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'He was the one we really wanted' - Godolphin win out for €2 million Dubawi colt

James Thomas reports from a frantic final day of the Arqana August Sale

The session-topping Dubawi colt who sold to Anthony Stroud for €2 million
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Chatter on the ground in Deauville suggested the Dubawi colt out of Golden Valentine could be something out of the ordinary, and the whispers proved well founded as the Godolphin buying team went to €2,000,000 to deny Charlie Gordon-Watson when Ecurie des Monceaux presented the highly touted youngster during the final blockbuster session of the Arqana August Sale on Monday.

Increases came in a pick and mix of €50,000 and €100,000 increments as the rival camps to-and-froed deep into seven-figure territory. However, as is so often the case when well-bred lots by Dubawi appear on the public market, Godolphin were not to be denied.

The colt was bred in partnership between Monceaux and the Roth family’s LNJ Foxwoods and is the third foal out of the Group 3 Prix Minerve winner Golden Valentine, who in turn is out of Gold Round, a sibling to the brilliant Goldikova and the Prix Vermeille heroine Galikova.

“He’s an exceptional horse who’s very light on his feet,” said Anthony Stroud, who was joined by David Loder as he signed the fourth seven-figure docket generated at the August Sale. “Dubawi is a brilliant stallion and the team thought he was the one we really wanted to get.”

Henri Bozo and Anthony Stroud after the Dubawi colt's sale

The Monceaux draft was the source of three out of the four seven-figure lots, including the €2.1 million sales-topping brother to Sottsass, and the operation’s director Henri Bozo reflected on the farm’s latest millionaire graduate by saying: “I think he was a spectacular colt with a lot of class and a great attitude. I was expecting a good sale and we’re not disappointed.

“Dubawi is a stallion we’ve used as much as we can and hopefully they end up being champions on the racetrack because that’s really what counts. He was bred in partnership with the Roths, who are great partners. It’s great for France to have such supporters.”

Godolphin were out clear at the top of the buyers’ chart with Sheikh Mohammed’s operation contributing €5.55m to the aggregate with a six-strong haul. This included the €1.6m Shamardal colt who topped day one.

Monceaux dominated the consignors’ standings for the 11th year running, as 31 yearlings sold for €12.38m. Bozo remained stoney-faced during the bidding on the Dubawi colt out of Golden Valentine but said: “I’m good at hiding my emotions! It’s enjoyable and we usually don’t put a high reserve so I’m relaxed during the bidding because I knew there was plenty of interest in this colt.”

Kingman colt a first for Haggas

Haras de Saint Pair’s Kingman colt out of Dardiza headed the market for much of the concluding session after the well-related youngster brought a bid of €800,000 from Oliver St Lawrence.

Dardiza was bought for just €32,000 by Crispin de Moubray at the 2014 Arqana December Sale but has developed into a decidedly useful producer for Andreas Putsch’s breeding operation having bred the Grade 3-winning Guildsman and the winning Siyouni filly Isle Of White.

Dardiza certainly has the pedigree to flourish at paddocks as she is a Street Cry half-sister to the dam of champion performer Almanzor.

“He’ll go to William Haggas,” said St Lawrence. “We’ve never had horses with William before but we asked him if he’d take a couple for us and we gave him our shortlist and he loved this horse.

"He’s a lovely moving colt and we had to give it a good go to get him. Andreas Putsch is a great breeder and we loved the horse from the very first time we saw him. He’s been bought for Fawzi Nass and his Bahraini clients.”

The Kingman colt who led trade for a good while on Monday

The six-figure transaction continued a fine week for Saint Pair, which also sold a Frankel colt out of Spain Burg to Juddmonte for €450,000 and also saw farm graduate Eternal Pearl run out a comfortable winner of the Group 3 Prix Minerve during a productive Sunday afternoon.

Gordon-Watson a fan of Frankel cross

Charlie Gordon-Watson and Jaber Abdullah clashed over the Frankel filly out of Crystal River from the Haras d’Etreham draft, and it was the former party who won out with a confident nod of the head signalling a final bid of €650,000.

The well-bred youngster is the first foal produced by the daughter of Dubawi, who won two races while in training with Haggas, including the Listed Prix Casimir Delamarre. The Darley-bred Crystal River first changed hands as a once-raced three-year-old when she fetched just £28,000 at the Ascot March Sale in 2017.

