Kodiac Colt Leads The Way At Tattersalls

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Lot 29, a colt by Kodiac (GB), brought 525,000gns | De Burgh Productions

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NEWMARKET, UK—We know that these breeze-up consignors have nerves of steel: otherwise they simply couldn't do the job. As such, the bloodstock industry could not have appointed a better echelon to test the stormy waters of the last couple of years, when they were first to be broadsided by the pandemic and then tried to put things back on an even keel last year. The opening session of the opening sale of the European circuit, then, gave them a chance to put their world back on its axis—even as they found themselves having to navigate the fresh uncertainties of war and soaring energy costs. And the initial signs were most promising.

All sectors of the bloodstock market, on both sides of the ocean, soaked up the Covid crisis with astounding resilience. But the Craven Sale understandably subsided from the boom that had peaked in 2017 and 2018 with averages exceeding 140,000gns, clocking an average over the past two years of 95,000gns and 86,000gns, respectively.

But the opening exchanges here represented a huge rally. Albeit the clearance rate slipped a little, the average for the first session roared up 22% from 99,769gns to 121,365gns; with the median also advancing nicely from 80,00gns to 86,000gns. Turnover was only marginally down (3%) despite withdrawals leading to a diminished offering: 52 of 67 sold, compared with 65 of 76 last year.

Obviously a breeze-up catalogue tends to be very uneven, depending where the fastest breezers may be lurking, and that volatility can be exaggerated in a relatively boutique offering. So we'll see how things stack up after Wednesday's second session, but the first impressions were certainly heartening.

Loughnane Tops Session For 525,000gns Kodiac Colt

Some of the most extraordinary chapters in the extraordinary story of Kodiac (GB) have been written at the breeze-ups, and there was another one here when David Loughnane signed a 525,000gns docket to make lot 29 the sire's most valuable 2-year-old yet.

The February colt was presented by the farm that has supervised the rise and rise of Kodiac, Tally-Ho Stud—and that operation's trademark acuity is condensed by the fact that they acquired his dam No Lippy (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}) for just 20,000gns at the 2018 December Sale here. This was a full-sister to stakes winner Polybius (GB), and the winner of three of her first four juvenile starts; while her mother Freedonia (GB) (Selkirk) won the G2 Prix de Pomone before being Grade I-placed on turf in the U.S. And now No Lippy's first foal into the sales ring has hit the ball out of the park.

“I loved everything about him,” Loughnane said after seeing off underbidder Oliver St Lawrence. “He looks an out-and-out Royal Ascot horse. His dam was a very good 2-year-old for Mark Johnston, and he's a lovely, very well-balanced horse that did an exceptional breeze, the second-fastest of the lot. Fingers crossed he can back it up on the track, but the sire has obviously done it year in, year out, and he comes from a very good farm.”

Loughnane said he was acting on behalf of a new syndicate, and signed jointly in the name of OMNI Horse. “I knew he wasn't going to be cheap, but thankfully I have some owners who are willing to back me,” he said.

He has given them ample grounds for doing so, after his best season yet in 2021—not least thanks to Go Bears Go (Ire), who won the G2 Railway S. after his 150,000gns acquisition at this sale. That colt is by Kodi Bear (Ire), himself penning a new chapter for Kodiac as a sire of sires.

Mehmas Follows In Studmate Kodiac's Slipstream

Tally-Ho received another handsome dividend—and some corresponding compliments—when Ross Doyle gave 300,000gns for lot 65, a February filly by their latest phenomenon Mehmas (Ire). It was at this same sale in 2016, of course, that the agent and his father Peter bought the son of Acclamation (GB) from Horse Park Farm for 170,000gns.

“This filly comes from one of the very best farms in the game,” the agent said. “And of course we're all huge fans of the sire. He's been very good to a lot of people already, ourselves included, and obviously Richard Hannon is a massive fan too. He has done magnificently well at Tally-Ho.”

