Premier Yearling Sale record tumbles as Gleneagles colt brings £380,000
James Thomas rounds up all the action from the opening session at Doncaster
Expectations can be dangerous things at the yearling sales, an arena where dreams are routinely dashed and bubbles frequently burst.
Despite that, Newsells Park Stud's general manager Julian Dollar had made no secret of the esteem in which he held the Gleneagles colt the operation offered during Tuesday's session of the Goffs UK Premier Sale, describing the youngster as "one of the top five nicest horses we've ever had on the farm".
And those lofty expectations were not only met but surpassed when the colt smashed the Premier Sale record when, in front of a packed auditorium, Alastair Donald struck a winning bid of £380,000 - a full £100,000 more than the previous high mark.
"He's the standout horse in this sale and by some way," said Donald, who saw off the attentions of Amanda Skiffington to secure the session-topper. "He's the nicest horse I've seen at Doncaster in many a year. He's a gorgeous colt who's a half-brother to a good horse and by an exciting stallion."
"We took a bit of a chance bringing him here but full credit must go to Gerry [Meehan, Newsells Park yearling manager] who felt that this was a good spot for him," said Dollar. "Tony Williams [Goffs UK managing director] said it would be a big deal for Doncaster to get this horse and it's worked out well for everybody - hopefully it works out well for Al Donald and his client too."
Donald's judgement has been seen to good effect in recent days, with Glorious Empire - a 90,000gns Book 2 buy - landing the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes, while King Power Racing - for whom the agent is a regular buyer - also fired in a quartet of winners over the weekend, headed by Beat The Bank and the Listed-winning juvenile Well Done Fox.
The previous high price for the Premier Sale had been shared by Jersey Stakes winner Gale Force Ten and this year's Hackwood Stakes scorer Yafta, both of whom fetched £280,000.
Better late than never
Trade ebbed and flowed somewhat throughout the session but a broad cross section of buyers stayed late into the evening to ensure the session finished with a rattle.
Just a few lots from the close of play Oliver St Lawrence - acting on behalf of Fawzi Nass - outgunned Richard Hannon and Ross Doyle at £200,000 for an Exceed And Excel filly offered by Abbeville Stud.
"We saw her yesterday and Fawzi loved her then," said St Lawrence. "She's a lovely walking filly. Fawzi sent some photos to his son Abdullah and he told him he had to buy her."
As is the case with most of Nass's British-based horses, the filly will join George Peckham in Newmarket.
A homebred from Abbeville Stud, the filly is a half-sister to German Listed winners Scoville and Skagen, and is out of a two-time winner by Platini.
Ger Lyons, Joseph O'Brien - who trains the filly's winning half-brother Tenax - and Daniel Creighton were among the underbidders.
Laurens team go again
John Dance's three-time Group 1-winning filly Laurens has been a real flagbearer for the Premier Sale, having been signed for by Daniel Creighton and Josh Schwartz's Salcey Forest Stud at £220,000 at the 2016 edition.
And during the opening session of this year's renewal Creighton, Schwartz and Dance returned to Doncaster and parted with £140,000 for a filly from the debut crop of Gleneagles. The filly was offered by Houghton Bloodstock on behalf of Pantile Stud.
"We saw two fillies that really stood out today," said Creighton. "The Exceed And Excel that made £200,000 and this filly. Obviously she's by Gleneagles - who's an attractive prospect - and she's out of an Oasis Dream mare.
"I thought she had a lot of quality and a nice walk so we're delighted to get her. It's too early to say who she'll be trained by."
The filly is the first foal out of Sugar Mill and shares her page with the likes of Chester House and Empire Maker.
A good day for Knight
Agent Richard Knight was active at the top end of the market throughout the session, acquiring an Acclamation colt from Rathbarry Stud in a private deal at £150,000 followed by a Kodiac colt offered by Tally-Ho Stud at £120,000.
"He's a horse I'm very sweet on and he'll be trained by William Haggas," said Knight, who signed for the Acclamation colt on behalf of an undisclosed client. "He's very racy and so light on his feet, he's a horse with a lot of quality and the mare has been a good producer too."
The colt, a half-brother to four winners and from the family of Reprocolor, had been pinhooked by RBS from the Goffs November Foal Sale for €150,000.
