Tattersalls February Sale Ready For Kick Off In Newmarket

George Boughey | Tattersalls

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NEWMARKET, UK–In many ways the Tattersalls February Sale is to Flat racing what the January transfer window is to football, the chance to add a squad member or two–and perhaps get rid of a few more–potentially bringing rich rewards for those who traded cleverly when the season reaches action stations a few months from now.

Owner/breeders including Godolphin, Juddmonte and Shadwell feature among the high-profile teams set to ring the changes with significant departures, so too leading trainers such as John and Thady Gosden, William Haggas and Roger Varian, leaving the odd bargain to be had for those perhaps more accustomed to operating in the lower leagues.

Missed The Cut (Quality Road), for example, won four races for George Boughey–including the Golden Gates H. at Royal Ascot–after being bought for 40,000gns at the February Sale in 2022 when offered as part of the Shadwell consignment through Barton Sales. More recently, Missed The Cut won the GIII Tokyo City Cup S. at Santa Anita last October having joined John Sadler earlier in the year.

A horse like Missed The Cut doesn't come along at the February Sale every year, of course, but the one constant is a catalogue as diverse as any you're likely to find, with horses in training, broodmares and just-turned yearlings all featuring among the 378 lots on offer at the two-day sale beginning on Thursday.

Buyers hoping for a quick return on their investment in the coming months will be training their eye on the two-year-olds, a select group featuring the progeny of well-established names such as Kingman (GB) and first-season sires including King Of Change (GB). The Kingman colt (lot 96) is out of the Galileo (Ire) mare Prefer (Ire), a full-sister to the G1 1000 Guineas third Moth (Ire), while the King Of Change colt (lot 97) is out of the Authorized (Ire) mare Zubeida (GB), already the dam of two winners and a half-sister to the G1 Fillies' Mile winner Teggiano (Ire) (Mujtahid).

Crowned the champion sire in Britain and Ireland for the second time in three years in 2023, Frankel (GB) has earned a sky-high reputation which was reflected at all the major sales, notably at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale where he was responsible for the top two lots.

Don't bet against Frankel picking up where he left off as the 2024 sales season kicks off at Park Paddocks on Thursday. His three-year-old colt Retort (Ire) (lot 129) certainly appeals as one of the more interesting horses in training on offer at the February Sale, a grandson of the blue hen Hasili (Ire) (Kahyasi {Ire}) and a full-brother to the G2 Prix de Sandringham winner Obligate (GB). The blue-blooded Retort wouldn't have been out of place at Book 1 had consignors Juddmonte wished to sell him as a yearling, but instead they raced him in France with Henri-Francois Devin for whom he recently won a Conditions race on the all-weather at Chantilly.

Four-year-old gelding Composite (GB) (Cracksman {GB}) (lot 326) is another Juddmonte-bred sure to attract plenty of interest, a half-brother to the G3 Musidora S. winner Shutter Speed (GB) (Dansili {GB}). Unraced when selling for just 5,000 guineas at last year's Tattersalls August Sale, Composite has since won twice on the all-weather for the Boughey stable and features in the bumper Castlebridge Consignment–the largest draft in the catalogue–along with the three-year-old gelding Alfred (Fr) (City Light {Fr}) (lot 328), he too a dual winner on the all-weather for Boughey this winter.

Wildcard entry Billy Webster (Ire) (Profitable {Ire}) (lot 275A), a three-year-old gelding consigned by George Scott's Eve Lodge Stables, is another unexposed sort who could have more to offer having won three of his four starts, while the catalogue also features a trio of older horses who have already proven themselves capable of mixing it at a higher level. They include the six-year-old mare Moracana (Ire) (Elzaam {Aus}) (lot 112), who gained valuable black type when winning a Listed race at Cork in 2023, plus four-year-old filly Lady Bullet (Ire) (James Garfield {Ire}) (lot 111) and six-year-old gelding Max Mayhem (GB) (New Bay {GB}) (lot 341), both of whom finished placed in similar company.

If the horses in training and two-year-olds provide the opportunity for a quick return, then the broodmares on offer at the February Sale will appeal to those looking to build for the future, hoping to produce homegrown talent to carry the team to success years down the line.

The football metaphors might be wearing thin at this stage, but there is always an appetite for the Shadwell consignment which this year includes the 11-year-old Taqaareed (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) (lot 107), a full-sister to Taghrooda (GB) who memorably won the G1 Oaks and G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. in 2014. Taqaareed is sold in foal to Pinatubo (Ire) and will be followed into the ring shortly afterwards by the four-year-old Tarjamah (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) (lot 110), who happens to be out of a full-sister to Tarfasha (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}), runner-up to the same owner's Taghrooda at Epsom.

Other siblings to top-level winners to look out for include the Barton Sales-consigned pair of Crimson Rock (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) (lot 66) and Angel Terrace (Ghostzapper) (lot 67). Crimson Rock is a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Peeping Fawn (Danehill) and offered in foal to Saxon Warrior (Jpn), while Angel Terrace is a Grade III-winning half-sister to star stayer Order of St George (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), offered in foal to New Bay (GB).

In 2023, the Classic-placed and multiple Group winner Now Or Never (Ire) (Bushranger {Ire}), consigned by Tweenhills Farm & Stud, topped the February Sale at 250,000gns to BBA Ireland's Michael Donohoe. A total of 298 horses sold (84%) for 4,141,800gns. The average was 13,899gns and the median was 7,000gns.

Thursday's session begins directly after the TBA Flat Stallion Parade that features Stradivarius (Ire) among others at 11am. The sales ring action kicks off a little earlier at 10am on Friday.

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