Thistle Bird Heads Strong Tattersalls Opener


Group 1 winner Thistle Bird led the Waddesdon Stud dispersal | Laura Green/Tattersalls

By Emma Berry and Amy Lynam

NEWMARKET, UK—The first part of the Waddesdon Stud dispersal, along with a strong Monday selection of mares and the wild card stallion Sands Of Mali (Fr) (Panis) combined to deliver a strong opening session at Tattersalls as the four-day December Mare Sale got underway.

Owner-breeder Lady Rothschild passed away in January but her contribution to the bloodstock world will long be continued by the fillies bred at her Waddesdon Stud in Buckinghamshire. The Castlebridge Consignment offered 14 mares and one filly on Monday and it was the man who knew the stock better than most, James Wigan, who signed for the two star lots in the name of London Thoroughbred Services.

G1 Pretty Polly S. heroine Thistle Bird (GB) (Selkirk) was introduced by auctioneer John O'Kelly as “possibly the jewel in the crown,” and Lady Rothschild's former bloodstock advisor needed no persuading, as he went to 750,000gns to secure the 11-year-old bay offered as lot 1515. Carrying a May cover to Kingman (GB), she boasts a 100% record as a broodmare, her first foal Thorn (GB) (Dansili {GB}) having won, while her 2-year-old Bullfinch (GB) (Kodiac {GB}) gained a stylish maiden victory last month.

Wigan also signed for the dispersal's very first offering, the winning Shamardal (USA) mare Aflame (GB). A half-sister to Listed winner Tall Ship (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) and to the dam of Prix de Diane heroine Channel (Ire) (Nathaniel {Ire}), she is out of G1 Cheveley Park S. winner Magical Romance (Ire) (Barathea {Ire}), who herself set a record in the same ring in 2006. That December, she sold for 4.6 million gns to Wigan on Lady Rothschild's behalf and this time he came away with her daughter (1502) at 675,000gns.

After conducting his bidding opposite the auctioneer in the packed sales ring, Wigan revealed later that Aflame had been bought on behalf of Erdenheim Farm and Thistle Bird for another of his longstanding clients, George Strawbridge.

“I obviously know the families and the horses well,” he said, “It is nice that it can carry on with my clients. It is the end of an era and it is sad, but the draft was beautifully turned out.”

Magical Romance graced the ring as lot 1508, and looked considerably younger than her 17 years. Having produced 12 foals to date, the close relation to Alexandrova (Ire) (Sadler's Wells) was offered in foal to Nathaniel (Ire), whom Lady Rothschild bred and raced to win two Group 1 contests. At 300,000gns she was knocked down to to agent Hugo Lascelles on the back stairs, who said, “Wouldn't it be lovely to get a Nathaniel filly out of her? She doesn't look like a 17-year-old. She has a lovely quality about her and she has six daughters working for her; there is a serious depth to the pedigree.”

Just one of the Waddesdon dispersal was offered in training and hoping to capitalise on this rare opportunity is trainer Paddy Twomey, who signed for Gallic (GB) (Kodiac {GB}) at 200,000gns. Twomey enjoyed a career-best season, training Decrypt (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and Foxtrot Liv (GB) (Foxwedge {Aus}) to finish third in the Irish 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas respectively, and he hopes there is more to come from his latest acquisition. “She's been bought for a new client,” he explained. “I liked her style of racing and, being out of a Galileo mare, I hope she can progress at four to become a stakes filly. Kodiac has been very kind to me.”

A winner at two and three over 10 and 12 furlongs, the bay is the first foal of the listed winner Gallipot, who has a Dansili (GB) 2-year-old colt and Dubawi (Ire) yearling colt to follow. Her second dam is the G1 Sun Chariot S. heroine Spinning Queen (GB) (Spinning World), who was sourced at the 2006 sale for 3 million gns and will be offered in a later phase of the Waddesdon Stud dispersal in 2020.

The Waddesdon mares were by no means the only star breeding prospects on offer on Monday but their presence will have played a part in increased figures across the board for the session. The turnover of 15,762,800gns was up by 28%, the same percentage rise as the average of 73,315gns, while the median was also up, by 17%, to 35,000gns. The consistent demand throughout the day was underlined by a clearance rate of 86%.

Stream Song Heads North
It was a busy day for James Wigan, who not only oversaw the Waddesdon Stud dispersal but also offered a select group of mares from his own West Blagdon Stud.

The draft included one of a handful of mares in foal to the late Roaring Lion to be catalogued this week. Lot 1454, the dual winner Stream Song (GB) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), was offered on behalf of her breeder George Strawbridge and is from a family who has served him well on many occasions. Her dam Montare (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}) won the G1 Prix Royal-Oak and has also produced the G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares S. winner Journey (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and the Group 2-placed Travelling Man (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}).

