A member of Trevor Stewart’s famous Cassandra Go family was the star act of the opening session of Tattersalls’ October Book 1 Sale in Newmarket on Tuesday.
The family is no stranger to sale ring success and with current stars such as Victoria Road and Auguste Rodin under the first two dams, it again shone on Tuesday, in this case thanks to a first-crop son of Ghaiyyath out of Stewart’s Group 3-winning sprinter Tickled Pink who commanded 1,050,000gns out of the Ballyhimikin Stud draft from Godolphin.
He was one of 11 purchases worth 6,665,000gns made during the day by Godolphin, who ended the session as the day’s dominant buyer. The Godolphin acquisitions included each of the day’s top four lots and five of the top seven overall.
The session-topping colt served to further underline the strong belief held by Godolphin towards the prospects of its first-season sire Ghaiyyath. As a champion son of Dubawi, there have been high hopes held of Ghaiyyath since his retirement to Kildangan Stud and the reception towards his first yearlings so far this season will have only strengthened that anticipation. Indeed, with Godolphin also paying 500,000gns for a Ghaiyyath half-sister to Craven Stakes winner Indestructible from Tally-Ho Stud, the stallion returned an average of 532,333gns for the day, second to only Dubawi (598,000gns) and slightly ahead of Frankel (525,000gns).
“We bought three by Ghaiyyath at Arqana, another two at Goffs and two more today,” said Anthony Stroud after outbidding Coolmore for 1,050,000gns colt. “We also feel very strongly as to how good he might be – he’s a stallion who must have a very good chance.
“This colt is an extremely nice horse from Ballyhimikin Stud, who breed so many good horses. And the family is second to none.”
The session-topping colt is a half-brother to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Victoria Road and out of Tickled Pink, who was campaigned by Stewart to win three races including the 2013 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket. In turn, Tickled Pink is out of his top sprinter Cassandra Go, who left behind an almighty legacy at stud as the dam of Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Halfway To Heaven, herself dam of the champion fillies Magical and Rhododendron (the dam of Auguste Rodin). Another daughter, Group 3 winner Theann, foaled Grade 1 winner Photo Call as well as the high-class juvenile Land Force.
“I’m so lucky,” said Stewart. “This is the fourth million guineas yearling we’ve had from the family. I didn’t expect it even though he was a gorgeous horse. It’s wonderful he’s going to Godolphin. He was by a first season sire so I wondered if there would be some limitations. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
“The first few out of Tickled Pink were a little on the neat side so I thought it would be good to get a bit more height and length into her individuals – that was why she went to Ghaiyyath. It was risky going to a first season sire and time will tell how good he is. But he was such a great racehorse. And then she produced this cracking horse.”
He added: “She has an outstanding full-brother to Victoria Road. He’s like a twin to Victoria Road, his markings are exactly the same. And she’s back in foal to Saxon Warrior and I’m praying for a filly.”
In all, 124 yearlings, 81%, sold during the day for a total of 30,638,000gns. The average rose by seven per cent to 247,081gns while the median recorded a major increase of 28% to 205,000gns.
“I don’t think there’s anything extra on the table,” said Julian Dollar. “You’ve got to have a nice horse and make sure there’s lots of interest. Overall they are making a little bit below where I thought they were going to be, so it’s sticky enough, but it’s always a little tricky the first day and then people get their confidence and it picks up.”
Fitting close to Shastye story
Barely has a year gone by in recent memory when a yearling out of Newsell Park Stud’s Shastye hasn’t commanded the Tattersalls ring. On Tuesday, that particular chapter drew to a close in spectacular style when her final foal, a son of Dubawi, realised 1,000,000gns to Godolphin.
In the process, he became the sixth seven-figure yearling to sell out of Shastye and brought the total proceeds of yearlings sold at Tattersalls out of the mare to 15.43 million guineas.
For breeder Newsells Park Stud, it was a particularly poignant moment given that the colt was the final foal out of the star mare, who died a day after giving birth to him in May last year. Listed-placed herself, the daughter of Danehill left behind 12 foals in total headed by three top-notchers in Japan, Europe’s champion three-year-old of 2019 who now stands at Gestut Etzean, dual Group 1 winner Mogul, who stands under Coolmore’s jumps banner, and Secret Gesture, a Group 2 on paper who was first past the post in the 2015 Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes and is now a multiple stakes producer for Godolphin.
Shastye, a half-sister to Arc hero Sagamix, is also the dam of Group 3 winner Sir Isaac Newton and Listed scorer Maurus.
“He’s an extraordinary foal out of an older mare,” said Newsell Park Stud’s Julian Dollar. “He’s got so much strength. I didn’t think Graham [Smith-Bernal] could ever bear to part with him because when [Shastye] died when the foal was 24 hours old, he was there and he bottle-fed the foal over that first night, so he had a big emotional attachment for Graham.
“She’s been a mare in a million. She’s done so much for Newsells Park Stud. She’s done so much for Andreas Jacobs before and now for Graham, which is great. It was a great day when Klaus Jacobs and John Warren bought her as a mare and we’ve been able to enjoy her ever since. This is fitting, a sort of footnote, if you like, that she has a million-guinea yearling as her last foal. And it’s nice for Graham to have that with a foal that was born after he bought the stud.”
The colt was one of two yearlings bought by Godolphin during the day by Dalham Hall Stud stalwart Dubawi.
“He’s by Dubawi out of an incredible mare who has produced so many great horses,” said Anthony Stroud. “Although he’s out of a mare with a bit of age on her, he looks incredibly well. We all obviously have huge regard for Dubawi and we own Secret Gesture. He’s a very good-looking, correct, athletic horse so he fitted our criteria.
“The boss looked at him, liked him and we felt we had to go for him. It’s an incredible family and we’re lucky to have part of it.”
Meanwhile, there were smiles all round for John Deer’s Oakgrove Stud earlier in the day when their sole Book 1 entry, a Frankel colt out of Poplin, set a new personal best for the operation by selling for 900,000gns to Godolphin.
The colt is the seventh foal out of his Listed-placed dam, who joined Oakgrove back in 2013 when purchased for 320,000gns. The daughter of Medicean has since produced five winners for the stud led by Alkandora, successful in the Listed Prix Melisande at ParisLongchamp for Godolphin.
“It means a lot as he’s the most expensive horse the stud has ever sold,” said David Hilton, stud manager at Oakgrove Stud. “Obviously John puts a lot of investment in, and this horse was bred in partnership with Juddmonte so we have to say a massive thank you to them for doing that with us.
“I’ve always thought he’s a pretty special horse and he’s been very busy since we got here. He hasn’t missed a beat. You can never be confident when you come up to the ring, even with the horse having been popular. You can be hopeful, but never confident. Watching that was a bit mad, really!
“It’s very rare to be in that position where people follow the horse through and you can just stand back and watch. It was amazing. John’s already been on the phone and he’s delighted. I’ve got to say well done to all our staff back at Oakgrove because they’ve done an amazing job.”