Night Of Thunder colt steals the show in September Yearling Sale opener
James Thomas reports from the Fairyhouse auction ring
The Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale got off to a bright start on Tuesday as Anthony Stroud, acting on behalf of Godolphin, went to €180,000 for lot 11, a three-parts brother to Dubai World Cup winner Prince Bishop by Darley first-crop sire Night Of Thunder.
Having been introduced by auctioneer Simon Kerins as "something a bit special", the likes of Alex Elliott and Thomond O'Mara traded early blows as the flashy chestnut made his way around the Fairyhouse ring.
But once the six-figure barrier was broken Stroud, stood on the top tier of the auditorium, joined in and had to see off determined plays from Kevin Ross and eventual underbidder Eamonn Reilly of BBA Ireland, who was hidden below next to the indoor walking area.
"He's been bought for Godolphin," said Stroud having signed the ticket. "Obviously we stand the stallion and this colt is a good example of what the sire can get. He's a good, easy moving individual. Prince Bishop was ours as well."
"I prepped him and actually bred him myself," said the Castlebridge Consignment's Bill Dwan.
"He's a lovely horse, very easy to deal with and thankfully he vetted cleanly. I've been very impressed with the Night Of Thunders, they all seem to have great minds. We actually sold Night Of Thunder too, so I know all about him. We hope this colt is as good as his three-parts brother."
Night Of Thunder, a dual Group 1-winning son of Dubawi, stood his debut season at Kildangan Stud at a fee of €30,000. The 2,000 Guineas hero transferred to Darley's Newmarket base at Dalham Hall for the 2018 breeding season, where he covered at a fee of £15,000.
The colt becomes the third-most expensive offspring of Night Of Thunder, behind the €350,000 colt out of Mandheera bought by Rabbah Bloodstock at Arqana, and a 200,000gns colt out of Travel bought by Jamie Railton at last year's Tattersalls December Foal Sale.
Trade proved steady rather than spectacular after that early high, with the second six-figure lot coming as evening began to descend on Fairyhouse, with BBA Ireland's Eamonn Reilly returning to his position beneath the bidding area to part with €100,000 for a son of Kodiac offered by Lynn Lodge Stud.
The colt had been pinhooked for €60,000.
"He's been bought for Bob Edwards' e5 Racing," revealed Reilly. "I'm not sure where he'll head yet but Kodiac speaks for himself and this colt is from a very good Ballylinch family. He looks a sharp racy two-year-old."
The colt is the second produce out of Well Focussed and boasts a pedigree rich in international black type, as the dam is an Intense Focus half-sister to Australian Group 1 winner Opinion, German Group 3 scorer Fox Hunt and the the Concorde Stakes winner Anam Allta.
Farrington flies in
Agent Dermot Farrington, fresh from a marathon spell at Keeneland with the Phoenix Thoroughbreds team, was another to play among the upper echelons of trade on Tuesday having parted with €85,000 for a Showcasing filly offered by Castledillon Stud.
"She'll go to Manton and be trained by Martyn Meade," said Farrington, who was accompanied by Meade's son and assistant, Freddie.
"She looks very sharp and is obviously by a good sire. The mare has done a good job too so she looks the complete package."
The filly is a half-sister to two winners, namely the Listed-placed pair Mujas and Touche Eclatante.
Jonjo on War footing
Freshman sire War Command has enjoyed a real purple patch of late, including when supplying five winners in as many days last week, and those results doubtless helped boost the price of one of his offspring at Fairyhouse, as Matt Coleman went to €80,000 for a colt from Castlehyde Stud.
The youngster, who had been pinhooked by his vendor for €38,000, was signed for in conjunction with leading National Hunt trainer Jonjo O'Neill, who is looking to increase his presence on the Flat.
"Jonjo is trying to get into training Flat horses so I'm looking to buy him some nice-quality stock and this is the first yearling I've bought him this year," explained Coleman. "This colt is a very good-looking horse and the sire has done very well. His half-sister Dianthus has some very nice form too."
The colt is out of the placed Mr Greeley mare Acts Out Loud, making him a half-brother to two winners. The family traces back to talents like Forgotten Rules and Talking Picture.
"Jonjo keeps reminding me he trained the Windsor Castle winner [Gipsy Fiddler, 1990] before he went to Jackdaws Castle," added Coleman. "I told him this horse might not win at Royal Ascot because he looks like more of a Dewhurst type!"
Sackville goes for gold
Another first-crop sire to supply a member of the session's top ten prices was Golden Horn, with Ed Sackville stretching to €78,000 for the filly offered by Simmonstown Stud, whose pedigree received a timely update just ahead of the sale.
The filly is out of Jim Bolger's Simonetta, a Listed-placed half-sister to the Group 3-placed Daneleta, who is better known as the dam of Dewhurst Stakes winner Intense Focus and Dane Street - herself the dam of recent Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Skitter Scatter.
"She's a lovely filly with size and scope who's by an exciting young stallion and outstanding racehorse," said Sackville, who added that his purchase will head into training with Tom Dascombe.
"She comes from a top female family which was kept current last weekend with Skitter Skatter’s Group 1 win in the Moyglare."
Curragh-based trainer Michael O'Callaghan was among the busier buyers during the session, having parted with €244,000 for six new recruits.
Those purchases were headed by a Power colt offered by Croom House Stud who fetched €78,000. The youngster is out of the Listed-placed Varenka and is a sibling to four winners, including the useful Meezaan and Whispering Warrior.
"He's a lovely individual and we were very lucky with the sire before," said O'Callaghan. "We had I Am Power who was a good two-year-old that got sold to Hong Kong after his second start. The sire might not be everyone's cup of tea but the mare could run and has produced a couple of horses rated over a hundred.
"He looks like he'll make a two-year-old so he's our type of horse."
Earlier in the session O'Callaghan had parted with €75,000 for a son of No Nay Never offered by the Castlebridge Consignment.
"He's by a sire that's having a great year," noted the trainer. "The horse hasn't got much pedigree but he's by No Nay Never and he's a lovely individual and we liked him a lot."
The colt, who is out of the placed Fastnet Rock mare Terracotta, was signed for by Hyde Park Stud at just €8,000 when offered as a foal.
By the close of trade 205 of 265 offered lots had sold for a clearance rate of 77 per cent - down from 90 per cent during the corresponding session 12 months ago.
Despite the 265 lots representing a 23 per cent year-on-year increase on the number of yearlings offered, the aggregate was down by eight per cent to €5,171,000.
The median dipped from €24,000 to €20,000, while the average was down by 13 per cent to €25,225.
The September Yearling Sale continues on Wednesday.