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'Price is no object' - the most expensive lots from a drama-filled year of sales

James Thomas charts the five priciest purchases at public auction in 2020

Monomoy Girl and Liz Crow, the agent who signed for her as a yearling, on the Fasig-Tipton sales ground
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Despite the Covid-19 pandemic having a sizeable impact on sales - in terms of prices, location and dates - there have still been some astronomical sums spent on the most sought after bloodstock in 2020.

We run the rule over the five biggest prices registered at public auction over the last 12 months.

Monomoy Girl
5yo ch m Tapizar - Drumette (Henny Hughes)
Offered by Elite Sales
Bought by Spendthrift Farm for $9.5 million

Very few mares achieve what Monomoy Girl did on the racecourse, and even fewer fetch the kind of sum she did when offered at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

The daughter of Tapizar has won 13 of her 15 outings for trainer Brad Cox, having been picked up by BSW Bloodstock and Liz Crow for $100,000 as a yearling. Her record features a remarkable seven Grade 1s, five of which came at three, including the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders' Cup Distaff.

However, just as her star was in the ascendancy she was forced to miss her entire four-year-old campaign due to a bout of colic so serious that she required surgery. She suffered a further setback when pulling a muscle.

Despite those misfortunes, she returned better than ever after an 18-month layoff to win the La Troienne Stakes and her second Breeders' Cup Distaff, with the latter success coming a little over 24 hours before she sold to B Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm for $9.5 million.

That figure makes her the joint second-highest priced racing or broodmare prospect sold in North America, a position she shares with Songbird, who sold in 2017. The record-holder is Havre De Grace, who was sold to Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm, the same connections who acquired Songbird, for $10m in 2012.

We may not have seen the last of Monomoy Girl's racing career, as Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey reported she would return to Cox for a 2021 campaign.

Rushing Fall
5yo b m More Than Ready - Autumnal (Forestry)
Offered by Indian Creek
Bought by Jamie McCalmont, agent for MV Magnier for $5.5m

Shortly after Monomoy Girl became the most expensive horse sold at public auction in 2020, leading turf performer Rushing Fall shot into second place when agent Jamie McCalmont struck a winning bid of $5.5m on behalf of Coolmore's MV Magnier.

The daughter of More Than Ready won 11 of her 15 starts for e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Chad Brown, including six Grade 1s. She won top-level contests at two, three, four and five, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and back-to-back runnings of the Jenny Wiley Stakes, and signed off with a runner-up effort behind Audarya in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf the day before she changed hands at Fasig-Tipton.

Rushing Fall strikes a pose on the Fasig-Tipton sales ground

Plans now call for Rushing Fall, who cost Mike Ryan $320,000 as a yearling, to join the star-studded book of mares due to visit Coolmore's perennial champion sire Galileo in 2021.

"She's a mare we loved the moment we saw her," said McCalmont having signed the seven-figure ticket. "We have plans to send her to Ireland to go to Galileo. I think that's the plan at the moment. Breed the best to the best and hope for the best."

Midnight Bisou
5yo bb m Midnight Lute - Diva Delite (Repent)
Offered by Elite Sales
Bought by Chuck Allen for $5m

The Fasig-Tipton November Sale lived up to its billing as the 'Night of the Stars' in no uncertain terms as the high-octane auction supplied the three most expensive lots of the 2020 sales calendar, with Monomoy Girl and Rushing Fall preceded into the ring by Midnight Bisou.

The five-time Grade 1 winner has the distinction of being the highest-earning US-based mare of all time, with her 13 victories contributing to prize-money of $7,471,520.

Midnight Bisou in the ring before being knocked down for $5m to Chuck Allen

Trained by Steve Asmussen for the majority of her career, Midnight Bisou was signed for by Chuck Allen, who went to the $5m mark to buy out partners Bloom Racing and Madaket Stables and add the daughter of Midnight Lute, who cost just $80,000 as a two-year-old, to his broodmare portfolio.

