Progeny of Whitsbury Manor Stud’s top young sire Havana Grey dominated the Tattersalls Somerville Sale in Newmarket on Tuesday, accounting for two of the top three lots.
Leading the way was a homebred filly from Whitsbury Manor Stud itself, who will join George Scott on behalf of owner Charlie Rosier after selling for 155,000gns to Matt Coleman of Stroud Coleman Bloodstock.
The filly is all speed on paper being a sister to the Group 3-placed It’s Showtime Baby and out of Minoria, a winning Harbour Watch half-sister to Listed scorer Minalisa from the further family of top sprinter Owington.
“I thought she was a lovely filly,” said Coleman. “Havana Grey is a freak stallion. I think he has surpassed everyone’s expectations.
“This filly a fantastic mover. Obviously Anthony [Stroud] bought Vandeek and he has that wonderful flowing action that this filly also has. I thought she was the standout filly of the sale and Whitsbury Manor obviously breed a lot of winners. I’m looking forward to seeing her on the track next season.”
Havana Grey’s high-flying daughters also included a half-sister to this season’s smart juvenile Odyssey who was sold by her breeder Sophie Buckley of Culworth Grounds Stud for 140,000gns to Kia Joorabchian’s Amo Racing and agent Hamish Macauley.
Amo Racing has good reason to be particularly fond of Havana Grey given it has campaigned several of his better progeny, including this year’s Nell Gwyn Stakes winner Mammas Girl and the recent Listed Prix de la Vallee d’Auge heroine Graceful Thunder.
“This filly goes to George Boughey,” said Macauley. “Last year, I bought a Havana Grey filly called Graceful Thunder and she won a Listed race in France a few weeks ago.
“We went around the complex yesterday and picked out three horses that we wanted, and this filly was top of the list. Kia came down this morning and we showed her to him and he was happy with her. She cost a bit more than we thought but the stallion speaks for himself and she is lovely looking filly.”
Buckley paid just 10,000gns for her dam, the winning Last Echo, at the Tattersalls December Sale. Since then, the mare has rewarded the breeder by not only producing Odyssey, whose performances this season include a placing in the Superlative Stakes, but also the dual winner Echo Beach.
“Matt Coleman helped me buy the mare,” she said. “I wanted her as she is a Whipper mare – he is a good broodmare sire and there are not that many of them so it is hard to get them.
“She has had a great update this year with Oddyssey – Pat Owens has done a great job of training him to get his black-type.”
Great result for Dowling
There was a popular result earlier in the day in the sale of a Galiway colt for 145,000gns from Gary Dowling’s Drumhill Stud.
The sale provided a major turn on the €27,000 that he had cost AB Bloodstock at last year’s Arqana December Sale. It was ‘by miles’ the best result enjoyed by Dowling, whose late father, Sean, was also an accomplished pinhooker.
“He will have been looking down on us,” said Dowling. “I did this colt myself but there’s a few of us involved. That was our biggest touch although Dad had some good days here.
“It’s what you do it for. We brought him here hoping he’d make a few quid but it’s dreaming when you get to that level.
“I was just hoping he might stand out a bit a here. He’s a very good physical, the stallion is on fire and the mare is two winners from two runners. And it paid off. I’ve never had a horse of that quality and he was flat out here.”
Richard Hannon is set to train the colt, who is a half-brother to two winners and out of the winning Golconde, a Modigliani sister to Italian champion Magritte.
“He’s for Richard Hannon,” said Doyle. “We saw him together this morning. Richard thought he was an absolute smasher, which we agreed with. We saw him yesterday and every time we went down there, he did the exact same show. He’s an absolute dude of a horse and very well produced by the lads – Fearghal and Gary are very good.
“The stallion is obviously capable of getting a very good horse, he’s on the up big time. We haven’t had one before but I know there are some good judges high on him. Willie Mullins and Harold Kirk have been telling me for years to get one. Look at a horse like Vauban – he could win a Melbourne Cup.”
He added: “He’ll tell us when he’s ready. I don’t think you’d push a horse like that. But it would be nice if he could rock up in something like a Chesham.”
In all, 305 yearlings sold for a record turnover of 8,614,000gns and record average of 32,022gns, up five per cent from last year. The median of 27,500gns, an increase of six per cent from 2022, was also a record.
Seven yearlings sold for six figures compared to four last year while the clearance rate wound up at 89 per cent.
“The Tattersalls Somerville Yearling Sale has established itself as an important fixture in the European yearling sale calendar in a remarkably short period of time,” commented Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony. “Only two years ago the turnover at the inaugural Somerville Yearling Sale was below five million guineas, the average a fraction over 21,000gns and the median was 16,250gns. Today’s third edition of the Somerville has produced records across the board with turnover above 8.5 million guineas, an average well over 30,000gns and a median of 27,500gns.
“There is always a correlation between racecourse success and sale ring success and Somerville yearlings have enjoyed an extraordinary recent run with the likes of Bradsell, Indian Run and Relief Rally showcasing the sale to great effect on the home front and Gr.1 Del Mar Oaks winner Anisette providing the best possible advertisement across the Atlantic.
“These outstanding results have clearly not gone unnoticed and Park Paddocks has been alive with activity over the past few days. Top British and Irish consignors have sent us some smart yearlings and their confidence in our newest yearling sale has been reflected in a sale of real depth with a clearance rate approaching 90% and the number of yearlings selling for more than 50,000gns and more than 100,000gns increasing significantly on last year’s impressive numbers.
“The pinhookers have also enjoyed some spectacular returns on their investments and today’s robust trade has given us a positive start to the Tattersalls yearling sale season as we now look forward to Books 1 to 4 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and the unveiling of our newly renovated Somerville Yard, which is the latest major investment undertaken at Park Paddocks.”