Star performers: five of the best breeze-up sale graduates of all time
Lightning fast two-year-olds and a top-class stayer among the talents unearthed
Sold by Tally-Ho Stud at the 2010 DBS Breeze-Up Sale
Bought by Blandford Bloodstock for £36,000
The son of Diktat didn’t grab any headlines in his younger days, having fetched a mere $11,000 as a yearling prior to changing hands for the similarly unspectacular sum of £36,000 as a two-year-old. But from that point on he never looked back.
Trained by David Simcock, Dream Ahead made a winning debut by a stunning nine lengths before being fast-tracked to Group 1 company. He proved that debut effort was no fluke too, when taking out the Prix Morny and the Middle Park Stakes. But the best was still to come.
Having failed to cut much ice over a mile in the St James’s Palace Stakes, Dream Ahead dropped back in trip to devastating effect to capture the July Cup under Hayley Turner, who became the first female jockey to land a Group 1 outright.
Further top-flight successes in the Haydock Sprint Cup and on his racecourse swansong in the Prix de la Foret, in which he produced a career-best effort to defeat Goldikova, followed.
Dream Ahead, who now stands at Haras de Grandcamp at a fee of €12,000, has also enjoyed some notable successes since retiring to stud, including siring Group 1 winner Al Wukair..
Brown Island Stables, 2012 Arqana Breeze-Up
Mandore International, €170,000
Johnny Collins of Brown Island Stables looked to have pulled off a real coup when he sold Mshawish, a horse he had picked up for just $10,000 as a yearling, for €170,000, the third-highest price achieved at the 2012 Arqana Breeze-Up.
But with the benefit of hindsight, it looks as though it was Mandore International, acting on behalf of Al Shaqab Racing, who secured themselves the bigger bargain.
The son of Medaglia D’Oro was a shade unlucky on his only start at two, but made no mistake when recording the first of eight career victories on his return at three. He landed two more races while with Mikel Delzangles, including the Group 2 Zabeel Mile at Meydan.
Midway through his four-year-old season, Mshawish was switched to the stable of Todd Pletcher, a move that saw him land a brace of Grade 1 events, the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and the Donn Handicap.
He retired from racing having proved his effectiveness on turf and dirt, and having banked £1,545,401 in prize-money. He now stands at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky at a fee of $15,000.
Powerstown Stud, 2015 DBS Breeze-Up Sale
Karl Burke, £44,000
Quiet by name but anything but by nature, this flying filly went from a £32,000 pinhook to one of the most valuable young mares around via the Doncaster Breeze-Up Sale.
Having first been picked up by Geoffrey Howson as a yearling, it was trainer Karl Burke that signed the docket for Quiet Reflection after she had breezed on the Town Moor turf.
She made an immediate impact, winning three races at two, a season she rounded off with a resounding win in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes.
Successes in the Prix Sigy and Sandy Lane Stakes followed at three, prior to her blitzing a high-class field in the second renewal of the Commonwealth Cup. She went on to land a second Group 1 in the Haydock Sprint Cup when she got the better of The Tin Man by a commanding length and three-quarters.
Quiet Reflection returned at four to win the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes, and gave her connections one last big payday when she came under the hammer at last year’s Tattersalls December Sale, where Blandford Bloodstock and Coolmore’s MV Magnier went to 2,100,000gns to secure this blue chip breeding prospect.
The Grey Gatsby
Grove Stud, 2013 Arqana Breeze-Up
Stephen Hillen, €120,000
Stephen Hillen was such a big fan of the horse we all came to know as The Grey Gatsby that he bought him not once, but twice. After Hillen signed for the striking grey as a yearling at €24,000, he parted with €120,000 to reacquaint himself with the horse some seven months later when offered by Grove Stud at the Arqana Breeze-Up Sale at Saint-Cloud.
It didn’t take long to see why Hillen was so taken with the colt, as he made a winning debut at York before going on to twice reach the frame in Pattern company at two. He returned at three to take out the Dante Stakes, before making his Group 1 breakthrough in the Prix du Jockey Club.
He added a second Group 1 to his CV when getting the better of a memorable tussle with Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes and, despite failing to get his head in front again, he produced a whole host of creditable efforts in top company, and eventually retired having won a remarkable £2,717,026.
After such a distinguished career the first-crop son of Mastercraftsman has been afforded a berth at stud, and is now standing his first season on covering duty at Haras du Petit Tellier at a fee of €7,000.
Trip To Paris
Mocklershill, 2013 Tattersalls Guineas Sale
Federico Barberini, 20,000gns
The make and mark of breeze-up graduates tends to be speedy two-year-olds, but occasionally a horse comes along that breaks from the mould in spectacular fashion.
With a pedigree that screams middle distances and beyond, it is hardly surprising that Trip To Paris wasn’t able to show the full depth of his talents in a two furlong breeze. But given the heights he has since scaled, there must be a buyer or two still kicking themselves for allowing him to slip through the net.
A 37,000gns foal, the son of Champs Elysees failed to capture the imagination of buyers in Newmarket on that morning in early May, and was eventually knocked down to Federico Barberini for the relatively modest sum of 20,000gns.
He did, in fact, break his maiden at two for Ed Dunlop and the La Grange Partnership, but it wasn’t until his stamina was fully tapped into during his four-year-old campaign that we saw Trip To Paris’s true colours.
The step up to two miles saw him land back-to-back handicaps, including an authoritative success in the ultra-competitive Chester Cup, before he made his first foray into Group 1 company a fruitful one when running away with the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
He failed to get his head in front again, but did produce some valiant efforts in defeat – most notably when runner-up to Mongolian Khan in the Caulfield Cup. And having shown that breeze-up horses don’t have to be all about early speed, he may just have helped nudge the imagination of one or two buyers’ imaginations beyond the stopwatch.
If you enjoyed this story you may also be interested in...