Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony paid tribute to the depth and diversity of buyers in action this week as Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale closed in Newmarket on Thursday having hosted a solid trade that further underlined the popularity of European bloodstock to a global audience.
Led by five seven-figure lots, 375 yearlings changed hands for a total of 86,369,000gns. The average of 230,317gns represented an increase of three per cent from 2020 but particularly encouraging was the median, which rose by 23% to 160,000gns. The clearance rate wound up at a healthy 83%.
With Sheikh Mohammed in attendance, Godolphin came away with 15 lots worth 9,375,000gns – enough to lead the buyers list but 43% adrift of the total spent by the organisation at last year’s renewal. M V Magnier signed for 6,575,000gns worth of stock while Blandford Bloodstock was next best on 4,647,000gns.
Missing from action was Shadwell Estates, whose contribution in 2020 amounted to 3,040,000gns.
“Book 1 of last year’s Tattersalls October Yearling Sale was widely regarded as a sale which showed remarkable resilience in the face of the well – documented challenges which we all endured, which makes the gains achieved this week even more creditable,” said Mahony.
“Year after year Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale showcases the finest British, Irish, French and German bred yearlings, and year after year these yearlings go on to achieve extraordinary racecourse success on the global stage. Even by the lofty standards of Book 1, 2021 has been a truly phenomenal year with the world’s highest rated three-year-old, St Mark’s Basilica, the world’s highest rated miler Palace Pier, dual Classic winner Hurricane Lane, Europe’s highest rated two-year-old Native Trail and the highest rated turf horse in America, Domestic Spending, all purchased at October Book 1, and it is this consistent success which brings so many of the world’s leading buyers to the sale.
“While the figures may not have returned to the dizzy heights of 2019, and the very top of the market has made an adjustment, the average, median and clearance rate have all improved significantly and the turnover has also climbed despite a smaller catalogue. Particularly encouraging has been the depth and diversity amongst the buyers in all sectors of the market. Nine different buyers have bought yearlings for 750,000 guineas or more and in addition to the strong British and Irish participation, buyers from Abu Dhabi, Australia, Bahrain, China, Dubai, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the USA have all made significant contributions.”
As anticipated, American investment was a key theme with Mike Ryan, Klaravich Stables, Craig Bernick, Ben McElroy, Liz Crow, Solis/Litt, Bridlewood Stables and Bradley Weisbord among those to strike.
Particularly busy was agent Mike Ryan, the purchaser of 3,750,000gns worth of stock under his own name. Klaravich Stables, whom Ryan regularly advises, spent 1,120,000gns.
“Particularly notable has been the powerful American contingent,” said Mahony. “They have been a real feature of October Book 1 in recent years and the extraordinary level of racecourse success has driven even greater demand with around 50 Book 1 yearlings acquired over the past three days heading across the Atlantic. Turf racing in America continues to grow and thrive and American buyers have clearly identified Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale as the premier source of superior turf horses.
“In addition to the major impact of the international buyers, it has also been rewarding to see that the lucrative £20,000 Tattersalls October Book 1 Bonus Scheme continues to entice buyers at all levels of the Book 1 market. Owners in Britain and Ireland have been rewarded with almost £7,000,000 in bonus prize money since the scheme’s inception in 2016 and to see so many owners, syndicates and trainers busy this week is a tribute to the enduring appeal of the Book 1 Bonus.”
The sale-topping 1,500,000gns Sea The Stars filly provided a wonderful result for breeders William and Robert Barnett.
Anthony Stroud, standing with Sheikh Mohammed, came out on top in a protracted battle over the Coolmore team to land the filly and provide the highlight of a momentous week for vendor Newsells Park Stud.
“Needless to say, she’s a lovely filly,” said Stroud. “She’s come from a good hotel and a very good breeder. Coolmore were the underbidders, they’re terrific judges, and Juddmonte were in on her, so that tells you all you need to know. Godolphin have had a lot of success with fillies out of this sale and this is a very athletic filly who hopefully can be successful too.
“I think the catalogue is thin on very well-bred fillies and for us this was the pick.”
