Magnier lands 3,400,000gns knockout blow to claim 2018's most expensive yearling
James Thomas reports from an explosive Book 1 opener
The gloves were off during a thunderous opening session to Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in Newmarket on Tuesday, as Coolmore's MV Magnier went the full 12 rounds to secure the most expensive yearling in the world of 2018 so far, a brother to Sir Isaac Newton, Secret Gesture and recent Beresford Stakes winner Japan, at 3,400,000gns.
Representatives of the bloodstock world's biggest hitters took up positions around the Park Paddocks auditorium as the regally-bred youngster tiptoed his way into the ring, and the son of Galileo had barely done a full lap before the million-guinea mark was in sight.
Magnier soon had company from Simon Crisford - stood with the Godolphin team and Sheikh Mohammed - Crispin de Moubray, and Ballylinch Stud's John O'Connor and agent Mick Flanagan, who stood together in the stairwell opposite the rostrum.
One by one the challengers began to fall by the wayside, but just when it looked as though Magnier, who leaned impassively on the rail in the bidders' area, had proceedings sewn up, Japanese trainer Mitsu Nakauchida, seated close to the left of auctioneer Ollie Fowlston's podium, joined in to deliver some decidedly punchy bids.
Magnier threw in a 200,000gns raise to bring up 3,000,000gns on the bid board, but was swiftly countered by Nakauchida, who fired back a carbon copy bid. However, before the colt could take another turn in front of the gripped audience, the Coolmore man had delivered the knockout blow.
"Put your name in lights here, sir. The own-brother could be anything next year and the mare never misses," said Fowlston in an attempt to squeeze one last bid out of Nakauchida. But the trainer could not muster a further increase, and, while the colt gave an excitable buck in front of the rostrum, the hammer came down in Magnier's favour.
"The mare has been a great producer," said Magnier after signing the docket for the Newsells Park Stud homebred. "Andreas Jacobs is a fantastic breeder and he had a very high opinion of this horse."
The colt is the fourth seven-figure yearling produced by Shastye, a Listed-placed daughter of Danehill who was bought through John Warren for 625,000gns in 2005. Shastye's seven offspring to sell at Tattersalls have now brought a total of 11,030,000gns.
"He was very impressive the last day. He looks like a horse who's improving and he has a bright future ahead of him," Magnier said of Japan. "We've had luck with the family before Japan too. He's bred on the right cross and Galileo is absolute flying. This is a very exciting horse so I'm pleased to have got him."
Shastye hails from a strong Jean-Luc Lagardere family and is a half-sister to Sagamix, who landed the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 20 years ago, and Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Sagacity among a host of stakes performers.
A clash of international interests saw the first seven-figure sum hit the bid board, as the Galileo half-sister to Group 1 winner Garswood brought 1,200,000gns from Narvick International's Emmanuel de Seroux.
Hubie de Burgh, standing with Winx's breeder John Camilleri, was the frustrated underbidder.
"There is no final plan at this stage, but as she's by Galileo she might stay in Europe," said De Seroux.
"She's a half-sister to a Group 1 winner, she's a beautiful type and moves very well, she's gorgeous. She was bought for an international client who prefers to remain anonymous."
Consigned by Glenvale Stud and bred by Lynch Bages, the filly is out of the unraced Kyllachy mare Penchant, whose daughter Zagitova brought a significant update to the page having reached the frame behind Skitter Scatter in the Debutante Stakes and Moyglare Stud Stakes on her last two starts.
Zagitova, a sister to Tuesday's seven-figure yearling, fetched 1,600,000gns herself when bought by MV Magnier, Mayfair Speculators and Peter and Ross Doyle at last year's renewal of Book 1.
Godolphin go again
The Godolphin buying team - who signed for a number of lots under the Stroud Coleman Bloodstock banner - acquired two of the five seven-figure lots to go through the ring during Tuesday's session, including the Galileo colt out of Posset at a cost of 1,1000,000gns.
Coolmore's MV Magnier filled the role of underbidder.
The youngster, offered by Newsells Park, was bred by Justify's breeders John and Tanya Gunther under the Sahara Group Holdings banner, and is the second foal out of the unraced sister to champion racemare Midday.
"We wanted to get the mare off to the best start, so we sent her to Galileo in her first two years," said Tanya Gunther. "And now she has a Frankel colt foal and is back in foal to Frankel.
"We have her first foal, Make My Day, with John Gosden and we saw him this morning. This colt is a real beauty. He reminded me very much of Galileo and the Sadler's Wells line."
