The Tattersalls October Sale has enjoyed another excellent season on the track, highlighted by Group 1 winners such as Palace Pier, Battaash, Campanelle and Mogul in Europe and the likes of Newspaperofrecord, Digital Age and Russian Camelot on an international scale.
It is naturally the high-priced horses that grab the headlines in the ring but one of the great beauties of the sport is that good horses come at all levels, allowing everyone to have a chance – an aspect of the sales scene that is likely to resonate even more with participants in this year of Covid.
We look back on the various examples of value sourced at the October Sale in recent years.
15 c Camelot – Question Times (Shamardal)
Sold at Book 1 by Lynn Lodge Stud for 65,000gns to Joseph O’Brien
Latrobe provided the O’Brien brothers with a popular milestone in 2018 when scoring in the Irish Derby to become a first Classic winner for his young trainer Joseph O’Brien and jockey Donnacha.
Lloyd Williams’ son of Camelot subsequently embarked on an international campaign, running second in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington in Australia before returning home to bag the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown. He remains in training at O’Brien’s Owning Hill near Pilltown in County Kilkenny with earnings of close to £1.2 million to his credit – an outstanding return on his yearling price tag of 65,000gns.
“Obviously he is by Camelot,” says Joseph O’Brien, who partnered that stallion to victory in the 2012 2,000 Guineas, Derby and Irish Derby. “He was from his first crop and out of a Shamardal mare. He was a very tall, good-moving colt, not absolutely perfect conformation wise but a good physical overall nonetheless.
“He’s a big horse and very Camelot in that he kept improving as time went on. He had one good run at two and then progressed a lot at three. It was a fantastic performance to win the Irish Derby, obviously Donnacha rode him and it was a very special day.”
Owning Hill also houses another talented Williams colour-bearer who didn’t cost the earth out of Book 1 in Buckhurst. Bought for 70,000gns out of The Castlebridge Consignment draft at the 2017 renewal, the Australia colt was a rapid improver at three last year when his haul included a pair of Group 3 races.
He returned this year to land the Group 3 Alleged Stakes at the Curragh.
“As with Latrobe, credit must go to Paul Shanahan for highlighting the horse at the sales,” says O’Brien. “Buckhurst was from the first crop of Australia and looked to be a bit of value at the time. It’s great for Lloyd Williams too – he’s been very supportive and it’s great to see him have success.”
12 g Halling – La Chicana (Invincible Spirit)
Sold at Book 1 by Tally-Ho Stud for 32,000gns to Rabbah Bloodstock
Abdullah Al Mansoori’s tough Desert Encounter has become one of the most popular Flat performers of recent years, with a lengthy race record for David Simcock highlighted by a pair of win in the Group 1 Canadian International at Woodbine.
Best when able to stalk and pounce, Desert Encounter enjoyed his best season at the age of seven last year when rattling off victories in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes, Winter Hill Stakes and Legacy Cup ahead of his second successful assault on the Canadian International.
“We bought his dam, La Chicana, carrying Desert Encounter,” says Roger O’Callaghan of Tally-Ho Stud. “He was her first foal and a nice yearling who walked very well. But Halling was a bit cold at the time and that played out in his price. He’s been a credit to connections.”
Desert Encounter remains in training and although a win has yet to come his way this season, there remains plenty of life in this hardy campaigner, as we saw in July when he ran a close second in the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood.
BEAT THE BANK
14 g Paco Boy – Tiana (Diktat)
Sold at Book 2 by Rosyground Stud for 30,000gns to Darren Bunyan Racing
The star-crossed Beat The Bank added further lustre to Denniff Farm’s Hill Welcome family by becoming one of the best milers of his era.
Initially trained by Darren Bunyan, who picked him up for just 30,000gns at the 2015 renewal of Book 2, Beat The Bank won first time out at Dundalk in a manner impressive enough to attract the attention of agent Alastair Donald, then on the look out for horses to join King Power Racing.
A deal was struck and Beat The Bank duly became the first winner for King Power when successful in a Newmarket conditions race on his first start for Andrew Balding.
Over the next two years, Beat The Bank went on to capture a quintet of Group 2 races, namely the bet365 Mile, Celebration Mile, Joel Stakes and two editions of the Summer Mile; sadly, he suffered a fatal injury when winning the 2019 renewal.
“We took him to the foal sales and couldn’t get a bid [when bought back for 18,000gns],” says Fiona Denniff. “But Darren Bunyan loved him as a yearling – he was a strong, correct type and he did look like a two-year-old. He resembled his dam but with Paco Boy’s head. And very early on, before he had even run, Darren told me that he thought he was a stakes horse.
“He was a terrific horse, very tough, and unlucky not to win a Group 1 as he was beaten only a neck by Lord Glitters in the Queen Anne.”
Denniff now has his two-year-old half-sister, Auria, by Muhaarar in training with Balding while Tiana is back in foal to Invincible Spirit.
Tiana’s Dubawi yearling filly is catalogued as Lot 495 in Book 1 of this year’s Tattersalls October Sale.
“Rather in the same way that Beat The Bank resembled Tiana with his sire’s head, this filly also resembles her dam but with Dubawi’s head,” says Denniff.
