Temperatures Rise At Tattersalls As Havana Grey Colt Fetches 250k

Punters pack into the ring to catch a glimpse of the top lot by Havana Grey | Tattersalls

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There was a familiar theme to develop at Park Paddocks on Wednesday as, for the second time in the space of 24 hours, the progeny of Havana Grey (GB) dominated at the December Foal Sale with a colt by the Whitsbury Manor Stud-based stallion fetching 250,000gns to unknown entity Rumstar Bloodstock. 

A brother to G3 Cornwallis S. winner Rumstar (GB), lot 638 was one of two foals by the sire to clear six figures on the day, with five more foals by Havana Grey selling for at least 80,000gns.

Whitsbury's Ed Harper commented on the top lot, “Funnily enough, we sold a Havana Grey colt for 250,000gns on the second day last year. He went and made 600,000gns at Book 1 [to Godolphin] so hopefully history will repeat itself. 

“We wanted him to be the star lot on this day and it turned out that way. You never know when you make the entry, though, and that feels like a long time ago now.”

Not only is the colt a brother to a black-type performer but the top lot is out of the seven-time winner Stellarta (GB) (Sakhee's Secret {GB}), who amassed over £100,000 in prize-money and reached a rating of 95 in her pomp.

That sale went some way in raising the temperature after what was described by many key stakeholders as a challenging opening day to the sale on Tuesday when all of the key figures took a hit. 

Trade solidified on Wednesday with the clearance rate standing at a much healthier 81% with 202 foals selling from a possible 250. The aggregate was down 12% to 8,307,450gns while the median and average fell by 3% respectively to 31,000gns and 41,126gns.

Cracking Result For McCracken Family With 165k Blue Point

What do Craig McCracken and Aidan O'Brien have in common? They both take to the phone to celebrate every major success with their mothers. 

The hammer had barely fallen on McCracken Farms' Blue Point (Ire) filly (lot 660) at 165,000gns and Craig was on to his mother Hazel to share the good news. 

“She's very happy and it's a family-run thing,” McCracken said. “We foal them and do everything with them ourselves. As the fella says, there's no I in team.”

Teamwork makes the dream work and there was an element of fairytale to the sale of the Blue Point given the dam, Roseau City (GB) (Cityscape {GB}), was bought for just 4,000gns here in 2018.

It was Barry Mahon, signing under the banner of Goodwill Bloodstock, who landed the Blue Point filly shortly after another foal by the sire was knocked down to Grangemore Stud from Hawes Stud in Ireland for 170,000gns.

Speaking about the Darley stallion, who recorded his 50th individual winner recently, McCracken said, “She is the first Blue Point we have had but, anyone we have asked the opinion of, they have told us she was a lovely specimen of the stallion the whole way through. She has a lovely walk, great attitude, scoped very well and had great X-rays. 

“At our level, you always have to take a risk on unproven stallions but, with Blue Point, it was a calculated risk. He's a multiple Group 1 winner, a beautiful horse and has the Shamardal influence as well. What Blue Point has done, with his 50th individual winner the other day, is amazing.”

 

McCracken Farms went on to sell a Sioux Nation half-brother to smart performer Panic Alarm (Ire) (Kuroshio {Aus}) (lot 716) for 155,000gns to Tally-Ho Stud. That result was sandwiched between a 68,000gns Mehmas (Ire) filly (lot 717) and a Ghaiyyath (Ire) filly (lot 659) who made 40,000gns bringing the total haul to 428,000gns on four foals sold. 

Commenting on trade, McCracken said, “You have to respect and appreciate that, a lot of the buyers this week, they have to re offer these horses as yearlings. For those guys, they're trying to predict what will be in fashion nine or 10 months down the line, and that's not easy. 

“Having done yearlings ourselves before, we know how difficult it is. The other thing is, we've been on an upward curve for the past 10 years, so there's going to have to be some readjustment, isn't there?”

Asked if he has noticed a change to how breeders are operating in recent times, he added, “There's no doubt that, in the past two or three years, there's been a big change. If you can produce the good-looking horse and be by the right sire, then you're okay. Sire power is dominating at the minute and we're feeling that more than ever. Is it a bit like the National Hunt? You could probably only name four or five National Hunt sires who seem to top the big sales. We're going down that line a little. 

“We're very lucky to have bred Best Solution and El Bodagan. We also bred Facteur Cheval and Panic Alarm has been quite good for us as well. We still have the dam of Factor Cheval and she has a Sottsass (Fr) foal and is in foal to Wootton Bassett. This is a great result.”

