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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Hunt for heirs to the transatlantic Daddy dominates first week of sale

Everyone wants a stake in final crop of late Ashford sire

Scat Daddy: 42 members of his final crop sold in four days
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Even though he has been dead for nearly two years, Scat Daddy has loomed as a mighty presence at the Keeneland September Sale, with some of the world's most potent buyers paying scrambling to purchase yearlings from his final crop.

Through the first four sessions, making up Books 1 and 2, more yearlings by Scat Daddy – 42 – had been sold than by any other stallion, at an average price of $366,071 and a gross of $15,375,000.


That turnover ranked below only top American sire Tapit, whose 16 yearlings to sell grossed $15.85 million. And the average was more than ten times the $35,000 fee Scat Daddy commanded in 2015 when Tapit standing at $300,000.

Leading the requiem for the late Coolmore stallion, MV Magnier attested to what Scat Daddy has come to mean in a few quiet but powerful words.

This sister to one of Scat Daddy's current European stars, Caravaggio, went to the Niarchos family on Monday for $550,000
His sudden death at age 11 "was probably one of the biggest losses we'll ever experience," Magnier said just after paying $1.1 million for a dark bay Scat Daddy colt out of Tapit's daughter Orchard Beach on Wednesday.

That turned out to be the highest price for one of the stallion's yearlings, but Magnier added four more to the Coolmore fold at total expenditure of $2.775 million.


Perhaps even more instructive of the way the late sire's reputation has been amplified by the likes of Caravaggio and Lady Aurelia was to see the name of Godolphin among buyers.

Sheikh Mohammed's organisation, which brought an unequivocal end to its "boycott" on Tuesday when buying four yearlings by active Coolmore stallions, also paid a total of $2 million for two Scat Daddy colts and one filly.

"They were all nice, that's why we had a go on them," said Anthony Stroud, who has been part of the Godolphin team here. "He's an outstanding stallion, and has done incredibly well in Europe and North America."

At $1.1 million, this colt sold to MV Magnier was the top Scat Daddy of the week
Scat Daddy's name seemed to be on the lips of virtually every significant participant at the auction. Its magnetic allure was such that Keeneland Vice-President Bob Elliston referenced the 83 Scat Daddy yearlings in the catalogue as one of its primary strengths when speaking to media on the opening day. 

And when Hip 449 entered the ring, auctioneer Cris Caldwell urged buyers to sit up and pay attention to the colt. "When the sale is over, you're going to be sorry [if] you didn't buy a Scat Daddy," he exhorted – before Magnier duly prevailed for that colt at $275,000.


Kerri Radcliffe of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, who has been on a transatlantic crusade seeking top young horses for the fledgling operation, described herself as having a "love affair with Scat Daddy."

On Thursday, the final day of Book 2, Radcliffe spent $1 million for a bay filly by the stallion out of the stakes-placed Ghostzapper mare Beloveda, acclaiming that yearling as the most outstanding in the sale. "I wasn't going home without her," she said. Earlier in the week, she went to $950,000 for a chestnut Scat Daddy colt from the family of Group 1 winner Hawkbill.

Kerri Radcliffe paid $950,000 to add this colt from Hawkbill's family to her Scat Daddy purchases for Phoenix Thoroughbreds
 Other buyers of Scat Daddy yearlings ranged from the Niarchos family, which acquired the full sister to Caravaggio for $550,000, to European and American pinhookers. Trainer Mark Johnston bought a sister to Queen Mary Stakes winner Acapulco for $200,000 "on spec," while juggernauts such as Don Alberto Corp and China Horse Club, with its WinStar-affiliated partner Maverick Racing, also featured among buyers.


By the end of Book 2, Keeneland Director of Sale Operations Geoffrey Russell declared that "Scat Daddy rules the roost: he is the man."

By American and European champion Johannesburg, Scat Daddy was based at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky, shuttling to Chile for three years and proving a sensation in that country too. He had earned his place at Ashford by winning the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at two and the Florida Derby victory at three for Todd Pletcher, who bought him as a yearling for $250,000 on behalf of James Scatuorchio.

Mendelssohn, Scat daddy's $3 million sale-topper last year, is up and running with this recent success at the Curragh
 Ashford Manager Dermot Ryan said Scat Daddy tended to pass along not only his eye-catching, scopey frame to his offspring but also exceptional "determination, heart and the will to win."

No Nay Never, winner of the Prix Morny, is now representing his sire at Coolmore in Ireland, where Ryan expects Caravaggio also will eventually retire – although Magnier said a decision on that colt's future will not be made until the end of this year.

Ryan anticipates that any new Scat Daddy star to emerge for Coolmore among his final colts would probably stand in America to continue his legacy there, Ryan said. One potential candidate could be two-year-old Curragh maiden winner Mendelssohn, who topped last year's Keeneland September sale at $3 million and is a half-brother to champion Beholder and successful young sire Into Mischief.


Race against time for Coolmore to establish a Scat Daddy sire-line

Two more elite winners keep Scat Daddy's name in lights

When the sale is over, you're going to be sorry if you didn't buy a Scat Daddy

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