'He has to be good' - 200,000gns Zoffany colt from strong German family impresses Hughes at Guineas Breeze-Up

James Thomas reports from a busy session at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale

Lot 301 Zoffany-Guardia colt
The Zoffany colt out of Guardia takes his turn in the sales ring at Park PaddocksCredit: Laura Green

A proliferation of six-figure bids ensured a strong conclusion to a record renewal of the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale on Thursday evening, where top-lot honours were shared by a brace who brought 200,000gns apiece. 

The first to hit that high mark was CF Bloodstock’s Zoffany colt who sold to Richard Hughes, sat with Ted Durcan to the left of the rostrum. Jamie Piggott filled the role of underbidder, with Blandford Bloodstock’s Stuart Boman and BBA Ireland’s Richard Fitzsimons among those also involved. 

The colt, a €55,000 pinhook by Cormac Farrell, reportedly clocked one of the faster times during the two-furlong presale breeze, a point that Hughes said was particularly impressive considering the middle-distance influences in the youngster’s pedigree, being out a Monsun sister to Getaway. 

“I didn’t think he should’ve been able to breeze as quickly as he did given the backbone of his pedigree with Getaway and those staying German horses in his family,” said Hughes. “He has to be good. I know I have mile-and-a-half horses at home that can’t go that quick, at this time of year anyway.

“To be able to do what he’s doing is great, it’s very odd as he shouldn’t be able to go that quick. He’s been bought for a client of mine and I’m thrilled to get him. He’ll get out on the May grass now. I think six weeks out there will do him some good, then we’ll have him for a maiden in October and go from there.”

Farrell said he was delighted with the sale but far from surprised having always held the colt in high regard. 

He said: “We came here expecting to get a nice price but you never know until you get the breeze out of the way and they pull out okay in the morning. He’s been a pleasure to deal with all winter, though. 

“I bought him from Jamie Railton at Tattersalls Ireland and since then we’ve been super patient with him as he’s a big, rangy horse for next year. He’s never missed a day but we’ve just minded him and it’s amazing he’s been able to breeze as fast as he did given how little we’ve done with him. I’d say he’s got a very bright future.” 

When asked how the price compared with his expectations the consignor said: “I’m going to sound like a bit of an eejit but I did think we’d have a good chance of topping the sale with this horse. It’s amazing that it’s gone to plan but all winter this horse has impressed me.” 

The 200,000gns mark was hit for a second time a short while later when Michael O’Callaghan saw off Richard Ryan to secure the Time Test colt out of an unraced Galileo sister to Mikhail Glinka offered by Mocklershill.

Lot 322 Time Test-Lady Glinka colt
The Time Test colt out of Glinka: "He’s a lovely horse and I’m hoping that lightning can strike twice"Credit: Laura Green

O’Callaghan was sticking with a proven recipe for success having sourced Group 2 Beresford Stakes scorer Crypto Force, another bred on the Time Test-Galileo cross, at last year’s Guineas Sale. 

“He’s a lovely horse and I’m hoping that lightning can strike twice because Crypto Force was bought here last year and he’s bred exactly the same way,” said O’Callaghan. “He’s a lovely looking horse but there’s not too many similarities between him and Crypto Force, this lad has a lot more Galileo about him. He breezed well and has a lovely action. He was a bit green in his breeze but you can forgive him that. We’ll give him a bit of time.” 

The colt was pinhooked by Pier House Stud at 67,000gns at the December Foal Sale but was withdrawn from his intended date at the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale. 

Pier House’s Brendan Morrin said: “Willie [Browne, Mocklershill] does five or six breezers for us every year. This horse has a lot of Galileo in him and Willie has done a fantastic job. We decided we'd hang on and wait for the breeze-ups rather than sell as a yearling. Sometimes plans don't work out when you’re buying them as foals but we’ve been lucky today.”

Despite 17 fewer lots being offered than in 2022, turnover reached record levels for the Guineas Breeze-Up Sale at 5,942,500gns, a six per cent year-on-year gain. The average rose by 18 per cent to 42,145gns, while the median held firm at last year’s level of 30,000gns. The clearance rate was a healthy 84 per cent as 141 sold from 168 offered. 

Profitable colt Ryan’s cup of tea

The first of 12 lots to go into six-figure territory was the Profitable colt out of So Funny presented by Malcolm Bastard. Agent Richard Ryan, bidding on the back stairs, held the winning hand at 150,000gns. 

