Bold Phoenix stun big guns by landing €2m sister to Alice Springs
James Thomas reports from day one of the Goffs Orby sale
Much had been made of Sheikh Mohammed’s return to the Orby Sale, but while the ruler of Dubai made his presence felt on more than one occasion, the biggest impact of all came from Goffs newcomers Phoenix Thoroughbreds, as the rising force stunned the onlooking crowd when outgunning Coolmore’s MV Magnier at €2 million for the sister to Alice Springs on Tuesday.
The daughter of Galileo, offered by Glenvale Stud, had widely been expected to prove the leading light of the opening session of Ireland’s premier yearling sale, and, in front of a packed auditorium, duly lived up to her star billing. An opening bid of €200,000 was struck, but in the blink of an eye the bid board below Henry Beeby’s rostrum was soon showing a seven-figure sum.
Proceedings quickly boiled down to a straight duel between Magnier, on the phone towards the back of the highest tier of the auditorium, and the Phoenix team of Tom Ludt, Dermot Farrington and Amer Abdulaziz, who were huddled directly to the left of Beeby’s rostrum.
“Be bold,” encouraged Beeby at the €1.9m mark, and after a brief consultation the Phoenix team obliged by striking the session-topping bid.
“With a pedigree like that you can’t go wrong,” said Farrington after signing the docket. “She’s a full-sister to a champion, she’s by the best, the cross [Danehill Dancer] has worked numerous times, she’s just a very nice filly. I’ve no idea who’ll train her at this stage.”
Phoenix Thoroughbreds have been active participants at sales across the globe over the last 12 months, and recently parted with $8.79m for 21 lots at the Keeneland September Sale.
“We’re trying to buy a combination of numbers and high-end quality,” explained Farrington when asked about Phoenix’s big-spending approach, before adding: “Anybody who’s serious about the game and has the money to do so should have fillies like her in their broodmare band.”
When asked how it felt to get the better of the likes of Coolmore, Abdulaziz said: “It’s a healthy competition. We breed to Coolmore stallions and buy the progeny of their sires. Coolmore are an inspiration, we learn from them. Everything we know today is because of them, and similarly Darley.”
The session-topping filly is out of the Listed-placed Danehill Dancer mare Aleagueoftheirown, who was purchased for just €70,000 through Peter Doyle at the 2009 Goffs February Sale.
She has proved to be a high-calibre producer for Lynch Bages and Longfield Stud since then, not only delivering three-time Group 1 winner Alice Springs but also supplying the stakes-placed Criteria, Kingston Jamaica, Crocodile Rock and Hence – who added several more pieces of black-type form to the page since the catalogue’s publication.
Aleagueoftheirown has also been a veritable cash machine for her owners, having netted 3,185,000gns in the Tattersalls ring, including the 2,100,000gns collected for Hence in 2016, to complement the €2m bagged at Goffs yesterday.
Redvers collects Kingman colt
The dust had barely settled on the session-topping sister to Alice Springs than the joint second-top lot, a Kingman colt offered by Mountarmstrong Stud, took to the ring, where he went the way of David Redvers, racing manager to Qatar Racing, at €850,000.
“Kingman has obviously made a great start at stud,” said Redvers, who was accompanied by Sheikh Fahad. “We have an exciting filly by him called Sparkle Roll, we think she’s a very good filly.
“This colt comes from a great breeder, it’s a good, fast family of Noel O’Callaghan’s, and we’re delighted to get what we thought was the stand out colt of the sale.”
View the sale results here
The colt is out of the King’s Best mare Alexander Queen, a member of O’Callaghan’s famous Sandhurst Goddess family and a half-sister to Anthem Alexander and Dandy Man among other talents.
The Kingman colt is also a half-brother to Listed winner Alkasser.
Redvers was responsible for sourcing Sparkle Roll, a half-sister to Derby hero Wings Of Eagles, for €750,000 at last year’s Arqana August Sale. The John Gosden-trained filly, who is owned in partnership by Kin Hung Kei, Qatar Racing and L Dassault, broke her maiden in impressive fashion at Haydock last Saturday.
Later in the piece the €850,000 price tag was matched when Mark Player struck the winning bid for a Showcasing sister to crack sprinter Tasleet offered by Baroda and Colbinstown Studs.
"She's a sister to a terrific horse in Tasleet, one that William Haggas thought the world of," said Player after outbidding Kerri Radcliffe and Redvers, among others.
"I thought she was a stunning individual to go with it. She's a great walker and looks early. The great thing with those ones is that there are so many options open to them - there's Royal Ascot and then the sprint programme for three-year-old sprinters is so good now.