However, she subsequently joined the burgeoning broodmare band of Haras Voltaire, which is owned by fashion magnate Thierry Gillier of Zadig & Voltaire fame, and has plainly got her second career off to a promising start. The filly represents the Frankel-Dubawi cross that has produced 17 winners from 19 runners in Britain and Ireland, most notably Adayar, Homeless Songs and Mostahdaf.

“The Frankel-Dubawi cross is the best, the statistics and percentages of Group winners is phenomenal,” said Gordon-Watson. “She was a fantastic individual.

"She’s an exceptional first foal, she vetted very well and has a very good back pedigree. Frankel had a Group 1 and a Group 3 winner yesterday and he gets better every day, he’s the best stallion there is.”

The Frankel filly out of Crystal River from the Haras d’Etreham draft

There is strength in depth to the pedigree as Crystal River is a sibling to Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Royal Marine and the Group 2 Godolphin Mile scorer Secret Ambition, who in turn are out of a half-sister to the Group 1 winners Dubai Destination and Librettist, as well as the dam of dual Group 2 victor Real World, who was last seen finishing second to Baaeed in the Queen Anne Stakes.

When asked about plans for the filly, the agent replied: “She’ll go back to England and then she’ll probably go to either John Gosden or Andre Fabre, but we’ll decide later. She’s for an owner-breeder in England.”

This is not the first time that Gordon-Watson has bought from Haras Voltaire, as he secured last year’s August Sale topper, the Dubawi filly out of Typique, for €2.4m. Since named Queen Of My Heart, the two-year-old is registered as in training with Fabre for Lady Bamford.

Coolmore add another Galileo colt to the team

The €650,000 mark was hit for a second time when Coolmore’s MV Magnier landed the Galileo colt out of High Celebrity offered by Haras des Capucines.

Magnier said: “He was a very nice horse and everybody who saw him liked him. It looks like we've got a couple of good two-year-olds by Galileo this year and Aidan [O'Brien] is pretty excited about a few of them.”

High Celebrity won the Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg during her time on the track and has since bred two winners, including this colt’s full-brother, the Listed-placed Friendly Face.

Godolphin again

The Godolphin buying team proved a typically formidable opponent throughout the August Sale and the operation’s talent spotters Stroud and Loder were back in business for the first time on Monday when going to €600,000 for the Dubawi half-brother to The Juliet Rose from Monceaux.

The February-born colt is out of Dubai Rose, which makes him a sibling to six winners, with the dual Group 2-winning The Juliet Rose joined by the likes of Pocketfullofdreams, a Listed-placed performer for O’Brien and the Coolmore partners.

Dubai Rose is by Dubai Destination, meaning this colt is bred on the same cross as four-time Group 1 winner Postponed.

Anthony Stroud: "We thought he was one of the nicest colts here”

“He’s going to Godolphin,” said Stroud. “Dubawi needs no introduction, we’ve done so well with him, and The Juliet Rose was a very good filly trained by Nicolas Clement.

"He comes from Monceaux, which has produced so many very good horses. For us, he passed all the criteria we have as a team. We thought he was one of the nicest colts here.”

Dubai Rose is another mare who has a fine commercial record to back up her progeny’s racetrack results, as her yearlings offered in the Arqana ring have now generated receipts totalling €2.46m.

Al Shira’aa buy into big family

Al Shira’aa Racing spent €2.04m on four lots throughout the three-day sale, which includes the €600,000 Le Havre filly out of Glorious Sight who changed hands on Monday.

Not only does the youngster have a Listed-winning and Group 1-placed dam but she has five successful siblings, most notably the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville scorer Glycon, who is also by Le Havre.

Glorious Sight was herself a €1.7m Arqana Arc Sale graduate. That price owes plenty to her pedigree as she is a sibling of the Kilfrush Stud-bred blue hen Beauty Is Truth, who produced three Group 1 winners in The United States, Hydrangea and Hermosa.

“I thought she was one of the nicest fillies in the sale and is out of a very good mare,” said Al Shira’aa’s Kieran Lalor. “She comes from a great breeder and I've been trying to get into the family of the second dam for a long time, it's one of the best families in the book.

