Elliott has last laugh as Practical Joke filly brings 360,000gns at Craven Sale
Strong trade at Tattersalls as European breeze-up season gets under way
Action rumbled on well into the evening on a lively day one of the Tattersalls Craven Sale, with the session-topping Practical Joke filly bringing a bid of 360,000gns just as the clock struck 9pm.
Alex Elliott, stationed outside by the parade ring, and Blandford Bloodstock's Richard Brown, bidding from the stairwell to the left of the rostrum, engaged in a prolonged duel, but when Elliott pushed the stakes to 360,000gns his opponent turned and exited the auditorium.
The Tally-Ho Stud-consigned filly first appeared on the public market at the 2019 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, where she was signed for by Brookstone Farm at $185,000.
She missed two engagements at US yearling sales but had subsequently made her way to the O'Callaghan family's County Westmeath operation, and duly showcased her talent with an eye-catching breeze up the Rowley Mile on Monday morning.
Having already traversed the Atlantic for the breeze-up sales, Elliott revealed the filly would be heading back to the US having been secured on behalf of Peter Brant's White Birch Farm.
"She's a beautiful filly and she's been bought for White Birch so she's going to go back to Chad Brown, who trained Practical Joke," said Elliott. "She did a great breeze and she's been very highly thought of from day one. Roger O'Callaghan has been raving about her so I'm delighted to get her. She looks like an ideal filly to go back to the States. She's a May foal so she'll need a bit of time but she was the one."
Practical Joke, a three-time Grade 1-winning son of Into Mischief, may still be relatively unknown on European shores with his first crop only just into their juvenile season, but having travelled to the US breeze-up sales Elliott said he expects to be hearing a lot more about the sire in the not too distant future.
"I actually bought a Practical Joke at Fasig-Tipton, we bought one for Amo Racing for $300,000," he said. "The two-year-old guys in Florida were raving about his stock. It's one thing people talking them up, but when the horses go and start doing it you have to pay attention."
The filly is out of the Purim mare Purr And Prowl, whose pedigree features a handful of classy European runners, including her Listed-winning half-brother Arch Rebel and Sheba Five, whose own progeny include Atalanta Stakes scorer Nakuti.
"She's as good a filly as I've had to breeze," said Roger O'Callaghan of Tally-Ho Stud. "She has been a genuine natural from the start. I bought her at Keeneland November as a foal with Archie St George. She didn't make the yearling sale so we brought her here. The sire line through Into Mischief is magic."
There was a significant private sale late in the piece, with Manor House Stud giving 335,000gns for Kilminfoyle House Stud's Kingman filly out of Flying Fairies who had initially been withdrawn from the auction after breezing on Monday.
That took total sales for the day to 6,485,000gns, with the average hitting 99,770gns and the median closing at 80,000gns. The clearance rate was a healthy 86 per cent as 65 of 76 offered lots found a buyer.
Cool Silk back for more
The Cool Silk Partnership have been long-standing supporters of the breeze-up market and their investment has been rewarded with a string of classy talents like Midnight Sands, Prince Of Lir and Sands Of Mali.
The ownership group will be hoping their latest acquisition proves similarly successful having gone to 265,000gns in conjunction with Matt Coleman of Stroud Coleman Bloodstock to secure the Night Of Thunder filly offered by Star Bloodstock.
"I really liked her and I thought her breeze was excellent," said Cool Silk's Peter Swann. "She's a beautiful specimen and has a great pedigree too so if we can win a race with her we're halfway there.
"She's the sort of horse we're always looking for and we felt she was worth a go. I don't know who'll train her, I haven't answered my phone yet but I'm sure there'll be a few interested in having her! We've got some great trainers though so I'm sure whoever gets her will do a good job."
On Cool Silk's past success stories Swann added: "We've been doing this for a long time now, I think we've had 62 winners from the breeze-ups. One of the best is Midnight Sands, who's been superb for us. Hopefully we can have a go at Ascot with this filly and try to win the [new £250,000 Tattersalls] bonus."
The filly was pinhooked by Star Bloodstock and Byron Rogers from Book 2 of last year's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, where she fetched 95,000gns. She is the first foal out of Militate, a Juddmonte-bred Oasis Dream sibling to three stakes winners, including two-time John of Gaunt Stakes scorer Main Aim and the Group 2 Prix Dollar winner Weightless.
"She's been bought by Stroud Coleman, who've bought a few off us in the past, and I hope she flies for her new owner," said Star's Matt Eves. "She's done everything right for us, she did everything right in her breeze too, and she's brought a decent amount of money.
"We probably paid 15 or 20 grand more than I was going to when we bought her but I blame that on the wine! The top of the market might not be quite as buoyant as it has been in the past but we have to be delighted with how she's done."
Dabirsim filly lives up to the hype
There had been an increasing amount of chatter about Aguiar Bloodstock's Dabirsim filly as the sale approached, and in the event a three-way tussle ensued between Alex Elliott, standing with Amo Racing's Kia Joorabchian, Qatar Racing's David Redvers and trainer Roger Varian.
It was left to Varian to bring the gavel down at 240,000gns, after which auctioneer Ollie Fowlston pointed to the winning bidder and said: "We'll see you at Royal Ascot!"
"She looks like a nice filly," said Varian. "She has plenty of scope, she moves nicely and she looks to have a good mind on her. She breezed nicely and she wasn't blitzed so there's plenty of horse left to train. I've had one or two winners by Dabirsim but I haven't had that many by him."
The filly, who was pinhooked by Robson Aguiar for €50,000 at last year's Arqana Select Sale, is out of Ironique, an unraced Smart Strike sister to the Listed-winning Oriental. The dam is out of the Wertheimers' Group 3 scorer Iron Lips, who in turn is a half-sister to Poule d'Essai des Poulains hero Falco, who is now a top level winner-producing sire standing at Hundred Acre Farm.
