James Harron is the new king of the ring after landing 450,000gns top lot
James Thomas reports from the final session of the July Sale
James Harron had just one lot in his crosshairs on the final day of the Tattersalls July Sale on Friday, and ensured his journey from New South Wales in Australia to Newmarket was not made in vain when he secured the progressive New King with a bid of 450,000gns.
The three-year-old son of Frankel showcased his star potential with an eight-length romp in a Sandown handicap on his most recent start, and such a major update had not gone unnoticed as six-figure bids were soon flying back and forth across the Park Paddocks ring.
Harron was plainly in no mood to be denied, however, and instantly batted back the efforts of Jono Mills and Gassim Ghazali with sharp nods of the head from his position in the seats opposite the packed gangway, where the underbidders were stationed.
"He's a lovely horse, he's the one I came here to look at and I was really pleased when I saw him," said Harron, whose accent remains unmistakably Northern Irish despite having been based in Australia since 2011.
"He's not overly big but he's a real quality type of horse. He's got super race form and he's sitting at a rating that a lot of good horses who've come out of England and gone on to do well in Australia have had.
"He's been bought for a group of my clients back in Australia, so we'll get him back there and hopefully have a bit of fun with him. We haven't worked out who'll train him just yet though."
Harron may not be a regular visitor to European auctions, but this is not the first sales-topper he has landed outside of Australia, where he is routinely among the leading purchasers, having secured the €1.5 million Dubawi filly Propel at Arqana's August Sale in 2013.
"I haven't been here for a few years, but I came specifically to see him and I'm pleased I did," Harron said. "We all know how hard it is to find horses who've performed to that level, but he's been really well looked after and has been well managed so there's some really good upside to him heading to Australia.
"There's a few options as to whether we bring him out early or leave him here for now and bring him out for the main carnival, we'll just have to sit back and take a look. He doesn't have to go straight to a big race though."
European imports have performed notably well in Australia's lucrative staying and middle-distance races - including the likes of recent Melbourne Cup winners Cross Counter, Rekindling and Almandin – and on that subject Harron said: "They [European-bred horses] have been very dominant in Australia, they've been doing extraordinarily well.
"His profile really suits what we're looking for, especially having looked back over what's worked over the last few years."
Harron's purchase sees New King become the second-most expensive lot ever sold at the Tattersalls July Sale, usurping Wednesday's session-topper, the 420,000gns At Last who will also head to Australia having been bought by Mick Flanagan.
The record holder remains Business As Usual, who went the way of the Kern/Lillingston Association for 460,000gns in 2010.
Two lots before New King took his turn in the Tattersalls ring, his year-older half-brother, Military Law, a son of Dubawi, sold to Nasir Askar for 110,000gns. Connections suggested they would now be plotting a route to the Dubai Carnival for the three-time winner.
Ghazali gets his Wish
Gassim Ghazali has been in typically prolific form at this year's July Sale, and went to 160,000gns to add the upwardly mobile Make A Wish to his haul during Friday's morning session.
The Michael Tabor-owned daughter of No Nay Never had enhanced her appeal by winning a Sandown handicap since the publication of the catalogue. That victory, for which she achieved an RPR of 91, meant she left the care of Simon Crisford having won two of her six races.
"She comes with a nice update," said Will Douglass of Charlie Gordon-Watson Bloodstock, who assists Ghazali at Tattersalls. "Those handicaps on Eclipse day are hard to win and I thought she was impressive.
With around 80 lots still to sell during the evening session, Ghazali had made 16 purchases for total receipts of 1,176,000gns, almost 11 per cent of the three-day sale's turnover.
Fearless Johnson Houghton
Eve Johnson Houghton was another to dip into the draft of horses offered by Jamie Railton on behalf of Qatar Racing, as she landed Fearless Warrior for 90,000gns.
Trained by Ralph Beckett, the three-year-old son of Sea The Stars won one of his eight starts after being picked up as a yearling by David Redvers and Meridian International for 340,000gns.
"We'll get him home and he'll be gelded and given a bit of time before we make a plan."
The colt is a half-brother to the Australian Group 3 winner Le Juge and the Listed scorer Frankel Light, and that trio are out of Mambo Light, a Listed-winning daughter of Kingmambo.