Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal heading down under after stunning £1.2 million sale
Sales correspondent James Thomas reports on big trades at the Goffs London Sale
Much of the chat before the Goffs London Sale on Monday revolved around whether Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal's price would break the seven-figure barrier. A packed crowd didn’t need to wait long to find out as an audacious opening bid of £1 million emerged from the throng shortly after auctioneer Henry Beeby had declared the sale of the three-year-old an “opportunity of a lifetime”.
Gai Waterhouse, Adrian Bott and Johnny McKeever must have thought their strongarm tactics had paid off given the lengthy pause, but the briefest of resistances eventually came as Nick Nugent received a telephone bid from Marie Yoshida of Asian Bloodstock Services, who was bidding from Los Angeles.
However, the Waterhouse, Bott and McKeever axis fired back with another £100,000 increase from their position on the terrace opposite the florally decorated rostrum and that raise proved decisive as the gavel came down at £1.2m.
The son of Territories looked an appealing prospect when the London Sale catalogue was released, but he ensured his value rested in seven-figure rather than six-figure territory with a huge run to finish second to Desert Crown in the Derby just nine days before coming under the hammer in Kensington Palace Gardens.
His future now lies in Australia, although connections said they would consult with trainer Andrew Balding over whether the horse will take his chance in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot on Friday before he switches hemispheres.
“Obviously he’s got a very attractive profile and you very rarely get the opportunity to buy horses of this calibre,” said Bott. “He’s got a profile that we think will really suit Australian racing, obviously with races like the Melbourne Cup being high up on the agenda for him.
“As you know, the racing industry in Australia seems vibrant and healthy with great prize-money around. We want to capitalise on that and this is a horse that we think will be racing at the elite level. We had to be strong on the horse and pay what I thought was a fair amount but I’m excited to get him down there and see what he can do for us.”
Hoo Ya Mal has won one of his six outings for Balding and previous owner Ahmad Al Shaikh and also reached the frame in the Craven and Newmarket Stakes prior to his career-best effort at Epsom. His second appearance at public auction proved much more lucrative than his first, as he was snapped up by Federico Barberini at just 40,000gns back in 2020.
The colt was bred by Meon Valley Stud from the Montjeu mare Sensationally, which means he is a sibling to five winners, including the Summer Plate Handicap Chase winner Really Super. His second dam is One So Wonderful, Meon Valley’s Juddmonte International heroine.
Bott added: “He came onto the radar when we saw the entry for the sale and we did a bit of homework on him prior to his run in the Derby, so he was well on the radar before Epsom. Obviously that run confirmed what we thought of him and that’s the profile you want to see, a horse who’s continuing to improve and he’s improved every time he’s stepped out.
"The Derby is probably the most prestigious race over here and there’s been very few horses of that calibre come to Australia, although we’re starting to see it a bit more now.
“We’ll have a discussion with Andrew and see how he’s done after that run in the Derby as we want to do right by the horse first and foremost, but the new owners would be very interested in having an Ascot runner. He’ll be owned by a syndicate headed up by Sir Owen Glenn’s Go Bloodstock.
“Ultimately the main aim is racing in Australia but it’s a huge attraction to have a runner at Royal Ascot. Obviously we’re very active in the tried horse sale markets throughout the year and whenever there’s private opportunities available, and this was an opportunity where it all fell into place nicely.”
Bott and Waterhouse will be hoping to repeat the success they have enjoyed with previous London Sale purchases, most notably Pornichet, who was bought at the inaugural renewal in 2014 for £425,000 before winning the Group 1 Doomben Cup the following year.
Hoo Ya Mal became the second-most expensive horse sold at the London Sale, behind headline acts Jet Setting and Cappella Sansevero, who fetched £1.3m apiece when offered in 2016 and 2014 respectively.
A total of 12 lots sold during the short, sharp and sun-baked session, resulting in a clearance rate of 50 per cent. Turnover reached £4,475,000, which was a 42 per cent increase on the last time the London Sale was held in Kensington Palace Gardens back in 2019. The average price was £372,917, an 18 per cent rise, while the median was £300,000, a nine per cent dip.
Amo continues O’Callaghan association
The second top lot will be staying much closer to home as Amo Racing’s Kia Joorabchian, standing with agent Hamish Macauley, went to £900,000 for impressive Curragh maiden winner Crypto Force.
The two-year-old was sold by Michael O'Callaghan, who netted a tidy windfall having bought the son of Time Test from Tally-Ho Stud for 160,000gns at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale a little over six weeks ago.
“The horse will stay with Michael,” confirmed Joorabchian. “We don’t have too many of this type of horse and he could potentially be a Derby horse next year. But, more importantly, he’s shown his ability already.
"I’m racing in Ireland now so I have much more of an appreciation of how tough it is to win a maiden over there. He won first time out and I know the Coolmore horse [Auguste Rodin, second] ] got a few knocks and had to stop in running, but I think the way Crypto Force won was impressive.”
