A remarkable edition of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Sale drew to a close in Newmarket on Wednesday having defied all expectations with a market that wound up on a level barely adrift of last year.
The 2019 renewal was a record-breaking sale. One year on and with the world stricken by the Covid-19 pandemic, the idea of a similarly buoyant market seemed far fetched to say the least.
Yet from start to finish, demand for the better lots remained consistently strong, so much so that the aggregate of 48,362,500gns came in less than 1% behind last year’s record level. As for the average of 75,922gns, that fell only 3% behind 2019.
Led by a 675,000gns son of Lope De Vega bought by Godolphin through Anthony Stroud on Tuesday, a total of 19 horses made 300,000gns or more, compared to 11 in 2019.
“It is incredible the support the whole business has had considering where we are in the world,” remarked Angus Gold, racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan, who spent 5.327 million guineas on 36 yearlings. “I can not believe there is a person who foresaw what was going to happen over the last three days. And it is fair play to everyone who has supported this – there is no prize-money, there is no racing, not a single thing to look forward to on the face of it, just the wonderful optimism that the whole thing is based on!
“I think that people suddenly thought that if they wanted to buy a horse they needed to get stuck in. From our point of view, Sheikh Hamdan has traditionally bought here with our trainers and, obviously, coming into the sale I didn’t know if he was going to be doing that, but he said yes and was happy to do so. We have obviously had a good year on the track and it was lovely that he was willing to go back in.”
“I didn’t expect Godolphin to be as strong as they have been, which has made a big difference, and we saw Demi [O’Byrne] buying so many horses for Peter Brant, and Kia [Joorabchian, Amo Racing] buying so many and lots of others too. I do think people have just thought they have had to get stuck in – hence prices are what they are.”
The sale’s leading buyer, Anthony Stroud of Stroud Coleman Bloodstock, which spent 5.42 million guineas on 29 yearlings, concurred with those thoughts.
“It’s been incredible, what a fantastic sale,” he said. “I think we’re lucky to even have a sale. Tattersalls did a very good job to get everything off the ground.
“There are some very nice horses here and there’s a good vibe, with a lot of different buyers.”
He added: “I think we all have to be eternally grateful for all the Maktoum family have done in the sale ring and for the bloodstock industry as a while. We’re in times that none of us have experienced before and they have shown their true mettle – to support the sales and people’s livelihoods in the way they have done has been amazing.”
Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony paid tribute to the resilience shown by the industry.
“At the conclusion of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale last week we expressed our sincere thanks to all those who contributed to a yearling sale which, although conducted amidst a backdrop of global turmoil, performed with remarkable resilience,” he said. “The message at the conclusion of Book 2 of the October Yearling Sale is very similar. We are enormously grateful to every single participant over the past three days, not only for their individual contributions to a sale which has held up remarkably well under the circumstances, but for working with us every step of the way in our efforts to stage the sale in as safe an environment as possible. The COVID pandemic continues to wreak havoc in all walks of life and to have conducted nine sales here at Park Paddocks since the last week of June is a mighty achievement by all concerned and could not have happened without a huge collective effort.
“Book 2 has without doubt benefitted from the momentum established at Book 1 and similar to last week, the buyers have consistently remarked on the quality of the stock being offered. As ever, the consignors from Britain, Ireland, France and Germany have presented us with a catalogue of genuine quality and the buyers have demonstrated that, even in these challenging times, there is a global appetite for quality bloodstock and the sport of horseracing. Participation from throughout the Gulf region continues to be hugely influential and the sustained involvement from American, Australian and Hong Kong interests has also been notable alongside determined domestic involvement.”
While the buying bench was dominated by the Maktoum family and their associates, who between them spent at least 12 million guineas, their investment was further complemented by an array of international participants. They included American Peter Brant, who spent 1.305 million guineas on six yearlings through Demi O’Byrne, and the Hong Jockey Club, which shelled out a total of 985,000gns on six youngsters.
