Gaillard Du Mesnil half-brother heading to Long Run team on €250,000 winning bid
Scott Burton on the Royal Ascot-winning trainer selling a top jumps prospect
The Dublin Racing Festival was an amalgamation of races already in the Irish jumping calendar, but there can be no doubt its creation has magnified their importance, both on the racing and breeding front.
Coming barely a week later, Arqana's February sale is in a good spot to capitalise on any updates and it was no surprise that a half-brother of Gaillard Du Mesnil - winner at Leopardstown of the Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle and now favourite for the Ballymore at Cheltenham - attracted a flurry of bids from agents representing some key interests in Britain and Ireland.
The hammer came down at €250,000 for Hardi Du Mesnil - coincidentally the same price his brother made here in November 2019 - with David Powell winning out on behalf of Highflyer Bloodstock for the well-made son of Masterstroke, who in future will represent the Gold Cup-winning connections of Long Run.
"He's for Robert Waley-Cohen," revealed Powell, who admitted he had been forced to go a little further than he expected in seeing off the competition. "We'll leave him a while, probably give him six months so he has some time to strengthen up."
Gaillard Du Mesnil had already finished runner-up in a pair of Graded-race AQPS bumpers by the time trainer Isabelle Gallorini sent him to market, but there is already plenty to like about Hardi Du Mesnil's profile, as he followed up a success on the Flat at Vittel with a four-length win in a newcomers' hurdle at Pau last month.
The sale marked a good piece of business for trainer Matthieu Palussiere, who is best known for his exploits with Albany Stakes winner Different League.
Palussiere said: "He's been very straightforward and from day one we've always thought a good bit of him. He's a fine horse that never had any problems and just gets on with the job. I've always thought he was a proper one.
"We bought him at the Osarus Maisons-Laffitte sale in November 2019 for €32,000, so we paid a bit of money for him at the time. But his brother was already black type on the Flat in France. We always knew he'd be one for the jumps, and nothing bothers him. He's just a good horse."
Palussiere added: "His brother winning at Leopardstown was the cherry on the cake and came at the perfect time. We had already decided to come here but I knew Gaillard Du Mesnil had an entry for the Grade 1 and I was banking on that going well."
Palussiere and Different League's owner Con Marnane went their separate ways at the beginning of 2020 and his yard at Maisons-Laffitte has taken on more of a dual-purpose role, with the entertainer and comedian Nicolas Canteloup a new face among the owners.
Palussiere said: "You could call this a return to source because I've always liked the jumping and I did a bit of dealing in jumpers when I was in Ireland. I used to come and buy a few stores in France at that time.
"Nicolas Canteloup prefers jumping and it suited me. He had a bit of a budget to go for something nice. On the Flat I'm down on numbers but I hope to rebuild a bit, maybe thanks in part to this."
Laskalin heads to Venetia Williams academy
The well-bred Laskalin will be plying his trade for Venetia Williams after Guy Petit secured the six-year-old son of Martaline for €77,000.
A full-brother to the Grade 3-winning chaser Laskaline and a half to another graded performer over hurdles in Kinglaska, Laskalin has worked his way up the ladder and claimed a well-deserved Listed success over fences at Pau last month for trainer Mikael Mescam.
Petit said: "The idea is to aim him at the major handicaps as he no longer has novice status. He'll go on a break now, as he's run through the winter at Pau, and will be seen out again at the end of the year."
Smart Flat performer Lady Paname falls to jumps breeders
A Grade 3 winner on turf in the United States and multiple stakes-placed in France, Lady Paname looked one of the top breeding prospects in a day-one offering that mixed horses in training, youngstock and broodmares.
The seven-year-old daughter of Soldier Of Fortune has proved a real moneyspinner both on the track and in the ring, first for her owner-breeders Francis Teboul and Elie Lellouche, and latterly for Madaket Stables.
Agent Sebastien Desmontils won out at €120,000 for Lady Paname, whose breeding career is set to entail a change of discipline according to one of the co-investors, Pierric Rouxel.
"She's for a partnership between Ecurie Drost and Ecurie Tygaly which is managed by Sebastien," said Rouxel. "We're delighted as we thought we might lose her for a while there and we really loved her.
"We'll breed from her rather than put her back into training and we already have an idea of her who first cover might be. We've a share in No Risk At All and so we'll be looking at breeding for the jumps.
"What marked her out in her racing career was her speed, which is a great asset."
Lady Paname is out of a winning sister to black-type performers Inside Man and American Trilogy, and made €400,000 in this ring in December 2017 when bought to go to the US.
Austria and Libya feature on buyers' bench
Two of the day’s best sellers are bound for emerging jurisdictions.
Agent Chris Richner went to €85,000 to land the Listed-winning Galileo filly Oh Beautiful, bred by George Strawbridge and already the producer of three useful horses, including Lone Peak, who had future Arc laureate Sottsass among his victims when winning his Deauville maiden by seven lengths.
Oh Beautiful is headed for Austria's Gestut Sage Stud, whose new owners have big ambitions.
Earlier in the day the starry cross of a Dubawi colt out of a Galileo mare proved an attractive racing and breeding prospect as consistent handicapper Lucky Break realised €53,000 when offered by Alessandro and Giuseppe Botti.
Libyan entity Amelgat were the purchasers and, while Lucky Break may have more running to do, his future is as a stallion.
He is out of Prix de Flore heroine Lil'Wing, herself a half-sister to Prix Ganay runner-up Loup Breton.
Figures sharply up on 2020
The February sale was Arqana's only offering in 2020 before the spectre of Covid-19 descended, so it was especially heartening to see key indicators up across the board.
A very healthy clearance rate of 78 per cent (66 per cent last year) was backed up by a 24 per cent increase in turnover from last year's opening session.
In all, 121 lots sold for €1,654,000, at an average of €13,669 (up from €11,214) and median of €6,500 (€5,000).
The sale concludes on Tuesday, with the session commencing at 10am local time.
More to read: