Wonderful Updates For Arqana October


The Recorder half-brother to Wonderful Tonight with Moa Sundstrom | Emma Berry


DEAUVILLE, France—Following on from an extraordinarily robust fortnight of trade at Tattersalls, the yearling sales action has switched back to Deauville, with a higher number of visitors than expected, especially breeze-up pinhookers unable to fill their quotas in the face of strong opposition in Newmarket.

Though held in its traditional slot, the Arqana October Sale has a slightly different feel this year as it incorporates a number of yearlings which would otherwise have been in the V2 Sale in August, as well as those originally destined for Osarus in September. In order to accommodate this higher level of demand, the sale has been extended to five days, beginning at the Elie de Brignac complex from Monday.

“In the spring and summer when we were putting the catalogues together for September and October it was very difficult to understand what was going to happen in the autumn,” said Arqana’s executive director Freddy Powell on Sunday. “Some people wanted to put some of their October horses into the Select Sale in September to try to sell as soon as possible, just in case, and some people wanted to go to October even if we felt they had suitable horses for the Select Sale. So it was a big juggling act with all the vendors and breeders, but Ludovic [Cornuel] and his bloodstock team have done a good job and have kept in touch with the vendors all the time to keep them informed.”

Having shunted back its major August Yearling Sale, which goes hand in hand with Deauville’s top-class month of racing, to a quieter September date, there is a sense of relief at some return to normality for Arqana, which had to delay and relocate its breeze-up sale in the spring to hold it in tandem with Goffs UK at Doncaster.

Powell continued, “The Arc Sale was the first sale in France this year to be held at the right time. Everything else has been different. At one point this year we didn’t even know if all the races could be run—there was a concern that this could be a lost generation—but thankfully most of the big races have gone ahead even if they weren’t all at the right time.”

As prize-money has fallen in other jurisdictions, and with no owners currently allowed to go racing in Ireland, and no spectators in Britain, this season France Galop has been proactive in its campaign to lure overseas owners to French racing. An extra incentive will be in place from next season as the owners’ premiums are raised to 70% on top of prize-money for 2-year-old races, and that will be extended to 3-year-old races from 2022.

“Knowing that we didn’t have our V2 Sale this year, and that Osarus didn’t have its sale, all those 2-year-old types are in this sale, so we can believe and hope that people who are looking for 2-year-old types are going to find them here,” Powell said. “There are a lot of pinhookers around, and obviously a lot of them couldn’t get to Keeneland this year. They are optimistic people and it’s great that they believe that we will be having breeze-ups here next year. It’s what we all hope for.”

He added, “The French stallions are quite popular in Europe at the moment and we have a catalogue full of them, and the catalogue has improved in the last few weeks with some good updates.”

In the case of lot 170, there has been not just one but two Group 1 updates since the publication of the catalogue. The colt, offered by Coulonces Sales, is from the first crop of the Haras de Montfort & Préaux stallion Recorder (GB) and is a half-brother to Wonderful Tonight (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), the winner of the Qatar Prix de l’Opera and QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares S. for English-based French trainer David Menuisier and owner Chris Wright.

Wonderful Tonight and the yearling were bred by Montfort & Préaux manager Mathieu Alex and the stud’s consultant Sylvain Vidal under the banner of Ecurie Taos. The pair bought the dam, Salvation (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}), privately for £2,000 after she failed to sell in the ring at the Tattersalls July Sale of 2010.

“She’s from Camelot’s family and there was a lot of class in there, and we were both big fans of Montjeu,” said Alex at Arqana on Sunday morning. “We bought her quite cheaply and at the time Air Chief Marshal (Ire) was on the farm. We have always supported our stallions and we thought that she would be a good match for him, both on bloodlines and physically.”

That first mating with Air Chief Marshal resulted in Penjade (Fr), who was a winner and twice listed-placed in France for Philippe Decouz before being switched to Chad Brown’s string in America, where she was fourth in the GIII Athenia S. The breeders have been true to their word in supporting the farm’s own stallions, and Salvation, now the dam of four winners, has twice visited Rajsaman (Fr) before her promotion to Le Havre’s book produced Wonderful Tonight from the second of her two matings with the stud’s flagship stallion. As well as the Recorder yearling colt, she also as a filly foal by the Queen’s former runner and is now back in foal to Le Havre.

“All her foals have been talented horses and she has been a very lucky mare for us,” Alex continued. “When Wonderful Tonight went to the yearling sale she was bought back in the ring and I said to David Menuisier and Crispin de Moubray that the filly was bred on the farm and that we liked her, even if she wasn’t a typical sales horse. To be fair to them, they said straight away that they would send a vet and that if all was good they would buy her. I am delighted for them and for Chris Wright as she will be a lovely broodmare for his stud.”

In winning the Prix de l’Opera at the Arc meeting, Wonderful Tonight became the fifth Group 1 winner to have emerged from the paddocks of Montfort & Préaux in the last six years, following the Le Havre-sired trio of Avenir Certain (Fr), La Cressonniere (Fr) and Suedois (Fr), as well as Air Chief Marshal’s Mont Ormel (Fr).

Alex added, “Sadler’s Wells and most of his sons have worked very well with Le Havre and the [yearling] colt is very typical of the type of horse the mare has produced. We are obviously very pleased to have Recorder on the farm. He’s very well bred and was a very talented horse, according to his connections. The Queen has supported him, Mr Augustin-Normand has supported him and now Mr Bizakov has supported him. We are very happy with his stock and next year will be a very important year for him. What I like about Recorder is that he was a fast Galileo, and that’s what we need, especially in this country.  What’s important for stallions is the quality of mares, where they are raised and good trainers, and that’s what we are working on hard for him, like we did with Le Havre.”

The Recorder colt is not the only yearling to have received a significant update since the publication of the catalogue. Among others is lot 125, the Reliable Man (GB) half-sister to Plainchant (Fr) (Gregorian {Ire}), recent winner of the G2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte as well as the G3 Prix Eclipse. 

In the Haras d’Etreham draft, a colt by the stud’s freshman stallion Almanzor (Fr), lot 122, is the three-quarter-brother to recent listed Prix de Saint-Cyr winner Speak Of The Devil (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), while Etreham also offers a supplementary lot, 110b, a Sea The Stars (Ire) half-sister to GII Jessamine S winner Aunt Pearl (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}).

The Arqana October Yearling Sale with Osarus gets underway in Deauville at 11am on Monday, with 2pm starts for the following three days and a return to 11am for Friday.

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