Sea The Stars Colt Tops Tattersalls Thursday

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The session-topping Sea The Stars colt | Tattersalls

NEWMARKET, UK-They say that necessity is the mother of invention. The very fact that Tattersalls is contriving to stage the December Sale, while adapting to the strictures of lockdown, attests to that axiom. And so, too, did the fact that the highest bid of the second session was made online–by someone who was actually on site, and could have dived into the ring in an emergency.

That resourceful gentleman proved to be Gerard Lowry of Oneliner Stables, who emerged from the cloak of cyber anonymity after the hammer came down at 170,000gns for a January colt by Sea The Stars (Ire) consigned as lot 718 by Newsells Park Stud.

“It's a platform that's there to be used, and it's nice to see it succeed,” Lowry reasoned. “It's an interesting tool and it was good to try it out.”

Lowry, in fairness, has never lacked enterprise; nor its close kin, daring. Two years ago, after all, he went as far as 330,000gns for another son of Sea The Stars at this same auction, and returned for Book 1 of the October Sale in 2019 to sell him to Godolphin for a game-changing 725,000gns. Relative to the built-in stud fee, this colt represented a relatively feasible 'stake.' He is out of a young Dubawi (Ire) half-sister to three Group 1 winners in Italy.

“Sea The Stars out of a Dubawi mare, he had it on both sides and comes from an outstanding family, with two champions under the second dam,” said Lowry. “He's a lovely individual, has great movement, and was our top pick of the day so we're delighted to get him. All going well, and with a bit of luck, he'll be back for Book 1 next year and try to do us proud.

“Obviously we're going back to the same well. Understanding the stallion's stock, knowing his record on the racecourse, seeing what is coming through–that is a massive help. Then there's the second dam by Barathea, so you are getting Sadler's Wells over Urban Sea. It stacked up on a lot of fronts. It is a big plus, too, that he has come from such a great farm, and they've done a fantastic job with him.”

Julian Dollar of Newsells hoped that the result would encourage breeder Graham Smith-Bernal. “He bought the mare with Jill Lamb here three years ago from Kiltinan,” he explained. “She had a very nice Frankel (GB) who sold well [for 300,000gns as a yearling]; sadly, she then had a beautiful Kingman (GB) who died as a foal. She's now in foal to New Approach (Ire). Mr. Smith-Brunel is a very nice man, new to the industry: he will race a few, wants to do some breeding as well, and has a few mares boarding with us.”

Lowry also took bronze on the podium for the day's boldest prices, giving 140,000gns for a typically elegant son of Camelot (GB), sold by Belmont Stud as lot 751. He is out of an Oasis Dream (GB) half-sister to Juliet Foxtrot (GB) (Dansili {GB}), who won a couple of graded stakes and also made the frame three times at Grade I level after export to the U.S.

“The cross works,” Lowry said. “Sir Dragonet (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) won the [G1] Cox Plate and he's out of a mare by Oasis Dream, who's a champion broodmare sire. This foal is a good individual from an outstanding Juddmonte family, that of Dancing Brave: he ticked a lot of boxes and was pretty obvious, really. Also there's the Australian factor coming into Book 1 now: Camelot is now a worldwide stallion.”

The dam, culled by Juddmonte, has duly proved an alert buy at the February Sale here in 2017 by Glenville Bloodstock, for 40,000gns.

A foal sale, of course, is a real test of confidence in the medium-term viability of the commercial market. And business on the second day held up tolerably well, in the circumstances. Understandably, as so often in the pandemic year, the clearance rate was conspicuously strong, with 84% sent to a new home, up from 79% at the equivalent session last year. From a slightly reduced offering (247 lots into the ring, down from 266), turnover slipped 18% to 7,014,800gns from 8,532,700gns. That yielded an average of 33,888gns, down 17% from 40,826gns, while the median slipped to 25,000gns from 33,000gns.

Hyde Backing Saxon Warrior

Among the usual cavalry of new stallions, few appear as eligible as Saxon Warrior (Jpn) to introduce something different into the European breed. The son of Deep Impact (Jpn) will also tick commercial boxes, however, as a Group 1 winner at two and a Classic miler who always travelled so strongly; and, if the development of lot 603 is any kind of guide, he is also making quite a print on his first foals.

