Juddmonte Stock In Demand On Strong Third Day


Demi O’Byrne and Mathilde Texier | Laura Green/Tattersalls

By Emma Berry and Chris McGrath

NEWMARKET, UK—After hours adrift in a sluggish third session of the Tattersalls December Sale, bidders here yesterday suddenly began paddling hard towards the pink-and-green sail that appeared on the horizon as night fell. For the Juddmonte draft, besides rescuing the day’s trade, offered the kind of genetic surplus that could keep newer and/or lesser breeding operations afloat for generations to come.

No fewer than nine of the day’s top dozen prices were duly paid for the choicest of the 36 lots culled from Prince Khalid’s lovingly nurtured families, for an aggregate 3,969,000gns. Hectic international competition was crowned by the 750,000gns paid by Demi O’Byrne for the 3-year-old Time Saver (GB) (Frankel {GB}) on behalf of Aquis Farm.

The Juddmonte transfusion put the whole session back on its feet, contributing to overall turnover of 5,991,300gns (+14%), at an average price of 30,568gns( +19%) and median of 14,000gns (+40%).

O’Byrne Weighs In
There was a dual-hemisphere battle for lot 2135, Time Saver (GB), the Frankel (GB) half-sister to Group 1 winners Timepiece (GB) (Zamindar) and Passage Of Time (GB) (Dansili {GB}). Demi O’Byrne, standing across the ring from Paul Shanahan and Timmy Hyde on the rope, had the final say for Aquis Farm, but the Australian operation had to stretch to 750,000gns for the unraced 3-year-old.

“She’s a very good-looking filly and she could be covered here [in Europe], it’s not been decided yet,” said O’Byrne.

Like Enable (GB), Time Saver is inbred 3×2 to Sadler’s Wells and, as is to be expected when buying into a Juddmonte family, she has plenty of depth to her pedigree. Along with her aforementioned siblings, her dam Clepsydra (GB) has produced another two black-type winners in the Dansili brothers Father Time (GB) and Continuum (GB), while her daughter Passage Of Time is the dam of young National Stud stallion Time Test (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). The four-time Group 1 winner Twice Over (GB) (Observatory) is also found under the second dam as the son of Clepsydra’s listed-winning half-sister Double Crossed (GB) (Caerleon).

Little Time Needed For Tunnel To Seem A Bargain
Having persevered to his absolute limit for the top lot of the day, Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock wasted no time securing consolation—promptly buying the next two into the ring for an aggregate 560,000gns.

Regarding the 260,000gns he gave for Time Tunnel (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), in fact, he was quickly asking himself whether consolation was too inadequate a word. For he had been required to give just about a third as much for essentially the same page, in lot 2136, as he had missed in the session topper, who is a half-sister to Time Tunnel’s dam Timepiece (GB) (Zamindar).

Time Tunnel has proved frustrating on the track for Dermot Weld this year, finishing second four times in seven maidens. But Brown felt that his client—an established and domestic one—would be gratified by the relative value she represented.

“I went as far as I could for the first one but actually this is exactly the same pedigree so with hindsight I’d have to be absolutely delighted,” he said. “Obviously you’re buying into a young part of the family and there’s a lot to come [Timepiece has meanwhile produced two foals by Dubawi (Ire)]. Look, buying into these Juddmonte families makes obvious sense because they’re as good breeders as there are.”

Sure enough, he immediately went to 300,000gns for lot 2137, Wild Rye (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}). A maiden winner for Pascal Bary at Le Touquet this summer, the 3-year-old is out of the very fertile producer Imbabala (GB) (Zafonic), whose seven other scorers include G1 Grand Prix de Paris winner Zambezi Sun (GB) (Dansili {GB}) and Group 2 winner Kalabar (GB) (Kahyasi {GB}).

“Again, there’s a huge amount happening in the page,” Brown reasoned. “The first dam nearly fills the whole page as it is, and I don’t think it takes a huge leap of faith to think that she will do so in the next five years or so.”

Though again unable to name his client, Brown explained that the two fillies were heading into different hands. “This one is for an owner-breeder and she will stay in England,” he said. “I’m delighted to get them both, because last night was extremely frustrating, the trade here’s just been so strong.”

Racine Heading Down Under
There was little danger of Australian agent Damon Gabbedy being missed by the auctioneer in a rather luminous jersey, but he joked that he could hardly proceed to France without being mistaken for a ‘gilet jaune’.

But no less lustrous is the Juddmonte page he will be exporting to Australia through Racine (GB) (Kingman {GB}) (lot 2126), who was confined to a solitary start for Dermot Weld but showed plenty of promise that day at Leopardstown last year.