'We Wanted Speed And We Got A Bullet'

The progeny of Blue Point filled the third and fourth-highest prices paid on Wednesday. Along with McCracken Farms' 165,000gns filly, a colt (lot 657) consigned by Hawes Stud in Ireland, played a star role at 170,000gns to Grangemore Stud.

It marked a memorable five minutes or so for the farm as Hawes Stud also sold a Space Blues (Ire) filly (lot 658) directly after the Blue Point to Woodstock for 75,000gns.

The stud's Michael Gaffney said, “We are over the moon. It is a very fast family. We went to Blue Point, who we adored when we saw him, to get speed, and we got a bullet. He's gone to a fantastic farm.”

On the market, he added, “It has been sticky but, if you have quality, it really sells. We sold a Space Blues filly after the Blue Point and we got 75,000gns from Julie Woods. Again, we are really happy about that. It was a fantastic five minutes. A real surprise.”

'Frighteningly-Polarised' – Stanley Voices Concern For Smaller Breeders

The final foal from the Ogden family dispersal, a Too Darn Hot (GB) colt from the family of Islington, sold for 185,000gns to Guy O'Callaghan of Grangemore Stud.

He was offered by New England Stud, whose Peter Stanley used the opportunity to address some of his fears surrounding the future of smaller breeders in Britain following on from a tough day of trade at Tattersalls on Tuesday where the clearance rate dipped to 59%.

Trade was much stronger on Wednesday, with the Too Darn Hot (lot 644) one of 12 foals to hit six figures, but Stanley voiced major concerns for the smaller breeders struggling to make the game pay.

He said, “It's frighteningly-polarised. That's fine, but the trouble is, it's going to knock a lot of small people and small breeders out of the game. I'm really sad about it because it's so important and the whole fun of racing is people playing at every level. 

“What we saw yesterday was a bloodbath for people lower down the scale. It's really sad. Small breeders don't mind losing a little bit of money but, if you're only getting a thousand or fifteen hundred quid, it's humiliating. It's just not nice.”

He added, “You've got to have a chance and we saw something that was very frightening. The stallion market is just so polarised at the moment. The expensive stallions are the ones we all want to go to and use. All breeders are working for the stallion masters.”

The Too Darn Hot colt, out of the Oasis Dream mare Canonbury, herself a daughter of the champion three-year-old Islington, was one of two foals bought by O'Callaghan on the day with the Grangemore outfit also snapping up a Blue Point colt for 170,000gns. The Too Darn Hot colt's dam will also be offered under the hammer at the December Mares Sale at Tattersalls next week. 

Stanley commented, “Obviously, the Ogdens have enjoyed their racing for so many years and things are changing, so it was lovely to end up with a really lovely one by Too Darn Hot and there has been a couple of updates recently.

“It is the most wonderful family with Islington in there. The class of Too Darn Hot, who is looking very exciting, I can only think he will be even better with his three-year-olds than his two-year-olds. He was an obvious one to make good money. We have mares next week–we've got her mother selling here next week. Hopefully that will help her mother!”

Kingman Colt Bought To Race In France

It wasn't just the pinhookers who were out in force as French farm Haras de Meautry got in on the action at Tattersalls on Wednesday by landing a Kingman (GB) colt through farm director Nick Bell. 

The January-born first foal out of Group 3 winner Liberty London (Ger) (Maxios {GB}) was bred by Gestut Hof Ittlingen and consigned by Newsells Park Stud. 

“He has been bought by Haras de Meautry for Edouard de Rothschild,” Bell said. “He will be kept to go into training and, hopefully, will go to Andre Fabre in two years' time. That's the plan.

“We always buy a couple of foals every year and there was not one for us this year in France. It is a thing we do every year so we can compare them to the foals we have at home, and we think we get a bit better value as a foal than buying as a yearling.”

He added on lot 710, “A nice, good-looking, good-walking foal and out of a good race mare. “She won from three to five and she has run in good company all the time, that was a big thing for us, she was obviously tough. As he was a first foal, too, it probably worked in our favour as there is nothing for the pinhookers to come through. That was the sort of price we had in mind. I told Edouard he would cost from 150,000gns to 200,000gns.” 

 

 

Buy of the Day

Eddie O'Leary kept things simple by signing for one of the best-walking foals in the sale in lot 713, a colt by first-season sire Mohaather (GB) for 72,000gns.

The Mohaather colt was consigned by Silfield Bloodstock and, a striking dark bay, he caught the attention of many good judges with WH Bloodstock and Alex Elliott involved in the bidding. 

But it was O'Leary's Lynn Lodge Stud who won out, signing for the colt out of a sister to a black-type winner who has already produced a black-type horse in Mubtasimah (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}). It could look a shrewd investment come the yearling sales next year.

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