureen (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}).

“She’s by Oratorio, who I like as a broodmare sire, out of a mare by Linamix (Fr), who I love as a broodmare sire,” Redvers said of the 9-year-old, evidently repatriated from Saudi Arabia since commencing a covering career that began with four-time winner Beepeecee (GB) (Henrythenavigator).  “We have the yearling out of Maureen, who we absolutely love and is going to William Haggas; and we also own Lady Dragon (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) [stakes-placed daughter of the dam’s half-sister], and we think it’s a very active, lively family.”

Redvers specified that he had been acting on his own account, being eager to capitalise on exciting times at Tweenhills Stud—where there are three outstanding new names on the roster for 2019.

“We’re trying to buy some high-quality mares to maximise the opportunity presented by standing stallions of the calibre of Zoustar (Aus), Lightning Spear (GB) and obviously Roaring Lion,” he explained. “And the covering should suit her, physically, besides everything we all know Kingman has done. With that, and a following wind, you’d be optimistic you could be out [of the red] in one year.”

O’Callaghans Strike Early
The only six-figure sales of a sluggish morning session were both picked out by the expert eyes of the O’Callaghan clan. First was lot 2018, Annie Capri (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), an unraced 3-year-old half-sister to half a dozen winners—including dual listed scorer Mister Manannan (Ire) (Desert Style {Ire}) and the group-placed dam of G1 Phoenix S. winner Sudirman (Henrythebavigator)—and from the further family of Dandy Man (Ire). Consigned by Castlefarm Stud, she was knocked down for 100,000gns to return to Yeomanstown, where she had been prepared when raising £210,000 as a Goffs UK Premier yearling.

Tally-Ho Stud meanwhile gave the same sum for lot 2065, the hard-knocking 6-year-old Home Cummins (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}), a listed-placed four-time winner for Richard Fahey. She is a half-sister to the stable’s dual Group winner Forest Ranger (Ire) (Lawman {Fr}), their dam Alava (Ire) (Anabaa) being a listed winner in France, and arrived with the benefit of a Twilight Son (GB) cover.

The final session of the December Sale starts today at 9.30am.

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