It was quality not quantity for Petches Farm at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale on Thursday as its select draft of three – all by first-crop stallions – turned over 235,000gns within the space of several minutes.
A major vote of confidence came the way of Coolmore’s young stallion Magna Grecia in the sale of the farm’s filly out of She’s So Flawless for 110,000gns to Arthur Hoyeau. Two lots later, the same agent also went to 45,000gns for Petches’ Calyx filly, the first foal out of its homebred Garswood mare Crown Of Flowers. And in between, Fairway Partners – a French-based pinhooking group fronted by Charlie Briere – went to 80,000gns for the farm’s colt by Masar, a relation to top stayers Subjectivist and Sir Ron Priestley.
Hoyeau outlined that his purchases had been sourced to race in France.
“After the strength of the yearling market, we thought foals might offer a bit more value,” he said. “They will go to France for an owner who was looking for a few fillies to race.
“It has been tough to buy yearlings this year so we were trying to buy a bit of value and buy foals and get them into the system.
“They may eventually be bred from – we will have to see how good they are, but buying as foals is really a response to the yearling market than anything else.
“The two fillies are different types. The Magna Grecia is a just a lovely, strong, scopey filly. She is a good mix of Invincible Spirit and Fastnet Rock – the mare is young and Fastnet Rock is such a good broodmare sire.”
The highest priced foal sold by Magna Grecia to date, the filly is the second foal out of the winning She’s So Flawless, a half-sister to Group 2 winner Parvaneh.
“A Guineas-winning miler by Invincible Spirit – Magna Grecia suited us down to the ground,” said Simon Venner of Petches Farm. “This filly has been stunning since day one – a knockout, very straightforward. We got her into prep and she just marched around and never put a foot wrong. Every time she came out of her box here, she just marched. We knew she was popular as she had a lot of vets.”
He added: “The Calyx filly was also very straightforward, she has a great temperament and she was another one that just came out and walked.”
At 80,000gns, Petches’ colt by Masar also provided a new auction high for his Derby-winning sire, who stands at Dalham Hall Stud. The first-crop of Masar, who was also quick enough to defeat Invincible Army on debut at Goodwood, also gained good reviews at Goffs, where the son of New Approach was represented by a colt out of Tahneed who sold for €68,000 to Tally-Ho Stud.
Petches’ colt is a half-brother to eight winners, including the Listed-placed Hope Cross and Reckoning (dam of Subjectivist and Sir Ron Priestley), and out of the winning Great Hope, by Halling.
“His popularity was a bit more of a surprise to be honest,” said Venner. “He’s a totally different type, a rangy, lighter type. He’s a very good moving colt. I was slightly surprised at how busy he has been and was a little unsure how popular he would be as a foal as a more middle-distance type, but as he is out of one of the Petches farm’s own mares, he was always going to be sold as a foal.”
He added: “It’s a great credit to the team. It’s hard work for everyone up here – the team and the foals – and they did a great job.”