McManus digs deep in Deauville for three more French-bred gems
Isabel Mathew reports from the first day of the Autumn Sale
JP McManus added to his haul of French-bred three-year-old hurdlers at Arqana's Autumn Sale in Deauville on Monday when purchasing Auteuil Grade 3 runner-up Elimay for €310,000.
Fresh from fellow export Apple's Shakira recording an impressive Grade 2 win at Cheltenham on Saturday, the daughter of Montmartre is another top-class prospect from France that will carry the champion owner's green and gold silks.
Despite fierce competition from Anthony Bromley of Highflyer Bloodstock it was Charlie Swan, acting on orders over the telephone, that had the final say, with Hubert Barbe's Horse Racing Advisory signing the docket.
"She's a lovely prospect that has a great race record and is very correct – we're delighted to have got her," Swan said.
Consigned by Carlos and Yann Lerner, Elimay has won once from eight starts and been placed seven times, including when runner-up in two Listed hurdles. Hailing from the family of Ibn Alnasr and Kaki De La Pree, she was most recently runner up in the Prix Bournosienne, France's top race for three-year-old fillies, earlier this month.
A few lots later McManus also added dual Listed hurdle winner Dalila Du Seuil to his armada when going to €210,000 for the daughter of Bachir. From the family of Jimmy Two Times, the four-year-old had been trained by Mickael Seror for Defi Du Seuil's breeders the Boudot family to win three of her ten starts.
"She's going to make a nice chaser and that's the plan for her. I would have thought she'd go over two miles in the UK or Ireland," Barbe said.
Acrobate to Qatar
Promising four-time winner Acrobate proved to be the highlight of the Flat section of the session when fetching €202,000 to continue his career in Qatar.
Knocked down to Gerald Larrieu of Chantilly Bloodstock, the three-year-old son of Oasis Dream was the subject of strong interest from a number of parties before going the way of the agent, bidding on behalf of his regular client Khalifa bin Shael Al Kuwari.
"He's a lovely horse that we really liked and thought would suit his new surroundings," Larrieu said of the 95-rated Wertheimer Brothers' homebred that had won twice in eight days since the catalogue had been printed.
Trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, Acrobate boasts four wins from eight career starts, all of which have come this year. He is a half-brother to Group 1 Prix Vermeille winner Left Hand from the family of Plumania.
Quesnay reduces numbers
A change in policy this year saw all of the horses in training owned by the Head family's Haras du Quesnay go under the hammer during the first day of the Autumn Sale in a bid to reduce numbers.
Headed by two siblings to the stud's homebred Group 1 winners Fuisse and Full Of Gold that made €115,000 and €110,000 respectively, 12 lots were offered from Criquette Head-Maarek’s stables.
The winning three-year-old Mr Sidney filly Free proved to be the highlight of the dispersal and was another to be knocked down to Barbe in company with Swan for McManus.
"Her dam won the Listed Prix Finot over hurdles and she looks like she could jump" Swan said.
Earlier Nicolas de Watrigant's Mandore Agency had paid €110,000 on behalf of his family for Free's year younger half-sister by Motivator, Futura.
With the draft making a total of €391,000, Head-Maarek outlined: "We want to reduce our numbers and this is something that we should have done years ago. Everyone thinks that the stud has been sold or something similar, but this isn't the case at all.
"We currently have 48 broodmares, and the aim is to get down to 20 by the end of the year. Quite a lot will also be going through in December here, as well as some foals. After the six yearlings have gone through on Tuesday and Wednesday, we will also have sold all of our current crop following our consignments in August and October.
"The stud is still very much up and running. Attendu will stand his first season with us next year together with Anodin, Dunkerque, Youmzain and Motivator, and there is also potentially another new stallion in the pipeline, which is exciting," said Head-Maarek, whose operation ended the day as leading vendor.
With eight less lots presented than on the corresponding day last year, the clearance rate showed an increase of over two points at just over 86 per cent. The aggregate of €4,385,200 and average of €24,360 were both down by over 17 per cent year-on-year, together with the median, which showed a drop from €14,000 in 2016 to €8,750.
Barbe's Horse Racing Advisory ended the session as leading buyer on behalf of McManus having bought three fillies for €645,000.