Lloyd Webber's Sea The Stars colt steals the limelight at 1,200,000gns
The blue-blooded youngster became the first seven-figure lot at Book 1 in 2021
A blue-blooded and powerfully-built son of Sea The Stars became the first lot to break the seven-figure barrier at the latest renewal of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale on Wednesday, when Charlie Gordon-Watson went to 1,200,000gns for the colt out of the classy racemare So Mi Dar.
Despite the bidding going further than for any other lot at the blue-chip auction, it was not long before the spoils wrested between Gordon-Watson, taking instructions on the phone by the doorway opposite the entrance, and the Godolphin buying team, who were stationed outside by the parade ring.
Gordon-Watson wasn't to be denied, and revealed his client was Lane's End Farm's Bill Farish, who races under the Woodford Racing banner.
"I've been talking about lot 277 ever since I knew his lot number," said Gordon-Watson. "But this happened only about an hour and a half ago when Bill rang me and asked what I thought of the horse, and I said I think he's the best yearling in the sale.
"Bill probably saw an opportunity in this market, but he liked the pedigree and everything's so international now. The horse will stay here initially but we haven't decided on a trainer yet. I think I got the valuation right as I said I thought he'd make between 800,000gns and 1,200,000gns."
The imposing colt, who bore more than a passing resemblance to his sire, was bred and sold by Madeleine Lloyd Webber's Watership Down Stud and is the second foal out of So Mi Dar, whose four victories included the 2016 Group 3 Musidora Stakes.
The dam is out of Dar Re Mi, making her a sister to the champion Too Darn Hot and the Group 2-winning Lah Ti Dar. Her second dam is Watership Down's foundation mare Darara, who was purchased for the Lloyd Webbers by Gordon-Watson for IR470,000gns in 1994.
The half-sister to Darshaan has laid down foundations for a dynasty, having bred dual Group 1 winner Rewilding as well as Yorkshire Oaks and Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Dar Re Mi.
"I bought Darara and have been involved with the family all the way through," said Gordon-Watson. "This colt is very typical of the family, he's maybe a slight bit bigger as Darara was smallish. Sea The Stars has put a bit of size in, although he's a very athletic horse."
The result was clearly an emotional one for Lloyd Webber, who was joined by her husband, the musical impresario Andrew.
She said: "We don't ever expect to break the million-guineas barrier but it's so exciting. Andrew arrived just in time, he ran from the taxi straight into the ring, so he must be our good luck charm!
"So Mi Dar and her family are still carrying on, we're now in the third generation and it's absolutely thrilling to see this pedigree keep on going. The next thing will hopefully be this horse winning Group 1s just like the rest of his family."
The colt was the sixth seven-figure yearling that Watership Down has sold at Book 1, a roll of honour capped by Darain, the Dubawi brother to Too Darn Hot who fetched 3,500,000gns in 2018.
Coolmore and Godolphin clash
A couple of old fashioned sales ring shootouts between Coolmore and Godolphin resulted in the second- and third-top lots as a striking son of Kingman brought 1,100,000gns and a regally bred Frankel colt fetched 925,000gns.
The rival camps were positioned just a few yards apart besides the Park Paddocks parade ring and delivered their bids to the spotters on duty on the podium.
Godolphin's chief talent scout Anthony Stroud tried hard to land both lots but, with MV Magnier in no mood to be denied, the pair are set to carry the colours of the Coolmore partners. Magnier signed for the Kingman colt in tandem with Peter Brant's White Birch Farm.
There was a poignant subplot to the sale of the second seven-figure lot of the auction, as Corduff Stud's David Egan explained the breeding of the Kingman colt out of Turret Rocks, a Group 2-winning daughter of Fastnet Rock, had been masterminded by the late John Corcoran.
"I didn't think they were on him," said a stunned-looking Egan after thanking the Coolmore team. "He's a magnificent horse and this is all about John Corcoran. Unfortunately John has passed away but he was very involved in planning the mating, he chose Kingman. He had a vision of what he wanted to do with the horse and he facilitated all this happening."
