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Kerri Radcliffe warming to idea of US switch after Phoenix split

'Everything's great' says the horsewoman as she buys at Saratoga

Kerri Radcliffe: a big fan of the American sales scene
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Just a year ago, Kerri Radcliffe was making headlines while signing million-dollar tickets during shopping excursions on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds.

But on Tuesday, she sat on the opposite side of Fasig-Tipton’s Humphrey S Finney pavilion from where her former Phoenix patron, Amer Abdulaziz, was camped, with each acquiring horses in a wholly different manner during the Saratoga selected yearling sale.

Radcliffe and Phoenix split earlier this year, with neither party publicly revealing the nature of their disagreement after together purchasing over $20 million in bloodstock.

But there’s no looking back for Radcliffe, who for a year was the face of Phoenix while based in Britain.

She’s looking strictly ahead as she gathers new clients and contemplates a possible move to the United States, where she says horses she selected for Phoenix - including Grade 1 winner Dream Tree and Belmont Stakes runner-up Gronkowski - have created a demand for her bloodstock selection services.

“Everything is great,” Radcliffe said of this new chapter in her life. “I have been contacted by some really, really good clients because, obviously, the results speak for themselves.

“I can’t wait to see Gronkowski run in the Travers Stakes [on August 25 at Saratoga],” she added. “Chad Brown [his trainer] has told me he’s training great.

"Dream Tree, I think, is coming back for the Prioress [Stakes on September 2 at Saratoga], and I love that the [Phoenix] two-year-olds are starting to run in Britain, which is brilliant. It has been fabulous, and I've had so much support from some fabulous people, especially in America. Genuine, lovely, people.”

After signing tickets for two yearlings for a total of $685,000 during the closing session of this year’s Saratoga sale - a year removed from buying six yearlings at the venue for $3.95m on behalf of Phoenix - Radcliffe said the Saratoga sale is her favourite auction worldwide due to the electric atmosphere.

Although she would not disclose the identify of those she is now buying for, she said her purchases of a $500,000 More Than Ready colt out of a Brazilian Graded-placed daughter of Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly and a Constitution filly for $185,000 acquired with bloodstock consultant Arthur Hoyeau will stay in the US.

“I actually think my business now is more important in America. And I’d probably say that within time I’ll base myself over here,” Radcliffe said.

Why? “The results in America,” she explained. “And I just have to say I love American people. The sales companies in America welcome you with open arms, whether you’re spending big money or not spending big money; everybody is very genuine.”

Radcliffe has helped American owner George Bolton with bloodstock in Australia and Europe, but she said she was not shopping for Bolton in Saratoga.

As to the More Than Ready colt, hip 154 consigned by Denali Stud as agent, Radcliffe said “He's a gorgeous colt. Everyone knows I love More Than Ready and he’s a lovely, strong colt who looked like he had a great mind and the one thing I love - a great, big walk.”

The Constitution filly, Hip 168 from the Warrendale Sales consignment, is a half-sister to winner Diamondsandpearls, who Radcliffe purchased as a juvenile for Phoenix last year for $1.7m.

“Diamondsandpearls is back on the work list [at Del Mar, after being sidelined for about a year] and she is one who I hold very dear to my heart. I really loved her,” Radcliffe said.

Meanwhile, Phoenix is relying heavily on trainers’ advice. Abdulaziz was sitting with Steve Asmussen, the trainer of champions Gun Runner, Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, when Phoenix made the winning bid of $1.3m  - the second highest price of the sale - for hip 204, a Medaglia D’Oro filly who is a half-sister to Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator.

Asmussen described the filly as a “work of art. I don’t think you’re likely to find another one like her".

Phoenix’s other purchases included four yearlings who sold for $400,000 or more, topped by a $475,000 colt from the first crop of Carpe Diem.

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The sales companies in America welcome you with open arms, whether you’re spending big money or not spending big money
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