Superpowers combine to strike Easter gold
Medaglia D'Oro colt fetches A$2.4 million from international alliance
Inglis is certainly going out with a bang from its historic Sydney base. Once again, the final Easter Yearling Sale to be staged under the Moreton Bay Fig in Newmarket drew intense international interest on Wednesday, with another half-dozen seven-figure lots headed by a new top price for the week of A$2,400,000.
If the day two aggregate of A$41,160,000 (£24,988,235/€29,210,700) dipped two per cent below the corresponding session last year, the average and median both continued to soar: respectively to A$364,248 (£221,135/€258,500) - up 33 per cent - and A$260,000 (£157,845/€184,520) - up A$80,000. The clearance rate matched the 80 per cent clip of the opening day.
An almighty group of global players - comprising Aquis Farm, Bluesky Bloodstock, Coolmore and Stonestreet Stables - joined forces at A$2.4 million (£1,457,040/€1,703,245) for the Medaglia D'Oro colt out of Hoss Amor offered by the Mitchells' Yarraman Park Stud.
The packed ring fell silent as the bidding soared passed the A$2 million barrier and, with a long pause before the winning bid was struck, it seemed as though Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed al Maktoum, who had snapped up Tuesday’s top lot, was again set to steal the show from his perch in the ringside restaurant.
But as the dark bay colt continued to stride with purpose around the ring, the Coolmore, Stonestreet and Aquis teams huddled in the passageway below and mustered one final bid to bring down the gavel of auctioneer Jonathan D'Arcy.
"Everybody wanted the horse so we thought it best to go at it as a team rather than go against each other," said Stonestreet representative John Moynihan. "It was a lot to give, but we think he's a special horse and you've got to step up to get the ones that look like they can be that good.
"He looks like a great racing prospect and, fingers crossed, if he wins the right races here he's certainly a horse that can shuttle back to America and stand at stud. The first time I saw him I was actually looking at another horse and I saw him from quite a way away and said: 'Who is that? I've gotta go see that horse!'."
While Aquis and Stonestreet have previously combined, as have Stonestreet and Coolmore, Wednesday provided the first public instance of the powerful triumvirate working in unison.
"A few hours ago we all got together and said: 'Look, this horse is going to be expensive'," explained Moynihan. "When you see horses like that, it's better to go in partnership as that's a lot of exposure if you're wrong. And as we all know this is a tough game and a lot of them don't work out."
"We obviously didn't think he'd make that sort of money but we're happy to take it," chuckled Yarraman Park's Arthur Mitchell. "He was always very nice but he bloomed in prep. He was nearly the perfect yearling, never missed a parade, never put a foot wrong. He's a lovely-natured colt."
The colt, as good a mover as you could hope to see in any sales ring the world over, is out of the Listed-winning General Nediym mare Hoss Amor, and ranks as the most expensive Medaglia D’Oro sold at public auction in Australia.
Waterhouse returns to the well
Top-lot honours at last year's sale belonged to the A$2.3m Snitzel half-brother to Winx, who was bought on behalf of Hussain Lootah of Emirates Park. And on Wednesday the big-spending owner was back to snap up a filly by the same sire for A$1.7m.
"We think she's the best filly in the sale so we're happy to have her," said Lootah, son of His Excellency Nasser Lootah. "She's got the best page on her, but we'll start racing then we'll see what the future holds."
The 2016 top lot was sourced with the help of Gai Waterhouse, and the iconic Australian trainer was again on hand as the seven-figure filly was signed for.
"She's big, she's strong, she's got a superb pedigree, and all the buffs in the breeding industry, from overseas and from here, wanted her," said Waterhouse. "She was a jewel in the crown, and Emirates only have very quality fillies and mares on their farm."
The filly, offered by Arrowfield Stud, comes from a fine female line, being the third foal out of dual Group 1-winning Charge Forward mare Response, whose first foal is the Listed-placed filly Alter Call, while the dam’s half-sister is the dam of Group 2 winner Returntosender.
Team Hawkes take flight
Fresh from toasting the remarkable triumph of stable star Chautauqua on Saturday, the Hawkes Racing team of John and his sons Wayne and Michael made a new addition to their Rosehill Garden yard when going to A$1.2m for an Exceed And Excel filly from the draft of Middlebrook Valley Lodge.
