Sea Of Class sibling tops Tattersalls December Yearling Sale at 240,000gns
Record-breaking trade saw big gains made in all key market indices
It has been five years since the Tsui family acquired the star-crossed Sea Of Class from the Tattersalls December Yearling Sale after agent Johnny McKeever struck a bid of 170,000gns on their behalf.
The daughter of Christopher Tsui's Sea The Stars proved to be one of the finest fillies of her generation, with victories in the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks as well as an agonising short neck defeat to Enable in the 2018 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
The Tsuis will be hoping to repeat that success after the family's racing and breeding manager John Clarke secured a full-brother to Sea Of Class during Monday's renewal of the December Yearling Sale at 240,000gns.
Offered through Oak Lodge & Springfield House Stud, the June 8 foal was bred by Razza del Velino from the remarkable producer Holy Moon, whose own production record almost takes up the whole catalogue page.
"He's a lovely horse and we really liked him," said Clarke, who consigned Jane Chapple-Hyam to the role of frustrated underbidder. "He's a very late foal but then Sea Of Class was a late-May foal too, so we hope we can do the same again.
"He will eventually go to William Haggas but it's far too early to be thinking about things like that yet, he'll go back to Ireland now and be allowed time to develop."
Holy Moon has bred 11 winners from as many runners, seven of whom have gained black type. While none of her siblings could match Sea Of Class's raw talent, she is not the only Group 1 winner bred by the daughter of Hernando, as Holy Moon is also responsible for the Premio Lydia Tesio-winning half-sisters Charity Line and Final Score.
Another sibling, Cherry Collect, won the Italian Oaks before being sold to Japan, where she produced the Listed-winning Wakea when bred to Heart's Cry.
Clarke continued: "Ling Tsui is absolutely thrilled because she had so much success with Sea Of Class. This colt is by the right sire too; Sea The Stars has had a great year and there's a lot of the stallion about him.
"He's such an athletic horse but is still just a baby. He was reared in Felino at the Bottis' farm in Italy and has come here looking the part. This sale was always the plan because he was so immature."
Holy Moon was purchased by Alessandro Botti for just Ir£2,600 at Goffs in 2001. There could be plenty more to come from her brood yet as her two-year-old Camelot colt has been named Waterville and is in training with Aidan O'Brien, having been bought by MV Magnier for €280,000 at the 2019 November Foal Sale.
A lively session of selling duly produced a buoyant set of figures, including an 88 per cent clearance rate as 145 of 164 offered lots found a new home.
In turn those transaction generated turnover of 5,067,500gns, a 27 per cent year-on-year increase, an average of 34,948gns, which was up seven per cent, and a record median of 27,000gns, which was up by 7,000gns (35 per cent) on the corresponding figure in 2020.
Shalaa sibling brings six figures
The first six-figure lot of the day came when Mark McStay of Avenue Bloodstock stood besides Hugo Palmer and outbid BBA Ireland's Michael Donohoe at 150,000gns to secure the Invincible Spirit filly out of Ghurra offered by Castlefarm Stud.
The youngster is a sibling to three winners, most notably her Middle Park Stakes-scoring brother Shalaa, who has sired a Group 1 winner of his own, No Speak Alexander, from his time standing at Haras de Bouquetot. The filly was making a quick reappearance in the Park Paddocks sales ring, having been bought back by her vendor at 200,000gns at Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale.
"She's a beautiful filly and I probably should have bought her when she was in Book 1," said McStay. "Hugo trains her sibling Nova Legend, who's by Galileo, and we think a lot of him so we were keen to follow his sister through.
"She comes from a great nursery at Castlefarm Stud and has a beautiful pedigree. She's by Invincible Spirit, who's still one of the best sires in Europe, and she's a full sibling to a very good horse in Shalaa. She was purchased on spec so shares - or all of her - are for sale!"
Bred under the Mogeely Stud banner by Mark and Aisling Gittins, the Invincible Spirit filly is the tenth foal out of Ghurra, a Grade 3-placed daughter of War Chant who was bought for 320,000gns in 2008 while carrying to Mr Greeley. Her yearlings have now generated receipts totalling 2,215,000gns in the Tattersalls ring.
"She stood out here today and the trainer was salivating over her from the minute he saw her," added McStay. "I was kicking myself that I didn't buy her at the earlier sale, she made our list but for one reason or another we just didn't pull the trigger. On her residual value alone she's a free swing of the bat for anyone who wants to buy her."
Strong trade leads to late rush
There was a late rush on big-money buys, including when Anthony Stroud outlasted Paddy Twomey at 135,000gns to secure the Teofilo filly out of Dubai Fashion who was offered by Shadwell Estates on behalf of Hadi Al Tajir.
The Stroud Coleman Bloodstock agent revealed his purchase had been made on behalf of the connections behind Audarya, saying: "She's been bought for Alison Swinburn and she's going to be trained by James Fanshawe. She's a very athletic filly who needs a bit of time, but she's a very easy mover and we liked her very much."
The filly is the third foal out her Listed-placed dam, whose pedigree traces back to Hamdan Al Maktoum's foundation mare Height Of Fashion, meaning all manner of Shadwell-raced celebrities, including Nayef, Nashwan and Unfuwain, appear further back on the page.
Just a few lots earlier Jack Hanly, son of Ballyhimikin Stud's James Hanly, was toasting a tidy pinhooking success when Peter Doyle went to 125,000gns for the New Bay colt out of Crossover, who was bought at last year's foal sales for just 26,000gns.
"He's been bought for Jim Boyle in Epsom," said Doyle. "He's been bought for some very loyal owners of his who own Going Gone and Lostintranslation [Paul Taylor and Richard O'Dwyer].
