A colt by Sea The Stars dominated the final day of the Tattersalls October Book 2 Sale in Newmarket on Wednesday when sold to Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock for 425,000gns.
The colt led the way during a solid third session of the sale, one in which there was once again no shortage of interest in the better horses while exposing a few cracks in the middle to lower markets.
Overall, trade suffered a minimal drop from last year, with 626 yearlings selling for a total of 53,978,500gns, down from the 60,780,500gns recorded in 2022. The average fell by ten per cent to 86,228gns while the median dropped by 11 per cent to 62,000gns.
“As referenced last week the 2022 Tattersalls October Yearling Sales reached extraordinary heights the like of which we may not see for many years to come, so for Book 2 of the October Yearling Sale to produce returns which, although falling short of last year, compare favourably with all bar two renewals of Europe’s largest yearling sale gives some perspective,” said Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony.
“As recently as 2016 the turnover at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale was below 40 million guineas, with a then record average price of 65,000gns, a record-equalling median of 50,000 guineas and an unprecedented 117 lots selling for 100,000gns or more. This year’s sale has achieved an average in excess of 80,000gns, a median second only to last year’s runaway record and a clearance rate of 85%. The outstanding Dubawi filly who topped the sale at 725,000gns was the second highest-priced filly ever sold at this sale, 55 lots have sold for 200,000gns or more which is fractionally fewer than last year and the diversity of buyers has been notable at all levels of the market.
“As ever the support from the consignors has been outstanding. Year after year horses purchased at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale are successful at the very highest level throughout the world, annually demonstrating the extraordinary quality of yearlings that British and Irish consignors, alongside many from mainland Europe, commit to this sale. Buyers, both domestic and international, derive huge confidence from the consistent racecourse achievements of Tattersalls October Yearlings and buyers from throughout Europe and the Gulf region, as well as Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and the USA have all made valuable contributions this week alongside the domestic British and Irish participants who will always be the backbone of the October Yearling Sales.”
“I think it’s been quite good,” said Anthony Stroud of Stroud Coleman, which signed for 5,127,000gns worth of yearlings. “The average, median and clearance rate have all held up. The sales company has done very well to end at 8.30pm each night.
“There does seem to be more of a ceiling to the prices. We’re not seeing some of the figures seen in previous years but I think that’s understandable given the outside economic climate. And there’s been a lot of pinhookers bidding away under that top level, which is encouraging to see.”
The 425,000gns session-topper fell only second to the 725,000gns commanded by the Dubawi filly who sold to Godolphin as a wildcard entry on the first day having been rerouted from Book 1 due to injury, and matched that of a Havana Grey colt out of Dotted Swiss who was snapped up by Anthony Stroud during the second evening.
Bred by the Tsui family’s Sunderland Holding Inc, who bred and raced Sea The Stars, the colt is the third foal out of the placed Miss Aiglonne, a half-sister to six stakes horses including one of Sea The Stars’ best runners in Mekhtaal, winner of the Prix d’Ispahan. Given that Miss Aiglonne is by Dawn Approach, the colt is also inbred to Urban Sea.
Expanding further on the attraction of the colt, Brown added: “He’s by one of the great stallions around. We’re all realists. The fact is that most horses aren’t very good but buying a horse that looks like that by Sea The Stars gives you a chance of having a top Group 1 horse. And he has a proper back page.
“He’s not a huge horse – he’s perfectly sized. I saw Baaeed quite a lot of at William Haggas’s. He wasn’t actually a huge horse but had a great width of hip. This horse had that same kind of hind end. He’s a different colour but a similar model.”
He added: “I think a lot of credit has got to go to our spotters because it’s very hard to get round these numbers. Sam Goyette has been helping me this week and very early on, he said to me that he had found a special horse. I kind of raised my eyebrows and went ‘yeah of course’. I went on down there to Norelands and was ‘wow, yes this is a very serious horse.’ I knew then that he’d be hard to buy.
“Luckily, I had a client willing to stretch for him and have a go. He’ll stay in England but we’re not sure yet who will train him.”
Meanwhile, a busy day for owner Jim Hay saw him come away with three well-connected colts including a son of Gleneagles at 325,000gns.
Consigned by Whatton Manor Stud, Hay’s new acquisition not only shares his sire with his high-class three-year-old Royal Scotsman but is also bred on a variation of the same Pivotal cross as that colt as a son of the Pivotal mare Ledena, a five-time winner in Germany.
“We decided early on that he was the one we wanted to buy,” said Hay. “We’ve had quite a few by Gleneagles, we think he’s a top-class stallion and we like buying his progeny.
“This colt is the same Pivotal cross as Royal Scotsman. The experts – agents Dermot Farrignton and Ed Sackville – also tell me that this is a horse with perfect conformation. Everything looks good, so who knows.”
He added: “Coming here is all part of owning racehorses. They all look great in the ring. This is where it all starts, all the dreams!”
The Gleneagles colt rounded off a productive day for his buyer, who also landed a Churchill colt at 310,000gns.
A close relation to the Irish Derby hero Treasure Beach, who carried Hay’s colours when second in the 2012 Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park, the colt was bred by his vendor, Clare Castle Stud, out of Treasure Beach’s half-sister Honor Bound, the 2014 Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial winner.
“Churchill has had an outstanding year on the track headlined by the filly, Blue Rose Cen, in France,” said agent Ed Sackville. “He’s from a brilliant farm who bred the broodmare sire Authorized and his half-sister Andromede is now a stakes winner – there’s plenty happening in the family.”