Pinhooking pair on the hunt for latest Premier Sale pay-off
The A T Bloodstock partnership selected Group 1 winner Barney Roy as a foal
The Goffs UK Premier Sale seems an unlikely arena for two titans of the National Hunt breeding world to join forces. But nestled away in the far corner of the stabling yard at the Doncaster sales complex is the offering from Castletown Quarry Stud, whose two-strong draft were both pinhooked by A T Bloodstock.
Eoin Banville, who runs Arctic Tack Stud - the home of National Hunt sires Aizavoski, Arcadio, Jet Away, Ol' Man River - and Peter Parkhill of leading National Hunt vendor Castletown Quarry Stud, have only been buying Flat foals under the A T Bloodstock banner for four years, but the horses that have already been through their hands must have turned far more seasoned pinhookers green with envy.
Things got off to the best possible start for the partnership when their first investment, a Starspangledbanner colt picked up for a mere 13,000gns, went on to top the 2014 renewal of the DBS Premier Yearling Sale when going the way of David Redvers for £230,000.
And it is not just in the sales ring where their representatives have shone. In December 2014 they picked up a son of Excelebration for 30,000gns from the Irish National Stud draft at the Tattersalls Foals Sale. Now a three-year-old, that colt is none other than St James's Palace Stakes winner Barney Roy - who was bought by Peter and Ross Doyle from the Doncaster ring for £70,000, and whose image graces the front cover of this year's Premier Sale catalogue.
"I think we just got bored!," chuckles Banville when asked what prompted the decision to dabble in the Flat market, before he modestly adds: "We just decided to have a go really, it wasn't meant to be a big deal or anything. We've only bought eight foals so far. We've been very lucky."Strongarm Chaser - reported to be going well ahead of his debut by trainer Richard Hannon.
Barney Roy is not the only black type performer among the septet, either, with Wingingit, a three-year-old daughter of Helmet, having finished runner-up in the Listed Stanerra Stakes at Leopardstown for Noel Meade. And with John Gosden's wide-margin maiden winner Il Primo Sole having also passed through their hands, the A T Bloodstock roll of honour only looks set to grow.
As far as pinhooks go Barney Roy is going to take some beating, but with business to tend to over the coming days Banville is doing his level best to keep the feet of the man responsible for unearthing the Group 1 winner firmly on the ground.
"Pete took a fancy to him straight away, and that's basically why we bought him," says Banville philosophically. "He was out of a Galileo mare, of course, and we try and buy a bit of pedigree where we can, but they have to come within our price range at the end of the day, although he cost five grand too much!"
For those keen to jump on the A T Bloodstock bandwagon, two of their pinhooks are on offer during Wednesday's session of the Goffs UK Premier Sale. First up comes a Zoffany filly from the family of Hong Kong champion Designs On Rome (Lot 315) picked up for 21,000gns, followed by an Elzaam colt (411) acquired for €26,000 last November and whose page is replete with stateside stakes performers.
"They've been grand and straightforward to prepare, we don't do an awful lot with them - walker and lunge and that's basically it," says Parkhill. "Prepping the Flat horses and the jumpers is much the same, it's just about keeping them in one piece and getting them to the sale looking as well as you can."
If this year's pair prove to be half as good as their predecessors, the Castletown Quarry Stud draft is likely to be the first port of call for many come next year's Premier Sale.