Goffs UK ends year on a high note with Autumn Sale
James Thomas reports from the Horses In Training segment
This year's Melbourne Cup may have been and gone but dreams of the southern hemisphere's premier staying prize were alive and well at the Goffs UK Autumn Sale in Doncaster on Wednesday, as the £160,000 top lot Joshua Reynolds was bought to continue his career in Australia.
Alex Elliott, who secured the session-topper in partnership with Jake Warren, struck the winning bid for the progressive young stayer, who will carry the colours of Highclere Australia when next seen on the racecourse.
The three-year-old son of Nathaniel won three of his eight starts for John Gosden, a run that includes a ready success in a quality Chelmsford handicap over 1m6f on his latest outing that came just six days before he went under the hammer.
"He's been bought for Highclere Australia," said Elliott. "Jake [Warren] and I bought Pioneertown last week at Tattersalls and he's for the same crew. Highclere have had some great results with Libran down in Australia, he's won almost A$1.2 million in the past year and was eighth in the Melbourne Cup. Highclere syndicates are going from strength to strength in Australia.
"We feel Joshua Reynolds is an extremely progressive horse, he won well last week and will improve at four. He looks sure to stay two miles well and is from a very good family. He was the one horse here that we thought would work well in Australia."
Bred by Meon Valley, Joshua Reynolds is the fifth foal out of the Listed winner Dash To The Front, which makes him a half-brother to none other than the stud's Prix de l'Opera and Prix Jean Romanet heroine Speedy Boarding.
Elliott also went on to explain how the link up with Warren came about.
"The Warren and Elliott thing is something that Jake and I have been discussing for a little while," he said. "We had a chat during the yearling sales and felt our respective skills would complement one another, and moving forward I think you'll see the name a lot more. We're very happy with the two horses we've got for Highclere Australia - they're both exciting."
The purchase capped a busy few days for the agent, who also signed for the 700,000gns top lot Elizabeth Browning at last week's Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale.
The second-highest price came when Matt Coleman went to £80,000 for Nadaitak, who looks set to switch codes having been secured on behalf of Jonjo O'Neill.
The three-year-old son of Teofilo won one race from seven starts for Shadwell and Sir Michael Stoute, and boasts some strong form behind the likes of the sale-topper Joshua Reynolds.
"He's been bought for Jonjo [O’Neill] and is a big, fine horse, who will improve with time," said Coleman. "He moves well and stays well too. With that in mind, he will probably wait until the spring to go over hurdles and we'll see where we are after that.
"He could be the type to go for those long-distance Flat races down the line. I have great respect for Teofilo as a sire of jumpers as well."
The gelding is a half-brother to the useful Kestrel Dot Com and is out of Tanfidh, a Marju sister to the Group 2 winner Oriental Fashion from the family of Nayef.
Spirit of Shadwell
Geoffrey Howson and Matt Houldsworth got their names on the scoresheet when the pair signed for a brace of lots at a total spend of £87,000. The pricier of the two acquisitions was plucked from the Shadwell draft, with the two-year-old Mushahadaat requiring a final bid of £77,000.
The two-year-old daughter of Invincible Spirit was last seen winning a Kempton fillies' maiden over 6f, and is closely related to the Listed-placed Rathaath and from the further family of Haatef.
"She's been bought for an existing client in Ireland," explained Howson. "She may race on at three but has been bought as a long-term broodmare prospect. She's very typical of the sire."
All told Shadwell sold 24 horses for aggregate sales of £430,200 and an average of £17,925.
The early pacesetter was Aegean Girl, who was offered by James Stack's Thomastown Castle and was bought by Gerry Aherne of Prospect Stables for £54,000.
The three-year-old daughter of Henrythenavigator failed to make the track having cost Justin Casse 70,000gns as a foal, but is backed up by a smart pedigree being a half-sister to the Group 3 Bengough Stakes winner Lightning Moon and the Listed winner Song Of My Heart.
"She's very well bred," said Aherne, who works in the nominations team at Coolmore. "I work at Coolmore but have my own breeding place as well and she's been bought to breed from. Jessica Harrington trains her half-brother by Mastercraftsman [The King] and she thinks he's very good so hopefully there'll be a nice update to the page at some point.
"I haven't decided who she'll be covered by yet but it will be a Coolmore sire. I was hoping she might slip through the net a bit but obviously I wasn't the only person to spot her!"
Wednesday's session saw turnover of £1,765,000 - a three per cent increase on the corresponding session in 2016, an average of £9,390 - an 18 point dip, and a median of £4,900 - down from £6,350. A total of 188 lots changed hands for a clearance rate of 82 per cent.
The two-day auction brought aggregate sales of £2,112,000 - a two per cent year-on-year drop, an average price of £7,822 - a 14 per cent drop, and a median of £4,000 - down from £5,000 12 months ago.
"It's pleasing to end on a high note and today's horses in training session has certainly been a success," said Tony Williams, managing director of Goffs UK.
"Having large drafts from Godolphin and Shadwell bolstered the catalogue and that, in conjunction with horses from leading trainers such as John Gosden who sold the top lot today, gave the sale international appeal and drew a lot of domestic and overseas buyers from around the world to Doncaster.
"Yesterday's yearling session followed the current trend but to have an increased median and an improved clearance rate of 76 per cent was a good result.
"We now turn our attention to the 2018 January Sale where we look forward to offering a 25-entry dispersal from Mr Richard Kelvin-Hughes' Trull House Stud alongside National Hunt mares and foals, horses in training and point-to-pointers."