"And she'd make a lovely addition to a broodmare band when she's finished racing."
The price provided a chunky return on a bold pinhook by agent Mick Flanagan, who parted with 220,000gns for the well-related youngster at last year's Tattersalls December Sale.
Godolphin seeing stars
Sea The Stars could be in for a big week on the racecourse, with his daughter Sea Of Class bidding to follow in her sire’s footsteps in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and the Gilltown Stud resident claimed his share of sales ring success on Tuesday when the Godolphin buying team outpointed Amanda Skiffington at €750,000 for a filly out of Valais Girl.
“Sheikh Mohammed’s view was that she’s a very attractive filly, a very good walker and by a very good stallion, as well as hailing from Charlie Wacker’s family of Sleepytime,” said Godolphin representative Anthony Stroud. “She just looked like a quality, high-class filly.”
The filly, bred by the Tsui family’s Sunderland Holdings and offered by Mount Coote Stud, is the second foal out of the winning daughter of Holy Roman Emperor, a granddaughter of 1,000 Guineas heroine Sleepytime from the famous Alidiva family.
“We sold a Sea The Stars filly out of Ninas Terz [Fashion’s Star] here last year – she won at Newbury recently – and she reminded me of her in her movement as she’s fantastically athletic,” said Mount Coote’s Luke Lillingston.
“Did I think we were going to get that price? No, not in a month of Sundays, but when you get those special horses and two people want them then anything can happen. This family can get you a good horse and a number of people have said to me she’s the nicest filly in the sale, which is a lovely thing to hear.”
When asked about Sheikh Mohammed’s return to Ireland, Stroud said: “It’s fantastic for him to be here. He’s an extremely busy man and has a lot on his agenda, but he’s got a real attachment to Ireland and wanted to visit his stud farms, see his homebreds and come to Goffs.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Lillingston, who said: “I’m thrilled Sheikh Mohammed is here. He bought his first ever winner [Hatta] from my parents, and I hope this filly gives him as much fun!”
Later in the session Godolphin also signed for a daughter of Australia at €475,000 after Stroud outbid Shawn Dugan and BBA Ireland’s Eamonn Reilly. Bred by Lisbrook, the filly is a half-sister to Aidan O’Brien’s improving stayer Saracen Knight, and hails from a family the Maktoums are familiar with, with talents such as Debussy and Laugh Aloud featuring prominently on the page, while further back is the likes of Belmez, among others.
“Sheikh Mohammed very much liked this filly,” said Stroud of the Whitehall Stud-sold yearling. “Don’t forget, the boss bought Australia’s first stakes winner Beyond Reason. She’s a lovely filly – athletic and racy.”
Beyond Reason has been a fine advert for Godolphin’s decision to end the self-imposed embargo on the progeny of Coolmore sires, with the 370,000gns Book 1 buy running out a three-length winner of the Group 2 Shadwell Prix du Calvados on her penultimate outing.
The tone was set for a strong session of selling when American-based agent Shawn Dugan, who spent €930,000 at last year’s Orby Sale, went to €500,000 for just the second lot to enter the ring, a Frankel half-sister to popular sprinter Kingsgate Native.
Bred by Coolmore and sold through Baroda and Colbinstown Studs, the filly is the 11th foal out of Native Force, also dam of the stakes-placed Vanishing Grey, who in turn is the dam of recent Listed winner First Contact.
“She’s just a gorgeous filly, stunning,” said Dugan. “She’s a half-sister to a very fast horse. She’ll go to Jamie Lloyd and we’ll figure it out from there.”
Dugan has been a prominent fixture on the European sales circuit in recent years and has enjoyed success this season through the classy Kingman filly Sicilia – purchased out of the Tattersalls October Sale – who ran third in the Prix du Calvados for Al Shira’aa Farms and Carlos Laffron-Parias.
Another Frankel made its way into the top ten prices during Tuesday’s session, with Stephen Hillen going to €400,000 for the colt out of Vital Statistics offered by Mount Coote Stud.
The youngster was another to bring a noteworthy update to the Goffs ring, with his two-year-old sister East having made a winning debut for Kevin Ryan and owners East Partners at Hamilton last month.
Hillen is no stranger to the family, having also bought East, who topped this year’s Goresbridge breeze-up sale, for €315,000.
By the close of trade on day one 167 out of 190 offered lots had sold for a clearance rate of 88 per cent and turnover of €24.085m - a year-on-year increase of 14 per cent. The average was up a huge 33 per cent to €144,222, while the median was up by 27 per cent at €85,000.
The Goffs Orby Sale concludes on Wednesday, with selling beginning at 10am.