Egan added: "Turret Rocks is a beautiful mare. She's by Fastnet Rock and she's strong and robust, and was so honest on the track. John bred her with Jim Bolger and we owned this horse with John's children Andrew Corcoran and Roseanne O'Grady Walshe.
"The mare has a very nice Too Darn Hot colt at home and we bred her back to Kingman."
The Frankel colt was offered by Newsells Park Stud and continued the hot run of form of breeder Andrew Stone of St Albans Bloodstock, who sold the Lope De Vega colt out of God Given to Godolphin for 725,000gns on day one. The Frankel is out of Qushchi, a Listed-winning daughter of Encosta De Lago, whose first foal is the Grade 2 scorer Mrs Sippy.
"He's a very nice horse and Frankel is doing very well," said Magnier "We've been very lucky buying off Newsells Park in the past and we'd like to wish Graham [Smith-Bernal, owner] and his family the very best of luck with the new venture. Long may the long history of Newsells continue."
Of his purchase, Magnier added: "He looks a nice early horse, he's a good mover and seems to have a nice temperament. Galileo is doing very well as a sire of sires with the likes of Frankel, Australia, New Approach and Teofilo. They all seem to be doing very well so the future is bright."
Coolmore have bought three Group 1 winners from Newsells Park at previous renewals of Book 1, namely 1,000 Guineas heroine Legatissimo, a 350,000gns buy in 2013, and the Group 1-winning brothers Japan and Mogul, who cost a combined 4,700,000gns.
Elliott on the mark
Magnier and other key Coolmore faces, including Michael Tabor, were stood beside Alex Elliott when the agent secured the lot prior to the Frankel colt on a bid of 800,000gns.
The yearling in question was the daughter of Galileo and Quiet Oasis offered by Barronstown Stud, meaning the filly is a sister to dual Group 3 winner Lancaster House.
Quiet Oasis, a daughter of Oasis Dream, won four races during her time on the track, most notably the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Mile at Hollywood Park.
Elliott, who saw off BBA Ireland's Michael Donohoe, said of the filly: "She's a collector's item really, very hard to fault. I remember Quiet Oasis from California, she was a very good racemare for Paul Reddam and she's obviously produced Lancaster House already.
"She's going to Ralph Beckett and it's very exciting to be able to buy a filly with that sort of potential. It's a real privilege to be able to buy a filly like this.
"We've been able to buy a lot of horses this year, which is great from our point of view, and I think the market has been extremely fair. We've bought around 40 yearlings between here and America, so I'm looking forward to next year."
By the close of play on day two Elliott had signed for nine yearlings at an outlay of 2,735,000gns.
Bennett back where it all began
A productive day for the progeny of Sea The Stars was capped when One Agency, the buying arm of the Harris family's Lordship Stud, went to 680,000gns for the filly out of Time Control offered by The Castlebridge Consignment.
The filly, who was bred by Craig Bennett's Merry Fox Stud, is a half-sister to Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Cursory Glance, while another sibling, Willow View, has found fame as the dam of the Grade 1-winning Digital Age and recent Prix la Rochette scorer Acer Alley.
"I'm very pleased, particularly as she's going to Lordship Stud, it's wonderful she's going to an owner-breeder," said a delighted Bennett. "She'll end up with a great trainer no doubt."
Expanding on his breeding activities, Bennett said: "Time Control was the start of it all, we came here in 2006 to buy fillies to race and bought her. She was the sales-topper at 1,200,000gns and went to Luca [Cumani]. She had more ability than she necessarily showed but we've bred from her and she produced Cursory Glance.
"She's also produced the Lemon Drop Kid filly Willow View, she was unraced but she's now produced two Group horses, including Acer Alley, who we own. There's great depth in the page but it's all quite current.
"Time Control is at Ballylinch currently and is in foal to Make Believe. She's carrying a filly so we'll keep her. We're just working out mating plans for next season."
