“He Was Always A Class Horse” – Roger O'Callaghan On £500,000 Harry Angel Colt At Goffs UK Breeze-Up

A chestnut son of Harry Angel set a new Flat record in the Doncaster ring on Tuesday | Sarah Farnsworth


DONCASTER, UK-It had felt like an apt morning to start a breeze-up sale: find a sunny nook away from the north wind, and it was a glorious spring day; find yourself exposed, and you felt a bitter parting shot of winter. That kind of polarity is pretty standard in this sector, but a stunning Goffs UK Breeze-Up Sale –headlined by a £500,000 Harry Angel colt from Tally Ho who became the most expensive Flat horse ever sold in this ring–allowed many vendors to bask, almost dazed, in their own personal sunbeams.

Last year, this auction produced 17 six-figure sales from 158 lots. This time round, as many had been recorded by the halfway stage of an admittedly expanded offering of 184. By the end of proceedings, no fewer than 33 lots had made £100,000 or more. At one stage there were three £200,000-plus sales–as many as were achieved from the whole catalogue last year–in the course of just seven lots into the ring. The average duly soared from £48,989 to £63,396 (+29%). The median rose 11% to £40,000.

In the circumstances, it could be no surprise that the principal protagonists in the record sale should be those namesakes, and mutual stalwarts of this auction, the O'Callaghan family of Tally-Ho Stud and trainer Michael O'Callaghan.

With typical acuity, Tally Ho had bought the record-breaking colt as a €38,000 foal, at the Goffs November Sale of 2021-not as a potential yearling pinhook, but expressly as a long-term play for their breeze-up division. He was out of Go Angellica (Ire) (Kheleyf) (lot 191), who promised to double down the speed as a stakes winner at two.

“Yes, when we bought him the plan was always to breeze,” confirmed Roger O'Callaghan. “He was always a class horse, a natural: unbelievable temperament, just easy, so simple. When you asked him, he delivered. And when you didn't ask him, he didn't!”

Michael O'Callaghan will already have had his eye drawn to the page, having bought dual group winner Twilight Jet (Ire) (Twilight Son {GB}) from the same vendors here two years ago: he was out of a half-sister to Go Angellica. But then the colt breezed a tick off the quickest time of the sale on Monday.


“I thought him the best horse here by a long way,” the trainer declared. “Obviously I've been extremely lucky with the vendors, and he's from the same family as a very good horse for us. Trade has been very strong so we kept our powder dry for this lad, we didn't want to leave without him.”

His model has often been to trade on breeze-up graduates, but the stakes for this one are plainly high.

“Please God, he needs to be a Group 1 horse,” he conceded. “He could potentially be traded, down the line, but he has to go and do it. But if he can get to a high level by midsummer, who knows? He certainly looks ready to go, hopefully we'll be getting the top hats out.”

Tally Ho have been selling here annually since the inauguration of a first European breeze-up sale here, way back in 1977, and there could be no more fitting holder of the new record.

“We've always sold good horses here, so why not bring another one?” Roger O'Callaghan said. “Between Tally Ho, 'Donny', Mike and Blandford [Bloodstock], there have been a lot of good horses sold here. It's been very strong today, so fair dues to Donny, they got it right.”

Anthony Stroud, who topped the purchasing averages with three at £710,000, noted the strength of the market after a rather patchy start to the breeze-up circuit last week.

“There's lots of middle, which is very encouraging, and I'm sure the clearance rate is good, it certainly feels like it,” he said. “Last week I felt it was very selective and I questioned whether you could have this amount of breeze-up horses, and if there were enough clients, but I think today has really underlined that things are going in the right direction.

“Of course it makes buying more difficult, but you want the best for the industry. These guys work so hard and it's such a difficult job preparing a horse for a breeze-up, so while you want to buy them at the right price it's important that everyone gets rewarded for their efforts.”

