Time Check stops the clock at 300,000gns to top July Sale opener
James Thomas reports from day one at Park Paddocks
Tattersalls brought the curtain up on one of the most eagerly anticipated weeks of the thoroughbred calendar in Newmarket on Wednesday, with the first session of the three-day July Sale giving way to a rather mixed day of trade.
The international appeal of the catalogue was reflected in a buying bench that had come from far and wide, but while the robust health of the upper levels of the market was again in evidence, vendors with less sought after offerings may have found the going somewhat tougher.
Last year's renewal was dominated by the blue-blooded fillies and mares offered by Godolphin, and the draft from Sheikh Mohammed's operation once again took centre stage, selling 66 lots for an aggregate of 4,015,000gns and an average of 60,835gns.
The session-topping lot came late in the piece, with Badgers Bloodstock going to 300,000gns for the Godolphin-consigned Time Check. The daughter of Shamardal, who won a Doncaster maiden for Saeed bin Suroor in 2016, boasts a pedigree replete with southern hemisphere talent, including Group 1 winner Astern, who is out of her half-sister Essaouira.
"The family speaks for itself," said the agency's Tom Pritchard-Gordon, who confirmed that the mare would be sent back to Australia. "She's easy to mate - we'll sit down and discuss who she goes to, and she's by Shamardal, who looks like he'll be a good broodmare sire. She was quite a good race filly herself as well."
The five-year-old's third dam is the dual Australian champion Triscay, who landed five Group 1 events during her glittering racing career.
Earlier in the session La Pelegrina, a nine-year-old sister to another dual Australian champion in Miss Finland, whose considerable race record included success in the prestigious Golden Slipper, was also secured by Badgers Bloodstock with a bid of 130,000gns.
The daughter of Redoute's Choice, who was not covered this year, is out of the Woodman mare Forest Pearl and is already the dam of three winners, including the promising juvenile Way Of Wisdom.
"She obviously has a lot of international appeal - we know her very well because of what her sister achieved," said Pritchard-Gordon, who was standing with his father Grant and Paul Messara of Arrowfield Stud, in whose distinctive yellow and black diamond colours Miss Finland raced.
"She's a lovely individual - the two-year-old with Charlie Appleby [Way Of Wisdom] looks like he could be okay and nick a bit of black type, which would help. Australia would be her likeliest destination. She's been bought for a partnership of existing clients.
"We'll get all our ducks in a row before we decide which stallion we send her to, she could either be going somewhere on the way down to Australia or visiting an Australian sire. It's all up in the air at the moment," he added.
The mare's family traces back to the likes of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Doyen.
Violence sister causes a ruckus
For much of the day trade was headed by Wild Mint, an unraced three-year-old daughter of Medaglia D'Oro whose three winning siblings include Grade 1 Futurity Stakes scorer and Hill 'N' Dale Farm's promising freshman sire Violence.
Bids came from all around the ring until Ed Sackville, perched at the top of bidding area steps, and Patrick Cooper, sitting opposite the rostrum, settled down to duke it out, with the former eventually prevailing with a 290,000gns sucker punch.
"She's been bought for a new, undisclosed client," said Sackville. "She'll most likely go overseas and has been bought as a breeding prospect. She's an attractive, scopey filly and obviously she's a full-sister to a very good horse in Violence - her pedigree goes back to Sky Beauty, who was a very good American filly."
Sky Beauty was crowned champion older mare in the US in 1994 having won four Grade 1s. The daughter of Blushing Groom has produced five winners, including the Horris Hill Stakes winner Hurricane Cat and Desert Tigress, who is better known as the dam of Richard Fahey's talented performer Growl.
Sackville also remarked on the draw of the Godolphin offerings, saying: "With the Darley drafts you get full disclosure and very nicely bred fillies - it's a great opportunity."
This was not the first time the Wild Mint had been through the sales ring, having been acquired by Godolphin for $850,000 from the 2014 Keeneland November Sale.
Trade gathered pace as evening set in, with two lots fetching 270,000gns in quick succession. The first of those was What Say You, consigned by Voute Sales, who went the way of Sydney-based agent Andrew Williams. The five-year-old daughter of Galileo was offered in foal to Lope De Vega
"She will foal down in Europe and then we will decide what to do," said Williams. "She has a great international profile so everything is flexible, which is the coolest thing. Galileo is a fantastic broodmare sire, there is alot of Anabaa blood here too, which I like, while I'm also a huge fan of Lope De Vega."