Stream Song will now join the burgeoning ranks at Geoff and Sandra Turnbull's Elwick Stud near Durham and will visit their resident stallion Mondialiste (Ire) next year after Peter Nolan went to 440,000gns to buy the grey 4-year-old on their behalf.

“She'll be a lovely foundation mare for Elwick Stud,” said stud manager Gary Moore. “Her Roaring Lion foal will be retained to race.”

Well Yes (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) followed her old John Gosden stablemate Stream Song into the ring as lot 1455. A 525,000gns yearling purchase by Blandford Bloodstock, she was sold unraced but boasts plenty of residual value as a half-sister to the dual Group 1 winner Just The Judge (Ire) (Lawman {Fr}), and she was offered in foal to Zoffany (Ire).

At a bid of 400,000gns, the hammer fell in favour of Cathy Grassick acting on behalf of Yvonne Jacques of Carisbrooke Stud. The agent later admitted that she had not been so fortunate three years ago.

“Ironically, we bid on her as a yearling and instead we bought Klassique,” Grassick explained. “She still has everything she had then—she's still got the walk, she's as beautiful now as she was then. Obviously, she's a half-sister to one of the best fillies in the world and the Dark Angel [filly] out of [her dam] sold for €575,000 at Goffs recently.”

Grassick added that Klassique (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) also joins the Carisbrooke broodmare band, having won G3 Pinnacle S. in June and later finished third in both the G2 Lancashire Oaks and G2 Prix de Pomone.

As well as enjoying success with yearling purchases, Grassick this year celebrated the Irish 2000 Guineas victory of Phoenix Of Spain (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), whose dam Lucky Clio (Ire) (Key Of Luck) she bought for just 17,000gns at Tattersalls in in 2007.

Cool Silk Buys Out Phoenix
Trade lulled towards the end of the day, but many buyers remained on the property to watch the wildcard Sands Of Mali (Fr) (Panis) to be offered as the final horse through the ring (1621A). It seemed most in attendance were there out of curiosity, with bidding mainly left to the G1 QIPCO British Champion Sprint victor's two owners: Peter Swann's Cool Silk Partnership and Phoenix Thoroughbreds.

Swann, standing alongside agent Matt Coleman, returned bids without hesitation and after the gavel fell in his favour at 600,000gns, his relief was clear.

“It's a shame we had to go through this process,” he said. “He was ours to begin with and he's ours again now. He'll now go back to Richard [Fahey]'s yard and relax while we discuss where he should go.”

Bought by Coleman and the Cool Silk Partnership for £75,000, the son of the French-based stallion Panis went on to win four Group contests, but has been relatively disappointing this season.

“He doesn't owe us anything,” said Swann. “He's a proper pro and just had a couple of niggly issues this year. He never really recovered from the injury he suffered in Dubai—even at Ascot, he seemed to mind himself.”

A stallion career is in the offing for the bay, according to Swann, who said that there had been much interest from stud farms. “He's a very good-looking horse and, obviously, he's got a very clean pedigree in terms of an outcross.”

Last Tango In Hokkaido
Japanese buyers entered contention on several expensive lots throughout the day and it was Keisuke Onishi of JS Company who eventually struck gold with the purchase of Mango Tango (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) (1535). Having seen off competition from Adrian Nicoll, Onishi went to 535,000gns on behalf of his client Akinori Yano to secure the multiple Group-placed mare. Offered by Castlebridge, the 6-year-old was sold in foal to Showcasing (GB).

On his plans for the mare, Akinori Yano said, “We will bring her back to Yano Farm in Hokkaido, where she will be foaled. We have 26 mares, with plenty of European bloodlines, and we came here looking for a Pivotal mare. She is an attractive type, a lovely mover, and is a size that will suit most Japanese stallions. We plan to send her to Lord Kanaloa (Jpn), who is the best stallion in Japan at the moment.”

Mulan Goes Home
Mulan (Ire), a daughter of Kingman (GB) from Ecurie des Monceaux's flagship family of Platonic (GB) (Zafonic), sold for 300,000gns when offered by her breeder at Arqana's August Sale two years ago and now with a win to her name she was reoffered by Tweenhills Farm as lot 1549.

From a family replete with notable fillies, including the Irish Oaks winner Chicquita (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}) and recent G1 Mackinnon S. victrix Magic Wand (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Mulan will now return to the place of her birth after Henri Bozo went to 420,000gns to secure her for a partnership at the farm.

He said, “There have been plenty of updates and the family just keeps going. It's the family that has made Monceaux since the beginning—we love it. We will cover her well and keep doing what we've been doing.”

