Superpowers collide as Marsha brings 6,000,000gns from Magnier
James Thomas reports from a record-breaking day at Park Paddocks
When just about every superpower from the bloodstock world gathers around one sales ring almost anything is possible, and Marsha duly smashed the European auction record when Coolmore's MV Magnier outgunned John Gosden at 6,000,000gns at Tuesday's session of the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in Newmarket.
Back at Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale it was Gosden that emerged victorious when landing the Galileo filly out of Breeders' Cup winner Dank at 4,000,000gns on behalf of Godolphin. On this occasion Magnier was in no mood to be denied.
Each bid from Coolmore's man, often delivered after a lengthy consultation with Paul Shanahan, was met with a sharp nod of the head from Gosden, who was tucked away behind the partition just as he had been back in October.
"She walks like a rockstar," said auctioneer Simon Kerins with the five million mark in sight, but when Magnier raised six digits from in the gangway to signal a bid of 6,000,000gns there was no encore forthcoming as Gosden quickly turned away and exited stage left.
"She's very quick and Sir Mark [Prescott] did a great job with her," said Magnier as he signed the docket carrying the European auction record price. "Hopefully we can do half the job he's done with her."
The four-year-old filly won seven races for Prescott and the Elite Racing Club, including this year's Nunthorpe Stakes and last year's Prix de l'Abbaye. Those exploits have now earned her a date with the most dominant stallion of the current era.
"She's going to Galileo," confirmed Magnier. "She's one of the best sprinters around and she has a lovely presence about her."
Marsha's trainer, who has handled the filly's racing career with typical aplomb, was among those on hand to witness the recording-breaking transaction.
"I was surprised," said Prescott when asked if he had expected Marsha to scale such heights in the ring. "But it's great for Elite Racing, we got 47 of them here on a bus and not many horses have that when they go to the ring.
"She's gone to a great home and her stock will be wonderfully trained. It's just been a very good story. She looked a million dollars and she's made it easy. She's just the most consistent sprinter, I won't say she's the best but she's the most consistent. She's never turned a hair here despite everybody poking about."
Despite the racing powerhouses that went toe to toe for the filly, who shares her family with the great Soviet Song, Marsha was offered on behalf of the Elite Racing Club, whose members gained access to the club for as little as £199 a year.
"I feel exhausted but elated," said Elite Racing Club manager Dan Downie. "We knew we were coming here with a lovely filly but you never dare to dream of that. We knew she was worth a fair bit of money and we were pretty confident. You don't often come to a sale and feel confident unless you have something perfect to offer.
"If she hadn't reached a level we thought was fair we would definitely have kept her but I think we always thought that was unlikely given that you can't really fault her as a specimen - she's pretty much perfect."
TOP FIVE FILLIES/MARES SOLD AT TATTERSALLS
13 f Acclamation - Marlinka (Marju)
Tattersalls December Mares Sale 2017
Heath House Stables to MV Magnier
08 m Pivotal - Side Of Paradise (Sadler's Wells)
Tattersalls December Mares Sale 2013
Mount Coote Stud to BBA Ireland
02 m Barathea - Shouk (Shirley Heights)
Tattersalls December Mares Sale 2006
Elms Stud to London Thoroughbred Services
JUST THE JUDGE
10 f Lawman - Faraday Light (Rainbow Quest)
Tattersalls December Mares Sale 2014
Tweenhills Farm & Stud to Qatar Racing & China Horse Club
08 m Danehill Dancer - Rain Flower (Indian Ridge)
Tattersalls December Mares Sale 2013
Clairemont Stud to John Ferguson Bloodstock
No keeping Quiet
Remarkably, Marsha was not the only dual Group 1-winning sprinter to be offered by a syndicate during Tuesday's session, as Quiet Reflection also went the way of Magnier, whose name appeared on the docket alongside that of Blandford Bloodstock, for 2,100,000gns.
It looked for a moment as if the daughter of Showcasing had been landed by Oliver St Lawrence, before Blandford Bloodstock's Tom Goff appeared on the back stairs and swiftly delivered the winning bid.
"She's a very special filly, a brilliant sprinter," said Goff. "She was very well trained and well selected by Karl Burke, and a filly that a lot of people have been chasing privately."
When quizzed if Quiet Reflection would be retired, Goff said: "It hasn't been discussed yet but I suspect that the time has come for her to be a mother."