Posset was bought by John Gunther for 625,000gns at the 2014 December Sale when offered by Juddmonte as a horse out of training.
Godolphin representative Anthony Stroud was full of praise for the son of Galileo, saying: "He's an extremely nice colt, a very good mover, and by a wonderful stallion. He was bred at Newsells Park by the Gunthers, who do a great job."
"It's a great team effort," said Meon Valley's Mark Weinfeld. "He's always been a smashing horse but that has exceeded our expectations, so we're delighted.
"You never know what's going to happen. Various people had looked at him and then we had a few vettings. And then Sheikh Mohammed came down to see him twice. But still, that has exceeded our hopes."
Shirocco Star was bought back for only 48,000gns as a yearling but went on to be a top-class performer who racked up placings in the Anglo-Irish Oaks, Pretty Polly Stakes, British Champions Fillies/Mare Stakes, Prix de Royallieu and Ribblesdale Stakes.
"Hopefully he can go on and win a big one," added Weinfeld. "When you look back at Shirocco Star, she actually ended up beating a lot of those horses who won those big races - fillies like Was, Great Heavens, Dancing Rain."
The mare herself is the best foal out of Spectral Star and is a direct descendant of Meon Valley's blue hen Reprocolor.
Godolphin also snapped another eyecatching lot by Dubawi, having gone to 600,000gns for the colt out of dual Group 1 winner Odeliz offered by Mount Coote Stud.
"Obviously he's by our stallion and out of Odeliz, who was a very good filly," said Stroud. "This was a good representation of the sire - Dubawi is setting all sorts of records at the moment.
"He's done so well so far and his progeny keep getting better and better. He's a fantastic stallion."
Odeliz was a tough and talented international campaigner for owner Barbara Keller and trainer Karl Burke, winning six races including the Prix Jean Romanet and Premio Lydia Tesio.
She was a vendor buyback at 950,000gns at the end of her racing days but subsequently changed hands privately to American breeders Michael and Reiko Baum of Man O'War Farm.
Kingman pinhook a knockout for Kilminfoyle
The acquisition of the session-topper came in the middle of a busy spell for Magnier, who went to 1,050,000gns for a Kingman colt offered by Michael Fitzpatrick's Kilminfoyle House Stud just three lots later.
"He's a lovely horse and a great mover," noted Magnier. "He's an exceptional-looking horse and Michael had a very high opinion of him, and he's sold a lot of good horses in his time.
"This colt is the first Kingman I've bought - himself and No Nay Never have both made good starts to their stud careers."
The transaction was the culmination of an inspired pinhook by Fitzpatrick, who signed for the colt - the second foal out of the winning Shemya, an Aga Khan-bred daughter of dual Group 3 winner Shemima - at 135,000gns at last year's December Foal Sale.
"As a foal he was a good physical with a great walk," said a stunned Fitzpatrick. "It was a lot of money to give and it was our last bid, but it's worked out. I have to thank my staff. I've had pinhooks sell for 475,000gns before but never one who topped half a million, let alone over a million!"
The colt becomes the second seven-figure Kingman yearling, with All Our Tomorrows having gone the way of Moyglare Stud at 1,700,000gns during the Ballymacoll Stud Dispersal last year.
Sovereigns' sibling claimed by Coolmore
Another of the catalogue's most notable lots, the No Nay Never sister to Middle Park Stakes hero Ten Sovereigns, also went the way of Magnier after a 600,000gns bid. The well-related filly was consigned by Camas Park Stud.
"No Nay Never is doing incredibly well," said Magnier. "We're very lucky that we have Caravaggio and No Nay Never because losing Scat Daddy was a huge loss for us. There are great signs for the capabilities Justify could have."
The filly is the fifth foal out of the Listed-placed Seeking Solace, a 65,000gns purchase by Ten Sovereigns' breeders Camas Park Stud, Lynch Bages and Summerhill through BBA Ireland at the 2011 Tattersalls July Sale.
Asked if the son of No Nay Never would take his chance in the Group 1, Magnier said: "We'll leave that up to Aidan."
By the close of trade 133 of 157 offered lots had sold for turnover of 35,505,000gns - up five per cent on last year's corresponding session.
The median stood at 170,000gns, down from 200,000gns, while the average was 266,955gns, down six per cent year on year. The clearance rate improved from 77 per cent to 85 per cent.
Book 1 continues on Wednesday, with selling starting at 11am.
The Dubawi colt out of Dar Re Mi - a brother to Dewhurst Stakes favourite Too Darn Hot - who is widely expected to raise the roof will take his turn in the ring early in the evening.