€1 million Galileo colt kickstarts red hot August Yearling Sale
Martin Stevens reports from a lively first day of trade at Deauville
Rumour on the sales grounds had it that this year's Arqana August Yearling Sale would be red hot and on the evidence of Saturday's opening session it appeared the conjecture was correct.
Six-figure prices came thick and fast but the only one to breach the magical million mark was saved for last, when a Galileo half-brother to Ectot and Most Improved from Ecurie des Monceaux graced the ring.
Coolmore's MV Magnier and Mayfair Speculators, advised by Peter and Ross Doyle, went to a round €1 million for the colt, presented by Ecurie des Monceaux and bred by the boutique Normandy nursery in partnership with Lady O'Reilly's Skymarc Farm.
“What more can you say about Galileo,” Magnier reflected. “He's having another outstanding year and whenever his name appears in a pedigree you have to take notice.
“The colt is a half-brother to two Group 1 winners and hopefully he will be a third.”
The Monceaux and Mayfair show
Progeny of Galileo consigned by Monceaux and bought by Mayfair Speculators, the vehicle of South African investor Markus Jooste, also accounted for the second and third most expensive lots of the evening.
The second best price belonged to a daughter of the Listed-winning Dansili mare Prudenzia, who continues to be quite the cash machine for Monceaux even if her latest yearling at Deauville did not quite make seven figures as the preceding four have done.
The filly in question – a half-sister to Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita – sold to Mayfair and Coolmore for €950,000.
The same partnership bought her sister, the 2016 Arqana August top lot, for €1.4m, while Mayfair alone snared her Invincible Spirit half-brother Craven's Legend, a promising dual winner for Andre Fabre last year, for €1.1m in 2014.
Coolmore bought eventual Curragh maiden third Truth, another filly by Galileo, for €1m in 2013 and they are also breeding from Chicquita after paying a record €6m for the daughter of Montjeu as a broodmare prospect at Goffs.
Derek Brugman, the agent for Mayfair who bid with Peter Doyle, admitted that connections indeed cannot get enough of Prudenzia.
“It's a great family,” he said. “Craven's Legend unfortunately did a tendon and was sidelined but he's back in training and should be out again soon, and the two-year-old sister is with Aidan O'Brien and is looking a nice filly.”
Monceaux has now sold six yearlings out of Prudenzia for a total of €6.15m. Prudenzia's dam, the Zafonic mare Platonic, was bought on behalf of the stud for just 100,000gns back in 2004.
A Kingman filly out of Platonic – a half-sister to a Frankel filly sold at Arqana for €1.15m two years ago – was sold on Saturday to Meridian International for €300,000, while another of Platonic's daughters, Pacifique, is responsible for the €2.6m Arqana August record-priced lot Parabellum and an Invincible Spirit filly sold to Langlais Bloodstock for €250,000 on Saturday.
It is fair to say Monceaux owes Platonic a statue in the future.
Monceaux is not just about the Platonic clan, though, and another of the boutique nursery's mares got in on the act when the Galileo filly out of the Cape Cross mare Secrete – so bred on the same cross as Australia – went the way of Mayfair acting alone for €700,000.
“We thought she was one of the two best fillies in the sale – the other being the one out of Prudenzia,” Brugman said. “She's a very good model, with a great hindquarter and a lot of substance.
“It's an excellent family and you can't have too many Galileo mares to breed from eventually, really.”
The half-sister to this season's Prix Noailles third Normandy Eagle will be trained in France by Nicolas Clement.
Secrete, a half-sister to Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner and exciting broodmare Plumania, was bought by Monceaux from the draft of her breeders the Wertheimer brothers for €250,000 at the Arqana December Breeding-Stock Sale in 2012.
Kizuna owner picks a peach
The buying bench at Arqana resembled a United Nations of leading breeding figures and Koji Maeda, a visitor from Japan whose silks were carried by Kizuna when he just touched off Ruler Of The World to win the Prix Niel at Longchamp, struck for a daughter of Dubawi and Beverly D Stakes heroine Royal Highness for €650,000.
The filly – bred and sold by who else but Monceaux – is a half-sister to dual Group 2 winner Free Port Lux.
"She goes to Japan,” said Maeda. “Dubawi is a leading sire in Europe and the female line is excellent, so both sides of the pedigree are very, very attractive.
“I'm standing Kizuna, who we think is very exciting, so we've been looking for nice mares to visit him.”
Kizuna, a son of the dominant Deep Impact whose finest hour came with a half-length defeat of Epiphaneia to take the Japanese Derby in 2013, stands at the Shadai Stallion Station and his first crop are foals.
The price of €650,000 was matched when Charlie Gordon-Watson won a chestnut Frankel half-sister to Listed scorer Sivoliere out of Sefroua, a Listed-winning daughter of Kingmambo and Coronation Stakes winner Sophisticat.
The filly, consigned by Haras d'Etreham, will remain in France to be trained by Andre Fabre for a British client.
Etreham enjoyed a profitable few minutes as it also sold the next lot in the ring, a Declaration Of War half-sister to top-class filly Shareta, to Mandore International for €500,000.
Frankel faring well with buyers
Frankel again; a half-brother by him to a champion two-year-old was always going to figure highly on buyers' lists but with the champion two-year-old in question, Dabirsim, having got off to a flying start as a sire with his first juveniles this year, his appeal was enhanced even further.
