A third and final session which featured the sale of five seven-figure yearlings brought the curtain down on a record-breaking renewal of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in Newmarket yesterday.

When all was done and dusted, the three-day sale turned over a record figure of 126,671,000gns, up 47 per cent  from 2021. The average rose by 30 per cent to 298,752gns while the median increased by 25 per cent to 200,000gns. A total of 16 yearlings sold for a million guineas or more, among them eight by Dubawi and another sic by Frankel.

Particularly strong was Wednesday’s second session, which not only featured the sale-topping 2,800,000gns colt by Frankel out of So Mi Dar, the most expensive yearling sold worldwide this year, but also a turnover of 49,545,000gns, making it the highest grossing single session of bloodstock trading in European public auction history.

Lady Lloyd-Webber with the 2,800,000gns Frankel colt. Photo – Tattersalls

“This has been an extraordinary yearling sale,” commented Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony. “When the first two lots through the ring on Tuesday morning made 500,000gns and 1,300,000gns, the stage was set and the pace has been unrelenting from that moment on. Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale annually showcases the very best yearlings to be found in Europe, and even by the lofty standards of this special sale we felt that this year’s catalogue was out of the ordinary. Nevertheless we could not have predicted the extraordinary level of trade we have experienced over the past three days.

“Record turnover in excess of 125 million guineas, a rise of almost 40 million guineas on last year’s October Book 1, as well as a record median and a record average price just under 300,000gns are impressive statistics by any standards, but the progression of this sale in recent years has been truly remarkable. Only twelve years ago, Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale produced turnover of 48 million guineas and an average of 107,000gns, which puts this week’s remarkable figures into context. As well as the huge rises in all of the key indicators, an unprecedented 73 yearlings have sold for 500,000gns or more and there have been 16 which have broken the million guineas mark with the 2.8 million guineas Frankel colt from Watership Down Stud being the highest priced yearling sold anywhere in the world this year.”

He added: “Impressive as all the statistics are, the real feature of Book 1 of the 2022 October Yearling Sale has been the sustained demand at all levels of the market which has contributed to a clearance rate well in excess of 85%. Buyers from throughout the world, most notably the Gulf region, America, China, Japan and throughout Europe have all made a significant impact on a record-breaking sale and particularly notable has been the presence of so many of the world’s most successful racehorse owners here at Park Paddocks for the duration of the sale. Their confidence in Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale is hugely appreciated and reflects not only the outstanding quality of the yearlings which the vendors commit to the sale year after year, but also the sale’s unrivalled reputation for producing Classic and Gr.1 winners and Newmarket’s status as the European hub of the thoroughbred business.

“In addition to so many of the world’s leading owners, the number of British and Irish trainers active throughout the week has been notable and their presence has without doubt been influenced by the £7,200,000 in October Book 1 Bonus prize-money which we have distributed since 2016. The £20,000 Tattersalls October Book 1 Bonuses are hugely popular and to see so many beneficiaries reinvesting this week is a strong endorsement of a scheme which continues to reward owners at all levels of the Book 1 market.

“To have rewritten the Book 1 record books and to have seen so many breeders and consignors so richly rewarded this week has been wonderful. Europe’s premier yearling sale has lived up to its reputation in spectacular fashion and we look forward to sustaining the momentum into Books 2, 3 and 4 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale starting on Monday next week.”

Frankel reigns

Thursday’s session continued a momentous week for Frankel, who ended the sale with an average of 749,800gns for 25 sold.

Included in that group were Thursday’s two most expensive yearlings in a colt out of Bold Lass, bought by Richard Knight for 2,000,000gns, and a colt out of Blue Waltz, bought by M V Magnier and Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm for 1,900,000gns.

The sale of the 2,000,000gns colt contributed to an outstanding week for Watership Down Stud, also vendor of the So Mi Dar yearling among 8,780,000gns worth of yearlings. A half-brother to the Listed-placed Amniarix, he is out of a four-time winning half-sister to top sprinter Tante Rose and Rosie’s Posy, dam of the Classic-winning sire Make Believe.

Godolphin made a bold play for the colt but they came up against a determined rival in Richard Knight, whose investment on behalf of an undisclosed owner this week consisted of 10,455,000gns worth of stock.

“He’s obviously a Frankel,” said Knight. “We tried to buy the filly [out of Shambolic] yesterday by the stallion. They’re as hot as anything and they’re hard to buy. We were well aware we were going to have to pay a good price to get him. 

“He’s a really quality colt, I went down to see him again this morning and he’s a very athletic horse who vetted well. The dam has already produced a 100-rated horse and comes from a nice family. He’s just a lovely colt. I thought that we would probably have to take on Godolphin – they were never going to be easy to beat and he came in at the top of our budget but we did think that we’d have to go to around that.”

