Starspangledbanner colt brings 360,000gns as buoyant Book 2 draws to a close
James Thomas reports from the final session of the three-day sale
Any amount of anxiety would have been perfectly understandable ahead of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, but in the event it would have been almost entirely unwarranted.
The three-day auction produced a trio of sessions that can only have surpassed the expectations of even the most optimistic out there, with the year-on-year declines in evidence across the key market metrics nothing like as dramatic as might have been feared.
Turnover closed at 48,362,500gns - just 136,000gns shy of the record total in 2019, while the average was down just three per cent to 75,920gns as the median hit 50,000gns, down ten per cent on the 55,500gns returned last year.
The clearance rate was identical to 12 months ago at 85 per cent as 637 of 747 offered yearlings found a buyer.
Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony hailed the "remarkable resilience" of the markets seen across Books 1 and 2 of the October Yearling Sale. He said: "At the conclusion of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale last week we expressed our sincere thanks to all those who contributed to a yearling sale which, although conducted amidst a backdrop of global turmoil, performed with remarkable resilience.
"The message at the conclusion of Book 2 of the October Yearling Sale is very similar. We are enormously grateful to every single participant over the past three days, not only for their individual contributions to a sale which has held up remarkably well under the circumstances, but for working with us every step of the way in our efforts to stage the sale in as safe an environment as possible.
"The Covid pandemic continues to wreak havoc in all walks of life and to have conducted nine sales here at Park Paddocks since the last week of June is a mighty achievement by all concerned and could not have happened without a huge collective effort."
The top lots from all three sessions of Book 2 are set to carry the Godolphin blue after Sheikh Mohammed's chief talent scout Anthony Stroud went to 360,000gns for the Starspangledbanner colt out of Violet's Gift consigned by Ballyhimikin Stud late on Wednesday.
"I thought he was an outstanding individual and looks like a very fast horse, " said Stroud. "Starspangledbanner has done very well and he comes from a very good farm."
The colt, a half-brother to the Listed-placed Kodiak West, joins the 400,000gns Kingman colt from Norelands Stud secured on day one and the 675,000gns Lope De Vega colt who topped Book 2 after changing hands on Tuesday.
Stroud Coleman Bloodstock secured 29 yearlings for an outlay of 5,420,000gns, and Stroud went on to reflect on three days of vibrant trade at Park Paddocks.
"It's great the sale has gone so well," said Stroud. "There's been some very nice horses and there's been a very good vibe with lots of different buyers active. It's been fantastic and I think Tattersalls have done a great job."
Stroud's most notable purchases were made on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation, while Shadwell also spent 5,327,000gns on 36 yearlings. The agent summed up the views of many within the industry when he expressed his gratitude for the Maktoum family's ongoing support.
"I think all of us are eternally grateful for everything the Maktoum family do, not only in the sales rings but across the whole bloodstock industry," said Stroud. "They've really shown their true mettle when times are challenging in a way that none of us have ever experienced before.
"For them to come and support the sales and support peoples' livelihoods, I think Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan are the most amazing people. This year we've needed them more than ever because of the current situation. You can't underestimate how much they've done for the industry."
Crisford secures Churchill filly
A filly from the debut crop of Coolmore's Churchill led the market for much of the session after Simon Crisford, acting for MV Magnier, went to 340,000gns for a well-related filly from Croom House Stud.
The March foal is out of the Grade 3-placed Pussycat Lips, dam of two winners, namely Dick Poole Stakes third Special Purpose and the Listed-placed Roulston Scar, who is in training with Crisford and his son Ed.
"She's a lovely racy, active filly and MV Magnier loved her and suggested we should buy her," said Crisford.
"I've got the half-brother, Roulston Scar, so there was a connection there already as well. She showed herself off so well and she comes from a fabulous farm so it's very exciting."
Churchill's most expensive progeny to date is the filly out of Date With Destiny, the sole offspring of George Washington, who went the way of Stroud Coleman at 350,000gns on day one of Book 2.
His debut yearlings were also in high demand during Book 1, with 13 lots generating an average of 123,615gns off a €35,000 covering fee.
One more for MV
Magnier's name also appeared on the docket of the Mastercraftsman filly out of Simkana offered by Parkway Farm, with Cormac McCormack responsible for striking the winning bid of 325,000gns on the Coolmore man's behalf.
The dam, a Kalanisi half-sister to the brilliant Sinndar, has already clicked with Mastercraftsman through Simannka, a Listed-placed homebred of the Aga Khan's.
Denis McDonnell of Parkway Farm said: "I bought Simkana [for €57,000] out of the Aga Khan's after she had foaled Simannka - this is a nicer filly than Simannka though. Simannka was bought by Paul Makin for €200,000 and was shipped to Australia - she was supposed to be a Group filly but unfortunately Paul Makin died and she never ran."
