High international demand fuelled a strong opening session of the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale in Newmarket on Monday, with interest from around the globe resulting in a slew of big prices.
Coolmore's classy Horoscope was the most sought after offering, with the son of No Nay Never knocked down to Michael Donohoe of BBA Ireland at 325,000gns.
The three-year-old made 12 starts for Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore partners, having been plucked from Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale by Charlie Gordon-Watson Bloodstock at 300,000gns.
The highlight of his career to date came when winning the Listed Vincent O'Brien Ruby Stakes, while he achieved a peak rating of 110 for his third in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile on his penultimate outing. Like many of the horses sold during the opening session, Horoscope is set to continue his racing days in the Middle East.
"He's been bought for a Middle Eastern client," said Donohoe. "With a rating of 110 he's able to compete in all those top-level events in all the Emirati countries. He'll go on the quick ground out there, he's versatile, he's a good-looking horse and has the pedigree to be a stallion further down the road."
Horoscope is out of Inca Wood, a Timber Country sibling to four black-type performers, including Group 1-placed runners Furner's Green and Lady Lupus, while another half-sister, Palace, is the dam of Innisfree and High Definition.
Earlier in the session Donohoe also went to 200,000gns for I Am Magic, a winning son of Magician who was last seen finishing third to Glounthaune in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes for Michael O'Callaghan.
"He's been bought for a client from the Middle East and the immediate plan is he'll go to the Saudi Derby," said Donohoe, who relegated Barry Lynch to the role of frustrated underbidder.
"He should get into the race off that rating and there's a future for him as a three-year-old after that. I thought he was a very good physical, he's got plenty of size, vetted well and he looks like a horse who'll be better next year. We liked his last run and he's got some good form in the book."
I Am Magic is out of the winning Acclamation mare Miss Frangipane, making him a half-brother to two black-type performers, namely Secret Sharp, a Listed scorer in Italy, and Mordimi, a Listed-placed son of Morpheus.
Monday's transaction continued I Am Magic's upward trajectory in the sales ring, as he first fetched 14,000gns from Aguiar Bloodstock at the Ascot Yearling Sale, before O'Callaghan bought the colt for 95,000gns at the Guineas Breeze-Up Sale.
"I saw him breeze and I've seen him run a few times back in Ireland, I was at Leopardstown when he ran last week so I've been following him," said Donohoe. "Michael recommended him and he's sold a few good ones in the past."
Horoscope headed a market that generated aggregate sales of 7,126,000gns, a punchy 72 per cent year-on-year increase.
There was a similarly hefty gain made by the median, which was up 78 per cent to 16,000gns, while the average rose by 60 per cent to 27,095gns. The clearance rate was 88 per cent as 263 of 299 offered lots found a buyer.
The sizeable draft from Shadwell is one of the major draws at this year's Autumn Horses in Training Sale, and the leading light from the operation's offering on Monday was the progressive Majalh, who was knocked down to Jassim Al Ghazali at 155,000gns.
Although the Qatari trainer is a regular at this sale, Covid-19 related travel restrictions have kept him away from Newmarket on this occasion, so he struck the successful bid online.
Majalh, a two-year-old son of Siyouni, was last seen running out a bloodless winner of a four-runner Brighton novice stakes, having also shown promise behind subsequent Autumn Stakes winner Coroebus on his penultimate outing for William Haggas.
"He's a very good-looking horse who gave a clean vetting and was very well prepared by Shadwell," said Al Ghazali's bloodstock agent Will Douglass. "He won nicely at Brighton and we've had a bit of luck buying horses from William Haggas. On pedigree there's a bit more to come and hopefully he can progress."
Douglass added: "Some Qataris have managed to get here and Jassim was very keen to fly over for the sale, but restrictions caused by Covid made it difficult."
Majalh is the first foal out of Musaanada, a winning Sea The Stars half-sister to the Listed scorer Greatwood. Further back it is the family of Classic winners Fame And Glory and Legatissimo. Shadwell sold 31 lots on Monday for receipts totalling 1,332,500gns.