“Le Havre was a very sad loss to the French stallion industry, he's a stallion we've used for a long time and he's going to be missed here. He's a great sire of fillies and we're very excited to have her.”

The Le Havre filly was another to hail from the Haras de Saint Pair draft, which generated receipts worth €2.88m for seven sold across the three days.

McStay moves for Sea The Stars colt

Another buyer busy throughout the three-day sale was Mark McStay and the Avenue Bloodstock man continued a productive time in Deauville with the purchase of the Sea The Stars half-brother to Group 3 Prix la Force winner Chilean at €410,000.

The colt, offered by La Motteraye Consignment, is out of the Listed-winning Childa, whose page traces back to the likes of Cassandra Go, meaning Group 1 winners Halfway To Heaven, Magical and Rhododendron feature in the further family.

McStay revealed his purchase was made on behalf of Boniface Ho’s Legends Racing, who have enjoyed success recently with the James Ferguson-trained Bahrain Trophy Stakes winner Deauville Legend.

“I thought he was a very athletic horse,” said McStay. “He’s got great presence, even though he’s not overly big, and he’s got huge movement.

"I’m a huge fan of Sea The Stars and he has a pedigree too as the mare has already done it before. I actually remember seeing Chilean when he was in training with Martyn Meade and there was a little bit of a resemblance with this horse.

The Sea The Stars half-brother to Group 3 Prix la Force winner Chilean

“I’m delighted to get him as he’s by a proven sire with a proven pedigree and he looks like an athlete who vetted very well. He came very well recommended by Gwen and Lucie at La Motteraye and he’s been purchased on behalf of Mr Bon Ho, who’s a major international owner with Legends Racing.

"He purchased Deauville Legend from the same sale and the same farm and we’d love the same result again! I had a protracted duel with Michael Donohoe, who’s a good judge, so let’s hope we were both right.”

Expanding on immediate plans, McStay continued: “He’ll be sent to Jane Allison in Britain to be broken in and pre-trained, but Mr Ho has horses in the UK and Ireland with various trainers and he’ll decide later in the year who will train him.

"He’s been lucky with grey horses before as Classic Legend, his good sprinter who won the Everest, is grey so I hope this lad is similarly lucky for him. He puts plenty into the game and he deserves every bit of success he gets.”

Ho’s colours have become an increasingly common sight on British racecourses, having had runners with Haggas, James Fanshawe and Hugo Palmer as well as Ferguson, while Joseph Parr is also on the roster and Fozzy Stack oversees the owner’s Irish string.

Bouchard sees broodmare potential

One of the catalogue's most eye-catching pages belonged to the Sea The Stars filly out of Prix de Diane heroine Channel and the first foal duly went the way of Gerard Larrieu at €400,000.

The filly, who was sold by La Motteraye Consignment on behalf of breeder Samuel de Barros, will now carry the colours of Jean-Louis Bouchard, a three-time Prix du Jockey Club-winning owner who is establishing a young broodmare band.

The first foal out of Prix de Diane heroine Channel in the ring

“I’m so happy [to buy her] because I’ve just bought a stud in Reux, near Pont-l'Eveque, I rebuilt it and it’s now finished,” said Bouchard. “I’m starting with new mares and I think she should be a very good broodmare and maybe a very good racehorse also.

"I liked everything about her, she walks very well and she’s very good minded, strong, she’s the perfect mare.”

Channel, a daughter of Nathaniel, won the 2019 Prix de Diane having been sourced by De Barros through Bertrand le Metayer at €70,000 at the Arqana Breeze-Up Sale.

Record returns

A notably strong final session helped the August Sale post record returns across all key market indices. Turnover topped €50m for the first time with an aggregate of €50,406,000, which was up a huge 26 per cent year on year.

The average saw an even greater increase, up 28 per cent to €210,025, the first time the €200,000 mark has been broken by this metric, while the median was also a record at €140,000, a 40 per cent gain compared to last year’s €100,000.

However, arguably the most impressive statistic of all, given the blue-chip nature of the stock on offer, was the clearance rate of 84 per cent as 240 lots sold from 285 presented, which was actually 40 fewer than 2021’s offering. 

Read more from Arqana

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He’s an exceptional horse who’s very light on his feet
E.W. Terms