Less Drama, But a Stronger Script


Lot 817, one of the co-toppers | Tattersalls


NEWMARKET, UK–Anyone who has hiked in the mountains knows that what really counts is not the altitude of the occasional summit, but the aggregate climb. And that certainly proved the case in the second session of Book 2 at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale: while it could not match the dramatic twin peaks of the previous day, when the sale record was broken twice over, the market actually proved stronger throughout.

The tone was set by the very first animal into the ring, who was valued at less than half either of the record-breakers. At 425,000gns, even so, she made a sum that beat anything else achieved the previous day-and would only be matched once during a day of very solid trade.

In the opening session, despite those two spectacular sales, the median had been unchanged on last year at 55,000gns. Yesterday, it advanced by 13% from 57,500gns to 65,000gns. The average moved forward 6%, too, from 78,592gns to 83,239gns.

Overall, a very similar volume of traffic (240 offered, compared with 247) saw session turnover creep up 3% to 17,230,500gns from 16,661,500gns-with the clearance rate holding firm at a very healthy 86%.

Longview Filly Lands Running

Regardless of how things then settled down, there was certainly a pretty slick transfer of the baton after those giddy proceedings the previous evening. Alastair Pim–who had then presided over the first seven-figure sale in Book 2 history, a Dark Angel (Ire) filly sold to Sheikh Hamdan–took the rostrum as the first lot entered the ring and promptly requested 300,000gns for her.

In the event, he had to make do with an opening salvo of 100,000gns, but bidding quickly spiralled for a Night Of Thunder filly consigned by Longview Stud. Once again, with Sheikh Hamdan back on the grounds and clearly not sated, Shadwell appeared to be driving the early pace. In the end, however, it was Charlie Gordon-Watson who landed lot 817 at 425,000gns.

That represented a terrific profit on the €77,000 she had cost Brysheil Stud at Goffs last November as the first foal of a winning sister to G2 Prix Eugene Adam winner Harland (GB) (Halling). The pair also have an accomplished half-sister in dual Group 1 runner-up Musis Amica (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}), extending the prolific family under this filly’s Kentucky Oaks-winning third dam White Star Line.

“It’s for a new project,” Gordon-Watson said coyly, adding only that it was U.K.-based. “She’s a very nice type, with a good back pedigree, and the sire’s doing very well so it’s all there.”

The consignors were following up some good work in Book 1 last week, where they banked 1,975,000gns for two sales, and they realised another good price for lot 866, a Kingman (GB) half-sister to Group 3 winner Chilean (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) who made 200,000gns from Mick Murphy. A bold enough pinhook, on the face of it, but Murphy turned a great profit (€125,000 at Goffs to €650,000 at Arqana) when raising the stakes to breeze another Kingman filly this spring.

Holland Rolls the Dice

Brendan Holland made a still more nerveless punt than Murphy when giving 310,000gns for another member of James Hanly’s remarkable Ballyhimikin Stud consignment, which had produced the record-breaking filly the previous day.

Well, hardly “nerveless”–a glass and a smoke were conveniently at hand after Holland signed the docket for a Kodiac (GB) colt out of a Pivotal (GB) sister to the stakes-placed La Conquistadora (GB), offered as lot 1041. Nobody needed to tell ‘Blarney’ how giddily he had raised the stakes, outbidding Shadwell and William Haggas with a view to bringing the colt back to the Craven Sale next spring. But if anyone can pull it off, it’s the Grove Stud maestro.

“I know it’s an enormous amount of money,” Holland said. “But it makes sense to me. Well it does at the moment, anyway. I hope it still does in the morning. I’ve spent more on a yearling before, two years ago, and I still own her. I keep telling myself she’s got residual value, but this is a colt so fingers crossed he can run.

“Look we’ve had a great run on the track recently and sold a lot of nice horses. People expect us to line up nice horses, so that’s what I want to do: year in, year out, we’ve tried to get better horses. And he’s a great, great physical, he vetted great, and has the mind too. He was my pick of the three days, and the mare’s thrown two winners by lesser sires than Kodiac. If a horse like that wins a maiden on a Saturday, believe me, 310,000gns won’t buy him. I love him, he’s as good a physical as you’ll see, never mind just by Kodiac. And I love James as a breeder.”