“She’s to go to one of Victoria’s leading studs, Burnewang North, for Cathy Hains,” the Belmont Bloodstock agent explained. “This is Cathy’s first buy here but she was keen to tap into one of these good Juddmonte pedigrees. We did some research into the mare, apparently she had quite a lot of ability—she started favourite the day she ran—and for us she’ll be a great outcross, by an up-and-coming, budding champion sire. And of course she’s a daughter of a Group 1 winner, so that’s a major upgrade.”

That elite scorer is Proportional (GB) (Beat Hollow {GB}), who won the Prix Marcel Boussac in the care of Criquette Head and has produced Listed winner Variable (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) among her previous foals.

Oboe Hits Right Note For Regan
Eamonn Reilly, acting on behalf of Maurice Regan, went to 290,000gns for a half-sister to a mare already in the Newtown Anner Stud broodmare band, Entwine (Empire Maker), whose daughter Qabala (Scat Daddy) won this year’s G3 Nell Gwyn S. and was third in the 1000 Guineas. Regan’s latest acquisition is Oboe (Mizzen Mast), a winner last year at two and a full-sister to GII Goldika S. winner Filimbi.

“She’s off to stud in Ireland and she’ll be an easy mare to mate,” said Reilly of lot 2123.

Continuing the musical theme, Oboe is out of Kentucky Oaks victrix Flute (Seattle Slew), who has a number of stakes-producing daughters, including the dams of GI Ashland S. winner Weep No More (Mineshaft) and G3 Autumn S. winner Purser (Mizzen Mast). Farther back it is also the family of Epsom Classic winners Workforce (GB) (King’s Best) and Qualify (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}).

Double Strike For McStay
Mark McStay of Avenue Bloodstock, like Richard Brown a few minutes later, gave it both barrels in his determination to get into those precious Juddmonte bloodlines, buying lots 2113 and 2115 in short order.

First up was D’Ora Diva (Medaglia d’Oro), a 3-year-old who won a couple of races for Henri-Francois Devin. She is a half-sister to Group 2 winner Brooch (Empire Maker) and Listed scorer Caponata (Selkirk), out of another stakes winner in Daring Diva (GB) (Dansili {GB})—whose full sisters Emulous (GB) and First Sitting (GB) respectively add Group 1 and Group 3 laurels to the family.

After signing a 175,000gns docket, McStay remarked: “She’s a beautiful filly by a world-class international stallion who’s shaping up to be a fantastic broodmare sire, and obviously from a great Juddmonte family. I’m not sure of mating plans yet but she could be suited by a stallion like No Nay Never.”

Five minutes later McStay had added Frisella (GB) (Frankel {GB}) for 90,000gns. She broke her maiden for John Gosden at the third attempt at Chelmsford in March but was not seen again after disappointing on her next start. Nonetheless she’s a winner out of a winning half-sister to none other than Kingman (GB), with everything that family brings, so acquiring her for barely half her sire’s covering fee would seem pretty credible business.

Bell Returns To Bated Breath
Michael Bell enjoyed some success with Plait (GB), a daughter of Bated Breath (GB) bought for 10,000gns for the Juddmonte draft last December. The 4-year-old won on her first start in the colours of his wife Clare by 12 lengths and was resold on Wednesday for 38,000gns. The trainer was emboldened to repeat the plan with another filly by the same stallion, albeit with a more expensive purchase, the 84-rated Inhale (GB) (2118), who has won twice for Amanda Perrett.

“She hasn’t run since July but she had a flake on a joint which we know about and will treat. She is a long-term breeding prospect for the new owners,” Bell said after bidding 115,000gns. “She will race for a group of Irish owners with the plan being to aim to pick up some black type.”

Out of the Galileo (Ire) mare Innocent Air (GB) and thus bred on the same cross as Clipper Logistics’ G2 Boomerang S. winner Space Traveller (GB), Inhale is from the family of G1 Prix Marcel Boussac winner Proportional (GB) (Beat Hollow {GB}) and Classic-placed full-sister Vote Often (GB).

Clematis First Bloom Of Draft
The torpor of proceedings to that point had been brought to an abrupt end by the first of the Juddmonte draft, Clematis (First Defence) becoming the first of the day to make six figures as lot 2111.

An impressive debut winner this time last year for Charles Hills, the 3-year-old disappeared after disappointing in the Listed Pretty Polly S. at the Craven Meeting. But her page has meanwhile continued to grow in appeal, her dam being a half-sister to the mother of Siskin—a Classic candidate, as unbeaten winner of the G1 Keeneland Phoenix S., and by the same sire as this filly. Another of the dam’s siblings is the dam of champion Close Hatches, likewise by First Defence, and she has also done her bit for pedigree this year as dam of the very smart U.S. sophomore Tacitus (Tapit).