Michael O'Callaghan | Sarah Farnsworth/Goffs UK

The Main Talking Points

  • Tally Ho had already enjoyed another excellent day even before topping the sale and duly ended as leading consignor, banking £1,340,000 for a dozen sold. Federico Barberini/Apple Tree Stud gave £200,000 for a son (lot26) of Kodiac (GB), who has had some of his finest hours in this ring, out of a mare bought by Tally Ho for 35,000gns back in 2015. In the meantime she has gained fresh distinction as a half-sister to the mother of Alcohol Free (Ire) (No Nay Never).
  • Fillies were in conspicuous demand and Longways Stables processed two with nice pedigrees within five minutes for a total of £550,000. Jake Warren gave £340,000 for a Dark Angel (Ire) filly (lot 167) (a €52,500 private purchase at Arqana) specifically because his clients Bermuda Racing would ultimately want to breed from “a beautiful filly who did a phenomenal breeze-and whose half-sister has already bred a top-class horse” in G2 May Hill S. winner Powerful Breeze (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}). Then two lots later Oliver St Lawrence gave £210,000 for a Dubawi (Ire) filly (lot 169) out of a group-placed mare.
  • Havana Grey built on his Newmarket triumph by fuelling another tremendous pinhook, Knockanglass Stable banking £200,000 from Al Mohamediya Racing for a son (lot 46) found in this ring last August as a £27,000 private sale to Kilronan.
  • The Blue Point bandwagon was another to keep on rolling, with five lots changing hands for an aggregate of £690,000. Katie Walsh of Greenhills Farm had been hoping to ride the wave with the colt (lot 37) she had found in Book 2 at Tattersalls last October for 42,000gns, and was delighted as he soared to £220,000 for Arthur Dobell of Oliver St Lawrence Bloodstock in the company of trainer Roger Varian. “The sire's on fire,” Walsh enthused. “With all the chat about them, I felt lucky to have one. They're just so consistent and straightforward. I'm not sorry that I can't be at Punchestown now!”
  • The Sioux Nation filly (lot 35) presented by Gary Bloodstock clocked one of the fastest times on Monday and that completed an impressive salvage operation after she was returned unsold for €15,000 at Fairyhouse last September. A £160,000 docket from Avenue Bloodstock/Paddy Twomey was not just due reward for keeping the faith, but for John Nagle's discovery of her young dam for just €2,800 at Goffs in February 2020. Another hit for Sioux Nation was the colt from Mocklershill (lot 204) that brought £210,000 from Anthony Stroud.
  • One of the fastest times had set more parochial shoppers a challenge as a daughter of Lane's End rookie Catalina Cruiser out of a mare (aptly named Quizzical) by the obscure Cindago. She'd been purchased by Glending Stables for $50,000 at Keeneland last September, but while Roderick Kavanagh could not quite match his eye-watering triumph at Tattersalls last week, £140,000 from Najd Stud was another highly satisfactory increment on his ledger.
  • Another profitable Keeneland pinhook was lot 101, a son of the late Claiborne stallion Flatter picked out by Bushypark Stables for just €25,000 last September. Out of a sister to Grade I winner Capo Bastone (Street Boss), here he elevated his value to £195,000 as Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock sought to enhance his brilliant record at this sale.




A Following Breeze For Tradewinds

Tradewinds Stud celebrated a tremendous coup with a Twilight Son (GB) filly found at the Tattersalls Somerville Sale for just 30,000gns and brought here as lot 141. Reportedly the quickest through the demanding conditions in Monday's breeze show, she also made £360,000 from sale specialist Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock.

Shane Power and his brother Alex are only in their second year as a breeze-up consignors, having diversified from foals and yearlings more or less by accident after finding themselves with a couple of yearlings “left over”. One of those turned out to be Bright Diamond (Ire) (El Kabeir), whose success on the track encouraged the Powers to acquire five yearlings specifically for this job-and also sustained Brown and his patrons through a protracted duel with Conrad Allen.

Now Tradewinds will have the ammunition to raise the stakes afresh. “Though we're in the middle of building a new barn at home, so this will help with that as well,” Power said. “When you do a breeze like she did, you spend the whole day hoping that all the right guys will pitch up. And when she came into the ring it was, 'Okay, everyone's here.' But you can't expect [money like] that.”

Recalling his impressions of the filly from Rosyground Stud at Tattersalls, he said, “I just thought she was a very nice individual. We wouldn't focus as much on the stallion as others might. She was very athletic, very light on her feet, looked a nice and early type we could kick on with.

“A special mention goes to 'Flash' [Gordon Power] who rode the breeze. He's top-class, and there have been a lot of cold wet days riding on the Curragh in February and March. There's been a lot of hard work gone into this, but now the most important thing is that the filly goes on and does well for them on the racetrack. We had the two last year and Richard bought one and was underbidder on the other. To be fair, he's very straightforward to deal with and takes you at your word. And repeat business is everything in this game.”

Sure enough, Brown stressed that a good experience with Bright Diamond had encouraged him to keep going, albeit he was now sinking exhausted into his chair. He also had the self-deprecating grace to bring up his comments in Tuesday's TDN about the folly of spending big at the breeze-ups purely on the clock.