He’s not alone there, with Ballyhimikin now showing an aggregate of 1,750,000gns for five Book 2 sales. It was only last week, incidentally, that this colt’s juvenile half-brother High Accolade (Ire) (Outstrip {GB}) had boosted his page with a debut success at Newcastle.

No Stealing Thunder’s Brother

It took nearly four hours for the day’s opening price to be matched, the Hong Kong Jockey Club giving 425,000gns for lot 910, a full-brother to Flying Thunder (HK) (Archipenko)–originally known, in this part of the world, as Archie McKellar (GB) and now a rising star in their jurisdiction.

Their ill-fated sire is already esteemed over there for dual Group 1 winner Time Warp (GB), and this member of his final crop now ranks as the most expensive yearling he ever sired.

“I’d love to be able to ride him,” remarked Michael Kinane after signing the docket. “He obviously works for us: a beautiful model, with a great walk, and someone who knew him said he’s even better than his dad. The horse sold himself, and I had plenty of company.”

This was a real coup for Strawberry Fields Stud, which has diverse interests on and off the track but was making its only Book 2 offering here. “We’ve always loved him, and due to his brother there’s been a lot of interest, but we’d have been very happy with anything above 300,000gns,” admitted manager Stuart Millar.

The colt was bred by stud boss Gary Robinson from a winning Green Desert mare who has hitherto been trading in rather lower numbers. She is in foal to Al Kazeem (GB).

It’s already a conspicuously international page, whatever awaits in Hong Kong: the Juddmonte third dam Binary (GB) (Rainbow Quest) was responsible for a Scandinavian champion, as well as for the dam of Proviso (GB) (Dansili {GB}), a multiple Grade I winner in the U.S., and French-trained G1 Prince of Wales’s S. winner Byword (GB) (Peintre Celebre).

Kinane later gave 300,000gns for an Acclamation (GB) colt out of a daughter of GI E.P. Taylor S. winner Folk Opera (Ire) (Singspiel {Ire}) consigned by Corduff Stud as lot 975. His half-sister Melodic Charm (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) is a winner since the catalogue was published.

Prince Loyalty Pays Off for Marnane

Amy Marnane and her family already have every reason for pride in Prince Of Lir (Ire), a poster boy graduate of Bansha House Stables as a £170,000 Doncaster breeze-up sale-topper and Royal Ascot winner. But he rose still further in their regard when a member of his first crop at Ballyhane Stud–conceived at a fee of €5,000–triggered a staggering 260,000gns payday from Alastair Donald for a colt homebred by Marnane out of a mare whose only previous foal won a Classic earlier this year for the agent’s patrons at King Power.

That was Fox Champion (Ire), who is himself by Prince Of Lir’s sire Kodiac (GB) and was picked up by Donald for 420,000gns at the Craven Breeze-Up here last year before proceeding to win the G2 German 2000 Guineas (also since Group 1-placed in the Prix Jean Prat). He had previously been sold here by Marnane as a foal, for 75,000gns.

The dam Folegandros Island (Fr) (Red Rocks {Ire}) was one of those breeze-up horses raced–often with striking success–in France by Marnane’s parents after failing to meet their reserve at the breeze-ups. The Bansha Hosue team had also breezed her Wokingham-winning half-brother Dandy Boy (Ity) (Danetime {Ire}).

“And of course we breezed Prince Of Lir as well so this horse is nearly more closely related to [dad Con] than I am myself!” joked Marnane of lot 974. “She’s an extremely good-looking, big, strong mare and this one is very like Fox Champion, just a lovely horse with no issues and a great temperament. The first foal is a Classic winner so I really wish Alastair the very best with this one too.”

The mare is empty this year, having got a little late in the cycle, but will be returning to Kodiac in the spring. In the meantime Marnane is looking forward to bringing a “gorgeous” Cotai Glory (GB) colt foal here in December.

Aughamore Spreading the News

There was another wonderful dividend for a rookie sire when lot 999, a son of New Bay (GB) consigned by Aughamore Stud, realised 300,000gns from Amanda Skiffington–though in this instance the original stake had been rather more intimidating.

“We blew our budget buying him last year,” admitted Michael Gleeson. “We’ve never spent more than 30,000gns for a foal, and my hands were shaking when I signed a docket for 80,000gns.”

But it’s not hard to see why he and brother Laurence and took the gamble they did, in pinhooking this foal with Hamish Macauley. The unraced dam is by Champs Elysees (GB) out of a group-placed half-sister to the dams of two of the all-time Juddmonte champions in Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) and Flintshire (GB) (Dansili {GB}).

