Looking back at a big year for bloodstock in pictures
The sires and sales who hit the big time in the past 12 months
Former England rugby star Mike Tindall was part of a pinhooking syndicate, also including David Redvers and Hannah Wall, that had five lots to sell at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in Australia in January.
The team's best result was a Fighting Sun colt bought for A$34,000 and resold for A$130,000, although the Pierro filly Tindall is pictured with here went unsold at A$180,000.
It is no surprise that Tindall should have dabbled in horse trading: the training ground of his old club Gloucestershire is next to Redvers' Tweenhills Stud and he is married to Zara, the Queen's granddaughter who celebrated success as an owner-breeder when her Golan gelding Somewhere To Be won at Lingfield in November.
However, the Tindalls evidently have different tastes in horses, as Mike said of his Magic Millions horses: "I showed [Zara] the photos of the ones selling this week but unfortunately the ones she liked weren’t the ones we hoped she would.”
Few foals are anticipated with as much relish as the first produce of dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Treve, and how lucky we were that the brilliant racemare's owners Al Shaqab Racing were generous enough to share with the rest of the world a beautiful picture of the newly born Dubawi colt, born February 1, taken by Zuzanna Lupa.
Benoit Jeffroy, stud manager at Al Shaqab's Haras de Bouquetot, said: "Treve has produced a good first foal. Everything went well and after being a few days overdue she decided to foal at lunchtime.
"Treve and her foal are doing really well. The next chapter to the story starts now, and we can only hope this colt will be as fast as his parents."
Treve was covered by home stallion Shalaa for her next cover.
On the eve of the Cheltenham Festival news broke that Danehill Dancer, champion sire in Britain and Ireland in 2009, had passed away at Coolmore at the age of 24.
The son of Danehill, pictured earlier in his stallion career, has sired 22 Group/Grade 1 winners - the latest arrived in the summer when son Here Comes When sprang a surprise in the Sussex Stakes - including influential sons Choisir and Mastercraftsman.
Danehill Dancer's achievements were all the more admirable as he was retired as a cheap source of speed, standing for a fee as low as Ir£3,500 in his early years at Coolmore.
Coolmore's MV Magnier paid tribute by saying: "Danehill Dancer was a wonderful sire and has left a significant legacy at Coolmore through his sons Mastercraftsman and Choisir and grandson Starspangledbanner, while The Gurkha [by Galileo out of a Danehill Dancer mare] is a very exciting sire prospect for the future."
We lost another outstanding sire in April when Darley stalwart Cape Cross died aged 23 following complications from old age.
The stallion, pictured above, did not come up with Group 1 winners with the regularity of a Galileo - his tally stands at a creditable 13 - but, boy, did he have an uncanny knack for coming up with an outstanding fan favourite.
Cape Cross supplied the brilliant Ouija Board in his first crop, which encouraged the Tsui family to send their mare - the best of the modern era - Urban Sea to him. The result, of course, was the exceptional Sea The Stars. And Sea The Stars no doubt encouraged Anthony Oppenheimer to support the sire, and he was rewarded with another Derby and Arc hero like Sea The Stars, in Golden Horn.
Joe Osborne, managing director of Godolphin Ireland at the time, said: "He has been an integral part of the Godolphin and Darley stories, and an integral part of Kildangan. He was our first major success as a stallion. He was champion first-season sire, making an immediate impact, and went on to sire a collection of outstanding racehorses, who left their mark in some of the world's great races."
This Street Sense colt, sold at the Arqana Breeze-up Sale in Deauville, encapsulated some of the biggest stories of 2017.
Most obviously, he illustrated the stunning strength in the top echelons of trade, as he was sold for a sale-topping €1.4 million having been bought by pinhookers Jim McCartan and Willie Browne for a barely believable $15,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2016.
Second, he was bought by a purchaser who made a huge impact on markets in 2017, agent Kerri Radcliffe buying for new investment vehicle Phoenix Thoroughbreds.
It is early days for Phoenix Thoroughbreds but there are already signs the spending spree is paying off, as Dream Tree, bought for $750,000 at a Fasig-Tipton two-year-olds in training sale in Florida in May, landed the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes in December.
In one of the most memorable moments at Epsom in recent years, Enable streaked to victory in the Oaks in driving rain as a thunderstorm broke out over the Surrey Downs before the Classic.
Enable went on to add the Irish Oaks, King George, Yorkshire Oaks and Arc to her CV in a glittering season, and in doing so flew the flag for her sophomore sire Nathaniel, who some more impatient members of the bloodstock industry had written off without waiting for his progeny to reach full maturity.