“He’s been bought for a partnership between Teme Valley and Opulence Thoroughbreds,” said Ryan. “This is the second horse they’ve had together. We liked him a lot, he’s a great physical specimen. I haven’t told the trainer yet but I think he’s going to be going to Clive Cox. 

Richard Ryan
Richard Ryan: "He’s a particularly strong individual and as a stamp of a horse he’s exactly my cup of tea"Credit: Laura Green

“He looks like a good fit for him. He’s a particularly strong individual and as a stamp of a horse he’s exactly my cup of tea. I’m sure Clive will be pleased when he sees him too. He’s not for now but is going to be a second half of the season two-year-old and then, I hope, he’ll make a lovely three-year-old.” 

The colt, whose dam is a Distorted Humor sister to the Grade 3-winning Colizeo, was making his third appearance at public auction. He was a 30,000gns vendor buyback at the December Foal Sale before being signed for by Jai Parmar at 32,000gns at the Somerville Yearling Sale. 

Ryan explained that he takes an open-minded approach to assessing the merits of breeze-up horses, saying: “I’m not that hot on the times, especially if it’s not a horse who should be blitzing at this time of the year. 

“Everything is relative though and with a big strong horse like this one you just have to ask: has he breezed respectably without doing a hopeless time? Has he extended nicely and really used his stride and finished out his gallop properly? This horse did all of those things and was well produced by Malcolm.” 

Tate links up with an old friend

Two more lots brought 150,000gns later in the session, including the Farhh colt out of the stakes-winning Kodiac mare Indigo River from Tally-Ho Stud. Local trainer James Tate saw off Michael O’Callaghan to secure the promising juvenile. 

“We thought he was a lovely horse and we’ve had a lot of luck with the sire,” said Tate. “We love Farhh, they improve with time, and this horse has a lovely temperament and did a nice breeze so we’re excited to have him. We bought Far Above from this sale so fingers crossed this horse can be the next one. He’s been bought for Sheikh Juma.” 

Lot 309 Farhh-Indigo River colt
The Farhh colt purchased by James Tate for 150,000gnsCredit: Laura Green

The colt last appeared at public auction in December 2021, when Federico Barberini signed the ticket at €29,000 during the Arqana breeding stock sale. Later in the session Tally-Ho sold a Calyx colt pinhooked for €52,000 to Ed Sackville at 120,000gns. Those transactions helped Tally-Ho top the consignors’ charts with eight sold for a total of 438,000gns. 

The other 150,000gns two-year-old went the way of Oliver St Lawrence, who landed the Congrats filly from Katie Walsh’s Greenhills Farm. 

“She’s a filly put up to us by Jamie Osborne,” said St Lawrence. “She’s a nice, big scopey filly and she’s done an okay time for a 'non-fast' filly. As she has a US pedigree she could ship to run in Dubai if that works after the season ends here.” 

Brown goes back to Bushypark draft

Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock also referenced the Far Above success story when he landed a Calyx colt from Bushypark Stables at a cost of 135,000gns. Coolmore’s first-season sire has got his second career off to a promising start with four early winners on the board in Europe. 

“The stallion has made a very promising start,” said Brown. “I bought a nice Farhh colt from Bushypark at this sale a few years ago, he was for Sheikh Rashid and is called Far Above. This horse is for Sheikh Rashid too so let’s hope he’s as good. 

"He did a really nice breeze in a good style. He wasn’t particularly rapid but finished off very well and visually his gallop out was lovely, he just kept going up the hill. He goes to Richard Fahey, although the trainer doesn’t know that yet!” 

Richard Brown
Richard Brown: "He did a really nice breeze in a good style"Credit: Laura Green

The colt, out of the unraced Galileo mare Hot Legs, was picked up by Bushypark’s Matt Whyte for €42,000 at last year’s Goffs Sportsman’s Yearling Sale.

Whyte said: “I just loved the Galileo side of it. I thought he’d put a good temperament into the horse and the last three weeks he’s just bloomed. He’s very light on his feet. I’ve had a couple of jockeys sit on him and every one has liked him. The sire was a big help as well. He’s going to a good home and he’s going to be a good horse.” 

