Taqaareed Heads Tattersalls February Sale at 200,000gns

Jill Lamb signed for the top lot | Tattersalls

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NEWMARKET, UK — It was two years ago that Park Paddocks played host to arguably one of the strongest-ever editions of the Tattersalls February Sale, with a new record median (10,000gns) and the second-highest turnover (5,849,100gns) and average (17,833gns) featuring among the headline statistics.

Those lofty figures owed much to a significant Shadwell draft which included the top two lots during the opening session, just a few months on from the announcement that the operation was to be downsized.

Much has happened in the intervening period and any fears that Shadwell might be heading for a full-scale exit from the sport have since been well and truly allayed. In fact, the operation has arguably been more successful than ever in the last couple of years, certainly on the racecourse where the likes of Baaeed (GB) and Mostahdaf (Ire)—both now firmly ensconced at Shadwell's new stallion base at Beech House Stud in Newmarket—have achieved notable success.

Still, there remains the odd nugget to be mined for those looking on enviously from the outside, as Thursday's opening session at the February Sale again showed with the 11-year-old mare Taqaareed (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), one of a seven-strong Shadwell draft in 2024, taking top billing when selling to Jill Lamb on behalf of Childwickbury Stud for 200,000gns.

Successful in a Kempton maiden on the second of her three runs for John Gosden, Taqaareed has made a promising start to life as a broodmare with two winners from two runners, but it was her pedigree, as a full-sister to G1 Oaks and G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. winner Taghrooda (Ire), which really sold her to Lamb. Furthermore, she is carrying to champion two-year-old Pinatubo (Ire).

“She stood out really,” Lamb explained of lot 107. “She's a full-sister to a champion, she's a lovely model and she's in foal to a champion whose yearlings were very well received. We tried very hard to buy a foal by him last year and we could not get one.

“This foal is closely related to Tafreej (Ire) (Shamardal) who was 90-rated—it is all quite encouraging. It was a bit more than we were planning to spend and that was definitely our last bid!”

 

The significant sums that changed hands at the 2022 February Sale, when the opening session alone featured no fewer than five six-figure lots, are unlikely to be matched this year if the early evidence is anything to go by, but there was at least one more notable purchase from one of the sport's powerhouses as the Juddmonte-consigned Retort (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) (lot 129) sold to SackvilleDonald for 125,000gns.

A dual winner in France when trained by Francois Henri-Devin, latterly winning a Conditions race at Chantilly on his first start as a three-year-old, Retort is from one of Juddmonte's most decorated families as a grandson of the blue hen Hasili (Ire) (Kahyasi {Ire}), as well as being a full-brother to the G2 Prix de Sandringham winner Obligate.

“We have had a bit of luck for Highclere—we bought the subsequent Group 1 winner Durston (GB) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) for the team,” said Alastair Donald when revealing whose colours the colt will be carrying when he continues his career in Australia.

“This is a neat, bonny horse who goes on all ground and he is by Frankel. He is a proper horse, rated 90 and on the up. You need a versatile horse for Australia and I think he will stay a little bit further. Most of the family are milers but looking at his racing style he might get ten furlongs and there is good money at every distance in Australia. He will be going to Annabel Neasham and I think Harry [Herbert] will have no problem selling the shares quite quickly.”

Four-year-old filly Lady Bullet (Ire) (James Garfield {Ire}) (lot 111) was twice Listed-placed when trained by Alice Haynes. That was enough to catch the attention of James O'Mahony who, operating under the banner of Springwell Stud, went to 62,000gns to secure the half-sister to Listed winner Ever Given (Ire) (Kodi Bear {Ire}) as part of a new venture for the family.

“We will get her home and make plans, but she has her black type now and she will be retired to stud,” said O'Mahony. “We are usually trying to make fillies with black type but sometimes you have to buy them! We will send her to a proven stallion, but it is undecided who yet.

“She has been bought for Knocktoran [the farm the O'Mahony family bought last autumn]. We have not done much with the farm yet. We are going to foal the mares at home and then move them over—the plan is to run Springwell as the farm and the new farm as the stud.

“A lot of good racehorses have been produced around there and it is 250 acres. Places like that just don't come up very often—you could be a lifetime waiting for that sort of opportunity.”

From a smaller catalogue than in 2023 the clearance rate dropped by 10% to 70%, with 100 lots being sold for a total of 1,407,000gns (-38%) at an average of 14,070gns (-12%) and a median of 7,000gns (+8%).

Trade focuses solely on horses in training through the second and final session at Tattersalls, which begins at 10am on Friday.

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