Trade reaches record levels at knockout renewal of Book 2
James Thomas reports from the final session at Park Paddocks
The gloves were off during the final session of a knockout renewal of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale on Wednesday, as a son of Sea The Stars broke the auction record when fetching 850,000gns from Shadwell's Angus Gold.
The three-day auction saw records smashed across the board, with turnover of 48,022,000gns up 24 per cent from just a five per cent larger offering on 2016's returns.
The average was up by 20 per cent to 78,340gns, while the median rose to 55,000gns from 50,000gns 12 months ago. The clearance rate was the only metric to remain static, with 613 of 743 offered lots changing hands at a clip of 83 per cent.
Best price busted
Bidding for the record-breaking Sea The Stars colt started with a spot of gentle sparring between Alastair Donald, Angus Gold and Charlie Gordon-Watson, with Gold and Gordon-Watson settling down to duke it out from the 500,000gns mark.
Increasingly expensive blows were traded until Gordon-Watson retreated down the stairwell from which he was bidding after a 850,000gns suckerpunch from Shadwell's representative.
The price not only surpassed the previous best, the 725,000gns paid by John Ferguson for French Listed winner Wolf Country in 2015, but also rewarded an ambitious mission to Tattersalls from Italian vendor Massimo Parri, who raises his horses in the lush Italian countryside close to Siena at Allevamento Le Gi.
The colt is out of Parri's Listed-winning Tobougg mare Biz Bar, and is a sibling to five Italian black type winners, including the Group 1 scorer Biz The Nurse.
"I'm very happy as I think he's a fantastic horse," said Parri, who breeds from 15 mares spread between Ireland and Italy. "The horse was born in England but was reared in Italy. I bought Biz Bar out of training and she's been fantastic - all her progeny have won black type."
"For me, Sea The Stars is an absolute champion and I thought he would really suit Biz Bar. She also has a really nice filly foal by Golden Horn and we'll sell her next year. He was really a Book 1 horse, but my other lot in this year's draft was in Book 2 and they were travelling together so it made sense to sell them in the same week.
"He has always been a fantastic horse with great bone, and he has a great mind so travelling over was not a problem for him. It has been a great honour to have so many of the leading buyers interested in him."
Sea The Stars finished Book 2 as the leading sire by average (with more than one lot sold), with eight of his sons and daughters changing hands for an average of 225,000gns and an aggregate of 1,800,000gns.
There was no let up in the strength of trade throughout Wednesday's session, and as the sale entered the home stretch Godolphin kept up the momentum as they outbid Coolmore at 625,000gns for a Dark Angel colt offered by Yeomanstown Stud, who had pinhooked the half-brother to Listed winner Lexington Times for €95,000.
"I think he was the pick of the day for the team," said Godolphin representative Anthony Stroud, who was joined by David Loder and John Gosden. "He's a half-brother to a good horse and by a very good stallion."
Described as "the steal of the day" by auctioneer John O'Kelly as the colt hit the 400,000gns mark, he capped what has been a highly productive couple of weeks for Yeomanstown Stud, who finished the sale as leading vendor by aggregate, with 16 lots bringing a total of 2,349,000gns.
"It was a toss up whether he went to Book 1 or Book 2," said Yeomanstown's David O'Callaghan. "He would have sold equally well in Book 1 but we have to split them up somehow. Gay [O'Callaghan] bought him as a foal off Castlebridge. He was always a very good foal and has a good pedigree."
Dark Angel finished Book 2 with 21 yearlings sold for an average of 147,667gns, a strong return on a €27,500 covering fee, and an aggregate of 3,101,000gns.
Loopy for Lope De Vega
A good week for Lope De Vega, who finished the sale with 21 yearlings having fetched an average of 111,665gns and a median of 2,345,000gns, got even better during Wednesday's session, as Roger Varian went to 500,000gns for one of his sons offered by Ballyhimikin Stud.
The colt, bred by Ballyhimikin's James Hanly, Anthony Stroud and Lady O'Reilly's Skymarc Farm, is the first foal of the Group 3-placed Acclamation mare Boston Rocker, and descends from the family of champion Superstar Leo as well as the likes of Rivet, Curvy and Power.
"Boston Rocker was a very fast mare when in training with Eddie Lynam and I always watched her racing and bought into her privately," said Hanly. "She's a lovely mare, it's a great family and this is a great start. She has a Kingman colt foal and is in foal to Muhaarar."
Melbourne-based bloodstock agent Jeffrey Gordon was in town on the hunt for future talent, and he walked away with a trio of fillies for a total spend of 820,000gns, secured on behalf of Hong Kong-based owner Pan Sutong, who has horses in Europe with Ralph Beckett, Robert Cowell and Pascal Bary, most notably the high-class sprinter Gold-Fun.
Gordon's first purchase came in the shape of a Kodiac filly from Grangemore Stud at 300,000gns. The daughter of the winning Authorized mare Dance Bid, from the family of Kingston Hill, Scintillo and Danseuse Du Soir, turned a handsome profit for connections having been picked up as a foal for €58,000 by Yeomanstown Stud.
