Showcasing colt sets new record at €230,000
Aisling Crowe reports on strong trade on the opening day
Records were broken on a momentous opening day of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale on Tuesday when, for the first time, two horses broke the €200,000 barrier – one becoming the most expensive horse ever sold at the auction.
A thrilling battle between trainer Michael O'Callaghan, Ballyhane Stud owner Joe Foley and agents Matt Coleman and Michael O'Hagan had everyone on the edge of their seats as the session drew to a close.
The object of their desire was a colt by Showcasing from the nursery that has provided this year's dual Group 1-winning sprinter Harry Angel and emerging force Battaash, as well as the pocket rocket Tiggy Wiggy.
"He's an athlete," said O'Hagan of the new record-holder. "He was one of the nicest horses in the sale. We picked him and Clive Cox picked him independently of us."
O'Hagan did not reveal the identity of his client, but said the colt will go into training with Cox, who has expertly guided Harry Angel to win the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup this year.
The record contributed to a day that saw all the indices climb despite a smaller draft of horses, 216 offered compared with 251 last year. Of these 195 sold for a clearance of 90 per cent, measured against 212 at 84 per cent in 2016. Aggregate, average and median all climbed year-on-year to €5,624,500, €28,844 and €24,000 respectively, up from €5,529,500, €26,083 and €20,000.
Godolphin go for gold
Another significant piece of Tattersalls Ireland history was made on Tuesday when the name of Godolphin was listed as a buyer of a yearling at Fairyhouse for the first time.
Anthony Stroud purchased a colt by Kodiac from Ballyvolane Stud on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed's organisation for €200,000 - the third highest price paid for a yearling at this sale since its inception three decades ago.
Stroud's return to the Tattersalls Ireland ring signalled there was something stirring. And when he was among the crowd who filed into the auditorium, in anticipation of the colt out of the Shamardal mare Queen Wasp, it was clear that serious business was in store.
"He's a lovely athletic horse by a wonderful stallion," remarked the agent of his purchase. "It's my first time at this sale in a number of years and I'm very happy to be here - it's a very strong sale."Queen Wasp is already the dam of a winner, with her first foal Rusumaat successful four times for Mark Johnston and Sheikh Hamdan.
King Con strikes
Con Marnane knows a Royal Ascot horse when he sees one, with the renowned consignor enjoying success in the winner's enclosure this year with Different League, who carried the colours of Marnane's wife Theresa to win the Albany Stakes in June.
Marnane thinks his €90,000 purchase, an Exceed And Excel colt, could be another for the royal meeting.
"Exceed And Excel has been a lucky sire for me and this colt is very, very athletic," he said. "He looks a real runner. He's a Royal Ascot two-year-old to me and he'll probably go to the Craven Breeze-Up but a decision about that will be made later."
The transaction is a timely reminder of the strength and depth of the Ballymacoll pedigrees and the potential they still hold. Grecian Bride, the second dam of this colt, is a half-sister to Grand Prix de Saint Cloud victor Gamut, who bore the late Lord Weinstock’s iconic silks with distinction.
Happy hunting ground
Castlefarm Stud's proprietors will be hoping to strike it lucky for the second year in succession with a yearling bought from the September Yearling Sale. Twelve months’ ago Mark and Aisling Gittins purchased a Kodiac filly at the Fairyhouse venue; now known as Ellthea and in training with Karl Burke, she won during last week's St Leger Festival at Doncaster and is set to step up to Listed class on her next start.
The couple, who bred Prix Morny and Middle Park winner Shalaa, were back in buying mode on Tuesday with a son of Acclamation for €110,000. He was the first horse to break the six-figure barrier on a strong day of trading when selling from the Cashman family's Rathbarry Stud.
"He was the standout yearling here today," commented Mark Gittins. "Acclamation is a very good sire who is enjoying a successful year and we're very happy to have got this horse. Perhaps after Books 1 and 2 are over, he will look a cheap buy."
Out of the winning Rainbow Quest mare New Deal, the grey colt is a brother to four winners and will go into training with Karl Burke.
A first-time buyer at the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale was the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Representatives of the HKJC were quick into action during the morning, buying what was the most expensive lot for a considerable portion of the day.
They went to €85,000 for a colt by Requinto consigned by Mary and Jonathan Hillman's Danesrath Stud. The sale represented a significant return on the €11,000 they paid for him at last year's Tattersalls Ireland November Flat Foal and Breeding Stock Sale.
An April-born yearling, he is the first foal out of Maraglen, an unraced daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar from the family of Super Staff, winner of the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Santa Anita, and Dubai World Cup third Public Purse.
"He is probably the best horse in the sale today," said their representative, who emphasised it was the Hong Kong Jockey Club team who were responsible for the purchase. "He looks like he will suit the racing in Hong Kong, and Dansili has worked very well for us. This colt has a huge back-end and looks very powerful."
Word of the quality of horse that can be bought here has evidently spread, and it was the success of recent Prix Morny winner Unfortunately, added to that of Classic winners Galileo Gold, Hawksmoor and Conselice, that attracted the Hong Kong Jockey Club to Tattersalls House for the first time.