Presented by Highclere Stud on behalf of his breeders–Leonidas and Marina Marinopoulos plus partners–he is the third foal of Aktoria (Fr) (Canford Cliffs {Ire}), a young mare who won at listed level in France, and his fifth dam is the remarkable Stilvi (GB) (Derring Do {GB}), a flying filly on the track prior to producing winners of the Irish Derby and Dewhurst S., plus runners-up in both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas.

The colt gained a precious seal of approval in the signature, on a 160,000gns docket, of Timmy Hyde Sr. of Camas Park Stud–whose seasoned eye later picked out a colt by the same sire, lot 747, for 100,000gns. (This one was consigned by Glashare House Stud.)

Saxon Warrior was a hell of a racehorse,” Hyde said. “One of the best in many years. And this is a lovely individual. We'll be sending him back to the sales.”

“I'm absolutely delighted for the breeders,” said Lady Carolyn Warren of Highclere. “They have been in the game a long time, and lovely people as well. Our horses live with them, when they go to French stallions, and we sell their yearlings over here. This is a gorgeous horse, with a great temperament, who was very popular down in the yard. And what a lovely example of how lovely Saxon Warrior's stock are. He's a real credit to his sire.”

She also stressed the gratitude of the professional community that this vital sale has been staged despite the prevailing restrictions.

“It's an amazing thing Tattersalls have done, to put on the show,” she said. “It's amazing that this is happening. We all owe a huge 'well done' and 'thank you' to Edmond [Mahony] and all the team.”

The Cigars Are On Havana Grey

A rookie with a rather different profile is Havana Grey (GB), sent to market as a straight-down-the-middle conduit of commercial speed. There is no shortage of that around, of course, so Ed Harper of Whitsbury Manor Stud was palpably moved–and quite rightly–to see lot 741, a February colt out of a mare by the farm's stalwart Compton Place (GB), hit the ball out of the ground with a 130,000gns sale to Harry Sweeney of Paca Paca Farms.

“It is amazing, somebody from Japan wants a horse by the stallion we stand for six grand,” he said. “I did love the foal: I have just stared at him ever since he was born. There's a slight tinge of sadness, that I suppose I won't be watching him race here, but I can't complain at the price. The Havana Greys have gone so well, it's just fantastic. Everybody has been opening the doors to see them, and they have been going to good homes as well. This market is really tough, if you have the wrong model. But with the right model, you get well paid.”

This colt is certainly bred to land running, the dam having already advertised a Whitsbury stallion through G3 Cornwallis S. winner Good Vibes (GB) (Due Diligence), who had started her busy juvenile campaign at the Craven meeting and kept on running.

“I knew a lot of the really good judges were on this horse, regular clients of mine, whose support I really appreciate,” Harper added. “But I never thought he'd make that.”

Ervine Family Continues To Flourish

A February colt by Kodiac (GB) out of a speedily-bred Iffraaj (GB) mare looked a pretty safe formula for a market like this and lot 610, consigned by Keith Harte for Max Ervine, duly achieved 110,000gns from Tally-Ho Stud. But he also had the benefit of a cosmopolitan update, since the publication of the catalogue, in the recent stakes success at Aqueduct of his juvenile half-sister Illegal Smile (Ire) (Camacho {GB}), who was exported to Wesley Ward as a €35,000 Orby yearling.

Their dam is an unraced half-sister to Ervine's fast and hardy sprinter Galeota (Ire) (Mujadil)–whose own mother had been retrieved, at the end of her racing career, after selling to Darley Stud as a yearling.

Harte, who sold a 130,000gns Churchill (Ire) colt for Ervine in Book 3 of the October Sale here, paid due credit to a patron who tends primarily to sell yearlings.

“Another great foal from Max's farm in County Down,” he said. “We are very lucky to have him as a client. He only has five or six mares. He will put the odd foal through, it depends what way the year goes. He had a good yearling sale, but no one knew what way those sales were going to go, so he entered this foal here. He then said, 'why don't we just go and see how we get on?' It has paid off. This is a cracking foal, we had a lot of interest from all the top buyers, and he was bought by the right men who support the stallion well.”

