Late drama at Book 1 as Galileo Gold's half-brother brings 2,700,000gns
James Thomas reports from a day of seven-figure action at Tattersalls
There was late drama at the opening session of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale on Tuesday as Oliver St Lawrence secured the Kingman half-brother to 2,000 Guineas hero Galileo Gold for 2,700,000gns. The price is the highest sum given for a yearling in Europe or North America this year.
St Lawrence, who was taking instructions on the phone, delivered his bids directly to the spotter behind the rope, while Ross Doyle, flanked by key members of the Coolmore team, filled the role of frustrated underbidder.
"I genuinely didn't think I'd be buying him," said a visibly shocked St Lawrence as the heavens began to open over Newmarket. "He's a lovely colt but I didn't expect my guys to go to that kind of level, not until we went over the million mark. I'm not quite sure how the ownership will be divided up, but he's been bought with Fawzi Nass for Bahraini interests."
St Lawrence continued: "He's a great-walking horse and the pedigree speaks for itself. He's a half-brother to a 2,000 Guineas winner and he's a stallion prospect if he does well. If you're paying that kind of money you're hoping to end up with a stallion; whether that happens is a different matter. We'd love him to go and win the Guineas though."
This session-topper was offered by Houghton Bloodstock on behalf of breeders Pantile Stud and is the seventh foal produced by Galicuix, a daughter of Galileo who has bred five winners, with Galileo Gold joined by the likes of the useful Eshaasy, Choumicha and Petit Palais.
"I'd have gone to Kingman [with the mare] sooner but they wouldn't have me!" joked the colt's delighted breeder Colin Murfitt. "This is all down to Bo [Hicks-Little, manager of Pantile]. She's done it all; she's foaled this colt, slept with him and did everything. Galicuix did not have a foal this year, but she's in foal to Too Darn Hot. I keep my horses on good black fen land and it's clearly good for them."
The Kingman colt is not the first top lot the mare has bred, as Choumicha led the 2015 Goffs UK Premier Sale when bought by Tony Nerses for £280,000.
The opening session of the three-day auction brought trade broadly in line with pre-sale expectations, with turnover of 27,750,000gns down 22 per cent on the corresponding day last year. The average was down 14 per cent at 223,790gns and the median dropped 33 per cent to 120,000gns. The clearance rate was 78 per cent, with 124 of 158 offered lots finding a buyer. The same metric was 83 per cent in 2019.
Godolphin back with a bang
Godolphin have largely kept their powder dry this yearling sale season, but were back in action with a bang on Tuesday as Anthony Stroud signed for eight lots at a total outlay of 7,220,000gns, a sum that equates to 26 per cent of the session's turnover.
That haul included three seven-figure acquisitions, with the colts by Frankel and Dubawi offered by Floors Stud joined by a Frankel half-sister to Golden Horn who fetched a round 2,000,000gns.
The filly is not only a sibling of the Derby and Arc hero, who now stands at Darley's Dalham Hall Stud, but is a sister to the Listed-placed Dhahabi, who joined Godolphin at a cost of 3,100,000gns 12 months ago.
The daughter of Frankel was offered by Norelands Stud, whose Harry McCalmont joked after watching the regally bred lot fetch seven figures: “I'm either going to faint or be sick!"
He continued: "I'm delighted Sheikh Mohammed bought her. He already owns the full-brother, Dhahabi, and I hope she's as good, if not better. It's a great result for the farm. The dam has a Sea The Stars filly at foot, who I promise won't be coming here next year, and she's in foal to Kingman."
Asked what had prompted him to offer such a valuable yearling at a time of such market uncertainty, he explained that a plan B was already in place should the filly have failed to bring the desired price.
"It's a difficult year to sell but we were going to sell her only if we got what we thought she was worth," he said. "If we'd kept her she'd have gone to John Gosden, so I thought lets bring her to Newmarket and we can send her to John's straight from here if we don't sell her, and if we do it hasn't cost us anything.
"We're very pleased to see Sheikh Mohammed buying here. It's so important that he's buying and I'm delighted he bought this filly."
Godolphin's haul also included a 520,000gns Dubawi filly out of Be My Gal offered by Oakgrove Stud and two lots secured at 480,000gns apiece, namely a Frankel colt out of As Good As Gold from Newsells Park Stud and a son of Dubawi and Black Cherry consigned by Highclere Stud.
McCalmont lands Capri sister
Jamie McCalmont struck the winning bid for the day's fifth-top lot having gone to 850,000gns for the steel grey Galileo filly out of Dialafara offered by Camas Park Stud. The filly is a sister to five winners, most notably St Leger and Irish Derby hero Capri.
The successful purchaser was represented by Kelsey Lupo, who said: "We bought her for a client of ours. She's a beautiful, classy filly and is going to develop really nicely, so what's not to love about her? She has plenty of residual value so she's worth that all day."
She added of the Book 1 offerings: "It's a very strong catalogue and the physicals are very strong as well, so it gives you a lot of choice. My shortlist wasn't very short!”
Horde sibling heads to Coolmore
MV Magnier may have come off second best for the 2,100,000gns Dubawi colt earlier in the day but the Coolmore man enjoyed better fortune when he secured the Zoffany half-sister to Commonwealth Cup hero Golden Horde at 580,000gns.
The filly was consigned by Highclere Stud having been bred by Clara Stud, whose James Cloney said: "It's a fabulous result. The mare just keeps producing jewels. She's such an unusual mare to be able to keep producing stock who have the looks, the ability, everything. I'm delighted that MV purchased her. Hopefully she'll stay in Ireland and I'll be able to attend the races when she runs!"
The result provided Cloney with another big return having purchased the dam, Entreat, for a mere 14,000gns in 2016. She has gone on to breed Golden Horde and his smart half-brother Line Of Departure, himself a £260,000 yearling.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to own a mare like this," continued Cloney. "I bought her in the July Sales, she's a very good-looking mare and being by Pivotal was a key thing. At the time she'd been covered by Dutch Art four times so, in my opinion, she was only really exposed to one stallion. I thought trying something different might work, though I didn't think it would work that well though!
"It's been an exciting year for us as we have Golden Horde and we also bred Dream Of Dreams. For a small farm in Kilkenny to produce two Group 1 winners has been amazing."
Book 1 continues on Wednesday at 11am.