Shamardal Colt Steals The Show At Arqana

Lot 21, the session-topping Shamardal colt | Zuzanna Lupa

by Emma Berry, Brian Sheerin & Sue Finley

DEAUVILLE, France–A Shamardal colt with rarity value to add to his illustrious family ties was the sole millionaire yearling during the opening session of the Arqana August Sale when selling for €1.6 million from Gestut Ammerland to Godolphin.

Bred by one of the most respected studs in Europe, the close relation to dual Classic winner and leading sire Lope De Vega (Ire) was the stand-out on a day which had a strong clearance rate for an elite sale of 84%, with the 112 yearlings sold from 133 offered during an elongated first day of France's premier auction bringing turnover of €19,862,000. The reworked format for 2022 means that direct comparisons at this stage could be misleading, but the first-day average of €177,339 and median of €120,000 were both up on the equivalent overall figures in those sectors for last year's sale.


Ammerland in Wonderland

There was a moment when the only yearling son of Shamardal for sale this year looked as though he could be bound for Japan, with trainer Yoshito Yahagi pushing Anthony Stroud all the way to €1.6 million to secure the colt on behalf of Godolphin.

Shamardal, a shining light at Kildangan Stud for over a decade, died in March 2020 and the scarcity of young stock by the champion racehorse added to Stroud's desire to secure the colt.

Not least because lot 21, the final yearling by Shamardal to be offered at public auction, is a close relation to one of the legendary sire's best sons, Lope De Vega (Ire), who is now a leading stallion in his own right.


“They're not making any more Shamardals so it's not like we can wait,” he quipped shortly after singing the docket.

“He's been a fantastic stallion for Godolphin and we're very pleased to get this horse. He's from a fantastic family from an excellent breeding farm. It's a stallion's pedigree as well.”

Bred in southern Germany by Gestut Ammerland, the Shamardal colt is out of Lope De Vega's half-sister Lady Frankel (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who carried the stud's famous red and green silks to Group 3 success when winning the Prix de Lieurey just a stone's throw from the Arqana sales complex at Deauville back in 2017.

Stroud added, “We all thought that he had excellent conformation, and was a very good mover.

“He is a fine horse and is bred by an eminent breeder. Normally a horse like this wouldn't come on the market but we've been able to acquire him.”


Crispin de Moubray, bloodstock advisor to Dietrich von Boetticher's Gestut Ammerland explained the decision to sell the well-related colt.

“He's the sort of horse that we wouldn't normally put on the market, but we have decided to reduce the number of horses in training and the easiest way to do that was to put all the yearlings through a sale with a reasonable reserve on them,” he said.

“He was very busy–I think he was shown 150 times in two and a half days. He has never had a problem, he's obviously out of a half-sister to Lope De Vega who was a group horse herself, and he's a second foal, so she's a young mare.

“Our Shamardal is the only one on the market this year, I believe, so that makes him a rarity, and I think certainly for both the principal bidders that was a big part of it.”

De Moubray continued, “He'd been 14 hours on a horsebox from Germany and did all those shows here in scorching heat but he obviously has a great character and took it all in his stride.

“It's not in our nature to try to make money–we try to breed racehorses–but when you bring a horse to the market and you get that price it's a vindication of what you've been doing all these years. The families develop, and once you get a good horse in the family other people want to buy into it. I think Gestut Ammerland is internationally recognised and admired. It's very rare that we have 17  yearlings and 15 of them are going to a sale–eight here, five in Baden-Baden and two in partnership with Newsells Park Stud are going through in Newmarket. We just wanted to bring it down to a more manageable level, so that's what we've done.”

He also praised the work of long-term yearling manager Stefanie Fuchs, adding, “Steffi has been at Ammerland for 10 years and is in charge of the yearlings. We have had so many compliments on them at the sale and we are very lucky to have Steffi, she's done a great job.”


No Guess Work for Desmontils

The second highest-priced yearling through the ring was lot 133, a Sea The Stars (Ire) colt out of Shamtee (Ire) (Shamardal), with Sebastien Desmontils paying €675,000 to secure him on behalf of Hisaaki Saito.

Operating under the banner of Chauvigny Global Equine, Desmontils has secured some smart horses for Saito, including dual juvenile scorer Good Guess (GB) (Kodiac {GB}), bought for 420,000gns at Book 1 at Tattersalls last year.

Desmontils had to fight off a strong challenge by William Haggas for the Sea The Stars colt but was visibly delighted to secure him after a long and drawn-out battle.

He said, “The sire is really good, the broodmare sire Shamardal is very nice as well and the pedigree is exceptional. We're delighted and he has been bought for Hisaaki Saito.

“He is a great mover and will be trained in Chantilly, like all of Mr. Saito's horses, and will go to either Fabrice Chappet or Henri Devin.

“It's a big price to pay for a horse and now he needs to be good–he has everything going for him to be good.”


Castillon Begins in Style

Only a handful of lots into the sale there was a strong indication of what was to follow when Haras de Castillon's Wootton Bassett (GB) colt out of Just With You (Ire) (Sunday Beak {Jpn}) was the first to pass the half-million mark. The half-brother to black-type winners Taos (Fr) (Toronado {Ire}) and Penja (Fr) (Camelot {GB}) was sold at €550,000 to MV Magnier.

The colt represents an equine family that has been kind to the Jeffroy family, with the most recent highflyer to have emanated from its fold being this year's G1 Poule d'Essais des Poulains runner-up Texas (Fr), who is also a son of Wootton Bassett and is out of Just With You's half-sister Texalova (Fr) (Dream Ahead).

“She has been really popular all week,” said Benoit Jeffroy of lot 5. “It's a family that we have had for a long time now and it's good that she has made a lot of money. It's good for connections. Let's hope we see her at a high level on the racetrack. We still have the mare. She has a lovely Siyouni (Fr) colt foal at foot but we didn't cover her this year because she foaled late.”


Haspel In The Spotlight Again

William Haggas, trainer of the majority of the horses owned by the Tsui family's Sunderland Holdings, went to €380,000 for a filly by Sea The Stars (Ire) out of a Kodiac (GB) half-sister to Classic winners St Mark's Basilica (Fr) and Magna Grecia (Ire).

As he conducted the bidding Haggas was standing with Jean Lesbordes, who trained the great Urban Sea, dam of Sea The Stars and Galileo (Ire), for Ling Tsui, and he said after signing for lot 17, “She is a very nice filly and is by a sensational stallion. Very nice horses by the stallion deserve to make a lot of money.”

The filly was bred by Jose Delmotte's increasingly prominent Haras d'Haspel, whose name has been in lights plenty in recent seasons thanks to another of the stud's graduates, the champion 2-year-old and Irish 1000 Guineas winner Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}). Last year that colt's half-sister by Kingman (GB) was one of the top lots of the August Sale when sold to €950,000 to Godolphin. Though that high wasn't reached on Saturday by the latest member of the family to walk the ring, the Siyouni yearling filly (lot 62) out of Needleleaf (GB) (Observatory) still made the day's top five when sold for €550,000.

Kieran Lalor did the bidding on behalf of Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Al Shira'aa Farm, which has been compiling an illustrious broodmare band of its own at its Irish base of Meadow Court Stud on The Curragh.

“She will stay here in France probably,” Lalor said. “It's very exciting to have her. It's a young, very active family with black-type littered all over the page. Siyouni is a very good stallion and the mare is obviously doing her part. It's a young family with lots more to come and hopefully plenty of updates, and hopefully she is one of them in a few years to come.”


As well as finding fame as the dam of Native Trail, the Juddmonte-bred Needleleaf is predictably well-related. Her full-sisters African Rose (GB) and Helleborine (GB) are both group winners, the former having won the G1 Haydock Sprint Cup, and they are both now stakes producers. African Rose achieved extra notoriety by producing the first stakes winner by Frankel (GB) in the G3 Princess Margaret S. winner Fair Eva (GB), while Helleborine is the dam of G2 Coventry S. winner and young Coolmore sire Calyx (GB), who has his first yearlings for sale at Arqana this weekend.