He added: “The market is spotty – I think the primary reason is the deplorable state of prize-money. You have escalating costs but the returns make life very difficult whereas in America you can go and win a $100,000 maiden. But the competition for horses here has been very good and it’s good to see the Americans come over – it’s a compliment to our bloodstock.”
The sale-topping filly is a full sister to Listed winner Star Terms, who was also third in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and a half-sister to Listed winner Fresh Terms. They were bred by the Barnetts out of their champion 2yo Best Terms, the 2011 Lowther and Queen Mary Stakes winner – she failed to sell for 10,000gns when she came under the hammer as a yearling in 2010.
Remarkably, the Barnett family’s association with the line spans over a century to Athasi, a 1917-foaled daughter of Harasi. Along the way, there have been some excellent flag-bearers, notably the outstanding racemare Time Charter, who appears as this filly’s fourth dam. In turn, Time Charter foaled Maktoum Al Maktoum’s classy stayer Zinaad, later the sire of top Godolphin filly Kazzia.
“We have always loved this filly,” said Robert Barnett. “The family has been good to us, and it goes a long way back now.
“We have long admired Sea The Stars, the look of him and the bulk of him, we try and get the right size and the right conformation for the mares.
“We were tempted to keep her. She is the most athletic yearling we have had for quite some time. She has a lovely attitude, she is very laid back, she didn’t fidget at all in the chute, but when she gets going, she gets going!
“There seems to be a good trade for well-bred fillies and breeders are buying them to race and breed from, which is nice to see.”
On what was a terrific day for Newsells Park Stud, the Royston-based outfit was also represented by a Dubawi half-sister to Arc hero Waldgeist who sold for 1,250,000gns, a Frankel colt who sold for 900,000gns and a Galileo filly out of the high-class Aljazzi who sold for 750,000gns.
Widely anticipated to be one of the star lots of the day, the Dubawi half-sister to Waldgeist set the tone for the day to come by smashing through the seven-figure barrier as the first lot of the day.
Led up by this year’s TBA Stud Staff Award winner Elody Swann, the filly attracted the attention of Crispin de Moubray, Bertrand Le Metayer and then Juddmonte Farms. However, they had no answer to the determination of Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Al Shira’aa Farms, who sealed the outcome with a winning bid of 1,250,000gns made through David Cox of Baroda Stud, standing alongside Al Shira’aa Farms’ stud manager Kieran Lalor.
Not only is the filly a half-sister to the Arc hero Waldgeist but also the Prix de Malleret winner Waldlied and this season’s Gordon Richard Stakes winner Waldkonig. They are were each bred by Newsells Park and Gestut Ammerland out of the Prix Penelope heroine Waldlerche, a Monsun half-sister to St Leger hero Masked Marvel. This family joined Newsells Park with the private purchase by Andreas Jacobs of Waldlerche’s dam Waldmark around the turn of the century from her breeder Gestut Ravensberg. It’s one of the iconic German families and this instance, goes back eight generations to the Ravensberg blue hen Waldrun.
‘Sheikha Fatima loved the videos of this filly and loved the pedigree,” said Cox. “She’ll go back to Meadow Court and they’ll look forward to racing her. All those Group 1 families are very hard to get into.
“Sheikha Fatima is very keen. And they’re having a good year.”
Al Shira’aa Farms has been relentless in its quest to acquire regally-bred fillies; only last week at Goffs, they added the half-sisters to Mother Earth and Poetic Flare. The operation is also enjoying a good season on the track, notably as the owners of Group/Graded stakes winners Rumi and Mutamakina, both of whom were bought through Shawn Dugan.
It is also starting to gain traction as a breeder under the stewardship of Kieran Lalor at its recently acquired Meadow Court Stud near the Curragh; it’s early forays into the world of breeding include Dhahab, this year’s Superlative Stakes third.
Despite the final figure, the filly’s sale represented a bittersweet moment for Julian Dollar of Newsells Park Stud.
“I’m very pleased with the price, although I’m sad that she came to the sales and we didn’t get a chance to make a bid,” he said. “We would have supported her as it was dispersing the partnership we’ve enjoyed for many years with Dietrich and Annabelle von Boetticher [of Gestut Ammerland]. That was really a personal relationship between themselves and Andreas Jacobs, so when Graham took over, as much as they all get along, it was time to end the partnership.
