Willie Carson and company in high spirits ahead of second Ascot yearling sale
The auction begins on Tuesday at 11.30am
While those operating at the top end of the global thoroughbred market will be transfixed by proceedings at Keeneland over the coming days, plenty of British and Irish breeders, vendors and buyers will be busying themselves at the second renewal of the Tattersalls Ireland Ascot Yearling Sale, which begins on Tuesday at 11.30am.
Among a healthy crowd on hand for inspections at the sales ground in the shadow of Ascot racecourse on Monday was Willie Carson, whose Minster Stud offers a brace of yearlings.
"I like this sale and think it'll be a success, I really do," he said. "It's a trainer's sale and one that I think will go places."
The first of two offerings from the stud is a son of Pastoral Pursuits (Lot 78), whose backstory comes with no small amount of sentimentality.
"I'm quite friendly with James Bethell," explained Carson. "He has a charity dinner [The Jessica Bethell Charitable Foundation Annual Dinner] to raise money for worthy causes like treating meningitis, having lost his daughter to the disease in 2012.
"The nomination to Pastoral Pursuits was one of the lots at the auction and that's where I bought it."
The February-born colt is out of the winning Rip Van Winkle mare Deep Blue Sea, a half-sister to the Mark Johnston-trained juvenile Natalie's Joy who won the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes earlier in the year, while his third dam is champion two-year-old Blue Duster.
"The dam is from a good family and had ability. He's a well-balanced, strong, easy moving colt with a nice temperament," Carson said, before adding with tongue firmly in cheek: "And I expect Richard Hannon to buy him!"Urban Icon, who has impressed in winning both of his starts by a wide margin.
The colt is a son of Cityscape, and those who have been taken by his performances may be interested to note that Carson has brought another youngster by the same sire, a filly out of Munchkin (136), to this year's sale.
"Cityscape is going places," said Carson. "He's upgrading his mares and I'd expect him to upgrade this mare. The dam may not have done it herself but her pedigree is good, that's the reason I bought her.
"I foolishly thought I'd win a bumper with the mare but she didn't stay. This is her second foal and she's the most delightful little filly; easy moving and strong."
A daughter of Tiger Hill, Munchkin is out of the Listed-winning Baranquilla and is a half-sister to Listed scorer La Arenosa. Her pedigree traces back to Group 1 winners like Buzzword, Lush Lashes and Saumarez.
On Urban Icon, Carson said: "It's a shame he didn't get to his Group 1, races like the July Stakes or the Phoenix Stakes would have been ideal and if he'd run well that would have been very helpful for me and my mare. The dam has a very easy-going Sir Percy colt for next year."
The consensus among those on the sales ground was that the quality of this year's catalogue - comprised of 163 lots, minus withdrawals - was up on last year, when the sale saw 85 of 114 offered lots sell for turnover of £787,500, an average price of £9,265 and a median of £7,000.
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