Decorated Knight's sister becomes highest-priced filly foal of 2018
James Thomas reports from the headline session of the December Foal Sale
The year's highest-priced filly foal graced the headline session of the Tattersalls December Foal Sale on Friday, as the Galileo sister to Decorated Knight went the way of Blue Diamond Stud UK for 1,700,000gns.
The filly was bred by Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar, who shot to prominence having raced Derby winner Authorized together. The sale of the seven-figure filly represents a significant reshuffling of the partnership's interests, as the pair's racing and bloodstock advisor Tony Nerses revealed Al Sagar would claim sole ownership of the blue-blooded youngster.
"Seize the moment, as these opportunities are few and far between," said auctioneer John O'Kelly, before an opening offer of 200,000gns brought the bid board to life.
There was a distinct tension in the ring as the price ticked over, and at the 1,400,000gns mark O'Kelly turned to Newsells Park Stud's Julian Dollar, standing by the exit, and asked: "Can I tempt you?"
Dollar signalled a bid of 1,500,000gns but was quickly bested. Hugo Lascelles also made a bold late effort, but a bid of 1,700,000gns came from Nerses, standing in the packed gangway, at which point the other protagonists cried enough.
"Imad [Al Sagar] didn't want to give this one up," said Nerses. "I was coming to the end of my tether as that was our valuation of her. Saleh is not leaving the partnership but he has other commitments to focus on. They still have the studs, yearlings and other horses together.
"This filly is full of class and quality. She's a sweetheart."
The New England Stud-consigned filly is a sister to Decorated Knight, who struck in last year's Irish Champion Stakes, Tattersalls Gold Cup and Jebel Hatta for his breeders and Roger Charlton before retiring to the Irish National Stud.
The pair are out of Pearling, a Storm Cat sister to Giant's Causeway bought by Tony Nerses for 1,300,000gns in 2011 and due to come under the hammer herself during Tuesday's session of the December Mare Sale.
"Pearling will definitely be sold," confirmed Nerses. "She's in foal to Galileo and carrying a filly."
Pearling belongs to one of the deepest families in the stud book, as she is out of the blue hen Mariah's Storm, whose daughter You'resothrilling has been responsible for Group 1-winning talents Gleneagles, Happily and Marvellous.
Nerses confirmed Al Sagar would also take sole ownership of the Sea The Stars filly out of Princess Noor, who fetched 600,000gns, and the 110,000gns Fastnet Rock filly out of Soon. By close of play Blue Diamond Stud UK's name had appeared on the dockets of five foals totalling 2,880,000gns.
The most expensive foal in 2018 remains the Deep Impact colt out of King's Rose, who fetched ¥250 million when sold to Danox Company Ltd at the JRHA Sale.
The Galileo filly's price saw her go a country mile clear at the head of the market, but with the progeny of other elite sires on offer she was far from the only eyecatching lot of the day.
Galileo's old adversary Dubawi fielded a pair of foals who fetched six-figure sums, both of whom were signed for by Stroud Coleman Bloodstock. The pricier of the pair, a filly offered by the Cumani family's Fittocks Stud, brought a winning bid of 725,000gns.
The filly was bred by Hoppegarten racecourse owner Gerhard Schoeningh out of Baisse, a High Chaparral half-sister to Dee Stakes winner Azmeel, whose first foal - Best Of Days - won the Group 1 Kennedy Mile at Flemington for Godolphin earlier in November.
"Henry Cecil and Crispin de Moubray bought the mare for me as a yearling," said Schoeningh. "Henry was my first trainer - I was very sad when he died and this filly is a fine tribute to him.
"I didn't think she could win black-type here so I ended up sending her to Germany, where she won a Listed race. She's becoming a really good producer."
"She's been lovely to have on the farm," Sara Cumani added. "She's been straightforward from day one, she's never put a foot wrong. She's a very pretty filly as well."
Earlier in the session Stroud Coleman also landed the Dubawi colt out of Nightime with a bid of 700,000gns.
"He's by a world-class sire," said Matt Coleman, having signed the docket on behalf of an existing client. "He's from a top breeder in Dermot Weld - it's a wonderful, active family."
The colt was bred by the Weld family's Springbank Way Stud and sold through The Castlebridge Consignment. He is the ninth foal out of Nightime, who became Galileo's first Classic winner when landing the 2006 Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Nightime has already produced five winners, including Grade 1 winner Zhukova, who fetched 3,700,000gns when bought by Godolphin at last year's December Mare Sale, and this colt's Group 3-winning brother Ghaiyyath.
Another blue-chip sire whose progeny were in high demand was Frankel, with the Banstead Manor Stud resident responsible for four of the top ten lots by the close of play on Friday.
Juddmonte Farms made a rare auction purchase when the operation's representatives went to 700,000gns for the filly out of Divine, who was offered by Voute Sales.
