Juddmonte fillies take centre stage at December Mares Sale
James Thomas reports from day three at Park Paddocks
After the theatrics witnessed on Tuesday evening, when Marsha went the way of MV Magnier for a European auction record 6,000,000gns, Wednesday's session of the Tattersalls December Mares Sale had a tough act to follow. However, thanks in no small part to the annual draft of Juddmonte fillies, there was still plenty for buyers to get stuck into.
The session generated turnover of 6,519,200gns - a nine per cent year-on-year decline, an average of 35,625gns - an eight drop, and a median of 19,000gns - up from 18,000gns in 2016. In total 183 of 229 offered lots sold for a clearance rate of 80 per cent.
The session topper took her turn in the ring as evening began to set in around Park Paddocks, with James Delahooke, acting on behalf of the Pursuit of Success syndicate, going to 325,000gns for Presiding Officer.
The three-year-old daughter of Beat Hollow is a sister to 2008 Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Proportional and Park Express Stakes winner Vote Often, and is out of the Group 3-placed Minority, who is herself a half-sister to Galileo's first ever stakes winner Innocent Air.
Perhaps of equal importance, however, is the fact that Proportional is also the dam of exciting Frankel two-year-old Contingent, who justified strong support to make an impressive winning debut in a Leopardstown maiden in late October.
"I should think she'll stay here," said Delahooke. "The two-year-old with Dermot Weld, Contingent, looks good and we're hopeful of her coming out and giving us a nice update."
The Weld-trained Contingent is around a 25-1 shot for both the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks.
McDonald gets Into Mischief
A few lots earlier Reiley McDonald dipped into the Juddmonte draft when securing Media Mischief on behalf of Mercer Bloodstock for 250,000gns. Media Mischief was the only daughter of leading US stallion Into Mischief in the catalogue. Placed on the first of two starts for Andre Fabre, Media Mischief hails from one of Khalid Abdullah's most decorated families.
The three-year-old is a half-sister to Prix de Diane winner Nebraska Tornado, Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam winner Burning Sun, and Group 3 winner Mirabilis, whose name has appeared among the headlines during the most recent turf campaign as the dam of Frankel's Group 3-winning three-year-old Monarchs Glen.
"The plan will be to take her back to America, breed her well and hopefully get runners," said McDonald. "I don't quite know who she'll be covered by yet. She's a very pretty mare and has an all American pedigree. In fact, I thought she was kind of inexpensive, which in this market is incredible."
The Juddmonte draft, comprised of 30 fillies either in or out of training, grossed 2,380,800gns for an average of 70,770gns. Among the keenest to secure the coveted lots was Paul Makin, who stocked up on mares to visit Marcel, his Group 1-winning son of Lawman who resides at the National Stud. The owner made five acquisitions and signed the dockets with Dermot Farrington, whose Aclaim has joined Marcel on the National Stud's roster for 2018.
The quintet of purchases were headed by Frima, the Frankel half-sister to Australian Group 3 winner Jet Away, who cost 180,000gns. Her second dam is Kerali, the dam of Hasili, who in turn is the dam of Intercontinental, Cacique, Heat Haze, Champs Elysees, Banks Hill and Dansili.
"These mares have been bought to go to Marcel," said Makin. "Although tomorrow Dermot and I might have a chat and decide that one or two of them would be better suited to Aclaim."
Another buyer keen to claim a piece of the Juddmonte draft was the Japanese-based Ever Union Shokai. The operation signed for three fillies at a total spend of 300,000gns. They included two Frankel fillies, the 80,000gns Jimjam and the 50,000gns Overview, although the priciest of the trio was Lupin, a Medaglia D'Oro filly out of the Group 1 winner Promising Lead who cost 170,000gns.
Another daughter of Frankel bound for pastures new is the unraced Elphin, who was signed for by John Clarke at 180,000gns on behalf of an undisclosed client. The three-year-old is out of the Distant View mare Aspiring Diva, which makes her a half-sister to 2011 Matron Stakes winner Emulous and the Listed-winning Daring Diva, who in turn is the dam of Group 2 winner Brooch.
"Nothing has been decided but I'd say she'll go back to Ireland, " said Clarke. "The family speaks for itself. I loved what's on the page. As John O'Kelly pointed out, there's a lot to run out of the daughters and I loved the filly herself. All of that made her very tempting!"
Aspiring Diva also has a two-year-old filly by Frankel named Arbitrary, a yearling colt by Intello and a Dansili filly foal.
Prior to the Juddmonte draft taking to the stage trade was headed by Quebee, a daughter of Sir Percy whose four victories for trainer Clive Cox and owner-breeder Martin Collins included a Sandown Listed event. Suzanne Roberts and Deerpark Stud signed the docket at 200,000gns.
"The filly had ability but picked up a little injury after her Listed win and was never quite back to herself," said Roberts, who was accompanied by Deerpark's John and Peter Fagan.
"We like her as an individual, she's a nice clean-limbed mare, and hopefully she'll be a nice addition to the paddocks at Deerpark. You have to like Sir Percy, he was a tremendously good horse himself and he's a total outcross so we've got lots of options. We'll have to sit down and do a bit of deliberating about which stallion we go to."