Middleham looking for another banner filly

Catalogue cover star The Platinum Queen carried the familiar pale blue silks of Middleham Park Racing to Group 1 glory in the Prix de l’Abbaye and the leading syndicate added to their ranks on Thursday with the 120,000gns acquisition of A&N Bloodstock’s Starspangledbanner filly. 

“She goes to Hugo Palmer,” said Middleham Park’s Tom Palin. “There’s no finer trainer of one by Starspangledbanner so it’s the obvious fit. He loved her, we loved her and she timed quite nicely. She’s a big strong filly, has a bit of stamina to her pedigree so she’s not whizz bang type. She looks like she should progress like most of Hugo's 'Starspangleds' have done.” 

McConnell switches code

John McConnell’s National Hunt string has been in fine form in recent times with Seddon scoring at Cheltenham and Fennor Cross striking at Aintree, and the trainer added a promising recruit to the Flat ranks at his County Meath yard with the acquisition of a 115,000gns Magna Grecia colt. 

Lot 272 Magna Grecia-Dawn Choir colt
The Magna Grecia colt out of Dawn Choir strides out Credit: Laura Green

Offered by Yeomanstown Stud, who pinhooked the colt for 22,000gns at Book 2, the youngster is out of Dawn Choir, whose dam is a Pivotal sister to the Grade 1-winning Megahertz. 

“He breezed a very fast time, despite still being a bit green,” said McConnell. “His sire Magna Grecia has had a good start and physically this is a very good horse. We thought we'd have to spend a bit to get him, but we didn’t think we'd have to spend quite so much. There was strong competition for him. 

"He did everything that you'd want from a racehorse, though. He will come back to my yard and hopefully will start off in a maiden in six or eight weeks’ time. He is for an existing client based in the US.” 

Malone makes his mark

Tom Malone was another to get involved in the action when going to 100,000gns for a well-related Ardad filly offered by Houghton Bloodstock. The youngster is out of Totally Lost, a Rip Van Winkle half-sister to Listed-winning stayer Justice Belle and the Listed-placed Celestial Lagoon, herself the dam of four stakes performers. 

That quartet includes Dante Stakes runner-up Highest Ground and Listed scorer Maria Gabriella, granddam of Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest heroine Marianafoot. The filly was making her third trip to the sales having been a foal pinhook by Jamie Railton at 45,000gns before Rabbah Bloodstock went to 58,000gns to secure the youngster at last year’s Book 2. 

“She has been bought for Charlie Pike, a young man who’s going to start training,” said Malone. “This filly has been bought by his future father-in-law, Gary Gillies, for him to train. Charlie is going to be based as an assistant to trainer Jimmy Fox for a year.”

Expanding on the filly’s appeal, Malone added: “I loved her and the big thing is that she has the GB bonus, which is important for owners in Britain as she has some chance of getting some money back. She breezed well and looked like an inexperienced sort. She breezed in the first 25 per cent of the times though and that’s good enough for me.” 

Chairman's statement

Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said: “The momentum from the recent record-breaking Craven Breeze-Up Sale has been well and truly sustained at a second consecutive record-breaking renewal of the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up and Horses in Training Sale. The combined turnover for the breeze-up two-year-olds and horses in training has surpassed last year’s record of 6.7 million guineas, the key indicators of average and median have matched or exceeded last year’s impressive returns and 13 two-year-olds have sold for 100,000 guineas or more, which is another record-breaking figure for the fixture.

Edmond Mahony: delighted with Thursday's record-breaking results
Edmond Mahony: delighted with Thursday's record-breaking resultsCredit: Laura Green

“Traditionally the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up and Horses in Training Sale attracts an abundance of overseas buyers and this year has been no exception with international demand, most notably from throughout Europe and the Gulf region, proving to be a feature of the sale, which has also produced a combined clearance rate well in excess of 80 per cent. 

"Domestic buyers have, as ever, made a huge contribution to a successful sale and it is a tribute to the consignors that the breeze-up sector continues to go from strength to strength."

He added: "There is no doubt that the consistent ability of both the Tattersalls Craven and Guineas Breeze-Up Sales to produce Classic and Group 1 winners has not gone unnoticed by the buyers and we look forward to seeing plenty more quality performers emerge from both sales in the coming months.” 

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James ThomasSales correspondent

Published on 4 May 2023inNews

Last updated 21:32, 4 May 2023