Excel filly Exceeds record price during strong session at Book 2
James Thomas reports on a frenetic day of trade in Newmarket
Leicester City may be teetering above the relegation zone at this early stage of the football season, but having proved a major force on the sales circuit this year the club's owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, looks determined to gain promotion to racing's Premier League.
A strong session of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale on Tuesday was headed by one of Srivaddhanaprabha's acquisitions, after the Thailand-born businessman parted with 500,000gns for an Exceed And Excel half-sister to the progressive Beat The Bank.
Richard Brown - acting on behalf of Alastair Donald - was entrusted with striking the winning bid, and he duly saw off David Redvers at 500,000gns, the highest price paid for a filly at Book 2.
The daughter of Darley shuttler Exceed And Excel is out of the Listed-placed Diktat mare Tiana, and was offered by Rosyground Stud on behalf of Fiona Denniff's Denniff Farms.
"I bred her dam, sold her as a yearling and then bought her back when she was in foal to Bahamian Bounty," said Denniff, who has a number of members of this family including the dam of smart sprinter Kachy. "I loved this filly, even before Beat The Bank came along. The vibes were good going in. She'd been very popular - she was hardly ever in her box during the first couple of days of showing."
Deniff has entered Tiana's filly foal by Showcasing in the December Foal Sale, and described her as "a 'very similar type" to the Exceed And Excel filly. Tiana is in foal to Shadwell's Muhaarar.
The enthusiasm for bloodstock displayed by Srivaddhanaprabha - who races under the King Power Racing banner - has doubtless been fueled by Beat The Bank, a son of Paco Boy who has gone unbeaten since transferring into King Power colours in July, including in a five-length success in the Group 2 Joel Stakes on his latest outing. The three-year-old is around a 5-1 shot for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day.
Plenty of familiar faces followed Yeomanstown Stud's racy Dark Angel filly out of Warshah into the ring, but they all had to give best to Blandford Bloodstock's Tom Goff, who was standing with MV Magnier, after a bid of 400,000gns.
The filly is a sister to two winners, Volition and Al Hajar, both of whom also fetched six-figure sums: 300,000gns and 220,000gns respectively. Al Hajar also brought a big update to the page having broken his maiden by seven lengths less than two weeks earlier.
"She's a lovely filly who is a homebred from a very good farm," said Goff. "She's out of a Shamardal mare whose two-year-old looks good and it's a great, fast family. The dream is that she could make up into a Queen Mary Stakes filly."
Yeomantown's David O'Callaghan's involvement with Warshah, a Shamardal half-sister to Prix de l'Opera winner Kinnaird, stretches back as far as 2008, when he bought her as a foal for just 30,000gns before selling her onto Shadwell as a yearling for €90,000.
"I actually pinhooked the mare and then bought her back from Shadwell," said O'Callaghan. "Not long after that Mickdaam broke his maiden and the pedigree has just come alive since then with Berkshire, Abdon, Ivawood, Shifting Power, all these horses jumped in there. Timing is everything. She's got a Dark Angel filly foal at foot and is in foal to Gutaifan."
Eddie Irwin's Marlhill House Stud had a red letter day at last month's Goffs Orby Sale when selling the auction-topping Frankel colt bought by Justin Casse for Zayat Stables for €1.6 million, and the operation landed another significant touch when John and Jake Warren paid 380,000gns for its Australia colt out of Thai Haku on Tuesday.
"He's an absolute belter, out of a stakes-winning mare and from a top farm," said Jake Warren, who added the colt would be likely to race in Europe. "We're big fans of the stallion and have bought a number by him already this year."
The colt, from the further family of top-level winners Hernando and Johann Quatz, was bred by Irwin's Rockhart Trading and the China Horse Club, after the pairing signed for Thai Haku, a Listed-winning daughter of Oasis Dream and sister to Listed winner Albaraah, at 650,000gns through Eaton Sales in 2012. She also has an Australia colt foal on the ground and is in foal to Lope De Vega.
"He's a great moving colt who has always been very straightforward," said Brian McConnon, manager of Marlhill House Stud. "He's a big, scopey colt and we just wanted to give him the time to come together.
"We've had three Australias this year and have done well with all of them - we had a very nice colt at Arqana that made €130,000. Sons of Galileo seem to be doing well at stud so you'd have to be hopeful."
Godolphin see the Moon
There has been a distinct buzz about the yearlings from the first crop of Lanwades Stud's Sea The Moon across the sales this year, as highlighted by Godolphin's purchase of a colt from Gestüt Görlsdorf for €460,000 at BBAG. Sheikh Mohammed's outfit secured another son of the runaway German Derby winner, paying 300,000gns for the colt out of Soviet Terms from Genesis Green Stud.
"I bought the mare here for 5,000gns - and she was practically blind," explained stud manager Michael Swinburn. "She had detached her retinas, and I think she has around a quarter vision in one eye. It doesn't seem to bother her at all though.
"This colt has always been lovely and just had a small issue which stopped him coming here as a foal. All that cleared up and he developed into a lovely horse."
Soviet Terms has produced four winners from five runners, and is a half-sister to champion two-year-old Best Terms.
Godolphin bought three more high-profile lots, headed by a Zebedee colt from Croom House Stud for 330,000gns whose family traces back to the likes of Nannina.
They also secured a Kodiac colt from Rathbarry Stud, who was pinhooked for €110,000.
"He was a fabulous colt and has been fabulous all the way through," said Rathbarry's Frannie Woods. "The moment we saw him as a foal we liked him. He's very typical of the sire, whose record speaks for itself. We bought him off Clodagh McStay, so he came off a good farm, and she had confidence in him, which gave us confidence. He's always been a simple, straightforward colt."
The colt is out of Romie's Kastett, a sister to Norse Dancer, and a half-brother to three winners.
All about the ears
Lope De Vega has enjoyed a hot spell of late, having supplied recent top-level winners Santa Ana Lane and Capla Temptress as well as the top lot in Monday's session of Book 2. The Ballylinch Stud resident saw another of his daughters bring a big price in the Park Paddocks ring on Tuesday when Juddmonte Farms went to 230,000gns for a filly from Stauffenberg Bloodstock.
The filly, already named Sailing, boasts a strong pedigree, being out of a Sadler's Wells sister to the Listed winners Ferimon and Rave Reviews, while Group 1 winners Groom Dancer and Plumania appear further down the page. However, Juddmonte's Lord Grimthorpe explained her family wasn't the only thing that drew the team to her.
"We've principally been trying to buy racehorses this year," he said. "This filly came into a good category as she's strong and looks like she might run at two, and obviously has a bit of Sadler's Wells there on what is a very good page. She also has the most lovely long ears, which we like at the moment!"
Day two of Book 2 posted yet another strong set of results, with 203 yearlings changing hands for turnover of 15,197,000gns - a 15 per cent year-on-year gain.
The average stood at 74,862gns - a 12 per cent rise - and a median of 60,000gns - up 20 per cent on the 2016 figure. The clearance rate was 85 per cent. The three-day sale concludes on Wednesday.