Night Of Thunder Colt Steals The Show

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The Shadwell-bred colt by Night Of Thunder | Peter Mooney

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KILDARE, Ireland–“A good, good day,” said Goffs group managing director Henry Beeby as he cogitated the results from another solid session of the Goffs February Sale. The all-weanling cast put on a show which resulted in €2,161,800 being added to turnover which has now surpassed that reaped by the previous two-day sale of 2020, while the median remained at a respectable €10,000 and the average was €15,665 for 138 horses sold (76%).

In that transitional stage from being overgrown foals to becoming the nascent racehorses that many will appear to be come autumn, the youngsters passing through the ring on Wednesday represented the class of 2021 and, for many of them, it will have been good practice for their return to official yearling sales later in the year.

That is the intention for the session's top lot (285), bred by a man who was always an extremely welcome presence at the Orby Sale and whose loss will continue to be keenly felt in the years to come. Sheikh Hamdan's legacy of 40 years of breeding through his Shadwell Stud includes many star names throughout those years, and as the operation has downsized significantly since the sheikh's death almost a year ago, many of those bloodlines nurtured over the decades will go on to be influential in the hands of other breeders.

The Night Of Thunder (Ire) weanling that led the day was selected by the husband-and-wife team of Frannie and Niamh Woods, whose sound judgement has been validated on more than once occasion. Signing under their Abbeylands Farm banner, they bought the colt out of Afdhaad (GB) (Nayef) for €125,000. Both his dam and his grand-dam Albaraah (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}) passed through the same ring in the Shadwell draft last November, the former selling for €25,000 to Charles Shanahan and the latter to Barronstown Stud for €230,000. It's fair to assume that it is not the last we will hear of this family.

That will certainly be the hope of Frannie Woods, who plans to reoffer the Night Of Thunder colt in the autumn. He said “He's by one of the best sires in Europe and he's a lovely colt. I'm delighted to buy one from Shadwell who have been such great supporters of ours over the year. He'll come back later in the year and we'll be hoping for a bit of luck with the pedigree. The Invincible Spirit [2-year-old half-brother] has gone into training.”

Woods could enjoy an update sooner than that as the mare's first foal Alafdhal (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) holds an entry for a novice stakes at Lingfield on Saturday and is now in the hands of Newmarket trainer Phil McEntee, whose talents remain woefully under-rated and who is currently operating at a 31% strike-rate with his team of all-weather runners.

Another shrewd trainer will eventually mastermind the career of lot 275, a colt inbred 2×3 to Danehill, by the dependable veteran Exceed And Excel (Aus). Finn Kent of Mickley Stud signed for the Ballinafad Stud-bred youngster in partnership with Dave Evans, who enjoyed a memorable 2021 season, notably through the G2 Sandy Lane S. winner Rohaan (Ire) (Mayson {GB}). Evans, who is based in Monmouthshire, already trains the colt's 3-year-old brother Bastogne (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) for Kent's father Richard, the owner of Mickley Stud. 

“We have the 3-year-old with Dave and he's rated 88, so we've been watching the family,” said Finn Kent. “It's a family Dave loves and we were keen to buy this colt. He'll go back to Mickley Stud for a while and will then go into training with Dave when the time comes.”

The colt's second strand of Danehill comes through Tiger Hill (Ire), sire of his unraced dam Wavebreak (GB) whose first two runners are both winners. She is in turn a daughter of Group 3 winner Neptune's Bride (Bering) and her half-sister Salacia (Ire) (Echo Of Light {GB}) has given the family a major boost as the dam of group winners King Of Change (GB) (Farhh {GB}) and Century Dream (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}).

The sole representative of Le Havre (Ire) in the catalogue (lot 372), out of the Group 3-placed Endless Light (GB), joined the team of pinhooks by Jamie Railton, who went to €60,000 to secure the colt from the family of dual Grade I winner Megahertz (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) from the Baroda Stud draft. 

The top filly of the day was lot 395, the Irish National Stud's daughter of two Group 1 winners in Decorated Knight (GB) and Gilt Edge Girl (GB) (Monsieur Bond {Ire}).

The latter, winner of the Prix de l'Abbaye for Clive Cox, is the dam of Listed winner Time's Arrow (Ire) (Redoute's Choice {Aus}). Her current 2-year-old from the first crop of Saxon Warrior (Jpn) was bought for €270,000 at the Orby Sale by MV Magnier and is in training at Ballydoyle. Her yearling filly was signed for by Hugo Merry for €62,000.

Another of the leading fillies of the day was consigned by Davey Stack's Coolagown Stud and represented the family of last season's dual Group 1-winning juvenile Perfect Power (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}). Lot 221 is from the first crop of Ballyhane Stud's Soldier's Call (GB) and was bought by Mags O'Toole for €45,000. Offered by Stack on behalf of breeder Joli Racing, she is a half-sister to Perfect Power's dam Sagely (Ire) (Frozen Power {Ire}), while the further family includes Arc winner Sagamix (Fr) (Linamix {Fr}) and two new stallions on the scene for 2022, the Galileo (Ire) brothers Japan (GB) and Mogul (GB).

The final day of the Goffs February Sale, featuring breeding stock, gets underway on Thursday at 10am.

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