The dam Soft Power (Ire) (Balmont) has already hit the bull's eye for the farm, another of whose young sires, Galileo Gold (GB), covered her in his debut season—and promptly came up with G1 Phoenix S. winner Ebro River (Ire). Soft Power is a half-sister to the dam of star sprinter Slade Power (Ire) (Dutch Art {GB}).

Doyle expects that his unnamed client will ultimately seek residual value from that page, but hopes that she will enhance it first. “She looks like she would do what it says on the tin: hopefully, she's a real 2-year-old,” he said. “There's a lot of speed on the page. If she can run like the way she looked [on Monday], you'd hope there might be some black type along the way.”

But Doyle had kept some powder dry for the very last lot into the ring, the wildcard 81A. This was a filly by Zoustar (Aus) picked up by Midland Equine, Ltd. at Arqana last August for €75,000. Having meanwhile lodged with Robson Aguiar, here she elevated her value giddily to 400,000gns.

“She's outstanding,” enthused Doyle, this time operating for a new client. “I haven't seen a filly like that for a long time. She's an unbelievable individual: she has a lovely big ear, an honest head, everything is in the right place and she takes everything very easy. She breezed well, and comes highly recommended from a very good home.”

For his part, Aguiar had earlier done a productive sale with another filly by a young stallion, converting the Tasleet filly (lot 54) he bought for 75,000gns at the Tattersalls Somerville Sale into a 200,00gns purchase for Kerri Radcliffe/OMNI Horse.

Parr On The Trail Of The Champion

Speaking to TDN on the eve of the sale, Norman Williamson of Oak Tree Farm had not disguised his enthusiasm for the War Front colt he brought here as lot 39—and that counted for plenty, in the man who sold subsequent champion juvenile Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) here this time last year.

There was corresponding demand for a colt that had slipped through the cracks of Book 1 at Keeneland last year, but it was agent Ted Durcan who gave Satish Seemar no way back at 425,000gns.

But while Native Trail joined the Godolphin powerhouse, this was a striking roll of the dice for an ambitious name at the other end of the town's training spectrum. Joseph Parr is only embarking on his third season, but here he could be grateful for some extremely purposeful backing from patron Oliver Harris.

“He's a smashing-looking horse from a marvellous stable,” said Durcan. “He's fairly self-explanatory, really. He did a smashing breeze and he's just a beautiful stamp of a horse. He's obvious and you have to pay for them.”

Durcan expects that the horse will be one for seven furlongs and Williamson concurs that he has the build to keep progressing.

War Front is the sire of another of Williamson's star graduates in GI Preakness winner War Of Will. The consignor stressed his gratitude to Mark McStay, who completed a $170,000 private sale through his Avenue Bloodstock agency after this horse went through the ring unsold at that price.

“I have to give Mark a mention,” Williamson said. “He knew I'd had luck with War Of Will, and he said, 'Listen there's a War Front colt out here that's not been sold.' Tim Hyde [Jr.] went out to the farm and took videos and all the rest, but really without Mark we wouldn't have got him.”

Williamson was emphatic when asked whether this colt evoked War Of Will. “Yes,” he said firmly. “He's very similar: action, attitude, he's always fresh and happy with life, which is interesting. If he's as good, then we'll be more than happy. For a War Front, size and build-wise, he's big and strong with a lot of scope. Let's hope he's a racehorse, but he really is beautiful and his breeze was beautiful too.”

War Front's books have been managed with care and his dam earned her access as a graded stakes-placed daughter of Giant's Causeway, out of G1 Oaks d'Italia winner Meridiana (Ger) (Lomitas {GB}).

 Yet Another Admirer For Tally-Ho

The system really is working well, so the “send-more-money” bit should take care of itself. Richard Brown wasn't quite sure which of Blandford Bloodstock's clients would step up to the plate for a Night Of Thunder colt consigned by Tally-Ho Stud as lot 9—but he is confident that it will be a privilege well worth 225,000gns.