"Chuck is Midnight Bisou's biggest fan outside of Jeff Bloom - or maybe equal - and he bought himself a champion," said Elite's Bradley Weisbord. "It was fair value for the mare. She's a superstar. She's the highest-earning dirt mare of all time and she's special."

Lot 114 at the JRHA Select Yearling Sale
Br c Deep Impact - Sheave (Mineshaft)
Offered by Northern Farm
Bought by Tetsuhide Kunimoto for ¥510m (£3.65m/€4m)

Demand for the progeny of the late, great Japanese sire sensation Deep Impact reached new heights at this year's Japan Racing Horse Association Select Yearling Sale in Hokkaido in mid-July, when the auction's record price was broken not once but twice.

The first colt from the breed-shaping son of Sunday Silence's penultimate crop to set a new high mark was out of Forever Darling and went the way of Masahiro Noda's Danox Ltd at ¥400m. However, just a couple of hours later that price was bested when Tetsuhide Kunimoto stretched to ¥510m for a colt out of Sheave offered by Northern Farm.

The Deep Impact colt out of Sheave brings ¥510.m at the JRHA Select Sale

The youngster, a half-brother to Kentucky Oaks heroine Cathryn Sophia, has the distinction of being the most expensive yearling sold in 2020. After signing the record-breaking docket, Kunimoto said: "I have been involved in ownership of racehorses for more than 35 years and I'm sure this is one of the best yearlings I have ever seen.

"I visited Northern Farm three times to inspect yearlings and went to the barn of Northern Farm at the sales ground this morning, when I was determined to buy him.

"Price is no object with regard to this colt and I hope his quality is as high as his price."

Lot 436 at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale
B f Galileo - Shastye (Danehill)
Offered by Newsells Park Stud
Bought by MV Magnier for 3,400,000gns

The most expensive yearling filly of 2020 was sold at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale when Coolmore's MV Magnier went to 3,400,000gns, seeing off Oliver St Lawrence and David Redvers, for the latest daughter of Galileo and Shastye to come on the market.

Newsells Park Stud purchased Shastye for 625,000gns through John Warren in 2005, and since then she has developed into one of the most remarkable producers of recent times. She has bred six winners, including the Galileo-sired quartet of Japan and Mogul, both Group 1 winners, Middleton Stakes heroine Secret Gesture and Group 3 scorer Sir Isaac Newton.

The Galileo filly out of Shastye brings 3,400,000gns from MV Magnier

Not only has Shastye, a Danehill half-sister to Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero Sagamix, produced some exceptional runners, her progeny have now amassed 14,200,000gns in Tattersalls yearling sale receipts. Moreover, that total does not include the $3.5m paid by John Ferguson for Secret Gesture at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November Breeding Stock Sale.

The filly sold this year becomes the joint second-most expensive of Shastye's progeny, having fetched the same sum as Mogul did two years earlier. The mare's most expensive offspring is Sir Isaac Newton, for whom Magnier paid 3,600,000gns in 2013.

Coolmore's MV Magnier

"We've been very lucky with this family with Japan and Mogul," said Magnier, whose purchase was made in partnership with Georg von Opel's Westerberg operation. "They were always very good-looking horses, the mare produces great-looking stock and great racehorses. Let's hope that continues and that this is a good filly."

The most expensive yearling colt sold in Europe also changed hands at Book 1 when St Lawrence went to 2,700,000gns for the Kingman half-brother to Galileo Gold offered by Houghton Bloodstock on behalf of Colin Murfitt's Pantile Stud.

More to read: 

Mohaather's fine book of mares revealed 

Mrs Claus a gift to mental heath charities

Zain Art sells to Camas Park Stud for €390,000

'He's a global commodity' - Frankel fever at Goffs as three lots fetch €440,000

Relation of Sea Of Class the €155,000 centre of attention at Goffs

Mehmas in demand at Goffs as son of record-breaking sire brings €75,000

Price is no object with regard to this colt and I hope his quality is as high as his price
E.W. Terms