Jack Hobbs half-sister knocks them for six at December Foal Sale
James Thomas reports on a six-figure frenzy at Park Paddocks
Introduced by auctioneer Alastair Pim as "the star of the show", the Dubawi half-sister to Jack Hobbs offered by Willie Carson's Minster Stud claimed top billing at Friday's session of the Tattersalls December Foal Sale after John Gosden, acting on behalf of Godolphin, saw off Harriet Jellett with a bid of 750,000gns.
For a moment it looked as though Jellett, seated to the left of the rostrum and taking instructions on the phone, had won out not long after the 500,000gns mark as a hush descended on the ring and Charlie Gordon-Watson shook his head. But Gosden had plenty in reserve and hit back hard until the gavel came down at 750,000gns.
The filly was bred by former champion jockey Carson and his wife Elaine out of the Swain mare Swain's Gold.
"I rang Tattersalls back in the autumn and asked how many Dubawis they had catalogued here and was told none, so I said: 'Well you've got one now'!" said an animated Carson. "She was a very cute filly. We've been selling more as foals for the last three years - we can cope with foaling down the mares but we're getting too old for yearlings.
"Swain's Gold has been very good to us and she is in foal to Golden Horn. We are not sure who we will go to with her next spring."
The filly's dual Group 1-winning half-brother Jack Hobbs is due to begin his stallion career at Overbury Stud in 2018, and Carson confirmed he would be showing the son of Halling his support.
"We have not been down to Overbury to see him yet, but I'm likely to send him a Flat mare," he said. "We have 17 mares to foal down and we need to have a bit of sort out, though we might be tempted to look at a few mares next week now!"
Richard Hills was among the throng of well-wishers who came to shake the breeder's hand once the filly had left the ring, at which point Carson added: "I offered Richard a half share in the mare when I bought her but he didn't take it!"
On a day when plenty of buyers had to dig deep, Capital Bloodstock's Neil Gilchrist and Peter Vaughan repeatedly showed grim determination to acquire some of the more sought after lots.
By the time Friday's final lot had been offered the pair's December Foal Sale expenditure stood at 2,205,000gns, with ten lots secured.
The pair did not reveal who they were acting on behalf of, save for Vaughan saying that their purchases had been "bought to race for an English family".
The pair also secured a quartet of lots at the Goffs November Foal Sale for a total spend of €1,150,000.
The priciest of the pair's ten Tattersalls purchases was the Dark Angel filly out of the Listed-winning Sir Percy mare Indigo Lady offered by Derek Veitch's Ringfort Stud, who brought a winning bid of 600,000gns.
"We're all overwhelmed," said an emotional Veitch. "Paul Hancock and I own the mare, Paul's not very well at the moment as he's just had his appendix out. I'm sure this will have cheered him up immensely though.
"He raced the mare originally and I bought into her privately. She's been very lucky for us, although we couldn't get a hundred and twenty grand for her when we tried to sell her in foal to Camelot! This is all thanks to the team, who've put in all the hard work to get this filly here."
The Dark Angel filly is the second of Indigo Lady's progeny to head through the Tattersalls ring, after her Camelot filly brought 155,000gns from Tim Gredley at the October Yearling Sale last year.
That's the Spirit
The second lot to hit the 600,000gns mark was the Invincible Spirit filly out of Liscune offered by Bernard Cooke's Bryanstown House Stud, with Charlie Gordon-Watson in no mood to be denied by a persistent Chris Richardson.
"She's for a new British client to race and will go to live at Watership Down," said Gordon-Watson.
"He's never bought a horse before and the plan was to buy two but we ended up thinking that it might be better to spend more to get this one. It's an outstanding pedigree."
The filly is a sister to four winners, including the Listed-winning Ektihaam and the Group 3 winner Music Box.
"She's a lovely filly and she's from a great family," said Cooke. "Liscune has always had good-looking stock but unfortunately she's empty this year, and I haven't made up my mind about where she's going next year. I bred the mare myself and bought the second dam, Royal Lorna, from Tattersalls."
The Cumani's Fittocks Stud offered the solitary lot by Frankel in the December Foal Sale catalogue, a colt out of the 2010 Oaks d'Italia winner Contredanse bred by Stuart Stuckey, and they were duly rewarded when the Japanese-based operation Le Mare secured the colt at 375,000gns.