Moreover the mother of these classy producers is a full sister to champion Xaar (GB) (Zafonic). All in all, then, Stuart Thom of Galloway Stud must have been pleased to get her for 110,000gns.

“She’s for our client Rowan Watts,” Thom explained. “We bought her sister Sepal (Afleet Alex) who did very well [on the track] but unfortunately we haven’t been able to get her into foal. We’ll take this filly back to Woburn, and make some nomination plans. She looked very good when she won as a 2-year-old and it’s a very good family. Hopefully there will be a 2,000 Guineas winner on the page this time next year!”

Tweenhills And Widden Pair Up
Not for the first time was the unofficial Anglo-Australian partnership of Tweenhills and Widden Stud seen in action this week as David Redvers kept the momentum going after the final Juddmonte filly left the ring to sign for Orlaith (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) (lot 2145) at 185,000gns.

The two studs already ‘share’ the shuttle stallion Zoustar (Aus) and it is for him that the 2-year-old was selected as a future mate, whether next year or 2021.

Scottish-based trainer Iain Jardine has already proved himself to be an adept handler of Thoroughbreds and he has guided Orlaith, who was bred by Grange Stud and originally registered in the ownership of Susan Magnier, to two victories this season, including the listed St Hugh’s S. over the minimum trip at Newbury. Though overlooked at Fairyhouse when not sold at €14,500 as a yearling, Orlaith’s black-type win for James and Scott Fyffe ensured that she was one of the most expensive offerings of the day in her second sales outing.

“We will explore the option of racing on,” Redvers said. “Then we could either cover her later in the spring or next year. She’s a fast, precocious daughter of Fastnet Rock and it’s the perfect cross for Zoustar.”

Highclere Assembling Land Force Launch Party
Though she represented one of the more expensive transactions of the session at 200,000gns, Zain Hana (GB) (Shamardal) had actually cost even more in the same ring at the Craven Breeze-Up Sale of 2017. Secured for 320,000gns that day, she won on her York debut for Jeremy Noseda but only added a small handicap thereafter including when switched to John Butler.

But she had, of course, retained her looks and pedigree. In fact, the emergence of a useful young sibling this year in Group-placed juvenile Maxi Boy (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) has only enhanced the latter, while her dam is a half-sister to two Group 1 winners in Mandaean (GB) (Manduro {GB}) and Wavering (Ire) (Refuse To Bend {Ire}). Their mother Summertime Legacy (GB) (Darshaan {GB}), in turn, was a Group 3 winner who placed at the highest level.

Moreover her physique prompted Jake Warren, who purchased her as lot 2188, to describe her as “the jewel in the crown” for Highclere Stud’s new sire.

“We’re standing Land Force (Ire), our new stallion by No Nay Never, and we’ve been here all week looking for performance fillies to send him,” he explained. “We’ve found six or seven really good types, but this was the one we really wanted: she looks like she can produce really good, commercial foals.”

BIttersweet End To Illusion Fairytale
There were mixed feelings for Jonathan Portman as he cashed his due reward—or his share of it, at any rate—for spotting Mild Illusion (Ire) (Requinto {Ire}) here in Book 3 last year for just 1,000gns. Portman put together a partnership that then leased the filly to an enthusiastic syndicate of Stowe alumni (including television presenter Robert Cooper), who crowned a productive season when the filly won a Listed race on the Rowley Mile last month. Presented here as lot 2191, she duly brought 160,000gns from Tally-Ho Stud.

“It’s not a jump-for-joy moment,” her trainer said. “Horses like this don’t come along very often, so you miss them when they go. She’s a sweetheart, the most genuine, sound, good-tempered horse you could find, and they’re hard to replace. She’s never been impressive at home but always does what you ask her to do and comes alight on the racecourse. So it’s saying goodbye to a good horse and also a friend. But the money makes sense.”

Henry O’Callaghan was unable to say whether she will be covered or kept in training. If the latter, you would like to think there could yet be a reunion with a trainer whose eye for a bargain has previously been attested by Mrs Danvers (GB) (Hellvellyn {GB}), a £1,000 recruit who won the Weatherbys Super Sprint and the G3 Cornwallis S. in an unbeaten juvenile career.

James Cronin
The day started on a sombre note as news emerged of the death of James Cronin, a well known face on the sales circuit. The 38-year-old Irishman died on Tuesday morning, reportedly as the result of an accident at his lodgings in Newmarket.

Cronin, who has worked at the sales for Baroda Stud and Overbury Stud and looked after Derby winner Motivator (GB) during his racing days, was remembered during a minute’s silence on the sales ground and in an address from auctioneer John O’Kelly just prior to the start of the sale. We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

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