Book 1 begins with a bang as Varian buys 2.6m gns Dubawi colt
James Thomas reports from a busy first day at Park Paddocks
With Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale placing some of the best bred yearlings in Europe in front of a plethora of the world's biggest bloodstock players, and with a booming market already in evidence at Keeneland and elsewhere, it seemed almost inevitable that Tuesday's opening session would post an enviable set of results.
Sure enough, by the time the final yearling had passed between the famous acorns, the results were well ahead of the comparative figures 12 months earlier. In total 119 lots sold for turnover of 33,880,000gns, an eight per cent year-on-year gain, at an average of 284,705gns - a 24 per cent jump - and a median of 200,000gns, up a whopping 38 per cent. The clearance was the only metric to take a hit, dropping from 82 per cent to 77 per cent.
The bell rang to signal the start of selling at 11am, and barely 30 minutes into proceedings the high mark of 2016 had already been reached as Roger Varian stretched to 2,600,000gns for a Dubawi colt out of the dual Group 1-winning Pivotal mare Izzi Top.
"He's been bought for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid who owns Dubawi," said Varian, who did his bidding out of sight from the majority of ring, in the stairwell opposite the auctioneer's rostrum. "He's already had some tremendous success with him as a racehorse, a stallion, and some of his progeny like Postponed. He's always an enthusiastic supporter of Dubawi and there are some very nice Dubawis in this catalogue - though I thought this colt was a standout.
"He looks like a good strong horse with a great page. I think he could be a miler, and possibly stretch out to a mile and a quarter, but he looks like a horse that should carry a bit of speed."
The colt was bred and offered by Meon Valley Stud and is the second seven-figure yearling produced by Izzi Top, with his unbeaten half-brother Dream Field having fetched 1,100,000gns from John Ferguson back in 2015.
Izzi Top is, of course, a daughter of the Prix de l'Opera heroine Zee Zee Top, which makes Varian's purchase a close relation to Meon Valley's 2016 Book 1 joint-top lot, the impressive Newbury scorer Emaraaty.
"It's just wonderful," said Meon Valley's Mark Weinfeld. "We didn't expect to do it again! We were concerned being as early as Lot 13. There are a lot of Dubawis in the catalogue and obviously he was the first one.
"If he's any good, he has a stallion's pedigree - I think that's key. And obviously Emaraaty looks exciting, I know John Gosden is very keen on him."
Seven-figure Frankel filly has the Talent
The session ended on a remarkably strong note, with a string of big prices kicked off by the Frankel half-sister to Oaks winner Talent, who went the way of Alastair Donald for 2,500,000gns after a protracted duel with Yohann Gainche, who was acting on behalf of the Japan-based outfit DMM.com.
"This is the filly my client wanted the most," said Donald, who added his client wished to remain anonymous. "A half-sister to an Oaks winner by Frankel, a pedigree like that speaks for itself - and she has an exceptional physique to match."
The filly, bred by Ashbrittle Stud and Mark Dixon, is the seventh foal out of Prowess, and features not one but two Oaks winners on her page, as her third dam is Bireme, who was successful in the Epsom fillies' Classic in 1980.
"We knew she'd sell well - she had nine vets - but that just shows what can happen when you get two big hitters on them," said vendor John Troy, who offered just the solitary lot during Book 1. "She's shown well all week long, she's a tough lady and has always floated."
Earlier in the session Donald went to 725,000gns on behalf of the same client for a Sea The Stars filly out of a half-sister to Arc winner Peintre Celebre offered by European Sales Management.
"She's a gorgeous filly and looks like she could become a foundation broodmare with that page," Donald noted.
Godolphin's Galileo haul
During the 2016 renewal of Book 1 Godolphin only had eyes for the progeny of Dubawi, but, with a new-look buying team of John Gosden, Anthony Stroud and David Loder in place, things were very different 12 months on.
The aforementioned trio stunned the Goffs Orby Sale with their purchase of a Galileo filly at €1.2 million, and the triumvirate repeated the feat on three occasions during Tuesday's session, securing a trio of yearlings by the champion sire - owned by Godolphin’s longstanding rivals at Coolmore - for a total spend of 1,775,000gns.