“There I was on the front page saying that's how you do really badly!” he said with a smile. “And yes, she was the quickest, on how we do it. We handicap it all, take everything into account, but it does mean she beat all the colts and it was a phenomenal breeze. That was significantly more than we expected, I have to say, a real war of attrition. But this market is phenomenal and we're very excited to get her.”

This filly will also run in the colours of Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum, just like Bright Diamond and indeed Perfect Power (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}), the multiple Group 1 winner Brown found in this same ring a couple of years ago for £110,000. Her trainer, however, could not yet be confirmed.

“Bright Diamond won her maiden at Newmarket by nine and then ran third in the [G1] Fillies' Mile,” Brown noted. “So we've had success buying off Shane. Obviously we've had a lot of luck at the breeze-ups, particularly in this ring, and [Sheikh Rashid] was very determined. This filly obviously looks a faster type, so I'd imagine she will be pointing to Ascot.”


All's Well That Ends Well for Holland

Brendan Holland of Grove Stud is a man of many talents but nonetheless appeared here in an unusual capacity as breeder, as well as consignor, of the Starspangledbanner (Aus) filly who made £350,000 from Anthony Stroud (for Bahrain interests) as lot 102. She was out of a Shadwell cull, Sulaalaat (GB) (New Approach {Ire}), picked up for just 36,000gns at the Tattersalls July Sale of 2017.

“I only have a share in four mares,” Holland said. “While this one didn't have an extremely strong pedigree close up, she had some really good speed figures when she was running. She was a bit inconsistent but had a lot of speed for a New Approach (Ire). Her first foal was average, and her second one was born this size.” Here he held his hand unfeasibly low. “And stayed this size! It's amazing that the same mare could produce a filly as nice as this.”

This was a classic example of the axiom that you never know, in racing, when your good luck may prove your bad luck-and vice versa.

“Unfortunately all mine got sick and I had no horses in Book 3 [at Tattersalls last October],” Holland explained. “I kept this one because she always had lovely balance and action. I thought this had come too early for her, but she produced on the day because she's just got loads of quality.”



To be fair, Sulaalaat (GB) could summon some outstanding genes through her own mother, a half-sister to Group 1 winners Compton Admiral (GB) (Suave Dancer) and Summoner (GB) (Inchinor {GB}) as well as to the dam of champion The Fugue (GB) (Dansili {GB}).

“She breezed well but she's not an immediate type of 2-year-old, I think she'll be better over seven furlongs,” said Stroud. “She looks all New Approach and I think she's a horse with a future. Brendan does a terrific job.”

Strong Statistics Across The Board

Goffs UK Managing Director Tim Kent said, “What an incredible day at Europe's Oldest Breeze-Up Sale. A record top price; record turnover; record average; record median; four horses selling for £300,000 or more; 10 horses selling for £200,000 or above and 33 horses realising £100,000 or more.

“That is an incredible achievement for any sale and accurately sums up today's trade but there is so much more that goes into today and we must thank all our vendors and purchasers who have supported this record-breaking event. When we started to visit vendors in the early part of the year, we knew they were planning to target this sale with some of their better horses and the fact that there was a healthy increase in their purchase price compared to last year was a positive way to start. We then began to hear many positive reports after vendors had started to work these horses and the momentum continued to Town Moor where some sensational breezes led to some breath-taking prices.

“But it's not just the top end that has been a success. Indeed, the success of any sale relies on buyers at every level of the market, and we made a concerted effort to ensure that everyone was encouraged to participate at a sale which has a long history of winners being bought at all levels of the market.  This obviously meant that we focussed on all domestic buyers, but we also worked closely with GBRI to ensure that we had an increased participation from overseas clients with many new faces visiting Doncaster for the first time including those from Australia, Denmark, Dubai, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sweden. All of this led to a healthy 86% clearance rate which is the envy of any recent sales of this kind.

“Today's results graphically illustrate how this sale is capturing the attention of buyers from across the globe and this is purely down to the unrivalled success on the racecourse. Seven Royal Ascot winners in seven years is an incredible accomplishment for any sale and this 'royal dream' is a large part of what has attracted so many people to Doncaster today and helped to fuel this breath-taking trade. We are certain that vendors have provided the ammunition to continue this incredible success story and we look forward to welcoming these horses to the winner's enclosure in the coming weeks. Roll on Royal Ascot!”

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