Wednesday’s session was headed by a 360,000gns son of Starspangledbanner who was snapped up by the sale’s major buying force, Anthony Stroud on behalf of Godolphin, out of the draft of his breeder Ballyhimikin Stud.
A half-brother to the Group 3-placed Kodiak West, he is out of the winning Cadeaux Genereux mare Violet’s Gift.
“He was just an outstanding individual by a sire who is doing really well,” said Stroud. “He looks fast.”
His sale completed a good week for Ballyhimikin, which turned over close to a million guineas for seven yearlings sold.
“This is a family we have had for ever, we bred every single horse on the page,” said the stud’s James Hanly. “They are all very fast horses so hopefully this one will continue and will add to the family. It is lovely to be able to show horses such as this, it is a pleasure to be around them.”
Coolmore land Churchill filly for Crisford
The pace for much of the day had been set by a first-crop daughter of Coolmore’s Churchill, who made 340,000gns to the bid of Simon Crisford on behalf of MV Magnier. Sold by Croom House Stud, she is a half-sister to the stable’s classy sprinter Roulston Scar.
“She’s a lovely, racy filly for the Coolmore partners,” he said. “They have been owners with me since I started training.
“We have her half-brother Roulston Scar, so there was a connection with this filly anyway and then I thought she just showed herself beautifully.”
In addition to Roulston Scar, the filly is also a half-sister to the Group 3-placed Special Purpose. They were bred by Epona Bloodstock out of the Grade 3-placed Pussycat Lips, a relation to champion Kutub.
MV Magnier later made his presence felt when coming out on top at 325,000gns for a daughter of Mastercraftsman.
The most expensive yearling filly to ever sell by her sire, the youngster is a sister to the Listed-placed Simannka and out of Simkana, who was purchased by breeder Denis McDonnell of Parkway Farm for €57,000 through Peter and Ross Doyle at the 2013 Goffs November Sale. The winning daughter of Kalanisi is a half-sister to none other than Sinndar, John Oxx’s champion three-year-old of 2000.
John and Denis Noonan of Cregg Stud brought just two horses to Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Sale but such was their appeal that they went on to turn over 620,000gns in total sales.
On Monday, the father and son team celebrated the sale of a Mehmas colt for 320,000gns to Blandford Bloodstock. And on Wednesday, it was the turn of their Kodiac colt to shine when sold for 300,000gns to Anthony Stroud.
Bred by Denis Noonan, the colt is the second foal out of Supreme Occasion, a Teofilo half-sister to the Classic-placed Decado. Also bred by Noonan, the mare was leased to Hambleton Racing Ltd XXXIII, for whom she won twice and ran fourth in the May Hill Stakes, before rejoining the Cregg fold.
“I thought they were a pair of lovely colts and that is why they have come here,” said Fermoy-based John Noonan. “This is better than winning the Lotto!
“The mare has been a good servant to me, she is a young mare and the granddam [Pirie] has been good servant to me too.”
‘Spitting image’ of Oasis Dream to Juddmonte
Juddmonte Farms, acting through stud director Simon Mockridge, made an early strike when going to 310,000gns for a son of its stalwart stallion Oasis Dream.
Sold by Newsells Park Stud on behalf of breeder W & R Barnett, the colt posseses a smart pedigree as a grandson of Irish Oaks heroine Pure Grain. However, the chief selling point appeared to be the close resemblance to his leading sire.
“He is the spitting image of Oasis Dream at the same stage,” said Mockridge. “He’s an incredible colt with a lovely walk, and the cross of Green Desert over Zamindar [the sire of his dam Pure Line] is similar to our own Kingman. He was an obvious horse for us.”
Kingman continues to carry all before him and Mockridge was quick to pay tribute to the stallion.
“Kingman is an extraordinary horse and he has had an extraordinary sale,” he said. “He physically stamps them vey well and meets the commercial market.”
The Oasis Dream colt contributed to an outstanding sale for Newsells Park Stud, which ended the book as leading vendor thanks to total sales of 2.938 million guineas.