What Say You, bred by MV Magnier and Lynch Bages, was a 90,000gns yearling when bought by Anthony Stroud back in 2013.
That lot was swiftly followed by La Patria, who brought the same price to the bid of Andreas Putsch of Haras de Saint-Pair. The daughter of Dubawi, offered by Godolphin and in foal to the operation's Lockinge Stakes winner Belardo, finished third in the Listed Prix Coronation for Andre Fabre, and is a sister to the unbeaten Ottoman, the winner of both his starts to date for Charlie Appleby, and a half-sister to the Group 1-placed Empire Day.
Their dam, Evil Empire, was a Group 3 winner in Germany and an Acatenango sister to Deutsches St Leger winner El Tango.
"She's a lovely Dubawi mare who showed good form," said Crispin de Moubray, who signed on behalf of Putsch. "She was in Andre Fabre's yard and I think it's fair to say that not all of the yard was well last year, so we may not have seen the best of her on the track. The brother looks useful and it's a thoroughly good German family."
Hong Kong campaign on the horizon for Gino
It wasn't all about fillies and mares, however, as the Fastnet Rock gelding Gino Severini, offered by Fozzy Stack's Thomastown Castle Stables, went the way of agent Federico Barberini for 200,000gns.
The three-year-old reached the frame on each of his four runs for Stack, winning a Naas handicap and running to a Racing Post Rating of 90 when runner-up to Lightening Fast at Navan on his penultimate outing.
"He's been bought on behalf of Marie Yoshida's Asian Bloodstock. Obviously he's by Fastnet Rock and he has the right profile to fit well into the Hong Kong programme," said Barberini. "They've had their eyes on him for a while. He won't run again over here."
Howson and Houldsworth on the mark
Geoffrey Howson and Matt Houldsworth were active throughout the session, and the duo plundered the Godolphin draft when going to 155,000gns to secure Light And Shade, a Listed-placed Aqlaam half-sister to Group 3 winner Lady Gloria offered in foal to Darley's stalwart shuttler Exceed And Excel.
"It's hard to buy black-type mares, especially in foal to Exceed And Excel," said Houldsworth. "She was good on the track and a lovely type."
Howson and Houldsworth concluded the session with four new acquisitions for a total spend of 394,000gns.
BBA Ireland showdown
Eamonn Reilly of the BBA Ireland joked that he would have to lock up his colleague, Richard Fitzsimons after fending him off at 160,000gns for Elltaaf from The Castlebridge Consignment.
"She's for Gerrardstown House Stud in County Meath and is the first mare I've bought for them," he said of his acquisition, who was offered in foal to Ballylinch Stud's new recruit New Bay. "She's a beautiful mare with a good covering. Ritchie was the underbidder - he's become dangerous!"
The transaction provided a handsome return on the 45,000gns paid for Elltaaf, again by the BBA Ireland, at the 2016 Tattersalls February Sale. By Invincible Spirit, the four-year-old is a winning sister to Listed winner Tantshi and a half-sister to Listed winner Toolain, out of the Listed-placed Qasirah.
BBA Ireland finished the first session of the July Sale as the leading buyer, with 11 lots secured for an outlay of 845,500gns.
Volunteer helps to get trade going
After a low-key start to the session things picked up significantly when the talented Volunteer Point, in foal to Tally-Ho Stud's high-flying sire Kodiac, entered the ring. The decibels in the auditorium dropped as bids flew across the ring, with James Wigan standing in the gate trading blows with Timmy Hyde and Paul Shanahan in the adjacent gangway until the duo prevailed at 125,000gns.
The five-year-old daughter of Footstepsinthesand, consigned by Mick Channon's West Ilsley Stables, won eight of her 35 starts, including the valuable All-Weather Fillies' and Mares' Championships Conditions Stakes and was beaten just a head in the Listed Snowdrop Fillies' Stakes.
BBA Ireland's Reilly signed the ticket, and said: "She's a good, tough racemare who won eight races and the Kodiac cover is obviously very appealing."
Volunteer Point descends from the very active family of Krakow. She is out of the Pivotal mare Piffling, a daughter of Nell Gwyn Stakes winner Ghariba and half-sister to Listed winner Promptly. It is also the family of Saturday's Coral Charge winner Battaash.
The session concluded with 225 of the 281 lots offered selling for a clearance rate of 80 per cent.
Turnover was 7,029,500gns, a dip of two per cent compared with the 2016 returns, the average was 31,240gns, a one per cent increase, and the median was 10,000gns, a 29 per cent drop from last year's day-one figure.