The most expensive of the three was the filly out of Fred Darling and Princess Margaret Stakes winner Maureen offered by Newsells Park Stud, who required a bid of 800,000gns to see off a frustrated Charlie Gordon-Watson.
"She's absolutely what you'd hope for being out of Maureen - who we bought privately through Anthony [Stroud] as it happens," explained Newsells Park general manager Julian Dollar. "She really was a hell of a runner and she's a sweet little mare. It's great to be able to breed her to Galileo - she's got a filly foal by him at foot and is in foal to Dark Angel, so hopefully there's more to come.
The first Galileo picked up by Gosden, Stroud and Loder followed the session-topper into the ring, and required a bid of 400,000gns to bring John O'Kelly's gavel down. The colt, offered by New England Stud, is out of Jacqueline Quest, memorably first-past-the-post in the 2010 1,000 Guineas only to be demoted to second behind Special Duty.
Later in the session the Godolphin team went to 575,000gns for the filly out of Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial winner Lady Springbank, a price that rewarded a bold pinhook by Philipp Stauffenberg, who had picked the filly up for 300,000gns at the December Foal Sale.
Doyle in determined mood
The second breaching of the seven-figure barrier came when Peter Doyle and Hubie De Burgh locked horns over Garswood's Galileo half-sister offered by Glenvale Stud. De Burgh proved a spirited rival, but was forced to walk away when Doyle upped the ante to 1,600,000gns to claim the spoils on behalf of MV Magnier and Markus Jooste's Mayfair Speculators.
"She'll go to Aidan O'Brien," said Doyle, standing alongside Jooste's racing manager Derek Brugman. "She's gorgeous. We were beaten on a couple earlier but this makes up for it - she's a beautiful filly."
The filly is the fifth foal out of the unraced Kyllachy mare Penchant, whose sole winner from three runners is the Prix Maurice de Gheest winner Garswood, who has completed his first three breeding seasons on duty at Cheveley Park Stud.
The progeny of Kodiac have enjoyed a stellar season on the racecourse, not least in setting a new record for the number of two-year-old winners supplied by a sire in a single campaign. And there was a ringing endorsement of his talents in the Book 1 ring as Peter Doyle went to 925,000gns - a new record for the sire - for a colt offered by Tally-Ho Stud on behalf of MV Magnier and the Mayfair Speculators.
The colt is out of Queenofthefairies, a Pivotal half-sister to Dream Ahead picked up by Tally-Ho for just 32,000gns at the 2010 Tattersalls July Sale, and a half-brother to Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial winner Now Or Never.
"We breezed Dream Ahead and we loved him," said Tally-Ho's Tony O'Callaghan. "And so we bought the mare here at the Tattersalls July Sale and that was before he'd ever run. We brought her Bushranger here as a yearling [Now Or Never] but couldn't get a bid for her and then she turned out to be good! This filly has been very popular all week and now the mare has a very nice Muhaarar foal."
Never say Never
The progeny of freshman sire No Nay Never proved extremely popular at the Goffs Orby Sale, where 19 of his sons and daughters changed hands at an average of €125,000. And that momentum was sustained during the opening session of Book 1, as Keisuke Onishi of the J S Company, sitting with Japan-based trainer Yoshito Yahagi, went to 850,000gns to see off MV Magnier for one of his colts.
"He's a special horse," said Onishi, who added his purchase was likely be the sire's first representative to head to Japan. "He has a very good walk and the owner likes big, strong horses - he's a very strong colt. Everything about him is special, he is a good colt.
"It's a sire line we know well and like as Scat Daddy has had several good runners in Japan," he added. "Obviously Johannesburg now stands in Japan as well. I believe No Nay Never will sire horses that work in Japan."
Bred by Desert Star Phoenix and sold through Baroda and Colbinstown Studs, the strapping colt is a half-brother to Prix Morny winner The Wow Signal, who cost a mere £13,000 as a yearling himself, and Listed winner Miss Infinity.