A Frankel relation to Irish Oaks heroine Star Catcher lit up the second session of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale when knocked down to M V Magnier and Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm for 2,000,000gns.

Magnier outbid Juddmonte Farms and then Godolphin for the Hascombe and Valiant Stud-bred colt, who was one of four million-guinea yearlings sold during the day. That was an improvement on the pair of seven-figure lots sold during the opening session but overall, the market failed to keep pace with last year, with 134 yearlings selling for a total of 35,599,000gns and average of 265,664gns, down 23% from the corresponding day in 2022.

Like many bred by his vendor Hascombe and Valiant Stud, the Frankel colt descends from an easily recognisable Hascombe and Valiant family, in this instance as the product of a winning mare, Bizzarria, who is not only a full-sister to Grade 1 winner Cannock Chase but also a half-sister to Oppenheimer’s triple Group 1 heroine Star Catcher.

“In fairness to Hascombe, they’ve bred some very good horses in the past – they’re very good breeders,” said Magnier. “This is a very nice, well-bred horse. Frankel is flying and everyone [from the Coolmore team] liked him. He goes to Ballydoyle.”

The winner of her second and final start for John Gosden, Bizzarria is already the dam of Bizzarre Law, a two-time winner. Her yearling, who is bred on the same Frankel – Lemon Drop Kid cross as top miler Without Parole, is her fourth foal.

“I’m selling all my colts this year and so far we’ve done quite well as we’ve sold five of them,” said Oppenheimer. “I knew he was a very nice horse but watching him walk round the ring, I had no regrets at all. We’re refuelling the stud’s finances and that can’t do any harm.”

As the day’s trading wound down, Magnier also went to 1,250,000gns for a Wootton Bassett half-brother to top sprinter Golden Horde.

His breeder, James Cloney of Clara Stud, paid just 14,000gns for his dam, the winning Pivotal mare Entreat, at the 2016 Tattersalls July Sale. She has since gone on to become an excellent broodmare, not only as the dam of Golden Horde but also the Listed winners Exhort and Line Of Departure.

“The horse really did it himself,” said Cloney, a pharmacist by trade who maintains 15 mares with his father-in-law Michael Nolan at the Kilkenny-based Clara Stud. “He was a real nice specimen of a horse, he moved really well. 

“Entreat is a special mare who really produces top quality year after year. When we used Wootton Bassett, you could see from what he had done in France that he was on the upgrade. He’s had a fantastic year but back then we had an inkling he was good, and he’s proven himself since then.”

MV Magnier outbid Godolphin at 2,000,000gns for this Frankel colt. Photo – Tattersalls

Battaash half to Godolphin

Sheikh Mohammed also continued to make his presence felt at Newmarket in Wednesday with a series of high-profile acquisitions to add to his Godolphin squad.

Bidding through Anthony Stroud, the Sheikh went to 1,500,000gns for the Blue Point half-brother to champion sprinter Battaash, offered as part of the draft belonging to his breeder Paul McCartan of Ballyphilip Stud. The colt was widely regarded as one of the best horses on the sale ground and Stroud had to fend off strong interest from Juddmonte Farms, Mark McStay and then Najd Stud to secure the youngster.

“He’s an outstanding horse by a stallion who has done so well this year,” said Stroud. “Blue Point has done so well, he’s siring so many winners and then he got the winner of the Lagardere [Rosallion] the other day. He’s looking incredibly promising.

“Then you couple that with the fact that this colt is out of a mare who produced a horse like Battaash. Paul McCartan has had so many good horses through his hands – Tiggy Wiggy, Harry’s Angel, Profitable among so many others. It’s a fantastic nursery and he does a fantastic job. So he was a horse that we thought would enhance Godolphin.”

It is part of racing and breeding folklore that McCartan paid just 14,000gns for Anna Law as a two-year-old at the 2012 Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale. The daughter of Lawman, a half-sister to Champagne Stakes winner Etlaala, was rated just 45 off the back of four unplaced runs on the track – but the story couldn’t be more different at stud, with Battaash, whose 13 wins included two renewals of the Nunthorpe Stakes and four editions of the King George Stakes, heading a stud record that also consists of this year’s Lacken Stakes winner The Antarctic.

‘I think he’s the nicest horse I’ve had anything to do with’ – the Blue Point half-brother to Battaash sells for 1,500,000gns. Photo – Tattersalls

“I haven’t said it to too many people but I think he’s the nicest horse I’ve had anything to do with,” said McCartan. “I really think that. I always put Battash as number one but just when this colt got here and did everything right…..everything came together and he’s an absolute belter.