Knight's second six-figure purchase was acquired on behalf of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Malek Al-Sabah, who races under the Al-Areen Racing banner. The son of Kodiac is a sibling to two Group 3-placed performers, Faithful Creek and Tangled.
Phoenix rise again
Rising force Phoenix Thoroughbreds also made its presence felt in Doncaster, signing for three lots with Dermot Farrington at a total spend of £280,000. The priciest of the trio was a son of Camacho, the sire of Phoenix's Prix Robert Papin and Queen Mary Stakes winner Signora Cabello, who brought a winning bid of £125,000.
"He's a very well-balanced horse and we've had huge success with Camacho with Signora Cabello, who's bred on the same cross as this colt," said Phoenix founder Amer Abdulaziz, who was accompanied by the highflying filly's trainer John Quinn.
"We don't usually decide who will train our horses on the day," added Abdulaziz, "but as John recommended the horse he has to get him as he's done the hard work."
The Camacho colt is out of the Night Shift mare Night Sphere, whose six previous foals include the unraced Victory Day who topped last year's Premier Sale at £270,000 when bought by Joe Foley.
Both colts were bred by James Hanly and sold through his Ballyhimikin Stud. Night Sphere, a winning half-sister to Grade 2 winner Missit, was bought through Hugo Merry for €75,000 at the 2008 Goffs November Sale and is the dam of four winners.
"Night Sphere produces beautiful horses and a lot of winners," said Hanly. "They've all been sound with good minds and the Bated Breath is meant to be another good one.
"I think Camacho is a stallion with serious potential. He's a Danehill who came up with a Classic winner this year [Teppal] and then a Royal Ascot two-year-old [Signora Cabello] - he has to be a serious stallion."
Having been a notable absentee at Arqana, Shadwell returned to the fray in Doncaster, and with around 60 lots still to sell had signed for six yearlings at a total spend of £595,000.
Among that sextet was a Tamayuz colt who fetched £110,000 when offered by fledgling consignors WH Bloodstock, the operation run by Mimi Wadham and Violet Hesketh. The pair had pinhooked the youngster, a half-brother to the smart Berkshire Blue, for 35,000gns at the December Foal Sale.
"It's the first horse we've sold under the WH Bloodstock banner so to say I'm delighted would be an understatement," said Wadham, daughter of trainer Lucy.
"We thought he was value when we bought him, it's not too often you can say that at the foal sale as the market is so strong, but we loved his attitude and he's been so straightforward."
Expanding on how the partnership was formed Wadham said: "We did the Darley Flying Start together, that's when we had the idea to start working together. It's so nice to have our own business up and running."
Another newcomer to Doncaster to sell a lot to Shadwell was Barton Stud, who brought a winning bid of £115,000 for a Showcasing colt bred by Biddestone Stud.
"He's the first horse we've sold here, so so far so good," said Barton Stud manager Tom Blain. "I'm delighted with the price, I'm delighted for the breeder and I'm delighted with the buyer."
The Showcasing colt is the first foal out of the six-time winner Must Be Me, a half-sister to the sire's dual Grade 2-winning son Prize Exhibit. This is also the family of Queen Anne Stakes hero Accidental Agent.
Tony Wechsler and Ann Plummer toasted a notable success during last week's Ebor meeting when their two-year-old Lope De Vega colt Phoenix Of Spain stormed to success in the Acomb Stakes. And on Tuesday the pair reinvested some of their winnings when going to £100,000 through Howson and Houldsworth for a Brazen Beau filly offered by Nelson Farm.
The youngster is a half-sister to A Momentofmadness, who has carried Wechsler and Plummer's pink and blue silks to victory on seven occasions having been bought at the 2014 Premier Yearling Sale for £72,000.
"I thought she was a big, strong filly, very much in the mould of A Momentofmadness," said Geoffrey Howson. "She comes from a good farm and seemed to have a lovely character."
The filly is out of Royal Blush, a daughter of Royal Applause who was sourced on behalf of Richard Tucker's Nelson Farm by Howson for just 7,000gns at the 2011 Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale.
Day one saw 226 lots change hands for a clearance rate of 89 per cent. The aggregate was down four per cent on the corresponding session in 2017, closing at £10,183,000, the average was down 16 per cent to £45,060, while the median dipped by five points to £35,000.
Despite those drops in key market metrics there is still time for the Premier Sale to maintain its upward trajectory, with Wednesday's session widely anticipated to prove the stronger day of selling.
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