Pure theatre: Too Darn Hot's brother a box office smash at 3,500,000gns
James Thomas reports from Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale
In a piece of theatre Andrew Lloyd-Webber would have struggled to script himself, the brother to Too Darn Hot, bred by the impresario's Watership Down Stud, fetched the highest price at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale on Wednesday when David Redvers landed a winning bid of 3,500,000gns on behalf of Qatar Racing.
It was standing room only in the Park Paddocks auditorium as the curtain came up on the highly anticipated offering, and an expectant hush descended as Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony began to conduct proceedings from the auctioneer's rostrum.
"He's an exceptional colt," Mahony announced to the transfixed onlookers. "He has size and scope, with a tremendous outlook and a stallion's pedigree.
"I don't believe I'm out of place to ask for two million guineas."
Mahony was forced below the seven-figure mark to find an opening bid, but after a hopeful 500,000gns offer had been made the bid board started to tick over at a rate of knots.
Bloodstock agents Jamie McCalmont, Mike Ryan and Robert Nataf showed an interest, as did Japanese trainer Mitsu Nakauchida, who was underbidder on the 3,400,000gns session-topping Galileo colt on Tuesday.
But it was Shadwell's Angus Gold who ultimately gave Redvers, hidden by the crowds high on the back stairs, most to think about.
The price had already gone beyond the three million mark before Redvers played his hand, but with his initial attempt almost instantly bested, it took a final 200,000gns raise to bring the gavel down.
Watch as Too Darn Hot’s yearling brother is sold to David Redvers for 3,500,000gns at Tattersalls pic.twitter.com/1dz8NAdecp— RP Bloodstock (@rpbloodstock) October 10, 2018
"I think he's the one we all wanted," said Redvers. "The mare is quite extraordinary, as is the stallion. Sheikh Fahad and his brothers want the very best and to compete with the very best. They've had a major taste of that this year with Roaring Lion, which has been wonderful to be a part of and hopefully isn't over yet."
Having mentioned the John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion, Redvers said he could not reveal who would take care of the sale-topping colt, but simply said: "I'll discuss in detail with Sheikh Fahad where we're going, but you can draw your own conclusions as to where he'll be trained."
As a brother to arguably the season's most exciting juvenile, the colt brought enormous star potential to Tattersalls, and could be set for a major pedigree update on Saturday when Too Darn Hot lines up in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, for which he remains a warm order.
The colt is also a brother to Lah Ti Dar, who added a ten-length romp in the Listed Galtres Stakes and a fine second in the St Leger to her race record since the catalogue's publication.
"It's very exciting to be a part of all this," continued Redvers. "It's a hell of an operation we've bought from and it's a hell of a position to be in to be able to compete at the top end.
"These horses don't come up very often, but if he's as good as the full-brother he's a very cheap horse. We're all trying to make stallions and that's the future of our operation, finding these types that are good enough to be the most exciting horses at stud.
Lloyd-Webber was not in attendance at Tattersalls, but was reported by his wife, Madeleine Lloyd-Webber, to have followed the drama via a live stream.
"It was like a theatrical experience," she said. "I can only compare it to an opening night when that curtain goes up and all the critics are in and my husband and I sit there thinking 'oh my god, this is it now!'.
"It was exactly like that; the adrenaline was pumping, it was pure showbusiness."
The session-topping colt is out of Dar Re Mi, a three-time Group 1 winner by Singspiel who's four runners have all gained black type. She has clicked particularly well with Dubawi, not only producing Too Darn Hot and Lah Ti Dar to him, but also the Musidora Stakes winner So Mi Dar.
"We're just very lucky that the mare is breeding these rather perfectly formed offspring," said Lloyd-Webber. "This colt is very similar to Too Darn Hot, maybe a little bit more mature funnily enough. We absolutely loved him but our policy on the stud is to sell the colts and keep the fillies and, unfortunately, we have to carry on that policy.
"We kept Too Darn Hot because he had x-ray issues when he was a yearling - we're absolutely thrilled we didn't bring him to the sales, obviously."
Despite Too Darn Hot's abundance of early talent, Lloyd-Webber highlighted that Dar Re Mi herself was much more of a late bloomer, a trait that gives serious cause for hope that the best could yet be to come from her offspring.
"We've got two very big weeks ahead of us," she said. "Too Darn Hot is only a two-year-old, he's only going to get stronger. If you look at the family, Dar Re Mi didn't win her Group 1 until she was four - she won the Sheema Classic when she was five, and her mother - Darara - didn't win a Group 1 until she was four.
"I saw Lah Ti Dar working this morning and she's a big, scopey filly and she needs to furnish. I think she'll be stronger next year," she concluded before - with more than a pinch of humour - added: "I'm annoyed Enable is staying in training!"
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