Julian Dollar, who as general manager of Newsells Park Stud has overseen the stallion career of Nathaniel, told the Racing Post in July: "I've always believed in the horse, although I was perhaps getting nervous in the spring, but Enable looks very special and is a fine ambassador for him."
Darley held their annual stallion parade at Dalham Hall Stud, with broadcaster Nick Luck on compering duty as the many Group 1 winners and Group 1 producers on the roster swaggered through the immaculate grounds of Sheikh Mohammed's stud in Newmarket.
Guests were treated to a special appearance this year, as four-time top-level hero Postponed - pictured above - was shown off before his retirement to stand alongside his outstanding sire Dubawi at Dalham Hall was made later in the year.
Postponed's handler Roger Varian said: “He was an absolute pleasure to train and he possessed all the attributes a trainer looks for in the very best racehorses – speed, power, stamina and the ability to travel like a machine.
“He is a beautiful physical specimen and was very straightforward to deal with. He was crowned a champion on the form book and displayed all of the characteristics you could expect in such a special talent - he had everything.”
Kerri Radcliffe struck again for a top lot at Arqana when going to €1.55m for a son of Dubawi and Falmouth Stakes winner Giofra, who was presented to market by Giofra's owner-breeder Haras de la Perelle.
The colt will be trained by Andre Fabre for Phoenix Thoroughbreds, and Radcliffe said at the time of the sale: "He was the nicest horse in the sale.
"He's by a super stallion out of a Group 1-winning mare: it doesn't get much better than that. He'll be trained by Monsieur Fabre."
Start 'em young - that's the approach of bloodstock agent Tom Malone, who signed the docket for Listed-winning two-year-old filly Izzy Bizu for €290,000 at the Goffs Champions Sale at Leopardstown with his eight-year-old daughter Casey.
Casey had already gained a flavour of the bloodstock industry with trips to the sales and marking up Daddy's catalogues.
"I'd love for her to take part in the future," Malone said. "There's no time like the present for her to come with me and start learning about it. She loves it, she's started doing my catalogues and helping out with them. I showed her what I wanted done, picked the lot numbers - and she got it to perfection. Her present for getting it done was to come to the sales with me and get involved."
As for that other talented young female, Izzy Bizu finished second in the Listed Bosra Sham Fillies' Stakes in November.
The Galileo filly out of Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf heroine Dank emerges from the Tattersalls sales ring to a crowd of admirers and photographers after selling for 4,000,000gns in a transaction that defined the auction year.
The yearling was bought at Book 1 by Sheikh Mohammed, represented by a rejuvenated Godolphin inspection team led by John Gosden, after a tense bidding duel with Coolmore.
This year marked the first time in more than a decade that Godolphin had consented to bid on young stock by Coolmore sires at auction, and it resulted in them buying this beautifully bred Galileo filly who was the most expensive yearling sold worldwide in 2017.
Gosden said after the winning bid was struck: "You very rarely have a filly of this quality come onto the market.
"She's by a great stallion and out of a phenomenal racemare. She's an outstanding physical example. For her racing future and her breeding future she's a very exciting prospect - that's what we prefer to concentrate on."
A filly who had won nine races at the highest level, most times making all the running and burning off her rivals to win by extravagant margins, was always going to be in hot demand from the world's leading breeders when she came on the market, and so it proved when Songbird was sold at Fasig-Tipton in November.
Offered to a packed house, the daughter of Medaglia D'Oro was sold to Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm for $9.5 million, making her the most expensive horse sold at auction anywhere in the world in 2017.
Asked by reporters why she had stumped up so much for Songbird, Pope responded simply: "Because she's awesome."
Songbird is now in line for a cover by an equally awesome horse, Arrogate, in his first season at Juddmonte Farms in Kentucky.
A thrilling year of auction action was capped when dual Group 1-winning sprinter Marsha was offered at the Tattersalls December Breeding-Stock Sale.
Another tug of war between Godolphin and Coolmore ensued, with Coolmore landing the winning bid this time, but having to smash the European auction record price to secure her for 6,000,000gns.
Sir Mark Prescott, who trained the filly for the numerous owners who comprise the Elite Racing Club, said: "I was surprised. But it's great for Elite Racing, we got 47 of the members here on a bus and not many horses have that when they go to the ring.
"She's gone to a great home and her stock will be wonderfully trained. It's just been a very good story. She looked a million dollars and she's made it easy. She's just the most consistent sprinter, I won't say she's the best but she's the most consistent. She's never turned a hair here despite everybody poking about."
Marsha - pictured entering a heaving ring at Tattersalls - is now set for a date with Coolmore's perennial champion sire Galileo.
Read our reviews of 2017 in the bloodstock world