This was the third time that Quiet Reflection had been through the sales ring, having first been picked up as a yearling by Geoffrey Howson for £32,000 before she realised £44,000 from Burke at the Doncaster Breeze-Up Sale.
She went on to win eight races for Burke and the Ontoawinner syndicate, a race record headed by her stunning victories in the Haydock Sprint Cup and the Commonwealth Cup.
"She's been a fantastic filly and has gone to a top-class farm," said Burke, whose apprentice jockey Jordan Vaughan led Quiet Reflection around the ring.
"Hopefully they'll send me one of her offspring to train! You can not replace her though. I trained her second dam, Clare Hills, and that's what it was that caught my eye in the first place."
Not content with acquiring two of the most talented fillies around, Magnier made another seven-figure purchase during the session, having earlier parted with 1,500,000gns in partnership with elusive owner Peter Brant for the Albany Stakes winner Different League.
"Different League will go to Ballydoyle and will stay in training," said Magnier.
Different League has taken the Marnane family on the journey of a lifetime this season, having been bought by Con Marnane for just €8,000 as a foal. She won her first three starts for French trainer Matthieu Palussiere, a run that included her memorable Royal Ascot victory.
"She did over 500 shows here, just unbelievable," said a visibly stunned Marnane, whose daughter Amy consigned the Dabirsim filly. "She never turned a hair. Her last show was as good as her first."
Asked what first appealed about Different League back at Arqana in December 2015, Marnane said: "She had this great walk and is such a strong, good topped filly. She has great hindquarters.
"We tried to sell her as a yearling but couldn't - we had no one on her. Perhaps they thought she was too tall, would take too much time - they were all wrong!"
Stroud snap up
Having missed out on the session-topper Godolphin enjoyed better fortune in their pursuit of Zhukova, who they snared for 3,700,000gns.
Anthony Stroud, bidding from the back stairs, outlasted Justin Casse, James Wigan and then Ballylinch Stud's John O'Connor for the Fastnet Rock mare, who landed the Man O'War Stakes earlier this year for Dermot Weld.
"She's a very nice filly, a Grade 1 winner who is out of a Group 1 winner [Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Nightime]," said Stroud. "Logically, the thing to do is go to Dubawi."
Zhukova was sold by The Castlebridge Consignment on behalf of John Murrell and his wife Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez. The pair also had a good result with Group 3-winning sprinter Only Mine, who made 925,000gns to the Niarchos family.
The seven-figure lots came thick and fast during Tuesday's session, and David Redvers got in on the act to secure Wekeela at 1,800,000gns. The five-year-old daughter of Hurricane Run, who won a Group 3 while in training in France and a Grade 3 at Monmouth Park having transferred to the US in 2016, was offered by European Sales Management.
"She'll join Sheikh Fahad's elite band of broodmares," said Redvers. "She's as beautiful a mare as it's possible to imagine, she's incredibly sexy and hopefully she's going to breed something magnificent. I'm delighted to get her, I wasn't sure we would as I thought she might go beyond our budget."
Redvers added that "several" stallions were under consideration for Wekeela's first cover.
Newsells keep it in the family
The first of ten seven-figure lots on the day came when Oliver St Lawrence secured Enable's half-sister Birdwood for 1,100,000gns. The mare was offered by, and bought on behalf of, Newsells Park, who bought out their partners for the daughter of Oasis Dream, who was secured for just 150,000gns 12 months earlier.
"Last year David and Peter Winkworth asked if they could come in with us on her and we like working in partnership," said Newsells general manager Julian Dollar.
"I'd seen Enable win three days before we bought [Birdwood] and I thought'd she'd make a lovely mare for Nathaniel. Ironically the partners asked if we could wait and see if Enable was any good before we sent her to Nathaniel!
"They had to cash out and I can completely understand that. When I looked at the catalogue I tried to calculate how I could buy a queen and, for me, she was the most affordable queen I could get as we already owned half of her. Nathaniel sounds like a good bet for her next cover."
The session, which will live long in the memory, generated turnover of 45,665,000gns - up a phenomenal 79 per cent year-on-year. The average jumped by 90 per cent to 260,943gns and the median was up by 25,000gns to 80,500gns. The clearance rate stood at 76 per cent, with 175 of 229 offered lots changing hands.