Mulan's dam Platonic, who was bred by Fittocks Stud and was bought as a 4-year-old by Monceaux for 100,000gns, is now 20 and is in foal to Siyouni (Fr).

Bernick Strikes For Spirit Bear
As the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them, and that's what Craig Bernick did in order to secure unraced 3-year-old Spirit Bear (Ire) (Smart Strike), offered by Ballylinch Stud in foal to Lope De Vega (Ire).

The American owner-breeder of Glen Hill Farm in Florida keeps seven mares at Norelands Stud and joined forces with the top nursery to buy lot 1573 for 320,000gns. Bernick had in fact played a major role in Spirit Bear's creation, having sold her in utero in 2015 for $1.8million.

After successfully bidding through agent Hubie de Burgh, Bernick commented, “It's nice to get back into this lovely family—the dam has been sent to great stallions and Spirit Bear is herself by a top stallion in Smart Strike, the sire of Curlin and English Channel. She's out of a Galileo mare, but one not typical of the sire, given that she won over six furlongs at two and there are early winners through the page. It's a fast family.”

The Galileo mare in question is Group 3 winner Wonderfully (Ire), a full-sister to Gustav Klimt (Ire), while Spirit Bear's third dam is none other than Rafha (GB).

On the subject of future mating plans, de Burgh added, “She could go to No Nay Never or a son of Shamardal. It's so hard to find the next outcross and both offer the perfect cross for Galileo or Danehill.”

The top consignor at last week's foal sale, the McCalmont family's Norelands Stud continued with a successful start to the mare sale with Away (Ire) (Galileo) selling for 310,000gns to David Redvers.

A full-sister to the listed winner and multiple stakes-placed Leo Gali (Ire), the 4-year-old's covering to No Nay Never added to her appeal. After outbidding Coolmore partners and Rob Speers, Redvers said, “She is a very attractive, easy-moving filly from a nice family, in foal to a stallion we all want a piece of. Her next foal may be resold or raced; we haven't decided yet.”

Sold as lot 1495, Away is also a half-sister to the G3 St Simon S. winner Hazel Lavery (Ire) (Excellent Art {Ire}) whose son The Revenant (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) is a multiple group winner for Francis Graffard.

Hemmings Invests In Juddmonte Lines
Trevor Hemmings is no stranger to National Hunt sales but the Grand National-winning owner made his mark at Tattersalls' breeding stock sale on Monday, buying two mares from the Juddmonte draft as well as Flippant (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) (1462) from John Troy.

Of the Juddmonte mares, Hemmings now owns Panmolle (GB), a Lawman (Fr) three-quarter sister to Kingman (GB), sold as lot 1480 in foal to Frankel (GB) for 200,000gns. Through bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley he also bought Zulema (GB) (Shamardal) for 65,000gns.

“We bought two and were underbidders on three more from Juddmonte,” said Bromley. “It's a commercial venture and the mares will go to Trevor's son Philip Hemmings at Wood Farm Stud in Shrophire. The plan will be to sell the offspring as foals, maybe yearlings.”

Hemmings also recently bought the Irish St Leger winner Flag Of Honour (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) from Coolmore to stand at the National Stud as a dual-purpose stallion.

“I've always liked to dip a toe in the water with stallions,” said Hemmings, who also owns Shade Oak Stud resident Scorpion (Ire). “We're stepping up a bit with the quality of mares at Wood Farm Stud and one or two of these may go to Flag Of Honour.”

Kevin McAuliffe of Fernham Farm went to 200,000gns for Impede (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}) (1478), whose dam Coraline (GB) (Sadler's Wells) and grandam Bahamian (GB) (Mill Reef) have each made immense contributions to the Juddmonte operation over the years. The unraced 4-year-old was sold in foal to Showcasing (GB).

The Frankel (GB) mare Aspirer (GB) (1475), a daughter of the G1 Prix de Diane winner Nebraska Tornado (Storm Cat), will be exported eventually to Australia. John Berry bought the 5-year-old mare for 160,000gns carrying to Bated Breath (GB) for breeder Eric Chen, who sold a Kingman (GB) colt foal for 300,000gns at last week's foal sale. A winner in France as a 3-year-old for Andre Fabre, Aspirer is a half-sister to three black-type producing mares.

“Mr Chen bought two mares here last year to go to Australia and he has retained a Churchill (Ire) filly foal and sold the Kingman colt,” Berry said. “Aspirer is a beautiful mare and obviously very well bred. She will go to Liam and Jenny Norris at Redenham Park Stud to foal and will travel south later next year once her foal is weaned.”