"He's a very nice horse and I wasn't expecting to get him but we were lucky. He comes from a very good stud where my father, Jack, bought two champion sprinters from James Hanly's father, they're very good breeders. New Bay is doing very well and looks like one for the future."
The colt is out of Crossover, a Listed-winning daughter of Cape Cross from the further family of Charm Spirit and Dream And Do. New Bay has enjoyed a fine 2021 season, capped by the Group 1 triumph of Saffron Beach, which has seen the son of Dubawi upped to a fee of €37,500 at Ballylinch Stud in 2022.
Murphy sees the upside in 120,000gns filly
The part dispersal of stock from Shadwell Estates continued on Monday and one of the leading lights of the 14-strong draft was the Invincible Spirit filly out of the Group 3-winning Talaayeb, who was knocked down to Longways Stables' Mick Murphy at 120,000gns.
The youngster is the first foal out of the City of York Stakes winner, who in turn is a sibling to three black-type performers, notably the dual Meydan Group 3 winner Muntazah and Frankel's Listed-winning son Wadilsafa. The filly's second dam is Rumoush, winner of a Listed contest and third in Snow Fairy's Oaks, as well as being a half-sister to 1,000 Guineas heroine Ghanaati.
"She's a filly with a pedigree and she looks very fast," said Murphy. "I'm not sure but I think my underbidder might have been a breeze-up man as well. Hopefully she'll be a Craven filly. She was expensive today but if she can run there should be a bit of upside to her."
Longways Stables have assembled a 26-strong team of their own for next year's breeze-up sales, and while Murphy noted that restocking has not been straightforward he said he hoped the strength of trade would hold up next spring.
"Trade has been strong across the board; foals, yearling, National Hunt sales, but a poor market is no good to anyone," he said. "I know it can be tough when you're buying but we've got to sell these horses again in six months' time, so hopefully the momentum continues into the spring."
Zelzal sibling bound for France
Another sibling to another Group 1 winner brought the session's third six-figure price when the Invincible Spirit half-brother to Prix Jean Prat hero Zelzal was knocked down to Tina Rau at 100,000gns.
The June foal was bred by Viktor Timoshenko and Andrey Milovanov, who has been in the headlines this year as the breeder of Lowther Stakes winner Zain Claudette and her £200,000 sale-topping Exceed And Excel half-sister.
"The breeders are staying in for 50 per cent and the rest of him was bought on spec," said Rau. "He's obviously a very late foal and is very immature, but he's very racy and athletic and the pedigree makes a lot of sense.
"With Zelzal as his brother it looks a good move to head to France, so he's going to go into training with Nicolas Clement. Zelzal, along with Zarak, is one of the most exciting young stallions in France and I've always liked him."
Timoshenko and Milovanov have already enjoyed success with this family, as they also raced Ibiza, a Redoute's Choice half-sister to Zelzal, who won the Group 3 Prix Chloe while under Clement's care. The high-performing siblings are out of the Kingmambo mare Olga Prekrasa, who raced in Timoshenko's colours after she was sourced at the Keeneland September Sale at $325,000.
Haras de Bouquetot resident Zelzal has enjoyed a productive first season with runners, with ten of his sons and daughters crossing the line in front, while Zelda's three victories included a ready success in the Listed Prix Saraca. Those exploits have seen the son of Sea The Stars' fee increased to €15,000, up from €6,000, for 2022.
Meegan lands his must buy
Strong international participation continues to be a running theme at sales around the globe, and that trend was in evidence at Tattersalls on Monday when Australian interests secured the Teofilo colt out of Roshanak offered by The Castlebridge Consignment at 88,000gns.
The youngster, who was knocked down to Conall Meegan of Beechmore Bloodstock, certainly has the pedigree to excel in the southern hemisphere. Not only has his sire been represented by two Melbourne Cup winners, namely Cross Counter and Twilight Payment, but he is a half-brother to the classy Tom Melbourne, a Listed-winning son of Dylan Thomas who also placed in three Group 1 contests in Australia.
"He's inevitably going to go to Australia," said Meegan. "He was a really nice, straightforward horse, quite a robust and compact model and he was a must-buy for my client, OTI Racing. He's obviously related to a highly rated horse in Australia and he has a pedigree that should fit the profile down there, so hopefully he will do well.
"He will probably stay in Britain for now, nothing has been discussed, but he will be targeted at Cup races in a couple of years' time. You’ll see him in Australia for his three-year-old career and, as Tom Melbourne ran until he was seven, it's not a short-term project for sure."
Ryan finds the real article
Another lot bound for the southern hemisphere is the son of Muhaarar and Fiuise after Richard Ryan struck a bid of 75,000gns for the Croom House Stud-consigned colt. The late-March colt is a sibling to three winners, most notably the Listed scorer Barbill.
"He's going to Flemington for Nick Ryan, a small trainer with a boutique yard and a huge strike-rate," said Ryan. "He was looking for an exceptional colt from this sale and, in my opinion, this colt was the best article here; he's athletic and clean-limbed with a great step to him. The mother has done it before and, having seen the others, he's probably as good a type as the mare has produced.
"Although Muhaarar has taken a bit of time to get going he looks like he's established here now and that Green Desert male line has worked so well in Australia, so that gave us a bit of confidence. He ticks a lot of the boxes.
"Our pedigrees and the better of our European stock continues to prove prominent down under. And in terms of the global market, 75,000gns isn't a lot of money in Australia - as bizarre as it might sound, this price is still great value."
The Tattersalls December Sale continues on Wednesday, when the foal section of the catalogue will be offered from 10am.