Colin Murfitt’s Pantile Stud was celebrating its best result in the ring at Tattersalls on Tuesday when a Kingman half-brother to 2,000 Guineas hero Galileo Gold was bought by agent Oliver St Lawrence for 2,700,000gns. He will go into training with Roger Varian.
The colt took a starring turn just five lots from the end of the first day of Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale and had clearly won several admirers who were keen to secure the well-bred individual.
St Lawrence who got the better of Ross Doyle, bidding for MV Magnier, and the agent confirmed that the colt had been bought on behalf of HH Sheikh Nasser Al Khalifa and KHK Racing – the same connections for whom he had bought Sottsass’ Dubawi half-sister for €2.5 million at last month’s Arqana Select Yearling Sale.
St Lawrence said: “He was a great walking horse and the pedigree speaks for itself. He’s a lovely colt and if all goes well, a stallion prospect.”
Having purchased Galicuix for just 8,000gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2013, Murfitt’s investment in the daughter of Galileo has more than been rewarded as the dam of five winners from five runners.
Bo Hicks-Little, Pantile Stud’s Manager, said: “He has never put a foot wrong. He is a superstar, and not just physically, he is so mentally strong too, he is such a professional.
“He was a late April foal and we had a bad night when he was born as we nearly lost the mare. We had to bottle feed him for 24 hours.”
It was also a fantastic result for Houghton Bloodstock, who consigned the colt on behalf of the operation, and Robin Sharp added: “That is the best price for Houghton – our previous best was 500,000gns last year.
“I am delighted for Colin – he has been a friend and a client for a long time. This is a lovely, lovely colt. He has taken his prep so well and he is so much like Kingman, which is what I think made people take notice of him. He really stood out and is a class-looking horse.
“It is unbelievable, you always approach sales with an amount of trepidation, especially this year. But this is what make this game – it is like snakes and ladders!”
Memorable day for Floors Stud
There were poignant scenes at Tattersalls during the opening session of Book 1 on Tuesday when Floors Stud was responsible for selling two seven-figure lots.
A son of Dubawi out of the Grade 3-winning mare Cushion, bred in partnership with Chelston and Orpendale, was snapped up by agent Anthony Stroud on behalf of Godolphin for 2.1 million guineas. Cushion is a daughter of the late Duke of Roxburghe’s star mare Attraction.
Stroud, who outbid Coolmore to secure the colt, said: “He’s by Dubawi and we all obviously really liked him. It just goes to show that when a very nice horse comes up, there are lots of people here for them.
“It’s so sad that Guy Roxburghe couldn’t be here to see it. He was a wonderful breeder, a good friend and a great enthusiast. Attraction is obviously dam of the Frankel colt we bought and she’s the granddam of this colt, so it’s very fitting. He would have loved it here today – hopefully he’s looking down.”
Earlier in proceedings, Floors’ Frankel colt out of Attraction was the first lot to break through the seven-figure barrier. It was Stroud who secured the youngster to race in the Godolphin blue after getting the better of Andrew Balding in a protracted round of bidding, the hammer falling at 1.1 million guineas.
The Duke passed away last summer at the age of 64 but his wife Virginia, the Duchess of Roxburghe, was on hand to witness the sale, revealing in the aftermath that the operation is going to cut back its involvement in the sport.
She said: “We’re absolutely delighted. It’s wonderful to see the legacy of the Duke and Attraction recognised – the two were entwined and she meant so much to him.
🌟 The Frankel colt out of Attraction becomes the first lot to break the million guinea threshold at #TattsOctober Book 1 as @godolphin go to 1,100,000gns to buy the @FloorsCastle homebred. pic.twitter.com/QssC9Gd1Hh
— Tattersalls (@Tattersalls1766) October 6, 2020
“Chris Gillon [Stud Manager] and the team have done a terrific job. Chris has really taken up the mantle without the Duke, he’s been unbelievably professional and has done a wonderful job.
“Our youngest son, George, is very keen. He has a real passion for racing, and we are very keen to carry on the stud. But it will be a smaller operation and sadly it will not be based at Floors – the mares will be boarded elsewhere.”
Gillon added: “We’d had a lot of interest in him, he’s a fantastic individual and the page stood out. To be honest, watching it was a bit of a blur but it’s great to see the team’s work rewarded – watching him show up here and in the pre-parade ring, you could see he complemented the work of the team at home.
“I would say that this colt is the best that the mare has produced. The Duke did see him as a foal, and everyone was in agreement that he is the best out of her to date. Seeing how he unfolded over prep confirmed that opinion. He’s got everything – a good walk and good muscle definition.
“Attraction is really well at home. She’s got a big, nice colt by Dubawi and is carrying a Kingman filly.
“It’s [losing the Duke] been very hard for the family and hard for us as a stud. All we can do is make sure that we keep our heads down and work hard to get the horses here. But I’m sure he’s up there smiling down on everyone.”
Godolphin had been conspicuous in its absence at last week’s Goffs Orby Yearling Sale, not making a single purchase, but on Tuesday the operation ended the opening Book 1 session as leading purchaser, having bought eight lots for an average of 902,500gns and an aggregate of 7,220,00gns.
Lupo’s first purchase
Agent Kelsey Lupo made her first purchase at Book 1 when securing Camas Park Stud’s Galileo sister to St Leger hero Capri for 850,000gns.
Luso, who is based in London and operates in conjunction with Jamie McCalmont, was working for an undisclosed client and said: “She’s a really classy filly. She’s immature but is only going to develop. What’s not to like about her?
“She has plenty of residual value – she is worth that all day. She’ll stay in Europe to race. The client is relatively new to racing but already has some horses in Europe. They were looking for something to race and help build a broodmare band. It’s exciting.”
With the current uncertainty around the world it was no surprise that figures during Tuesday’s opening session showed a decline on last year’s results.
By the close of play, a total of 124 lots from 158 sold for receipts of 27,750,000gns – down 22 per cent on 2019’s turnover of 35,408,000gns. The average fell 13 per cent from 260,353gns to 223,790gns, while the median dropped 33 per cent from 180,000gns.