Juddmonte seeing double
It did not take long for big sums to be spent on Wednesday as Juddmonte's Simon Mockridge went to 310,000gns for an Oasis Dream colt offered by Newsells Park Stud during the session's opening exchanges.
Oasis Dream carried the Khalid Abdullah silks to victory in three Group 1s, namely the Middle Park Stakes, the July Cup and the Nunthorpe, and has since spent 17 seasons on the Banstead Manor Stud stallion roster, from where he has sired 17 elite-level winners.
When asked what had caught the attention of the Juddmonte buying team, Mockridge said the colt, who is out of a daughter of Zamindar and Irish Oaks heroine Pure Grain, boasted a striking similarity to his sire.
"To put it bluntly, he's the spitting image of Oasis Dream at this stage," said Mockridge. "He's a great walker and bred on the same lines as Kingman so he was an obvious one for us. I hope he'll be a good horse, he's certainly bred to be."
Mockridge also reflected on a successful October Yearling Sale for Banstead Manor resident Kingman, who supplied two seven-figure lots during Book 1, including the 2,700,000gns half-brother to Galileo Gold bought by Oliver St Lawrence.
"Kingman has had an extraordinary sale, but then he's an extraordinary horse," said Mockridge. "Physically he stamps his stock very well and his progeny obviously meet the commercial market so we're delighted. He's had another fantastic year on the track too, of course."
Another big result for Cregg Stud
Cregg Stud bookended the three-day auction with six-figure lots as, having sold a Mehmas colt to Blandford Bloodstock for 320,000gns on Monday, the Fermoy based operation saw Anthony Stroud go to 300,000gns for the Kodiac colt out of Supreme Occasion on Wednesday.
Supreme Occasion, a Teofilo half-sister to the Group 3 scorer Decado, won two races while in training with David O'Meara. Further back this is the family of La Collina and Fox Chairman.
"A lot of work went into these horses but I was hopeful as they were my two bankers," said a delighted John Noonan, whose son Denis led up the youngsters. "I wish Godolphin a lot of luck with the Kodiac, he's a lovely colt. I bred the dam, Supreme Occasion, then leased her and I bred the granddam, Pirie, too. Supreme Occasion is back in foal to Invincible Army."
Coleman catches his Breath
International participation has been central to the strength of trade seen at Book 2, with the likes of Peter Brant's White Birch Farm and the Hong Kong Jockey Club featuring among the sale's top spenders.
More Hong Kong money poured into the market when Matt Coleman of Stroud Coleman Bloodstock went to 280,000gns for the Bated Breath colt out of Shy Audience offered by Redpender Stud.
"We bought him for John Size in Hong Kong," said Coleman. "We thought he was a fast-looking colt with a great attitude. He's a big, strong, great-moving horse and we knew he'd be expensive as he's such a good model. He'll be pre-trained here and then head out to Hong Kong."
The colt's dam has bred one winner from as many runners, with the two-year-old Acclamation colt Harold Shand having struck for Richard Spencer. The mare, an unraced daughter of Sir Prancealot, is a half-sister to the likes of Toormore and Estidhkaar.
Coleman expanded on the types he was after for Hong Kong, saying: "We're trying to buy horses with good physicality, by proven sires and who can go on quick ground. Bated Breath is a proven horse, his stock act well on fast ground and the Dansili line works well out in Hong Kong."
'Extraordinary and unique'
In his end-of-sale chairman's statement, Edmond Mahony said: "Newmarket is very much the hub of the European racing and breeding industries and the last few weeks have demonstrated that, despite all the obstacles, business has been able to continue, albeit at lower levels than in recent years.
"Newmarket has an extraordinary and unique infrastructure and never more has this been apparent than at Books 1 and 2 of the 2020 Tattersalls October Yearling Sales.
"Book 2 has without doubt benefitted from the momentum established at Book 1 and similar to last week, the buyers have consistently remarked on the quality of the stock being offered. As ever the consignors from Britain, Ireland, France and Germany have presented us with a catalogue of genuine quality and the buyers have demonstrated that, even in these challenging times, there is a global appetite for quality bloodstock and the sport of horseracing.
"Participation from throughout the Gulf region continues to be hugely influential and the sustained involvement from American, Australian and Hong Kong interests has also been notable alongside determined domestic involvement. Tomorrow we move on to Book 3 of the October Yearling Sale which is another Tattersalls yearling sale that consistently attracts buyers at all levels of the market and we will conclude the 2020 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale on Saturday with Book 4."
The October Yearling Sale continues on Thursday, with Book 3 starting at 10am.
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