Benoit has final say on Johannes Vermeer dam with €1.9m bid
Nancy Sexton reports from an exciting session of top-notch mares
A day after supplying the headline lot at the Goffs November Foal Sale, it was the turn of Inca Princess herself to shine in the Kill sale ring on Thursday when selling for a sale-topping €1.9 million.
Offered in foal to Galileo, the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor was widely anticipated to lead the way among a powerful draft of horses to come under the hammer under the ownership of either Desert Star Phoenix Jvc or the partnership between Coolmore and the China Horse Club through the Castlebridge Consignment.
She duly lived up to expectations as Laurent Benoit stretched to €1.9 million on behalf of an undisclosed client to get the better of Ballylinch Stud, Will Douglass of Charlie Gordon-Watson Bloodstock and Joe Foley.
“She represents an amazing opportunity for us,” said Benoit. “She's the dam of two very good horses and we all saw the foal yesterday. She’s a lovely mare in foal to the right horse so we’re delighted to have got her.”
Inca Princess has made a sparkling start to her stud career as the dam of Johannes Vermeer, the 2015 Criterium International winner who has been placed in the Melbourne Cup, Ladbrokes Stakes and Caulfield Cup for Aidan O’Brien since the publication of the catalogue, and Elizabeth Browning, who won the Kilboy Estate Stakes before selling for a sale record of 700,000gns to Alex Elliott at last month’s Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale.
The pair are the first two foals out of the mare, while her fourth is the Galileo filly foal who topped Goffs November Sale earlier this week when selling for €1.1m to Hugo Lascelles on behalf of American interests.
Benoit also tried hard to secure top Australian mare Melito but had to give second best to representatives of Kazumi Yoshida at €950,000.
Winner of the Winter and T J Smith Stakes during her time with Gerald Ryan, the daughter of Redoute’s Choice is the dam of Yoshida's smart Japanese colt Campbell Junior, who ran second in the Group 3 Lord Derby Challenge Trophy earlier this season. Like Inca Princess, she was sold by the Castlebridge Consignment in foal to Galileo.
Plans call for Melito to ship directly to Japan, where she could be covered by either Deep Impact or Heart’s Cry, representatives of Yoshida said.
The final mare to sell out of the draft in foal to Galileo, Group 2 winner Fix, was also unsurprisingly in demand, falling to Tom Goff of Blandford Bloodstock at €750,000.
The ultra tough Fix was crowned New Zealand’s Filly of the Year in the 2012/13 season following her sweep of the Eight Carat Classic, New Zealand Bloodstock Royal Stakes and Sir Tristram Fillies Classic.
“She’s a lovely roomy mare who, to my eye, looks like she’s carrying a good sized foal,” said Goff. “Obviously she was a good racemare and goes back to the Juddmonte family of Showcasing and Prophecy.
“It’s been hard to buy the mares you want today, and I suspect it will be the same next week at Newmarket. So we’re very pleased that we managed to buy a mare like this.”
The trio were joined in the Coolmore/China Horse Club draft by Muravka, the dam of French champion two-year-old The Wow Signal whose yearling No Nay Never colt realised 850,000gns at Tattersalls last month. The High Chaparral mare, who was offered barren to Starspangledbanner, is heading to David and Diane Nagle’s Barronstown Stud after selling for €950,000.
Eddie Irwin’s Marlhill House Stud, meanwhile, signed at €400,000 for Convocate, a daughter of Exchange Rate offered in foal to Galileo by Garranlea Stud on behalf of the China Horse Club and Irwin’s Rockhart Trading.
That particular draft also included Listed winner Thai Haku, whose two-year-old daughter Sarrocchi made a striking winning debut last month at Leopardstown for Aidan O’Brien.
Michael Donohoe of the BBA Ireland landed the winning bid of €260,000 for the mare on behalf of an existing client.
"I actually thought she was value," said Donohoe of the ten-year-old daughter of Oasis Dream who was sold in foal to Lope De Vega. "The two-year-old was impressive at Leopardstown, she looked like she could be anything.”
Aga Khan draft popular
The ever-popular draft from the Aga Khan Studs once again provided its share of highlights, led by the proven producer Ebalista, who was bought by Dermot Cantillon for €300,000 on behalf of Tony Smurfit's Forenaghts Stud.
The winning daughter of Selkirk has bred three stakes runners so far for the Aga Khan, among them Prix de Royallieu winner Ebiyza, and boasted the added attraction of selling in foal to Siyouni. She also hails from one of the Aga Khan's finest families as a daughter of champion Ebadiyla, herself a half-sister to Group 1 winners Estimate, Enzeli and Edabiya.
"I like these older, proven mares," said Cantillon. "She's in foal to a very good horse, out of a champion and from one of the Aga Khan's best families.”
Also busy stocking up on mares was Saeed Manana, who went to €210,000 for Snowgal, a Galileo half-sister to champion two-year-old Preseli. James Tate signed the ticket on the mare, sold in foal to Zoffany by Airlie Stud.
"Obviously Zoffany over Galileo is a good cross,” said Tate. “She's a lovely young mare from a very good family and her first foal is a winner.”
Meanwhile, American agent Gatewood Bell struck at €250,000 for Sanna Bay, the dam of tough Listed winner Dusky Queen. The daughter of Refuse To Bend was sold by Oghill House Stud in foal to Dark Angel.
Dam of Fiorente heads Ballymacoll draft
The first draft of mares hailing from the Ballymacoll Stud dispersal was headed by Desert Bloom, the dam of Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente who was snapped up in foal to Teofilo by Joe Foley of Ballyhane Stud for €48,000.
The daughter of Pilsudski narrowly surpassed the figure commanded by fellow stakes producer Drama Class, the dam of Blandford Stakes winner Eleanora Duse and Irish Oaks runner-up Scottish Stage who sold in foal to Acclamation for €45,000.
In all, four mares from Ballymacoll Stud sold through Jockey Hall Stud for a total of €138,000.
The dispersal continues next week when the Tattersalls December Sale gets under way in Newmarket.
The Goffs November Breeding Stock Sale continues on Friday at 10am.