"I can't say who she's been bought for but he's a pre-existing client of the yard," added Varian. "She looks like a horse we can press on with, she's strong and mature so there'd be no reason not to get on with her so long as she's fine after the sale. She hasn't been bought to put in a paddock just yet! We'll see how we get on with her."
Earlier in the session Amo Racing and Alex Elliott went to 150,000gns to secure a Kodi Bear filly from the family of Benbatl who was also consigned by Aguiar.
Donohoe lands Lope De Vega colt
The Lope De Vega colt out of Freedom March made his third visit to the Park Paddocks ring his most fruitful appearance yet as Michael Donohoe of BBA Ireland went to 240,000gns to secure the strongly-built bay when he was offered by Mocklershill.
Donohoe said no plans had been firmed up as to who will now take charge of the colt's racing career, but added that he didn't expect it would be long before the February foal reaches the racecourse.
"He's been bought for a client from the Middle East," said Donohoe. "We've had a bit of luck with the sire before with Lucky Vega and this colt is a very good physical too. I liked him as a yearling but I was a bit unsure as he was quite raw, but Willie [Browne, Mocklershill] has done a great job with him.
"I actually went to Willie's and saw him before he came over and he was very high on him. He breezed exactly how Willie thought he would. He looks like one of the more precocious Lope De Vegas, he looks to have a bit of speed too so I don't think he'll take too long. No trainer has been decided upon yet but the client has horses in Ireland, Britain and France."
The colt, the first out of the winning Oasis Dream mare Freedom March whose pedigree traces back to the likes of Pride, first sold for 230,000gns when bought by Woodford Thoroughbreds at the December Foal Sale, but was bought back by his vendor at 200,000gns when reoffered 11 months later by Mount Coote Stud.
Godolphin get involved
There had been plenty of debate about whether Godolphin would participate at this year's Craven Sale, and the operation responded in the affirmative when the Oasis Dream colt out of Needleleaf offered by Norman Williamson's Oak Tree Farm was knocked down for 210,000gns.
Godolphin's long-serving talent scout Anthony Stroud wasn't present at Park Paddocks so bidding duties were entrusted to his business partner Matt Coleman.
"I was on the phone to Anthony Stroud and David Loder, who are sitting together somewhere in Newmarket, so I was bidding for Godolphin," said Coleman.
"They thought he was one of the picks of the sale. He breezed very well and obviously has a good pedigree being out of a sister to the dam of Calyx. He's a great-looking horse and Norman has done a good job with him."
The well-related colt was pinhooked by Margaret O'Toole and Oak Tree Farm for 67,000gns.
The 210,000gns mark was also hit earlier in the session when Kerri Radcliffe secured Kilminfoyle House Stud's Toronado filly on behalf of Peter Leidel, co-owner of dual Royal Ascot heroine Lady Aurelia.
"She's a very racy filly and looks like she could be a Royal Ascot type," said Radcliffe. "Hopefully she's another Lady Aurelia! She will be trained in England but no decisions have been made about who by yet. Peter hasn't been back to Royal Ascot since Lady Aurelia, and that was a factor for him.
"We were happy to take home a filly or a colt, but I really liked her and I think I have a thing for fillies rather than colts. She comes from a good consignor who gets results and that makes a big difference. She's a very nice filly, she behaved well and she did everything right."
Hillen and Ryan reload
The first six-figure purchase of the day was made by Stephen Hillen and Kevin Ryan, with the duo going to 160,000gns for Bansha House Stables' Kodiac colt out of Faithful Duchess. Hillen and Ryan have enjoyed success out of previous renewals of the Craven Sale, most notably sourcing Group 1 winner Brando back in 2014.
The colt boasts a strong and precious-looking pedigree being out of a Bachelor Duke half-sister to Champagne Stakes scorer Etlaala. Faithful Duchess's other siblings include Anna Law, dam of the brilliant sprinter Battaash, and Bird Key, who is best known as the dam of Tasleet.
The transaction also provided Con Marnane, the master of Bansha House Stables, with a tidy bit of pinhooking profit having picked up the late-April foal for £38,000 when he was offered by Egmont Stud at last year's Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale when the auction was relocated to Newmarket.
"He's just been a pleasure to have around, a gentleman of a horse who did everything right," said Marnane. "He's got a stallion's pedigree too with Battaash back in the family and he's a great physical to go with it.
"I'm just thrilled that he's gone to Kevin Ryan's. I'm hoping he'll end up at Royal Ascot and win that [£250,000 Craven Sale] bonus because he's a right candidate for it. He could look like a cheap horse if he goes and wins that."
Asked how he came to pinhook the Kodiac colt at such a value sum, Marnane said with a wry smile: "I was just in the right place at the right time! Amy picked him out and he came out of a very good farm in Egmont Stud."
Hillen and Ryan were back in action later in day, firstly when they secured a 140,000gns Acclamation colt from Glending Stables and later going to 200,000gns for a son of Mehmas offered by Longways Stables.
"Mehmas is doing wonderful things," said Hillen. "This horse did a wonderful breeze, he clocked well, showed a good stride pattern and is a very nice individual with a great attitude.
"I'm not really interested in the page when they come to the breeze-ups, it's more about the individual and a horse who looks like it can run. To be honest, I don't even look at the pedigree because it's not like a yearling sale; they can either run or they can't at this stage.
"All three have been bought for Steve Ryan, he's based in Yorkshire and has a few horses with Kevin. All three look like they're ready to run."
The Tattersalls Craven Sale continues on Wednesday with the second and final session getting under way at 5.45pm.
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