That's partly because of the way this colt, a €77,000 Goffs November foal, captivated the agent's attention with both his build and his breeze. But it's also because Blandford and Tally-Ho have clicked so often in the past.

True, some of their deepest gold strikes have been at Doncaster—most notably Dream Ahead (Diktat {GB}), a £36,000 bargain back in 2010; Ardad (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), who also proved great value even as a £170,000 co-sale topper at the same auction in 2016; and now, with a turn of the wheel, a son of that horse in Perfect Power (Ire), bought for £110,000 last year before adding two Group 1 wins to his Royal Ascot success. And Brown also has high hopes for another of Richard Fahey's charges, Umm Kulthum (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), confined to a light second season but expected to take high rank as a mature sprinter.

“We have a long and happy history with Tally-Ho,” Brown said. “We've gone back to them for many years now and it's been a source of so many good horses. This colt did a fabulous breeze, I loved all of it. I'm a huge fan of the sire and I'd say he has set sail to reach another level again. I don't have a client as such for him, but I am sure there'll be plenty who will want to train a colt like this!”

The sales pitch should feature his damsire Ghostzapper as a promising addition to a line of classy broodmare sires, plus a half-sister to multiple Grade I winner Magical Fantasy (Diesis {GB}) as second dam.

Seemar Bookends The Session With Dubai Exports

It didn't take long to ignite the session, with Satish Seemar forced to 210,000gns to export only the second lot into the ring—a €45,000 Orby pinhook by Johnny Collins of Brown Island Stables.

It was Collins who led the breeze-up sector's fightback in the chaos of 2020, topping this sale when it was eventually staged (in late June) with a 575,000gns Night Of Thunder colt (who, incidentally, broke his maiden for Chris Waller in Australia just a couple of weeks ago).

This lucrative debut at the breeze-ups was obviously a feather in the cap of rookie Saxon Warrior (Jpn), who is off the mark in France already and was here represented by a February colt out of a winning Sea The Stars (Ire) mare.

“With his low [catalogue] number, we were happy to find one at the beginning of the sale,” said Seemar. “One of our regular clients in Dubai has a liking for the Japanese breeding so it was perfect match. As an individual, this horse was very impressive, and he passed the vet the way we like. But I knew with [the] action he was getting we would have to pay a premium—which we did.”

The trainer believes that a young horse will adapt to whatever surface is suggested, and that we should resist assumptions. Dirt will certainly be offered to the horse, then, but to Seemar the key is that young horses of sufficient quality are introduced to the maturing local programme.

“We've been working hard at getting breeze-up horses for the last six years or so,” he said. “If you don't bring in new blood then the programme will never improve. He will ship in a couple of weeks, acclimatise and should be for November or December.”

Having pounced early, Seemar bookended the session by giving 230,00gns for one of the final lots into the ring: a Medaglia d'Oro colt presented as lot 75 by Powerstown Stud.

Collins, meanwhile, pulled off another fine pinhook with an Oasis Dream (GB) colt he had bought at Baden-Baden for €58,000. Here, presented as lot 47, he made 310,000gns from Godolphin.

The previous time he went prospecting for yearlings in Germany, he came back with future G1 Preis Von Europa winner Khan (Ger) (Santiago {Ger})—albeit he sold him at Arqana at a loss.

“I bought three horses, including Khan,” Collins recalled. “It's going to be hard to beat that—though Khan didn't make me any money! This was a beautiful yearling with a great walk, I was surprised that I got him to be honest. He has been a lovely horse all the way through, and shown us a lot of speed. If you go through his pedigree, he's probably bred to get a mile-plus, but I'll let Charlie Appleby be the judge of that!”

Certainly his new owners won't want to end up on the same slide as Khan—who was actually last seen winning over hurdles at Ludlow in January!

The sale resumes at 5.30pm on Wednesday.

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