“They’re going to have a few less horses and keep them all in Germany, where they have a wonderful farm and a history of breeding great horses.
“She deserved that price with that pedigree, and she’ll be a wonderful filly for anyone to own and she’ll make a fantastic broodmare. She was so typical of the family but people don’t understand that pedigree at the sales; they’re not sales horses, they’re racehorses, and sometimes I think we get the two confused.
“Waldlerche is still with us and we’ve managed to buy her privately. It looks like one of her daughters, Waldlied, will come to the December Sales. She’s got a lovely Siyouni filly at foot who’ll probably come to the sales next year and there’s also a Galileo brother to Waldgeist who’ll probably be at the sales next year too. After that, if we can, we’ll try and keep all her babies for ourselves.”
He added: “Funnily enough I used to work with Kieran Lalor at Castleton Lyons, he was broodmare manager when I was managing the farm, and he’s a great chap and is being very smart buying into all these big families.”
Al Shira’aa Farms went on to add another well-related filly to their portfolio in the half-sister to this season’s Belmont Derby winner Bolshoi Ballet. Part of a high-performing draft belonging to No Nay Never, she was bred by Lynch Bages and Rhinestone Bloodstock out of Alta Anna, also the dam of classy stayer Southern France, and sold by Glenvale Stud.
Newsells Park later came close to hitting the million guineas mark again when selling a homebred Frankel colt for 900,000gns to Godolphin.
The colt is the fourth foal out of his winning dam As Good As Gold, an Oasis Dream half-sister to the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano winner Eminent. They were bred by Richard Henry out of his highly successful Jude family via his champion two-year-old filly Quarter Moon.
As Good As Gold has yet to breed a winner but Godolphin evidently hold his brother Stormy Ocean in high regard. That particular son of Frankel was a 480,000gns purchase out of last year’s sale and has been placed on both his starts for Charlie Appleby.
“It was a little bit more than we wanted to pay,” said Stroud. “But we like the brother and we like Frankel and this is a very nice colt from a great family and a great farm.”
Gary Hadden, meanwhile, signed at 750,000gns for Newsells Park Stud’s homebred Galileo filly out of Aljazzi. She is the first foal of her Group 2-winning dam, who was acquired by the farm for an auction record of 1 million guineas at the 2018 Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale.
“There are potentially a few things to work out with the ownership,” said Hadden, standing alongside Craig Bennett of Merry Fox Farm. “But yes, she’s out of a fantastic racemare from a good family with plenty of updates.
“In this market, fillies are standing out and people are seeing them as a solid investment. They’re not making Galileos anymore and he’s a fantastic broodmare sire, so she’ll always have residual value.”
Newsells Park Stud ended the sale as leading vendor thanks to 22 yearlings who realised a total of 10,785,000gns.
Coolmore’s late supersire Galileo reigned as the Book 1’s leading sire by average (557,727gns) yet again, his 11-strong draft of yearlings sold led by a colt out of the 2014 Queen Mary Stakes winner Anthem Alexander for whom MV Magnier paid 1,100,000gns.
Magnier outbid Oliver St Lawrence for the colt, who possesses three generations of breeding by Noel O’Callaghan at his Mountarmstrong Stud.
O’Callaghan paid just 12,500gns for his third dam Sandhurst Goddess as a yearling and campaigned her to win four races including the Listed Topaz Sprint. Today, her influence is ever-growing, not only through various O’Callaghan graduates such as Dandy Man and Anthem Alexander, but also via this season’s top miler Mother Earth.
“I bought Sandhurst Goddess for 12,500gns from [brother] Gay, she was by a very bad stallion, Sandhurst Prince, but she turned out to be a good racemare and it’s become an amazing family,” said O’Callaghan. “This was a proper horse, a very nice colt, and he’s going to a proper trainer. Let’s hope he’s very lucky for everyone.”
O’Callaghan actually tried to sell Anthem Alexander at this same sale back in 2013 but bought her home when bidding stalled at 48,000gns. Some clouds do have a silver lining, however, and sent to Eddie Lynam, she went on to win the Queen Mary and Lacken Stakes.
The Tattersalls October Sale continues on Monday with the opening session of the three-day Book 2.