“But the main thing was the walk,” Gleeson said. “We were trying to buy a more commercial type, and couldn’t, so we decided to go up a grade and when we saw him walk, we thought he was the best of the New Bays. He’s been amazing, foot perfect, with a clean run all the way through. We’ve seen everyone viewing him, and him coming out with that walk every time, but we thought we might get 120,000gns or maybe 150,000gns. This is an amazing result.”

The Gleeson brothers–whose eye-catching progress, on and off the track, was featured on the eve of the sale by colleague Amy Lynam–had been additionally encouraged by the deeds of the mare’s first foal this year. Trained by Mark Johnston for Sheikh Hamdan, Huboor (Ire) (More Than Ready) won a valuable nursery on the Rowley Mile just a few days before the sale.

This colt will go to Roger Charlton and race for a partnership including Ballylinch Stud, where New Bay stands for a tempting €15,000.

“He’s very Dubawi,” said Charlton, who did so well with a son of that sire in Al Kazeem (GB). “I thought he was extremely active and attractive, and naturally I like his page, which includes a lot of good Juddmonte horses.”

Belated Rose Dividend for Oghill

It took a mating with Make Believe (GB) to generate due faith in listed winner Cruck Realta (GB) (Sixties Icon {GB}), the resulting filly Rose Of Kildare (Ire) having now won five races this year, including a second Group 3 prize down the road on the Rowley Mile last week.

Rose Of Kildare was famously bought from Oghill House Stud by Charlie Johnston for just €3,000 at Fairyhouse last September, but there was rather more respect for her half-brother by Kingman (GB) when he entered the ring here as lot 892. He was knocked down to Joe Foley for 170,000gns.

Joseph Burke, who manages the string of breeder Wansdyke Farms, explained: “The owner Steve Fisher bred and raced the mare. Unfortunately he could not be here today and is busy abroad, but he will be delighted when he sees my text.

“This colt is a similar type, a bit stronger, to Rose Of Kildare. We thought the cross of Invincible Spirit through Kingman over Galileo via Sixties Icon might be a plan when we were sorting the mating.

“It’s well-known now that Rose Of Kildare was bought for just €3,000, but Charlie’s dad also bought a Dream Ahead colt from us for just 2,000gns at the December Sale here last year. He has been named Requiems Dream (Ire) and is now a winner of two races. So between them the Johnstons have spent around £5,000 on two horses from us to win seven races, including two Group 3s.”

Going Can Still Be Tough, Top or Bottom

Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock was relieved to land a Gleneagles (Ire) colt out of a stakes-placed Fastnet Rock mare for Saeed Suhail, having found the Book 2 competition very demanding so far.

“We’ve tried for a good few without luck,” the agent admitted after signing a 240,000gns docket for lot 964. “But this was one we’d really highlighted. We’ve bought a few [for Suhail] in the U.S., at Goffs and here, and he’ll decide where they’ll all go to be trained. This one might be a bit earlier–not ‘stupid’ early, but ready to go June or July and then to go on. He’s a gorgeous horse from a very good farm.”

Take a bow Churchtown House Stud, who bred the colt from the illustrious family of G1 Cheveley Park S. winner Wannabe Grand (Ire) (Danehill).

Blandford also signed for a 200,000gns Kodiac colt presented by Mountarmstrong Stud as lot 1032, shortly after Stroud Coleman Bloodstock had given 220,000gns for the Tally-Ho sire’s half-brother to Group 3 winner Epsom Icon (GB) (Sixties Icon {GB}), offered by his home farm as lot 1018.

As ever, however, there were experiences of every kind away from the big money. Kyllachy (GB), for instance, only mustered a couple of foals in his final crop. The last yearling by the Cheveley Park stalwart ever to come under the hammer was lot 876, but she failed to meet her reserve at 20,000gns. But who knows? She could yet prove another Soffia (Ire) to complete their sire’s legacy.

The numbers, after all, don’t always make sense in this game–even if the most bewildering ones this time were ultimately traced to a glitch, the bid display board having in the morning apparently transposed its conversion of dollars and dirhams. Whatever the rumours of a Brexit deal, nobody will be expecting five U.S. dollars for a pound any time soon. So I guess we’ll all have to come back this morning, and keep trying to squeeze open some less extravagant margin.

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