"The dam was a good runner," said Gordon. "She's a good, medium sized filly and I thought she looked just like Kodi Bear - I had a good look at him after he won his maiden."
A few lots later Gordon was back in action, going to 240,000gns for the sole lot by Speightstown in the catalogue. The filly, who went unsold at $175,000 at last year's Keeneland November Sale, is a half-sister to three-time US winner Mav and out of Dansette, an unplaced Dansili half-sister to Soviet Song, which means she is related to Group 1 winners Marsha and Ribbons.
"We came here a couple of years ago and dipped our toe in the market," said Gordon, who added a Dark Angel filly to his haul at 280,000gns later in the session. "We only bought a couple of horses but Golden Stunner and Golden Vibe both turned out to be stakes class. We're looking to buy fillies that can be breeding prospects; the more precocious types that can get on and run."
Members of Australia's first crop have proved popular throughout the sales season, and among those impressed by the stock thrown by the Derby winner is Blandford Bloodstock's Tom Goff, who parted with 350,000gns for a colt offered by Clare Castle.
The colt is the first foal of Dick Poole Stakes runner-up Dorothy B, a daughter of Fastnet Rock who was trained by John Gosden - the man now set to oversee the career of her first son.
"John trained his dam and she was a tough hardy racemare by Fastnet Rock," said Goff. "I've loved the horses by Australia, they have really impressed me and we have been trying to get involved with them as much as possible. This is a lovely, quality horse."
Just the single son of Sinndar was sold at Book 2 last year - a colt out of Four Roses offered by Stauffenberg Bloodstock.
That lot, a son of Four Roses, went the way of Oliver St Lawrence on behalf of Guy Brook for 165,000gns, and his German vendor repeated the trick during Wednesday's session when he sold the solitary Sinndar in the catalogue, again out of Four Roses, to Roger Varian for 300,000gns.
Both colts are brothers to Group 2 Blandford Stakes winner Four Sins, a rare yearling purchase by the Aga Khan who emerged from Sinndar's debut crop.
"It's unbelievable," said Stauffenberg. "To get 300,000gns is unbelievable. They were both lovely horses but different - this horse is the man of the two. The mare has been fantastic. She produces lovely stock and is out of our foundation mare [Fraulein Tobin], so is very close to our heart.
"The mare has a colt foal by Maxios and is back in foal to Maxios. We would love a filly out of her - she hasn't had one since Four Sins - but she's carrying another colt!"
As with a number of Varian's purchases this week, the colt is due to carry the familiar yellow and black silks of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.
"He's an old fashioned type of horse, more of the type you'd see in Book 1," said Varian. "Hopefully he's the next Youmzain!"
Coplow cashes in
The Manduro mare Coplow, bred by the late Bob McCreery's Stowell Hill, may have failed to grace the winners' enclosure during her eight-race career, but she has done nothing but reward her owners since retiring to the Somerset paddocks in 2013.
Her first two foals, Billesdon Bess and Billesdon Brook, both landed stakes races this year, with the former claiming the Listed Upavon Stakes at Salisbury - giving Dick Turpin his solitary stakes winner in the process - and the latter the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood just a few days later back in August.
And a combination of the expertise of their breeder and the aforementioned pair's progressive profile saw their Showcasing half-sister fetch 380,000gns from John Gosden during Wednesday's session of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
"If only Bob was here to enjoy it," said Jeanette McCreery. "It's all thanks to the Hannons [trainer of Billesdon Bess and Billesdon Brook], they have done so well for the family this year. And great thanks must go to the team at home. It's been an unbelievable season and hopefully it will continue on Friday when Anna Nerium runs at Newmarket."
That big update for the family could come when Anna Nerium - a close relation to Billesdon Bess and Billesdon Brook who was last seen winning the Group 3 Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury, lines up in a competitive renewal of the Oh So Sharp Stakes.
Coplow, who descends from McCreery's excellent producer Anna Oleanda, had a Sepoy filly for Stowell Hill this year but was barren to Territories.
After the final hammer fall Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony commented: "Book 1 of the 2017 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale entered uncharted territory with wide-margin records across the board, and Book 2 has followed in similar fashion.
"Yet again, Book 2 has grossed more than any other European yearling sale except October Book 1 and the turnover, average and median have all reached unprecedented levels.
"The strength at the top of the market has at times been breathtaking and the statistics tell the story. Not only have we seen a new record Book 2 top price of 850,000gns, and a 500,000gns Book 2 record for a filly, but the number of yearlings sold for 300,000gns or more has risen from two last year to a massive 19 this year.
"Eight different buyers featured amongst the top ten lots this week and only Book 1 amongst European yearling sales has produced more 100,000gns yearlings. As ever, the support from the Maktoum family and their associates has been amazing and this has been backed up by truly international participation at all levels as well as British and Irish owners and trainers competing strongly from start to finish."