The filly is closely related to the Hawkes' Caulfield Guineas winner Divine Prophet, and the Group 3 winner Proisir, both of whom are by Choisir - albeit the filly’s Dane Shadow three-parts brother Proane failed to bring a last-minute update to her page, when only sixth at Sandown on Wednesday.
"We know the half-brother Divine Prophet very well," said Wayne Hawkes. "We've got a group of big clients that wanted to whack it all into a good filly so we pencilled her in. Exceed And Excels can certainly get going early but she looks a touch more like a three-year-old filly."
Perry Listens up
The popularity of Zoustar, the son of Northern Meteor who stands alternate seasons at Widden Stud and Woodside Park Stud in partnership with Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, reached new heights during the session as his first A$1m yearling changed hands.
Bruce Perry, who struck the winning bid, knows the family well, having sourced the dam, the Listed-winning Elusive Quality mare Listen Here, on the Gold Coast at the Magic Millions broodmare sale for an auction-record A$3.4m less than 12 months ago.
"I know the mare well but this filly is a different type," said Perry on the Edinglassie Stud-consigned yearling. "I thought she was a standout on pedigree and I'm delighted to have her. First and foremost I hope we've bought a wonderful racehorse, but in future she can go to stud and go to a horse like Snitzel.
"She'll go back to New Zealand and end up in the paddock at Blandford for L Petagna, who races Lucia Valentino and Sophia Rosa. I didn't think I'd get her. But if she's that sort of money you can keep her for 20 years and build an empire from her."
The racy filly boasts an exquisite page, being a three-parts sister to both Caulfield Guineas winner Shooting To Win, who now stands at Darley in Australia, and Group 2 winner Deep Field, who now resides at the burgeoning Hunter Valley operation Newgate Farm. Both are sons of the late Northern Meteor.
Another helping for Harron
James Harron consolidated his position at the head of the buyers’ table with the A$800,000 purchase of a Sebring filly on behalf of Kia Ora stud.
"It's a terrific page but more importantly she's a gorgeous filly," said Harron. "It's a real international page, there's lots happening, it's just great that we were able to secure her."
The chestnut filly is out of National Anthem, a daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar and half-sister to dual hemisphere champion sprinter Starspangledbanner, while her page also includes talented performers such as Amicus, Elvstroem and Haradasun.
"She'll go for a bit of a break now," continued Harron. "She's been purchased for Kia Ora Stud who obviously have a big breeding operation in Scone and a collection of fantastic mares. One day she'll join that broodmare band but before then we'll have a bit of fun with her on the track.
"She looks like she'll get a mile but we'll let her tell us once we get going with her. But she's got plenty of size and a good action so a sprinter-miler is where I'd see her."
Peter Moody knows a good filly when he sees one, having guided one of the best of them all, Black Caviar, through her unbeaten 25-race career. And the trainer was clearly impressed by what he saw in a daughter of Exceed And Excel out of Nureyev’s Girl as he went to A$1m to take her home.
The filly is related to five winners, including four by Danehill-line stallions - notably Group 1 winner King’s Rose and Group 3-placed Hardham. Her dam is a sister to the Listed-winning European Rose and the unraced Great Notice, dam of New Zealand champion two-year-old Anabandana.
"I train Hardham, and now part-own her, and I trained King's Rose so it's a family I've had a bit of success with," said Moody. "King's Rose's first colt by Deep Impact is racing extremely well in Japan so this is a filly with a truly international pedigree. We'll take her home to Victoria and break her in and just play it by ear. Exceed And Excel is a phenomenal stallion, and she's out of a running family, but we won't rush her."
Darley’s stalwart shuttler Exceed And Excel has now had 11 lots sold at the Easter Sale for an average A$606,364.
No doubt for Domeland
His studmate Snitzel has rather hogged the headlines of late, but Arrowfield's Not A Single Doubt reached a milestone of his own when his most expensive yearling to date changing hands. The colt out of Quiet Maggy made a big splash in the ring when selling to Domeland Pty Ltd for A$1.25m.
"We like the horse, he's a very active colt," said Irishman Kevin Connolly on behalf of owner YP Cheng. "He has a lot of quality and substance and we think he'll turn into a lovely three-year-old. Type is terribly important to us, pedigree too, but mainly type. He'll go to Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott's yard."
The colt is out of an unraced half-sister to US champion three-year-old Afleet Alex, who won both the Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes, as well as the Listed winner Unforgettable Max.