"I particularly liked the fact that this colt is by Frankel, but he is a great individual too," said Le Mare's representative. "He was my pick of the day, though I have not decided upon my plans for the colt yet."
Frankel has fared particularly well in Japan, where he has been represented by the likes of Soul Stirring, Mi Suerte and Mozu Ascot.
Godolphin go for Gold
Before the sale-topper took their attention the Godolphin buying team had followed a number of foals from the first crop of Golden Horn into the ring, and by the close of trade had secured three of his colts for a total spend of 835,000gns.
The most expensive of the trio was the colt out of Elegant Shadow offered by Deerpark Stud who fetched 325,000gns. The March-born foal is out of the German-bred Shamardal mare Elegant Shadow, who descends from multiple Group 1 winner Elle Danzig.
"Suzanne Roberts bought the mare for us privately in Germany," said Deerpark's Peter Fagan. "We sent her to Sea The Stars and because she produced such a star we kept going with the same cross with Cape Cross being the sire of Golden Horn."
That Sea The Stars colt was offered during Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale, and was bought by Kerri Radcliffe on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds for 1,000,000gns.
There was, however, a sad postscript to the sale, as Fagan revealed the mare had died since producing the Golden Horn colt.
"Unfortunately the mare died during the summer, but she did more in her time on the farm than most achieve in a lifetime. She was fabulous," he said.
Cheveley buy into Ballymacoll
The tenth daughter of champion racemare Islington, a filly by Oasis Dream, proved the highlight of the penultimate leg of the Ballymacoll Stud dispersal when bought by Cheveley Park Stud for 275,000gns.
The eight-strong draft of foals grossed 898,000gns, and also featured a Lawman half-sister to Eleanora Duse and Scottish Stage who fetched 170,000gns from Tom Goff of Blandford Bloodstock; a Golden Horn colt out of Musidora Stakes winner Liber Nauticus that made 130,000gns to Yeomanstown Stud, and a Kodiac filly out of Moruadh that sold for 130,000gns to Michel Zerolo of Oceanic Bloodstock on behalf of Peter Brant's White Birch Farm.
The Ballymacoll dispersal concludes at next week's Tattersalls December Mares Sale.
Rekindling the magic
The Pocock family's Stringston Farm has enjoyed a fruitful few days at Tattersalls, and the expected headline act in the operation's draft duly lived up to her billing when the Gleneagles half-sister to recent Melbourne Cup hero Rekindling went the way of US-based agent Justin Casse for 240,000gns.
"She'll stay in Europe and come back here to sell next year," said Casse. "It's still to be determined exactly where she'll go to as the partnership I bought her for is still forming as we speak. She's a lovely filly and is obviously a half-sister to a Melbourne Cup winner now. She came from a great nursery and will only get better with time. Hopefully she can come back here next Fall and make a little bit of money."
The filly's dam, Sitara, has been a quite remarkable producer for the Pococks, having bred five winners, including Rekindling and his Chester Vase-winning brother Golden Sword, since she was bought for just 10,000gns from Fittocks Stud back in 2002.
"We never expected this," said Nick Pocock. "The filly is a May foal and it's been a credit to her how she's dealt with coming here as it's a big ask for a late foal but she's done everything we've asked of her. Sitara's stock have always sold well."
Sitara's progeny have now fetched almost 2,000,000gns for the Pococks from the Tattersalls ring alone.
Another well-related filly due to return to the ring as a yearling is the Showcasing sister to the high-class sprinter Tasleet who was offered by Whitsbury Manor Stud and signed for by agent Mick Flanagan at 220,000gns.
"It was plenty to give for her but obviously she's by a proven stallion and she shares her damsire, Cadeaux Genereux, with Harry Angel so she's proven on the top line and bottom line," said Flanagan.
"She'll come back here as a yearling so we just need her to develop now. It's a bit more than we wanted to give for her but fillies with pedigree are hard to come by so you have to fork out a bit."
"We've had the same thing in place for five or six years. We stretched out a bit last year on a Kingman colt at 180,000gns and that was either going to make us or break us. Thankfully he sold for €650,000 at Goffs so we live to fight another day. This filly will go back to Ireland and come back next year through Baroda and Colbinstown."
The third session of the December Foal Sale saw 167 lots gross 16,986,000gns - a marginal gain on 2016's figure. The average stood at 101,107gns - a 12 per cent increase, and an identical median of 65,000gns. The clearance rate was 80 per cent.
The December Foal Sale concludes on Saturday.