Lalor later signed up a filly who is very closely related to a star performer for the Al Shira'aa team, the Group 2 winner Rumi (Fr) (Frankel {GB}), who is entered for next Sunday's G1 Prix Jean Romanet here in Deauville. Her yearling three-parts-sister by Galileo (Ire) was bought for €580,000 from her breeder Ecurie des Monceaux to become the session's most expensive filly.

“Obviously we own Rumi and we feel like she is very much a Group 1 quality filly, and hopefully by next weekend this looks like a cheap purchase,” Lalor said of lot 128. “All of the siblings are closely related to this one, it's a very good family with Group 1 winners all over the family.

“Also she's by Galileo, who in my lifetime is the best stallion ever to exist, and he's a very good broodmare sire, which is also important. She's a lovely individual, very elegant and a good size.”


Brant and Magnier Combine in Illustrious Duo

Another Juddmonte family was to the fore near the top of the leaderboard with the sale of the three-parts-sister to the Fabrice Chappet-trained Onesto (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) for €460,000 to the partnership of Peter Brant and MV Magnier.

The combined might of Camas Park and Glenvale Studs consigned the daughter of Gleneagles (Ire) on behalf of breeder Adam Bowden of American-based Diamond Creek, who celebrated his first European Group 1 winner when Onesto win the Grand Prix de Paris last month. He could be seen next in the G1 Irish Champion S. before a bid for the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Michel Zerolo of Oceanic Bloodstock was in the hotseat to bid on the filly (lot 75) and when asked what he liked about the daughter of Onshore (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), he said simply, “Everything.”

Zerolo added, “The pedigree is there, she is a half-sister to a really good horse. He could be an Arc winner and she might look very cheap by October.”


Onshore, who was bought by Bowden from Juddmonte in 2016 and boards at Coolmore Stud in Ireland, is out of a half-sister to one of the all-time great Juddmonte mares, Hasili (GB), thus boasting a page which includes the names of Group/Grade 1 winners Banks Hill (GB), Intercontinental (GB), Champs Elysees (GB), Heat Haze (GB) and Cacique (GB).

Later, Brant and Magnier returned to a cross that has worked well for them in the recent past when buying a colt by Siyouni (Fr) out of the Galileo (Ire) mare Sapa Inca (Ire). Sold by Ecurie des Monceaux, who also bred arguably the most famous representative of that cross in Sottsass (Fr), lot 122 was secured for €580,000. His dam is a listed-winning full-sister to the group winners Johannes Vermeer (Ire) and Elizabeth Browning (Ire).

Henri Bozo of Ecuroe des Monceaux, the perennial leading vendor at this sale, said, “Coolmore have been great supporters of us from the beginning so it's very nice for us that they bought this horse. It hasn't been an easy day. We have sold nearly everything but so far we have been suffering from first-day syndrome a little bit. The good horses are coming so the sale is not over.”



Sea, Sun and Deckchairs

Like all bloodstock agents in town this week, Oliver St Lawrence has been pounding the sale yards in intense heat, so he took a more laidback approach to bidding by waving his catalogue for lot 89 from the comfort of a deckchair on the Arqana lawn.

The daughter of Sea The Moon (Ger) he bought for €350,000 is from a family which he clearly appreciates as he bought the filly's half-brother, the 104-rated Naamoos (Fr) ((Wootton Bassett {GB}), at this same sale three years ago.

The siblings, which include listed winner Padovana (Fr), who is also by Sea The Moon, were bred locally at Haras de Bourgeauville, which is run by the Lybeck family and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

“We loved the filly,” St Lawrence said. “For the last three years I have bought from this farm. She is a lovely-moving filly and seems very sensible. She's for Fawzi Nass and partners and we'll have to think about a trainer.”

Philip Lybeck of Haras de Bourgeauville was on hand to thank the agent and commented, “We only had one horse to sell today and she has sold well so we cannot complain.

“We brought her full-sister to the sale and she didn't sell but she got black type. We bought the mare here as a yearling and she had some issues with her fetlocks which meant we couldn't race her, but she produces well so it was worthwhile.”

In Sunday's session, Bourgeauville will offer the final member of its select August draft as lot 210. The Wootton Bassett filly is a daughter of the dual listed winner Artistic Jewel (Ire) (Excellent Art {GB}).