Amo and O’Callaghan have already linked up to good effect, with the Curragh trainer saddling the winners Malex and Crispy Cat, who has also been runner-up in Listed company on his last two outings, in Joorabchian’s purple colours.
Crypto Force, whose pedigree traces back to the likes of Pilsudski, was sold with an entry in Saturday’s Chesham Stakes and the new owner said his purchase would likely take up that Listed engagement.
Joorabchian said: “He might go to the Chesham, he’s likely to run, although that’s not the reason we bought him.”
Classy Cadillac brings £500,000
Cadillac, who was trading as 6-1 favourite for the Wolferton Stakes, will be running for a new owner on Tuesday after Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah went to £500,000 for the classy four-year-old.
The son of Lope De Vega won four times for Jessica Harrington, most notably the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes at two, and was last seen running out a three and three-quarter length winner of the Listed Glencairn Stakes.
The new owner was joined by up-and-coming trainer Kevin Philippart De Foy, who will take charge of Cadillac after his Ascot engagement.
“He will be coming to me at the end of the week,” said De Foy. “Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah has been a great supporter of the yard since July last year and we’ve had a couple of nice winners for him already. We should have two runners at Royal Ascot this week with Juan De Montalban, who runs on Tuesday, and Shamlaan on Friday.
“This horse is running tomorrow, there’s no change of plan as the sheikh will be at Ascot tomorrow and wanted to have some runners. This horse has shown excellent form all through his career and can run on a range of goings, so he could potentially go to the Middle East next winter. He’ll get a change of scenery now and we’ll see what we can do with him.”
Cadillac, whose pedigree features champion two-year-old filly Damson and her Group 2-winning son Requinto, has made one previous appearance at public auction when bought by BBA Ireland for €40,000 at the 2019 Goffs Orby Sale.
De Foy has been in fine form of late, with his recent winners including Almalek Alsabah’s Mai Alward, who struck at Lingfield a few hours before the London Sale began.
Douglass sees the potential in Cresta
The winning and Group 3-placed Cresta was another lot offered with a Royal Ascot entry and the son of New Bay will also represent new connections if taking up his Hampton Court Stakes engagement having been knocked down to Will Douglass of Charlie Gordon-Watson Bloodstock at £490,000.
The colt, offered by Martyn Meade’s Manton Park Racing, was last seen finishing runner-up to Star Of India in the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester.
Douglass said: “He was bought for Qatar and may well run at Ascot before going there. He’s a progressive horse with a nice profile and is a very good type.”
The son of New Bay is out of La Negra, a Dark Angel sister to the prolific Gabrial. Cresta was another lot who brought a significant profit in Kensington Palace Gardens having previously gone the way of Dermot Farrington at £21,000 at the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale.
“His form shows he has a lot of ability and I think he hasn’t actually reached his true potential yet,” said Meade. “That’s what we were hoping someone would see today so we’re very pleased.”
Main on the mark
Heather Main was also among the vendors toasting a fruitful sale having seen Ileach Mathan, a £25,000 Goffs Orby Yearling Sale buy, go the way of Richard Ryan at £340,000.
The three-year-old made a winning debut at Kempton last October and reappeared with a promising second behind Whitebeam in a Newbury novice last month.
The son of Kodi Bear, who was offered with an entry in Saturday’s Jersey Stakes, is due to continue his racing career in Hong Kong.
"I wanted to keep him in training, I wanted to have a Royal Ascot winner, so I’m in two minds about the sale," said Main, who trained the youngster for the Coxwell Partnership. "But you have to give your owners the opportunity and Goffs really liked him when they saw him at Newbury when he was second.
“It’s bittersweet, but we have no choice because of the state of British prize-money. I’m happy with where he’s going though, it’s an amazing place.”
Expanding on what she saw in Ileach Mathan at the yearling sales, Main added: "I’m usually very cautious at the sales but my husband isn’t! I just knew when I saw him that I had to have him; the pedigree, the physical, he has just got the deepest girth, he’s very impressive. And he’s come on a lot since as well. We were very lucky to buy him.
"He has a lovely temperament, he’s a complete gentleman. He’s very easy to train, he’s lazy at home but that is what you want. I think they are going to do very well with him in Hong Kong."
Beeby hails sale's strong support
At the close of trade, Goffs group chief executive Henry Beeby said: “I’m delighted to be back as a huge amount of work has gone into bringing the sale back to Kensington Palace Gardens. The team were extremely proactive in following so many horses and we’ve been very well supported by a number of vendors.
"To have the horse who finished second in the Derby was a once-in-a-lifetime event and I think it was fitting that he ended up making such an impressive price to the legend that is Gai Waterhouse, who opened with a very bold bid.
"I’m just delighted and I’m very grateful to our partners for making it happen with us. It’s a wonderful sale, it’s a great start to the week and this was a wonderful renewal.”