Among those staying closer to home is the smart performer Raadobarg, who departs Roger Varian and is set to join the team at Johnny Murtagh's after Hamish Macauley landed the son of Night Of Thunder at 150,000gns.
The three-year-old rattled off a hat-trick earlier in the year, with successes recorded at Leicester, Thirsk and Haydock. He hit a peak Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 104 when third to Royal Fleet in a class two handicap at Doncaster on his penultimate outing.
"I'm delighted to get such a high-class horse," said Murtagh. "His form looks solid and hopefully he can improve from three to four."
The half-brother to July Stakes winner Classic Blade, a £200,000 Goffs UK Premier Sale buy by Alex Elliott, was offered by Aguiar Bloodstock.
Stuart Boman was responsible for sourcing this year's Autumn Horses in Training Sale poster boy Zaaki, who has won a brace of Group 1s since switching to the Australian stable of Annabel Neasham.
The Blandford Bloodstock agent was back in action on Monday and went to 140,000gns for the Shadwell-consigned Montather, who will join the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace operation. The four-year-old son of Dubawi won three races for Roger Varian, and changed hands with a peak RPR of 104.
"He's off to Australia," said Boman. "I've bought him for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. We've had a bit of luck buying at this sale over the years and they wanted to come back and buy a nice horse.
"I spoke to Roger Varian, who handled the horse beautifully, and I think he's a very talented individual who will like the faster pace in Australia because he's been a bit keen in races. He handles fast ground and he's a lovely horse to look at, so we're delighted to get him."
Montather is out of the Listed-placed Lanansaak, a daughter of Zamindar from the family of Hamdan Al Maktoum's 1,000 Guineas heroine Shadayid.
While the top end of the market was dominated by horses being sold with international campaigns in mind, Warren Greatrex and Highflyer Bloodstock's Anthony Bromley struck a notable blow for the National Hunt ranks when going to 135,000gns for Line Of Descent, who was offered by the Crisfords' Gainsborough Stables.
The three-year-old son of Nathaniel won one of his six starts and changed hands with a peak RPR of 89, a mark he hit when winning at Hamilton and again when runner-up at Newmarket and Musselburgh either side of his maiden victory.
"He's been bought for my landlords Jim and Claire Bryce," said Greatrex. "They bought Rhonehurst and we've found them a few nice horses recently and they wanted to add a juvenile to the team.
"This horse fits the bill as he looks like he'll make a jumper, and we know the Nathaniels can jump and improve with age. He's a good-looking horse and all the right people followed him in. We've had three winners from the new yard already and we've got some nice young horses for the season ahead, so everything looks rosy at the moment."
Saudi Arabian outfit Najd Stud, buying with Peter and Ross Doyle Bloodstock, made its presence felt with six purchases, a haul headed by the 135,000gns Third Kingdom.
The three-year-old, who was offered by Prince Faisal's Nawara Stud and consigned by Voute Sales, won twice for John and Thady Gosden, including an eight-and-a-half length demolition of a York handicap on his most recent outing. The son of Make Believe is out of Canadian champion Spring In The Air, winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes.
"He has been bought for Prince Faisal bin Khaled bin Aziz, the leading owner in Saudi Arabia," said representative Saad bin Mishraf. "We especially liked his breeding, particularly on the dam's side, and we think he will improve on a dirt surface."
Najd Stud and the Doyles also dipped into the Coolmore draft when giving 120,000gns for Lough Derg, a Group 3-placed son of Galileo and the classy Easton Angel.
Leading syndicate Middleham Park Racing, owner Tom Morley and Newmarket trainer Robert Cowell have combined to good effect this season with the winning two-year-old Dynamic Force, and the trio will be hoping to maintain their strike-rate having gone to 130,000gns for the Listed-winning sprinter Atalis Bay.
The three-year-old won five times for Marco Botti and Scuderia Blueberry, despite having been sourced as a short yearling for just 800gns, with his race record capped by success in this year's Scurry Stakes at Sandown.
