The ambition of Prince Faisal Bin Khalid Bin Abdulaziz’s Najd Stud to compete at the top table has been a key element of trade at this year’s Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale, and it was a similar story on Wednesday as the Saudi Arabian operation launched winning bids for the session-topper Boltaway and high-class two-year-old Chipotle.
The 400,000gns sale of Boltaway headed another strong day of trade that featured the sale of 277 horses for 10,636,000gns and at an average of 38,397gns, up 10% from 2020. The median rose by 38% to 22,000gns.
So far overall, 796 horses have sold for a total of 29,024,500gns – already a record figure for the sale, and with a day of trade still to go.
In the case of multiple winner Boltaway, there was the enticing package of a progressive handicapper who has been handled to great effect this season by Roger Charlton for Juddmonte Farms. In six starts, he has won four races, culminating in a competitive 1m4f handicap at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting to rise to a mark of 93, and also boasts a top-class pedigree, being a Dubawi son of Grade 1 winner Proviso.
“We tried to buy this horse privately but that wasn’t possible and so we waited for this sale,” said Najd Stud’s representative Saad bin Mishraf, who has been working this week alongside Peter and Ross Doyle. “It’s been one of the toughest markets I have ever seen for horses in training.
“Boltaway is by Dubawi, whose offspring have succeeded in Saudi Arabia, and out of a Dansili mare. Dansilis have done well well in Saudi Arabia, so he has the right pedigree. He also had size and good feet for racing on dirt.
“He’s not been over-raced and he vetted 100 per cent, which was one of the main reasons for trying to buy him.
“All the races in Saudi Arabia are on the up, with better prize-money, sometimes increased by four or five times. There are races for locally-bred horses and imported horses, and while we don’t have many imported horses, the ones we have are very good.”
Najd Stud’s purchase of Chipotle, meanwhile, for 210,000gns provided his owners Woodway 20 – a syndicate set up this season by trainer Eve Johnson Houghton – with a result to remember. Johnson Houghton paid just 10,000gns with Highflyer Bloodstock for the Havana Gold colt at last year’s Tattersalls Ascot Yearling Sale and went on to saddle him to win four races including the Redcar Two Year Old Trophy and Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“I am a bit teary because he has been amazing and for a 10,000gns purchase to win the Brocklesby, win at Royal Ascot, at Redcar and then come here…” said Johnson Houghton. “And he is going to do a job for someone as he has grown again. He is tough, sound, will get the 7f – I hope he does really well in Saudi. He has just been a great, great horse for us. I am thrilled with the price and good luck to the new owners.”
She added: “I was a bit concerned last year with Covid that I was not going to have any horses, so I bought three yearlings – I bought Chipotle at the Tattersalls Ascot Sale and Ant [Bromley] did a brilliant job.
“I set up the syndicate The Woodway 20 with the rules that we had to sell the horses at the end of their two-year-old careers. I would have loved to have kept him but it is really hard in England for that type of horse. If he isn’t Group class – I am not saying he won’t be Group class – but if he doesn’t get to that as a three-year-old then you are hammered by the handicapper. It does make it so hard for them.”
The Najd team also went to 240,000gns for the 103-rated Fundamental, a Listed-placed son of Dark Angel, and 160,000gns for the 88-rated two-year-old Implore, by Ulysses. Both were offered by The Castlebridge Consignment on behalf of owner Cheveley Park Stud and trainers John and Thady Gosden.
Juddmonte in demand
At eight lots, the Juddmonte Farms draft might not have boasted the numerical weight of recent editions but such was the quality that it attracted its usual depth of interest.
The 87-rated Old Flame opened proceedings in front of packed ring by selling for 250,000gns to Tattersalls’ Jason Singh, taking instructions on the phone.
It transpired that the son of Invincible Spirit, a winner at Wolverhampton and Catterick in four starts this season for Ralph Beckett, is to continue his career in Australia for the father and son team of Paul and Peter Snowden, acting in conjunction with Will Johnson.
“He will be on the first shipment from Europe to Australia,” said Snowden Racing’s manager Colum McCullagh. “He looks to have the right sort of profile for Australia and is by Invincible Spirit, who has such a huge influence here through his son I Am Invincible.
“He should suit a lot of races here over distances from 6f to a mile, he is a real sprinter-miler type. He has not been bought for a particular client and we will look to syndicate him.”
McCullagh added: “He came highly recommended by his trainer, who loved him every morning and evening. I have to give special mention to Will Johnson, who spent time in Newmarket as assistant to trainer Roger Varian. Will has put a lot of work into the catalogue and it is great to have someone with his knowledge of racing in the region.
“To have a horse from such an organisation is Juddmonte Farms speaks for itself – Old Flame has just two dams on the page and has a stallion’s pedigree.”
Old Flame is one of three winners out of the First Defence mare Lilyfire, whose stakes-winning half-sister Tantina foaled Cityscape and Bated Breath and is the granddam of Logician.
On a day where Australian participation propelled the top end of the market, Johnny McKeever also went to 230,000gns for the 93-rated King Of Clubs and Chester Vase hero Youth Spirit, both on behalf of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
King Of Clubs, a three-year-old son of Intello has been steadily progressive for Hughie Morrison this season, winning two races including his penultimate start at Sandown.
“He is a lovely horse, Robbie Waterhouse liked the form, I liked the horse and Hughie Morrison recommended him,” said McKeever. “It is the same formula we have always used – find the horse we like, with the right form, with the right rating, between 95 and 110 – and hope he or she adapts to Australia. We think this is a horse who looks like he will make a nice stayer in Australia.
“They are hard to come by and there are only a few in this sale. We are all sharing them around, I think!”
Youth Spirit has been highly tried by Andrew Balding since his Chester Vase win but has run creditably on several occasions, notably when placed in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.
Annabel Neasham, meanwhile, will take charge of Matthew Flinders following his sale for 230,000gns to Stuart Boman of Blandford Bloodstock.
A two-time winner for Ed Walker, Stuart Stuckey’s homebred son of Siyouni ran second in this year’s Listed City Plate Stakes at Chester.
“This is my second purchase for Annabel at this sale, the first one was obviously very successful!” said Boman, alluding to last year’s purchase of subsequent Group 1 winner Zaaki. “It is going to be a hard act to follow but we wanted to target what we felt could be one of the nicest horses for Australia.
“His ability is far better than what the form book shows. He is a horse who constantly travels best of all, in any field he is in. I spoke with Ed Walker and I think he has probably felt he has had a Group horse on his hands for a long time – he wanted him to win his big handicap but he never had his day. The handicapper then forced his hands by raising the horse’s mark so high. He ran so well at Chester [July 10] leading into the Balmoral Handicap this month and put in another good run there [when fifth].
“He is thoroughly consistent, runs to a very high Timeform rating all the time, he is a strong travelling horse and should really suit Australia with the firm ground. There are also a lot of races for him in his distance range.”
Among the jumps community, agent Joseph Logan is looking forward to seeing how 225,000gns purchase Pied Piper fares this winter in a juvenile hurdling campaign with Gordon Elliott.
Purchased on behalf of Andrew and Gemma Brown, the New Approach gelding arrived at the sale with a career high mark of 96 following an impressive four-length success at Leicester for John and Thady Gosden.
“Pied Piper has been bought by Andrew and Gemma Brown, who have a string of horses with Gordon,” said Logan. “The horse will go juvenile hurdling this winter – he won well last time on softer ground and looks to have a good profile to go hurdling – and will run back on Flat next summer. He will be a dual purpose type.
“I saw some videos of him and Gordon saw him at Tattersalls and really loved him.”
The sale concludes tomorrow from 9.30am.