Despite enjoying a fruitful day at Tattersalls, Bennett went on to explain that the racetrack is where his heart lies, saying: "I have 24 mares at the moment and I just love it, particularly the racing. I find selling a bit more of a challenge, though. I'd rate the racing ten out of ten but the selling is a two out of ten!
"You've no control when you're selling one, and if you have a good sale it satisfies you for 48 hours but if you win a Group race you're satisfied right through to winter! The racing is where my heart lies, but breeding is a more productive way of producing what we want and what we can control."
Carson in clover
Willie Carson said a bit of bravery had been required when he paid €600,000 for the Galileo mare Phiz at Arqana in December 2017, but there have been few moments since that the decision has looked anything other than a shrewd bit of business.
The Le Havre filly Phiz was carrying in utero subsequently sold to Coolmore for 825,000gns at Book 1 in 2019, and the mare's latest yearling, a colt by Dubawi, drew a bid of 425,000gns from Godolphin during the opening exchanges of Wednesday's session.
After exchanging a congratulatory fist bump with Sheikh Mohammed, Carson said of the Dubawi colt: "This guy had no faults; he's a lovely straightforward horse, his nature is fantastic, and the one thing he does have is balance. I'm very hopeful that he'll help the mare in future.
"Phiz is in foal to Wootton Bassett but she doesn't have a foal at foot. I was trying to be clever and sent her to Pivotal hoping for a filly, but she didn't get in foal."
Carson, who operates out of Minster Stud in Cirencester, added that he hoped the Le Havre filly, named Martinique, would prove capable of adding her own bit of black type to the pedigree, and revealed her trainer Aidan O'Brien has been keeping the filly in good company at Ballydoyle.
Carson said: "I had a word with Aidan and said what about this Martinique, when are you going to get me some black type? He said, 'Willie, she's doing a very good job because she's been leading Snowfall!'"
Phiz, a 600,000gns yearling herself, was a talented runner for John Gosden and Robin Geffen, with her best effort on Racing Post Ratings coming when second to The Lark in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes in 2013, for which she achieved a mark of 104.
She is the dam of two winners, with Martinique joined by the smart Siyouni horse Al Madhar.
Manor House making moves
Preparations are ongoing at John Dance's Manor House Stud in Middleham, and the operation's resident trainer James Horton added to the squad during the early exchanges of Wednesday's session when giving 400,000gns for the Dubawi filly out of Peace In Motion.
The mare, a daughter of Hat Trick, won the Group 3 Grosser Preis der Landeshauptstadt while in training in Germany with Waldemar Hickst and was sold to Bertrand Le Metayer at €860,000 at Arqana in 2018.
The Dubawi filly, who is listed as being bred by Les Authieux, counts Peace Time as her third dam, and the same mare is also the granddam of the Dubawi colt sold to Godolphin for 425,000gns.
"We thought she was a lovely, scopey filly and a very good first foal out of a very good mare with a great page," said Horton. "John's looking to buy horses to eventually strengthen his broodmare band and we thought she fitted the bill very well."
Horton added: "This is the most expensive of the 11 we've bought so far, and by a long way. The first few horses are in the yard now so we're up and running and we're just trying to get organised and get systems in place. We've got four two-year-olds in that came from the breeze-ups, so hopefully we'll get some runners before Christmas time."
Another daughter of Dubawi sold for 400,000gns a short while later when Mike Ryan and Chad Brown secured the filly out of Alan Spence's Temple Stakes winner Priceless, who was offered by Watership Down Stud.
The trio of Dubawi yearlings were the first major prices generated on Wednesday after the Kingman half-brother to Ghiayyath went unsold at 575,000gns.
After a somewhat tepid beginning, trade reached fever pitch as the evening wore on and by the close of play 130 of 149 offered lots had found a buyer at a clip of 87 per cent. Those transactions generated turnover of 30,116,000gns, a 41 per cent year-on-year increase.
The average also jumped by 29 per cent to 231,662gns and the median rose by 35,000gns to 160,000gns, a 28 per cent climb.
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