Chantilly trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias was another to take home a Juddmonte mare after going to 125,000gns for Popular (GB) (1481), a full-sister to the brilliant Midday (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), sold in foal to Juddmonte's newcomer Expert Eye (GB).

In total, the 12 broodmares offered on Monday sold for 1.16 millions gns and another 24 fillies will be offered by Juddmonte on Wednesday afternoon.

Just What The Doctor Ordered
It was a successful opening day of the mare sale for the Player family's Whatton Manor Stud, which sold eight fillies and mares for a total of 940,000gns.

Leading the draft was a filly who has been close to the family's heart since she was a foal. Dr Simpson (Fr) (Dandy Man {Ire}) (lot 1540) was the first pinhook for Ed Player's young son Freddie, who was 11 at the time and selected her as a foal at the December Sale for 7,000gns and sold her on as a yearling to Ed Sackville for £24,000 at the Goffs UK Premier Sale. For both buyers she proved an inspired purchase. Sent into training with Tom Dascombe for owner Russell Jones, Dr Simpson won on her second start at Chester and went on to land the G3 Mercury S. at Dundalk and finish fifth in the GII Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Offered once more by Whatton Manor Stud, this time on Jones's behalf, the filly from the family of crack miler Soviet Song (Ire) (Marju {Ire}) realised 250,000gns when sold to Yeomanstown Stud.

“It's been a great story,” said Ed Player. “We've had so much fun following her. In a way we were a little bit disappointed we didn't get more for her as a yearling as we loved her, but she has come back from Tom Dascombe's looking amazing and we're thrilled for Russell that he's had such success with her and got a good price. We're also pleased that she's going to a very good home.

“Freddie is really cross not to be here and he was trying to listen on the app at school but he lost the connection as she came into the ring.”

Scotland's Finest
Among a select draft from Taylor Made Sales Agency on Tuesday is the GI Gamely S. winner Sophie P (GB) (Bushranger {Ire}), who started life in Scotland before her jaunt to California and return to the UK to be covered by Frankel (GB). Her breeder Gordom Thom was involved in one of the early exchanges when signing for lot 1409, Pennywhistle (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) at 130,000gns.

The Godolphin-bred 3-year-old was bought on behalf of Ron Watts, who, along with major National Hunt owner Kenny Alexander, is now the owner of Thom's former property, New Hall Stud, in Ayrshire.

“She will go back into training with Stuart Williams with the hope of picking up some black type and then will be covered next year,” Thom explained. “We'd love her to go to Too Darn Hot (GB) if she can get in to him.”

While Watts has a preference for the Flat and is looking for a couple of mares this week to add to the 14 already in situ at New Hall Stud, his partner in the venture has invested in some of the smartest jumping mares in training and will be establishing a smart National Hunt broodmare band in the years to come, which will eventually include the unbeaten Honeysuckle (GB) (Sulamani {Ire}), winner of Sunday's GI Hatton's Grace Hurdle.

“We'll have all the best National Hunt mares coming in—Sinoria (Ire), Honeysuckle, Queen's Cave (Ire) and so on,” said Watts. “[Kenny Alexander] is doing the right thing and buying the best mares he can. He wants it to be a top stud in the National Hunt game and it's hard to do that on the Flat.”

While Thom insists he is “just sitting on the sidelines now”, his tenure at New Hall Stud has left quite a mark on the worldwide bloodstock industry. Sophie P is outdone by the G1 Cheveley Park S. winner Donna Blini (GB) (Bertolini) as New Hall's most celebrated graduate, with her success on the track being outdone by her exploits at stud as the dam of Japan's former Horse of the Year Gentildonna (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). It is a family which Japanese breeders have been keen to buy into, and this year's Japan Derby winner Roger Barows (Deep Impact {Jpn}) is out of Donna Blini's half-sister Little Book (GB) (Librettist), who was sold to JS Company for 230,000gns back in 2012.

“I went out to Japan to see Donna Blini a couple of years ago and it's been incredible to see the same family produce the Japanese Derby winner. I think we've bred winners in 12 different countries, including three graded stakes winners in America,” Thom said.

“I've got to go to have a look at Sophie P for old time's sake. I was shocked to see her in the catalogue as she was sold to America and then sold again in America so it was a surprise to see her back home.”

Thom was at the sale with his son Stuart and grand-daughter Carina, who have recently taken on the lease at the Duke of Bedford's historic Bloomsbury Stud at Woburn.

“It's a beautiful stud and now we have room to expand,” said Stuart Thom. “We board mares for clients and hope to take in some seasonal boarders as well as consigning at sales. There's such a history behind Bloomsbury—so many group winners have been bred there in the past and hopefully we can do the same.”


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