Optimism abounds as buyers prepare to see stars and stripes at Craven Sale
The catalogue contains eight two-year-olds from the final crop of Scat Daddy
Breeze-up season has rolled into Newmarket for the Tattersalls Craven Sale, and judging by the healthy crowd of potential purchasers that assembled on the Rowley Mile Racecourse on Monday morning, big things could be in store at Park Paddocks over the coming days.
There is a distinctly American feel to this year's catalogue, with eight lots from the final crop of Scat Daddy joined by the progeny of War Front, Kitten's Joy, More Than Ready, Orb and Verrazano.
One of the talking horses of the sale has been the Scat Daddy colt catalogued as Lot 71, who will be offered through breeze-up doyen Willie Browne's Mocklershill.
"He's been very busy, he's very exciting so he deserves to be," said Browne. "He's a great-looking horse, he's fast - in an ideal world he'd want the ground quicker than it was, but it's the same for them all. Personally, I think he's a Royal Ascot two-year-old. I'm very optimistic about both Scat Daddys I have here.
"I like the American horses and they seem to be very fashionable over here now that people have got their heads around them."
The colt was pinhooked by top jockey John Egan and Robert Moss - who has enjoyed some notable success as an owner with the likes of Mr Scaramanga and the progressive Sparkalot - for the sum of $270,000 at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
"He did a very progressive breeze," said Egan, who was in the saddle as the two-year-old strode with distinct purpose up the Rowley Mile. "He settled lovely, jumped into his work nice and did a lovely piece of work in a nice time. I was very happy with him. He's as good a two-year-old as I've ever sat on, he's just got something different.
"I saw the horse at the sales and I couldn't help myself, I must have looked at the horse 20 times and I said 'I'm going to buy that horse, I don't care'. I just fell in love with him and I wasn't going to leave without him."
Although effusive in his praise for the performance the colt put in during the breeze, Egan was as equalled enthused by the sire power that underpins the two-year-old's considerable physical prowess.
"Scat Daddy is just a huge sensation, it's all about him at the moment and he's such a terrible loss," he said. "This horse has such a great mind, you could bring him into the front kitchen. I think he's got it all, the mental attitude, the build and the ability."
Among the other vendors in cautiously optimistic mood after the breeze was John Cullinan of Church Farm and Horse Park Stud, who offered Group 1 winner Brando at the 2014 renewal of the Craven Sale.
Despite the high-end nature of the auction, Cullinan believes buyers of all budgets should be willing to dip their toe into the market this week.
"The people with the higher budgets are here shopping and hopefully that manifests itself as good trade," he said. "I'd still be concerned about the middle market. This is a select sale and tends to be treated that way as those with the lesser budgets don't come, but there's proper value here.
"Obviously the higher-priced horses get all the headlines, and that possibly scares some people off, but people should be encouraged to come here as there's more smart horses than there are customers."
Church Farm and Horse Park Stud are set to offer nine lots during the two-day auction, including a trio by two-year-old sire sensation Kodiac and a colt by Invincible Spirit, the only offering by the Irish National Stud resident in the catalogue.
The Tattersalls Craven Sale is scheduled to start at 5.30 on Tuesday.
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