The breeze-up sector is no stranger to producing top-class horses, but even by its standards the 2022 season proved to be an exceptional advert.
With the previous year’s Group 1-winning two-year-olds Native Trail and Perfect Power among those that headed back into battle, it always threatened to be a good year. Yet by the end of it the sector could boast three Classic-winning graduates alongside a pair of Group 1-winning two-year-old fillies.
Native Trail, sold by Norman Williamson’s Oak Tree Farm for 210,000gns to Godolphin at the 2021 Tattersalls Craven Sale, duly justified the early-season hopes of his connections by winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas having run second in the Newmarket equivalent. Perfect Power, a graduate of Tally-Ho Stud who had been bought by Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock for £110,000 at the Goffs UK Doncaster Breeze-Up, also added to his Group 1 haul by winning the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
Williamson’s 2021 draft, however, also included the Dubawi colt Eldar Eldarov. Sold for £480,000 to agent Oliver St Lawrence at the Arqana May Sale, staged that year at Doncaster, he showed the benefit of time and distance to capture the St Leger for Roger Varian. He stays in training.
Then there was Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Cachet, who progressed from a busy eight-race juvenile season to light up the early part of the year by taking the Nell Gwyn Stakes and 1,000 Guineas for George Boughey. The daughter of Aclaim, who was sold by her breeder John Bourke of Hyde Park Stud to her owners for a relatively inexpensive 60,000gns at the 2021 Tattersalls Craven Sale, is another to stay in training.
Tally-Ho Stud are rarely far from the action and having sold Perfect Power in 2021, the O’Callaghan family unearthed another set of juvenile jewels in Lezoo, winner of the Cheveley Park and Princess Margaret Stakes, and The Platinum Queen, who became the first two- year-old in 44 years to capture the Prix de l’Abbaye. Neither cost the earth; Lezoo was knocked down to Atlas Bloodstock for €110,000 at the Arqana May Sale, while homebred The Platinum Queen was bought for just 57,000gns at the Tattersalls Guineas Sale by Richard Fahey and Middleham Park Racing. Tally-Ho also sold the Beresford Stakes winner Crypto Force.
Sakheer, a product of Willie Browne’s Mocklershill academy, also looked Group 1 material when romping home in the Mill Reef Stakes, as did Bradsell with his powerful winning performance in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
‘I wish I had a yard full of them!’
We asked several breeze-up consignors for their thoughts on the first-crop sires whose progeny are showing the right signs at home.
Con Marnane, Bansha House Stables:
“It’s such a competitive year. So many top horses went to stud and they’ve all got the credentials to do well.
“I have two by Advertise, a colt and a filly. Both are very nice to work with, lovely, relaxed horses but when you want them to go, they go. I wish I had a yard full of them! I also have two Soldier’s Call colts that I like. They’re lovely horses, they’re quick and won’t take long.
“I also have a fast one by Inns Of Court and two lovely Land Force fillies. They’re mature types with good minds. Then there is a very nice Blue Point filly. She’s a sister to [Group 1-placed] Forever In Dreams and I’ve sent the mare back to Blue Point on the strength of this filly.
“I also have a smashing Ten Sovereigns colt, he’s tall and well- balanced, and he goes really well. And of the Americans, we have a big, strong colt by Audible. He goes very well, especially for a late foal.”
Willie Browne, Mocklershill:
“I have a couple by Ten Sovereigns and I’m very happy with them. They’re very nice horses. I also think Calyx has a chance – I have three of them and they can go a bit. I also have a couple of Blue Points that I like. One of them is particularly sharp but they all seem to go well.”
Johnny Collins, Brown Island Stables:
“I have a few Blue Points, two for the Craven and a sharp one for Doncaster, and they all go well. They’re nice horses, easy to work with, and at the moment I like the stallion a lot. I also have a Ten Sovereigns that I like a lot from what I’ve seen so far and an Advertise that goes ok.”
“We have a few by Mitole that look fast. I have a Vino Rosso that I really like and also an Omaha Beach. One dark horse could be Demarchelier. He’s a very well-bred son of Dubawi and was very talented – I know Chad Brown loved him. He’s also been well supported by Peter Brant and Claiborne Farm. I like the ones I’ve got and I wouldn’t be surprised if they could run a bit. I also have a filly by Catholic Boy that goes really well. She’s more in the mould of Catholic Boy’s sire, More Than Ready, and I’m looking forward to sending her to the OBS April Sale.”