Richard Knight struck the winning bid of €550,00 for the colt, consigned by Haras de Grandcamp for joint-breeders Al Shaqab Racing and Michel Monfort. His client has already tasted significant success with progeny of Frankel.
"He's been bought for Hussain Lootah, who owns [Rose of Lancaster Stakes winner] Frankuus,” Knight said. “I thought he was a complete star. He's by a stallion that's looking incredibly good and Dabirsim has made a bright start at stud.
“He ticked every box and I'm very happy to have got him. A trainer hasn't been decided yet but I'm pretty sure he'll be coming to Britain."
Qemah half-brother for Shadwell
“He's a very nice individual by an exciting young stallion,” said Gold of the Haras du Cadran offering. “Obviously we don't know about his runners yet, but he was a very good and late maturing horse himself.
“He's a half-brother to a top-class filly, who looked nicer every time I inspected him, and Sheikh Hamdan liked him a lot as well.”
Asked if Freddy Head - who saddled Charm Spirit to his three top-level victories and a regular trainer for Sheikh Hamdan - would receive the colt, Gold joked: “Well that might depend on how well Tantheem runs in the Prix Morny on Sunday.”
LNJ Foxwoods joins the fray
US agent Alex Solis signed at €450,000 for a Shamardal half-sister to Grade 3 winner Marbe Rose and the Frankel colt Gidu, bought by Justin Casse for €410,000 at Arqana last year and an encouraging second on his debut for Ahmed Zayat at Saratoga last week.
The filly, consigned by Ecurie des Monceaux, was bought on behalf of his compatriots LNJ Foxwoods, who have campaigned Grade 1 winners Constellation and Nickname in America and the classy pair Golden Valentine and Radio Silence in Europe.
"Shamardal's a great stallion - we actually have a half-sister to him called Diamond Necklace who has a really nice two-year-old at the moment,” said Solis. “We've been looking at this family for a while and we were actually the underbidders on Gidu last year. We think he's a pretty nice horse so hopefully we'll get a nice update there.
"This filly really takes after her damsire Unbridled's Song and the pedigree goes back to a proper American family so she'll most likely go to the states."
The 2017 yearlings by Shamardal should prove to be collectors' items as the sire phenomenon has been covering exclusively mares owned by the Maktoum family and their associates from last year.
HKJC strikes early
In an unusual turn of events, the Hong Kong Jockey Club bought both the first two lots through the ring: a Frankel half-brother to this season's Hardwicke Stakes third Chemical Charge from Haras de Montaigu for €310,000 and a first-crop son of Kingman out of Janicellaine, a Grade 3-placed half-sister to the tragically short-lived two-year-old champion filly Chriselliam, for €360,000.
Mark Richards of the HKJC – who also made a bold play for the third lot in the ring, an expensive son of No Nay Never – reported: “We're very happy to have got both, and would have liked to have had the third as well!
“Frankel is an easy horse to sell anywhere in the world and owners in Hong Kong like to recognise the big names. This one's a nice, athletic walker with good temperament.
“He's from a farm we've had a lot of luck with, and indeed we ended up buying a half-brother to a Derby winner [the Holy Roman Emperor sibling to Wings Of Eagles sold for €130,000] from them last year. It's a nursery producing good horses.”
Of his second purchase, from Ballylinch Stud, he added: “We wouldn't usually buy progeny of first-season sires but Kingman was a great champion so we're happy to have one by him. And this is a beautifully athletic horse, with a great depth of girth and he'll come up on his withers as well. He's just a nice, strong type.”
Phoenix rises again
It was agent Kerri Radcliffe who outbattled the HKJC and her other rivals for the first-crop No Nay Never colt from La Motteraye Consignment with a bid of €480,000 on behalf of the nascent Phoenix Thoroughbreds, which has been splashing the cash at auctions around the world this year – just under $4 million spent on six yearlings at Saratoga this month.
Many of Radcliffe's recent purchases have been sent to her husband Jeremy Noseda in Britain or Bob Baffert in the US, but the agent revealed her acquisition would go to a new name on the operation's roster of trainers.
“The colt's by a first-season sire who's by Scat Daddy, and I'm a big fan of those,” she said. “He's a lovely horse, very well-balanced, and it's great to have got him for Phoenix. He'll be trained by our new French trainer Andre Fabre - I'm not sure Jeremy is too happy about that but he'll just have to suck it up!"
Godolphin in action
The actions of Godolphin are always analysed at the sales, having bought so many lots and paid so much for them over the years, but the scrutiny has intensified since the departure of chief executive John Ferguson this year.
Vendors of yearlings in the coming months may be encouraged that, although Anthony Stroud and David Loder did not come away with any extravagantly priced lots for Sheikh Mohammed's operation, they did sign for three: a €400,000 Sea The Stars filly, a €350,000 Frankel colt and a €300,000 daughter of Siyouni.
Stroud and Loder were also underbidder on several other lots.
Market indicators surge
End-of-sale statistics confirmed the impression of a buoyant market all those expensive lots had given.
The average in the first session increased by 38 per cent year-on-year to €258,239 and the median climbed by 20 per cent to €180,000.
Turnover rose by 24 per cent to €17,302,000, while the clearance rate of 82 per cent was on par with 2016.
The sale continues on Sunday, when a Kingman half-sister to Wings Of Eagles and a Dubawi colt out of Falmouth Stakes winner Giofra are among the potential headline makers.