“I’m delighted Godolphin got him and delighted that Charlie Appleby will train him. To me, he’s the image of his father and grandfather [Shamardal].

“It’s kind of surreal watching because it’s out of your control. I want to pay particular credit to my wife Marie and all the people who work for me. Everybody knows they’re the best team. Denis Lawlor, my head man, does a terrific job and he never comes to the sale. They’re a fantastic team. It is one of the most enjoyable parts of this for me – that we can all share it.”

On the decision to send Anna Law to Blue Point, then an unproven stallion, he added: “It was probably an act of lunacy to take such a risk with a mare who is so important to us. We probably should have been more conservative and gone for a proven horse. But I was there the day Blue Point beat Battaash in the King’s Stand. Battaash was good that day but I remember Blue Point walking into the ring and I had one look at him and one look at Charlie Appleby and I said ‘not today!’

“Anna Law has a filly foal by Dark Angel and is in foal to Frankel. It’s a different approach but he’s the best stallion around so why not? We’ll give it a roll again. She’s been an incredible mare. She’s started off quite a grumpy old girl but every time she sees me in the field, she knows she’ll get a fistful of nuts so we’re the best of friends now!”

Not long after, Godolphin went to 600,000gns for Philipp Stauffenberg’s Havana Grey half-brother to Dragon Symbol. The colt had been a punchy 250,000gns pinhook by his vendor but not for the first time, it went on to work out. [To read more on Philipp Stauffenberg, click here].

“Obviously Vandeek has done very well,” said Stroud, alluding to the Havana Grey colt purchased by the agent as a Tattersalls Craven breezer who has gone on to win the Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes. “And of course, Havana Grey has done so well. The colt is out of a very good mare and he’s an extremely nice horse.”

Bred by Whitsbury Manor Stud, the colt is out of the winning Arcano mare Arcamist and a half-brother to the high-class sprinter Dragon Symbol.

This Havana Grey colt realised 600,000gns from Godolphin. Photo – Tattersalls

Poignant result for Gunthers

John and Tanya Gunther have enjoyed many memorable moments courtesy of their homebred mare Without You Babe over the years and that continued on Wednesday at Tattersalls when the mare’s colt by Kingman headed the day’s early exchanges on a bid of 900,000gns from Oliver St Lawrence.

However, the result was a poignant one in that the colt is the final of 11 foals out of his dam. The daughter of Lemon Drop Kid left behind a trio of stakes winners for the Gunthers led by their homebred St James’s Palace Stakes hero Without Parole, now a stallion at Newsells Park Stud. Another out of the mare, Tamarkuz, won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for Sheikh Hamdan and enjoyed some success at stud for Shadwell in Kentucky before shifting to Canada.

Along the way, there have also been several high points in the ring, notably a Frankel colt who sold for 1,300,000gns to Godolphin last year and a Dubawi colt, subsequently named Manassas, who made 1,000,000gns to Kevin Ryan in 2019.

“The Kingman is just a lovely colt,” said St Lawrence. “I loved him from the first time I saw him and I knew we’d have to go strong on him. He’s a half-brother to two Group 1 winners out of a very good mare. He’s a robust horse and seems to have a good mind. Hopefully he’ll be one to take us to the Guineas and we can have a bit of fun.

“Like the Dubawi colt we just bought [a colt out of Wisdom Mind purchased for 500,000gns], he’s for Fawzi Nass and team. They like to find a stallion prospect if they can. Hopefully he can go out there and win a nice race and be a stallion. That’s the dream anyway.”

This family has been in Gunther hands for a number of years, starting with the purchase of his grandam, minor winner Marozia, for $50,000 in 2003. It swiftly became a good bit of business as the Fusaichi Pegasus yearling colt that she had on the ground at the time turned out to be the Grade 1 performer Andromeda’s Hero. The Cigar Mile Handicap and Travers Stakes winner Stay Thirsty, later a relatively successful stallion for Coolmore America, followed soon after.

Without You Babe, her 2005 filly, didn’t make it to the track but like her dam, she has gone on to exert a major influence at stud.

“It was sad losing the mare and this was her last foal,” said John Gunther Snr. “It was a tough decision to sell, he is such a fantastic yearling and it is a real heart breaker. Newsells has given him a tremendous start and he looked incredible here, he has gone to some very good owners and I am sure they will make us proud in future.”

Expanding on the decision to sell, he said: “It was sort of like a flip of coin, really. We weren’t going to let him go unless we got a good price for him, and it has turned out very well. We get to watch him run and we have his full-sister [Listed winner] She’s Got You so we can still carry on the family.”