Mahony Hails 'Extraordinary' Trade As HIT Sale Concludes

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Record-breaking trade concluded at Tattersalls on Thursday | Laura Green

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NEWMARKET, UK–A final-session high mark of 250,000gns carried the Tattersalls Horses-in-Training Sale out in ebullient fashion on Thursday. The buyer was Saudi Arabia's Najd Stud, which has been the leading purchaser in Newmarket this week with 14 horses bought for 2,791,000gns.

One of the last added to the list was the day's leader, Shadwell's Laatansa (Fr) (New Bay {GB}), offered as lot 1447. Ronald Rauscher and Matt Camacho were among the early bidders for the 2-year-old colt but none could match the staying power of the Saudi team. 

Back in their home country, the launch for the 2022 Saudi Cup was being held, where it was confirmed that $35.1 million would be on offer for the meeting, which will be held on Feb. 25 and 26. After two years, the Saudi Cup will now be run as a Group 1, with another five races on the undercard being promoted to Group 3 status.

“We could never have imagined the immediate impact the Saudi Cup would have on the international racing landscape, or indeed domestic racing,” said HRH Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal at the press conference at the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia.

They are words which are also pretty apposite when it comes to the trade at Tattersalls this week and the two events are strongly connected, with Najd Stud, assisted by Peter and Ross Doyle, accounting for almost 10% of the sale's turnover. 

“Maybe new factors have come into play,” acknowledged Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony in his closing statement. 

That certainly appears to be the case, but then it is also a rarity for this auction to contain such a high number of horses from Shadwell, which is reducing its stock in the wake of the death of its principal, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, in March this year.

Better Call Saud

With Saad bin Mishraf, who had been present for the purchases made earlier in the week by Najd Stud, having already left England to fly home, he entrusted his colleague, the Saudi trainer and consultant Saud Al Qahtani, to do the bidding for Laatansa, a son of the listed-placed Louve Rare (Ire) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), herself a daughter of Group 3 winner Louve (Irish River {Fr})). In three starts for Ed Dunlop, the striking chestnut has twice been placed in maidens on Newmarket's Rowley Mile.

Al Qahtani said, “Saad called and told me not to leave here without this horse. He is a beautiful horse and lovely physical. He is by a very promising stallion, whose progeny are booming. He has a very good family and we hope he will be a very good horse next year.”

He added, “We will have a great race in Saudi Arabia at the end of February, our race will be the destination for all the very best horses from Europe and America, and our Jockey Club racing manager is doing a great job.”

It wasn't only Saudi interest which boosted this year's marathon sale way beyond its previous levels. As ever, American and Australian interest was strong, as was the participation from Qatar and Bahrain.

Enhanced international demand for horses to run in countries with eye-watering levels of prize-money for feature races pushed the aggregate to a record high of 31,470,300gns, which was up by almost 50% on a troubled 2020 but also way beyond the 2019 tally of 25,393,400gns. 

Thirty more horses were sold this time around as the clearance rate soared to 92%, and those 1003 equines who changed hands did so at an average of 31,407gns (+40%) and median of 16,000gns (+78%).

The leading consignor, as easily predicted, was Shadwell, which sold 118 horses for 5,238,500gns, including the eight top lots of the final day. The enthusiasm for bloodstock, even at this final lower tier of the concluding session, saw figures leap from their former base. On Thursday, the average almost doubled to 11,867gns, while the median was up by 38% to 5,500gns and the clearance rate for 204 horses sold–one fewer than on the same day last year–matched the sale's overall figure of 92%.

'An Extraordinary Renewal'

“An extraordinary renewal of a unique sale,” was how Edmond Mahony assessed the week's action at the close of business on Thursday. 

“There is no sale in the world quite like the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale and there has never been one quite like the sale that has just taken place,” he continued. 

“Records for turnover, average and median are always notable landmarks for any sale, but when the record margins are so large it suggests that maybe new factors have come into play and to an extent that may have been the case this week. There is no doubt that the major consignment from the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's Shadwell Estates has introduced a new dynamic. A consignment of that size and quality does not go unnoticed and the buyers have seized the rare opportunity to source horses from one of the finest owner/breeder operations in the world.

“Additionally, the numerous racing carnivals that now take place during the autumn and winter months throughout the Gulf region have had a huge impact on the sale. Buyers from the Gulf have been major contributors to Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training Sales for many years, but new racing opportunities have brought buyers from the region in even greater numbers than before and crucially, they have been active at all levels of the market. 

“Equally important has been the sustained success-driven demand throughout the sale from Australian connections and this has been despite continued difficulties surrounding travel. There will be around 40 horses heading to Australia from this week's sale and that is in addition to the 30 or so yearlings which were purchased at the recent Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. The Australian buyers deserve huge praise for their collective commitment using every means possible to continue buying here despite being unable to travel and we look forward to them being rewarded with more success along the lines of recent Tattersalls Australian superstars Zaaki and Russian Camelot.”

Mahony concluded, “The strong domestic demand we saw at our yearling sales has also been replicated and we can not only look back on a successful month at Tattersalls, but also take encouragement as we look forward to the Tattersalls December Foal and Mares Sale which, similar to this week, features outstanding consignments from Godolphin, Juddmonte Farms and Shadwell Estates.”

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