Zoustar In The Ascendant

David Redvers of Tweenhills reckoned he has seldom seen as many vettings in one day at a foal sale as preceded the arrival in the ring of lot 691, a son of the stud's coveted Australian commuter Zoustar (Aus) from a very brisk Cheveley Park family.

Sure enough, the colt reached 100,000gns before being knocked down to none other than Tattersalls Marketing Director Jimmy George. And within five minutes George was also signing an 82,000gns docket for lot 694, a filly by the same farm's tragic Roaring Lion. After enduring some amiable teasing from Alastair Pim on the rostrum, George explained that in both cases he was literally holding the phone for insurance broker David Howden, who has been introduced to the game by Redvers.

“David has got himself involved over the past couple of years and is very enthusiastic,” Redvers explained. “He has seen all the foals at the farm and particularly loved those two, who will be kept to race in his own colours. He also bought a number of yearlings–I bought him a beautiful No Nay Never filly. The Zoustar was one of the most popular we've ever had at a foal sale, and I had no idea David would be going to that level.”

The Zoustar is out of a Pivotal (GB) half-sister to Group 1 winner Hooray (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) named Bewitchment (GB), who was purchased by Tweenhills at this sale two years ago for 150,000gns. So too, for 125,000gns, was the dam of the Roaring Lion filly: Roedean (Ire) (Oratorio {Ire}), a half-sister to G3 Fred Darling S. winner Maureen (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}).

Howden may be a novice but he's in step with some of the most astute judges around, judging from the 110,000gns paid by Yeomanstown Stud for another Zoustar colt, presented by Plantation Stud as lot 738. This one gains some extra Australian dash through his dam, an Exceed And Excel (Aus) half-sister to that remarkable racemare Gorella (Fr) (Grape Tree Road {GB}).

“I have seen a lot of Zoustars, they are quite smart,” said Yeomanstown's David O'Callaghan. “This is a fine big colt. He and the colt out of Bewitchment were the best two for us. We tried to buy the other one, and couldn't, but fortunately got this one. He's from a fast family and is a tremendous walker. We will bring him back next year.”

 

Frankel Spreads The Benefit

On the face of it, even 105,000gns for a Frankel (GB) filly appeared to represent a limited yield, given the Juddmonte champion's six-figure fee. But lot 704 was one of those rare cases where everyone could be considered a winner.

The filly was acquired in utero when Highflyer gave 200,000gns for her dam Panmolle (GB) (Lawman {Fr}), who is out of a half-sister to Kingman (GB), in the Juddmonte draft here last year. A good portion of that outlay was redeemed, then, by her sale to Philipp Stauffenberg by Mill House Stud on behalf of Wood Farm Stud.

“The last one I bought from their draft cost me just 10,000gns,” Stauffenberg said. “She was by Cable Bay (Ire). She won in England, was stakes-placed in Germany and has now joined my broodmare band. It would be nice to do the same again.”

A Waxing Moon

Consecutive lots offered by New England Stud, acting for Stetchworth and Middle Park Studs, proved to be in warm demand: a Night Of Thunder (Ire) colt [lot 658] raising 95,000gns from Peter & Ross Doyle; and one by Sea The Moon (Ger) fetching 100,000gns as lot 959 from Frannie Woods of Abbeylands Farms.

Both had a notable third dam: in the case of the latter, G1 Prix du Moulin winner and G1 Oaks runner-up All At Sea (Riverman); and, in that of the former, a half-sister to G1 Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow (Ire) (Daylami {Ire}).

“He's a lovely colt, though we did pay a little more than we were planning,” said Woods of his purchase. “I have a huge amount of time for the sire. Hopefully, his 2-year-old half-brother George Bancroft (GB) (Australia {GB}), who is with Roger Varian, will win next year.”

Sea The Moon scored another striking result towards the end of the session, when an Apr. 24 colt presented by Overbury Stud as lot 743 realized 115,000gns from Grangemore Stud. This really is an impressive stallion, striking that elusive balance between commercial and Classic eligibility. Bravo.

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