Street Sense colt smashes French breeze-up record
€1.4 million purchase was pinhooked for just $15,000
The headline act of the Arqana Breeze-up Sale on Friday may have been the company's first millionaire breezer, but the 2017 edition broke plenty of new ground below the Street Sense sale-topper, who was bought by Kerri Radcliffe for €1.4 million, with Deauville regular Stephen Hillen describing buying as "massively tough".
The top four lots from the 2016 sale have all won in recent weeks and last year’s €800,000 record, paid by Al Shaqab Racing for the Frankel filly Middle East, fell on its first anniversary.
This year it was the turn of a Street Sense colt out of the Listed-winning Seattle Slew mare Mystic Melody, who is from the family of Grade 1 winner Alpha, to take top spot.
Offered by Willie Browne's famed Mocklershill breeze-up operation, the colt was bred by Godolphin and goes down as one of the best pinhooks of recent times, having been picked up by MC Bloodstock for the bargain sum of $15,000 at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Radcliffe said: "I've been to every two-year-old breeze this year and he's the nicest colt I've seen. He's for Phoenix Thoroughbreds, who I've been buying for recently. We want to buy the best we can and he fitted the bill. He will be trained by my husband Jeremy Noseda and is the first one I've bought for them in France."
"I had a fair idea he'd make that much. I've bought 15 [horses] for Phoenix this year and those in America have gone to Bob Baffert. He has the Congrats filly who has been named Diamonds And Pearls who he thinks is the real deal. He's also got a Super Saver colt and a Medaglia D'Oro colt that I bought privately."
Shadwell prospecting for Gold
Angus Gold wasted little time in launching his buying spree for Hamdan Al Maktoum, breaking six figures for two of the first four lots.
After giving €120,000 for an Oak Farm Stables-consigned colt by Sepoy, Gold struck at €400,000 for a colt from the first crop of Haras de Bouqetot stallion Style Vendome.
Consigned by Grove Stud, the colt hails from the excellent German family of Hong Kong Cup runner-up Irian, as well as Spectre, who was second in last season’s Prix de Moulin at Chantilly.
Gold said: “I thought he was a very nice horse. He just looked very straightforward, uncomplicated with a very good mind on him. I liked the way he breezed. The stallion is hopefully an exciting young sire and I think he’s already had a couple of winners among his two-year-olds.
"A lot of the trainers liked the horse and I think this sale is going to get stronger later and so I wanted to buy a couple early. Both he and the Sepoy will probably go to England.”
Two more Shadwell purchases will be heading to Pau in southwest France, where they will be housed on opposite sides of the Serres training grounds.
Francois Rohaut will be the recipient of an Elusive City filly out of an unraced Kodiac half-sister to Myboycharlie, brought to market by Paul Basquin’s Haras du Sabouas. She cost €320,000.
Gold said: “She’s masculine, powerful. She’s bred to be fast and she looks fast. She breezed well, the dam is a sister to Myboycharlie and everybody knows Elusive City. I hope she’s as fast as she looks.”
Shadwell’s most expensive purchase of the day was for a €650,000 Siyouni filly bound for Jean-Claude Rouget.
The standout from the Bansha House Stable's draft, she is out of Listed-placed Reech Band from the family of Kentucky Oaks winner Fran’s Valentine.
“I thought she was a beautiful, quality filly with a fantastic temperament by a great stallion who is doing particularly well with his fillies,” said Gold. “She’s out of a Choisir mare who could run and Jean-Claude Rouget told me she was very fast. He loved the filly and I was very keen to get him a one good one if I could.”
Hughes and Hillen continue Kendargent policy
Stephen Hillen was seen off in his quest to buy the Siyouni filly that goes to Rouget but he came out on top at the end of a tense and prolonged battle with the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Mark Richards for a Kendargent colt, having the final say at €470,000.
The Haras de Colleville stallion is enjoying a purple patch in France, advertised by the exploits of Jimmy Two Times and Soleil Marin, but it is Richard Hughes who will train the Grove Stud graduate.
Hughes said: “We’re pleased to get him, he's a lovely horse. I’m a fan of the stallion and he is for leading clients of mine who already have one by the sire.”
The colt is the second foal out of Italian Group 3 winner Bugie D’Amore, who finished placed in the Prix de Pysche when transferred to Alain de Royer-Dupre.
Hillen said: “I tried to buy the Siyouni earlier and we thought we might have had to stretch a little more and probably would have given a bit more for him so he was a good price.”
Hillen has a fabled history at the Arqana Breeze-Up, having previously sourced the winner of a Prix du Jockey Club and Middle Park in Deauville.
Hillen said: “It’s an old story. I bought The Grey Gatsby and Astaire here. But it has been massively tough. It’s the strongest breeze-up sale I've been at in Europe and I think the figures will probably tell you that.
I thought I’d buy seven or eight horses and I’ve got three so far, it’s been that strong. They’ve done a great job. I had a long list of 52 horses, which is huge.”
Qatar and Al Shaqab adopt a selective strategy
Al Shaqab Racing have been one of the dominant forces at this sale in recent years but, perhaps mindful that the flow of homebreds is now providing an alternative source of talents, Sheikh Joaan’s team did not by any means chase all of the top lots.
Nicolas de Watrigant of Mandore Agency paid €400,000 for a Mocklershill-consigned colt by Zoffany out of the Fasliyev mare Diamond Fever.
"We thought physically he was the standout horse in the sale," said De Watrigant. "Andre Fabre really liked him and Sheikh Joaan wanted to thank him for Al Wukair.”
A second high-profile lot set to carry the silver and maroon silks will be a son of Choisir from the Bansha House draught.
Ross Doyle explained that the stallion played a big part in his decision to go to €360,000 for the colt, currently named Buridan, who is from the family of Mozart.
"We’ve been very lucky with Choisir over the years including with Olympic Glory," said Doyle. He came highly recommended by Con Marnane from Bansha House and he is a very nice, straightforward horse. He will go into training with Richard Hannon for Al Shaqab.”
David Redvers waited until the very final lot of the day before parting with €260,000 for a filly from the first crop of Qatar Racing’s own stallion, Havana Gold.
"We're excited by the stallion and this filly did an exceptionally fast breeze. She has been bought in partnership with Ghislain Bozo of Meridien International and a client of his will share the filly with Qatar Racing. We have bought three here and we will decided on trainers when we get home."
Deauville set to become sale’s permanent home
Having breeched the €10 million mark last year with a marginally smaller catalogue, the 2017 edition powered past €12m turnover.
Although the clearance rate edged down, both the the average and median prices soared.
Even accounting for the €1.4m record breaker, 17 lots made €250,000 or more, compared with ten horses last year.
Turnover has in fact doubled since 2013 with broadly similar numbers of horses.
Arqana president Eric Hoyeau said: "Obviously all the breeze-up sales have been strong this spring. But ours is a market which has become truly international. I want to thank the consignors, who brought a really strong group of horses which clearly corresponded to what the clients were seeking.
"There was a bigger diversity of buyers among the top lot, with Shadwell the leading buyer on their first visit to this particular sale.”
Looking to 2018, when the Poules d’Essai - like this sale, sponsored by Abu Dhabi - are due to return to Longchamp, Deauville looks set to keep the Breeze-Up sale.
"The choice of Deauville has once again proved excellent," said Hoyeau. "The consignors really have confidence in the track and the venue, and that will weigh heavily when the decision is made."