13 f Equiano – Path Of Peace (Rock Of Gibraltar)
Sold at Book 2 by Manor House Stud for 20,000gns to Peter and Ross Doyle Bloodstock
The tale of Belvoir Bay is worthy of a film script.
Bred by the late Lennie Peacock, the daughter of Equiano was bought for just 20,000gns as a yearling by Peter and Ross Doyle and sent to Richard Hannon, for whom she won second time out at Windsor and a nursery at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Belvoir Bay changed hands to Team Valor and Gary Barber following that win to continue her career in the US for trainer Bill Mott and then Peter Miller. There she proved to be as versatile as she was talented, capturing stakes on both turf and dirt including the 2018 Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita.
However, that particular performance came just months after Belvoir Bay was caught up in the Lilac Fire that tore through the San Luis Rey Training Centre in December 2017. The fire claimed the lives of 46 horses while Belvoir Bay herself went missing for two days.
“It was a living nightmare,” Miller was quoted as saying. “I thought I lost her.”
Remarkably, Belvoir Bay came back from that brush with death better than ever, winning a further six stakes including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
“She was bred by a great breeder in Lennie Peacock,” remembers Peter Doyle. “The very first horse I bought off Lennie was 2,000 Guineas winner Tirol and we had lots of success together after him.
“Carol Tinkler, who spots for us, found Belvoir Bay at the sales. She is from the family of Bold Arrangement and Please Sing that we know well, and I remember Carol coming to us and saying ‘I’ve found something from your family’.
“Belvoir Bay is a lovely, gorgeous filly and we bought her for 20,000gns. We kept 50% and the Keogh family kept the other half.
“I remember she won the nursery at Goodwood in a canter – she was Richard Hughes’ last winner at the track – and then we sold her to America through Gordian Troeller.
“She wasn’t over big, a sweet filly. But she was very tough – to come back from that fire and to beat the boys in the Breeders’ Cup, she was some filly. I wish they were all like that!”
Belvoir Bay returned to auction last November to make $1.5 million to agent Mike Shannon at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale in Kentucky.
WAY TO PARIS
13 c Champs Elysees – Grey Way (Cozzene)
Sold at Book 2 by Highclere Stud for 50,000gns to Ambition Stud Partnership
This popular grey has held his own in stakes company for trainers Antonio and Andrea Marcialis for five seasons now and if anything, has been better than ever this year at the age of seven.
Already a Group 2 winner and established Group 1 performer, Way To Paris returned from racing’s enforced Covid break in France this summer in fine fettle, running out an emphatic winner of the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly at Deauville before gaining a deserved Group 1 success in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
Although below form recently in the Prix Foy, the multiple winner will contest Sunday’s Arc.
17 f Requinto – Mirror Effect (Shamardal)
Sold at Book 3 by The Castlebridge Consignment for 1,000gns to J. Portman
Mild Illusion was one of the great success stories of the 2019 season.
Bought for just 1,000gns as a yearling by trainer Jonny Portman, she struck on her third start at Windsor for her enthusiastic owners, the Old Stoic Racing Club, and later followed up in a Salisbury nursery.
The tough filly continued to improve with racing. On her seventh start, she ran the smart Under The Stars to a head in the £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes before improving again to take the Listed Bosra Sham Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.
That turned out to be her final start as sent to the Tattersalls December Sale, she realised 160,000gns to begin her stud career with Tally-Ho Stud.
“She cost nothing, won loads and never gave us any trouble in the process”
“I had been sent her half-sister, a Dark Angel filly called Mrs Worthington who had cost a fair bit of money,” recalls Portman. “In fairness, I don’t think I would have marked Mild Illusion off in the catalogue had it not been for the Dark Angel filly although I am a fan of Shamardal mares.
“Anyway I went to see her. She was a bit small but I remember thinking that there wasn’t anything wrong with her and so I followed her in. She was sitting at 800gns and I thought ‘well this is criminal’ and stuck my hand up at 1,000gns. And no one else did.
“We leased her to the Old Stoic Racing Club, a fantastic group of about 25 people, and hatched a plan – her two targets were a Newbury novice that we sponsor in June and the Tattersalls sales race, and she went on to be second, beaten only narrowly, in both.”
With an eye on the Bosra Sham Stakes in November, Portman entered her for the Tattersalls December Mares Sale and when she obliged at Newmarket, her connections suddenly had a very commercial prospect on their hands.
“Commercially we had to let her go,” says Portman of the 160,000gns sale. “But it’s lovely when a plan does work out. She was a lovely filly, very straightforward, very tough. She cost nothing, won loads and never gave us any trouble in the process.”
16 c Dark Angel – Countess Ferrama (Authorized)
Sold at Book 3 by Cooneen Stud for 26,000gns to Rabbah Bloodstock
Chances are we’ll be hearing a lot more about this progressive James Tate- trained miler.
Bred by Wicklow Bloodstock, the son of Dark Angel has won five of his six starts for Saeed Manana including most recently the Group 3 Superior Mile at Haydock Park, in which he showed a fine turn of foot to defeat My Oberon.
Top Rank holds an entry in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, for which he is a 20/1 shot.