Tim Palin of Middleham Park said: "He's a very fast horse, he has been second to Winter Power at York [in the Westow Stakes] so that's pretty decent form. He's still a colt so the dream is very much alive that he could be a superstar. The way he won at Sandown was brilliant, he acts on the fast tracks and I can see him winning heritage handicaps and dashes or maybe even better."
The team behind Value Racing Club enjoyed a fruitful time of it on Monday, as not only did they have a well-backed winner at Leicester in Nikolayeva, but the ownership group made a noteworthy addition to their string at Tattersalls when securing the smart Cairn Gorm at 105,000gns.
Bred and raced by Hunscote Stud, the three-year-old son of Bated Breath won three times for Mick Channon and achieved a career-high RPR of 104 for his victory in last year's Group 3 Prix de Cabourg.
"This is a little bit of a different situation for us," said Value Racing's James Couldwell. "We're a racing club but there's a gentleman called Richard Sanderson who's been with us for around five or six years who's just sold his business for several million and wanted a horse who could take him and his family to all the top meetings like Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood, York.
"He gave me 100,000gns to spend but said don't lose out for one bid so I went the one extra, but I couldn't have gone again. He'll go to Mick Appleby, who we've done really well with. He's an exciting horse. He'll go on holiday now and we'll target the Wokingham handicap."
Grant Tuer has enjoyed a career-best season with 45 winners sent out from his North Yorkshire base, and has another exciting recruit for the 2022 campaign after Alex Elliott secured Dirtyoldtown from George Boughey's Saffron House Stables on a bid of 100,000gns.
The son of No Nay Never, a 70,000gns yearling, opened his account at the second time of asking before running down the field in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes on the most recent of three starts.
"He was a horse we were waiting on all day but given the way the market has heated up we didn't think we'd get him," said Elliott. "Grant's over the moon and I know George Boughey well and he was keen to keep the horse in the yard, so hopefully we've bought a nice horse. He won well at Chepstow and was probably a bit too free at Newmarket, but he could be a horse for something like the Britannia next year."
Out of the Listed-winning Tadris, Dirtyoldtown is a sibling to five winners, including the Group 3-placed Yaseer. The dam is a half-sister to the dual Grade 3 scorer Mustanfar and Ashirah, herself the dam of Temple Stakes winner Hot Streak.
"We got to buy a lot of yearlings for Grant this year, which has been great," added Elliott. "It's a results-based business and Grant's getting the results. He's just gone from strength to strength."
The first lot to break into six-figure territory was the unraced Falaj, who went the way of Paul McCartan of Ballyphilip Stud at 100,000gns. The two-year-old daughter of Kodiac did not make the racecourse for Shadwell but was sourced as a breeding prospect and certainly has plenty to recommend her on pedigree.
The filly, who also fetched 100,000gns as a foal, is out of the Shamardal mare Pizzarra, making her a half-sister to Fashion Queen, winner of the Listed Westow Stakes for David O'Meara and Clipper Logistics. Another sibling, the dual winner Swirral Edge, has been in the headlines this year as the dam of Richmond Stakes scorer Asymmetric.
"She'll be retired to stud," said McCartan. "I love the pedigree; Asymmetric is a good horse and his Gleneagles half-brother was stabled beside us in Book 2 this year and he's a beautiful individual [sold to Stroud Coleman Bloodstock for 350,000gns]."
The Autumn Horses in Training Sale has served McCartan well in the past, as it was at this sale in 2012 that he purchased Battaash's dam Anna Law for a mere 14,000gns. The breeder sold a brother to Battaash to MV Magnier for 750,000gns at Book 1 earlier in the month.
"We've been lucky at this sale in the past and we've had luck with Kodiac too," added McCartan, who raced the stallion's Coventry Stakes-winning son Nando Parrado. "We love Shamardal as well and I actually like Statoblest in a pedigree, he's an influence for good looks. She'll come home now but we have a breeding right in Showcasing so she may go there."
The Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale continues on Tuesday at 9.30am.