Good Day For McStay

Mark McStay admitted to being surprised about being able to pick up Blue Diamond's Decorated Knight (GB) half-sister (lot 93) to Classic-winning Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) for €260,000 on a day where he also bagged colts by Sea The Stars and Dubawi (Ire) on behalf of Bon Ho, the owner of smart stayer Deauville Legend (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), who is G1 Melbourne Cup bound.

Nashwa, one of the best fillies in Europe, landed the French Oaks before running out an ultra-impressive winner of the Nassau S. at Goodwood, and McStay confirmed that her little sister would be trained in England for an existing client.

He said, “Lovely filly. Her sister speaks for herself–she's done it all this year. She has a proper pedigree and is a nice model. I was surprised to get her at such a nice price but she's for an existing client. She'll go to one of the top trainers in England and hopefully she can emulate her sister for all that it will be a hard thing to do.”


Mark McStay applied a certain amount of thinking on his feet with the purchase of lot 16, initially led out of the ring unsold by Ecurie des Monceaux.

After a private sale was agreed at €300,000 for the colt by Dubawi, McStay went on to pick up lot 53, a son of Sea The Stars, consigned by Baroda Stud.

McStay said, “He [lot 53] was bought for Mr. Ho, who owns Deauville Legend, and he also has a nice horse in Australia by Sea The Stars called Irish Legend (Ire) and a promising horse called Sea Legend (Fr) by the stallion with Fozzy Stack. He likes Sea The Stars and was keen to buy one.

“This horse came well recommended by David Cox of Baroda Stud and it's an interesting family because a lot of the good horses in it are fillies. There was one stakes winner in the family by Cape Cross (Ire), the sire of Sea The Stars. We'll decide on a trainer at a later date but we've been lucky at Arqana before so hopefully he's the next Deauville Legend.”

McStay added, “The Dubawi was also for Mr Ho. He's been keen to buy a Dubawi over the past few years but they're always very well contested for. When he didn't sell, I went up to Henri Bozo and shook hands with him on a private sale.

“He has a lovely pedigree and is out of a Montjeu (Ire) mare. The sire gets 27% stakes winners to runners and I hope he's well bought. Any day you buy a Dubawi and a Sea The Stars from proven families is a good day.”


Kenny McPeek Brings Support from America

American trainer Kenny McPeek has become a regular figure at the Arqana sales, taking home four from last year's August sale, and he got off to an active start on Day 1 of the 2022 renewal, buying four yearlings for €550,000.

He picked up lot 49, a Kingman (GB) colt out of the Group 3-placed Johannesburg mare Militant (Ire), and a half-sister to the graded stakes-winning and Group 1-placed Wind Chimes (GB) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) for €160,000; lot 74, a filly by Wootton Bassett (GB) out of the dual winner One Last Night (Ire) (Elusive Quality) for €200,000; a colt by Almanzor (Fr), lot 115, out of the winning Shamardal mare Sagariya (Fr) for €115,000; and lot 120, a filly by the champion first-crop sire in France, Zarak (Fr), out of Sans Appel (Fr) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), for €80,000.

American trainer Ken McPeek with his daughter Jenna at Arqana on Saturday | Sue Finley

“The Kingman colt is for Evan and Kathy Trommer, a longtime client,” said McPeek, who is in France with his 21-year-old daughter, Jenna, an Equine Sciences university student. “And then we bought hip number 74 working with MyRacehorse. That's our first collaboration with MyRacehorse, and we worked with their agent, Robert Wachman, and that will work really well. We bought the Almanzor colt for Greg Back's Back Racing, from Houston, and hip 120 for Susan Moulton Sellers.”

McPeek's haul this year already equals last year's total, with two days of the 2022 sale remaining.

“I bought four last year, so we've been here before,” he said. “It's a great market. Fantastic horses. I just believe a good horse can be found anywhere and everywhere, and the history of the French horse is long and full of class. I have clients that are interested, so we decided to come. It's going to be a regular trip for us.”

Sunday and Monday's sessions will begin at 5:30 p.m. each day.

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