"She will be a lovely addition to the farm eventually," said Banstead Manor Stud director Simon Mockridge. "She's out of a fast six-furlong mare and we're looking to go down the Galileo route a little with Frankel and send him some speedy mares."
The filly is the first foal out of Divine, a daughter of Dark Angel who landed the 2016 Ballyogan Stakes. With the Frankel filly being bred on a foal share agreement, her sale means Juddmonte bought out partners Khalid Al-Mudhaf and Mohammed Al-Qatami.
"It's very difficult to value a filly like that," said Al-Mudhaf. "But we knew she was very popular. She's gone to a very good home and we wish them all the best with her. It gives us confidence going forward - no one has more Frankels than Juddmonte and they know a good one when they see one."
Divine is the only mare owned by Al-Mudhaf and Al-Qatami at present, though the pair could well be on the hunt for breeding prospects to support Kessaar, whom the pair raced before the son of Kodiac retired to Tally-Ho Stud for the 2019 covering season.
The 700,000gns mark was also hit by Hugo Lascelles, who landed the Frankel filly out of Middle Club offered by Stowell Hill Stud on behalf of the Middle Club Team.
"She's for an end user," said Lascelles. "She's a beauty queen - she has size, strength and a good walk."
The filly is out of the late Bob McCreery's Group 3 Prix d'Aumale winner Middle Club, a daughter of Anna Oleanda, whose family's name was up in lights earlier in the year when Billesdon Brook won the 1,000 Guineas and Anna Nerium won the Supreme Stakes.
"It's marvellous for the lads at home," said Stowell Hill's Jeanette McCreery. "They'll be thrilled as they put in a lot of hard work. The mare was raced by my husband [Bob McCreery], she was sold to America and then he bought her back to breed from before selling off a leg to various people. It's all down to Bob."
Tom Goff of Blandford Bloodstock also made his presence felt at Park Paddocks when the agent stretched to 450,000gns for the Frankel filly out of Penelopa, a daughter of Giant's Causeway who defeated Secret Gesture to land the 2013 Preis der Diana.
"I thought she was the nicest filly here, I know that's an easy thing to say but she really is gorgeous," Goff said of the Britton House Stud-consigned youngster.
"She was beautifully prepared and presented. I know the mare well and she's not just a staying mare. A lot of people might've just written this foal off on the grounds that she's out of a staying mare but she's not a one-dimensional stayer.
"She's been bought to race for an owner-breeder who's a long-standing client of Blandford."
Sea among the Stars
Sea The Stars also enjoyed a productive session on Friday, and by the time the final foal had left the ring 15 of his sons and daughters had sold for an aggregate of 2,940,000gns at an average of 196,000gns, having been bred at a fee of €125,000.
The first significant strike of the session came when Kentucky-based pinhooker extraordinaire Gerry Dilger outbid Anthony Stroud at 400,000gns to secure a Sea The Stars colt offered by Newtown Stud.
Plans call for the colt to return to the Tattersalls ring next year, where Dilger will be hoping for a repeat of event at this year's Book 1, where Longview Stud sold a son of Sea The Stars pinhooked by Dilger to Stroud for 1,000,000gns.
"I think this is equally as good a horse. He's a belter so I'm happy to have got him - let's hope he's lucky."
Dilger, owner of Dromoland Farm in Kentucky, is best known for his association with back-to-back winners of the Kentucky Derby, having pinhooked Nyquist and having co-bred Always Dreaming with Mike Ryan.
The Sea The Stars colt was bred by Gestut Hof Ittlingen out of the Listed-winning Monsun mare Lopera, whose family traces back to the likes of Lando and Laroche.
"It's an amazing result," said Newtown's Cathy Grassick, "Hof Ittlingen has been such a supporter of us, right back from when Dad [Brian] died. It's so great to get a result like this for Manfred [Ostermann].
"Ittlingen's mares board with us when they are in Ireland and this filly's dam came to us as a maiden and this foal was born with us. She's a gorgeous, beautiful mare, it's wonderful to have such a mare on the farm.
"This has always been a stunning foal and he has a pedigree, too, being from the family of Lando. He's bred on the same cross as Sea The Moon - that of Sea The Stars over Monsun."
Stroud had more luck on his hunt for Sea The Stars' progeny some 20 lots later, when he parted with 260,000gns for a filly by the son of Cape Cross offered by Linacre House Stud. Inbred 2x3 to Urban Sea, the filly is out of an unraced Galileo sister to Listed winner Iltemas. Further back it is the family of Montjeu and Galileo Gold.
Friday's premier session proved an entirely different proposition to the previous two days, with aggregate sales of 21,136,500gns up 24 per cent year-on-year.
The average also rose by 22 per cent to 122,885gns while the median climbed from 65,000gns to 70,000gns. The clearance rate stood at 79 per cent, with 172 of 217 offered lots changing hands.
The December Foal Sale concludes on Saturday with a session beginning at 10am.
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