He added: “There are a beautiful bunch of horses here. It is the best catalogue of horses as individuals that I’ve seen at a yearling sale. You can get into some of these sales and the individuals don’t match up to the pedigrees. But here they do and there are some lovely horses. The yearling sales have been very strong so far, breaking records everywhere, and when you get the level of individuals that are here, then it is no surprise that Tattersalls are having such a good sale.

“The world is all over the place. But top end bloodstock always seems to be in a bubble, and that has always seemed to be the case.”

This Frankel colt out of Bold Lass topped Thursday’s session. Photo – Tattersalls

M V Magnier and White Birch Farm partnered up on Wednesday to purchase two seven-figure lots by Frankel in a 2,400,000gns colt out of Sweepstake and a 1,500,000gns filly out of Shambolic, and they again returned to the well on Thursday, this time to outbid Godolphin at 1,900,000gns for Fittocks Stud’s colt out of Blue Waltz.

Bred by his vendor with Arrow Stud, the colt is out of Blue Waltz, a Fittocks Stud-bred half-sister to Group 3 winners Fantasia and Pink Symphony, herself dam of this year’s Man O’War Stakes winner Highland Chief.

“It has been an amazing week, the market has been very strong, long may it continue,” said Fittocks Stud’s Luca Cumani following the sale. “It is very exciting to be part of this environment. You never know what they might make, we thought he’d be 500,000gns to 800,000gns and up, but you can never tell.”

He added: “I trained for Peter Brant of White Birch in the 1980s and early 90s, and I had Shoot A Line, the dam of Thunder Gulch [the 1995 Kentucky Derby winner bred by Brant]. 

“We also sold [St Leger winner] Milan to Coolmore. I am very grateful to MV Magnier and Paul Shanahan, but especially to our staff – they have done a wonderful job, they really have over excelled themselves.

“It is especially good that this colt stays in Europe. We need the class horses. And people know that if you want class horses, then you need to come to this sale and to Europe to get them.”

Godolphin on top

With Sheikh Mohammed in attendance, Godolphin came away with 25 lots worth a total of 25,355,000gns, among them eight seven-figure yearlings.

On Thursday, their haul was headed by two well-related Dubawi youngsters in a colt out of How, a full-sister to the Classic winners Minding, Tuesday and Empress Josephine from Longview Stud, and another out of the Group 1 winner God Given from Whatton Manor Stud.

“I think there’s been a lot of very nice horses and it’s been very competitive,” said winning bidder Anthony Stroud. “I think the feel of the sale has been greater on the second and third day. I thought the first day’s momentum took a while to get going but overall it’s the best group of yearlings I’ve seen in Europe for a long time. Whether it’s Dubawi, No Nay Never, Frankel or Sea The Stars, and there are loads of other horses, it’s a good representation of the horses we have in Europe. 

“When you’re buying these horses the objective is that they’re good racehorses and we won’t know that until next year or the year after. But whenever you go to the sale, whether you’re buying for five thousand or whatever, you’re hoping for the very best. That’s what we all live on: the dream.”

Sheikh Mohammed: leading buyer at Book 1 Photo – Tattersalls

The God Given colt arrived at the sale for his breeder St Albans Bloodstock with a mighty update courtesy of his half-brother Silver Knott. A 725,000gns purchase by Godolphin out of this sale last year, the colt was a mere unplaced two-year-old at the time of catalogue publication; several weeks on and not only is he a winner but one of the most accomplished two-year-olds of the season with a win in the Solario Stakes to his name.

“We have the half-brother who’s a very promising horse,” said Stroud. “He comes from a very good hotel and I thought he was a very imposing Dubawi. Charlie’s record with Dubawis is second to none. I thought he was a very nice horse. This one is a bigger, stronger model than the half-brother.”

His sale capped a good week for vendor Whatton Manor Stud, under whose banner he was prepped and sold on behalf of Andrew Stone’s St Albans Bloodstock. Stone bred God Given out of Ever Rigg, also the dam of champion Postponed, and campaigned her to win six races with Luca Cumani headed by the Premio Lydia Tesio at Rome, in which she became the final Group 1 winner for her popular trainer.

This colt is only the second foal out of the mare after Silver Knott, all of which gives Stone plenty to look forward too.

“When you breed a lovely horse, it always sad to see them go,” said Stone. “I have 16 mares and one has to keep the operation going. We are so blessed to have wonderful buyers in the market who are prepared to pay such a wonderful price for such as a real good horse.

“Having bred Postponed, it was exciting to see him do well, and now Godolphin have Silver Knott as well. I hope this horse is really good for them as well.

“He is such a special horse. He is such a big, imposing horse and he showed himself really well around the ring. Postponed seems such a long time ago now, and you wait for these good ones to come along – it is the stuff that dreams are made of.”

He added: “We are just deeply grateful to the his Royal Highness [Sheikh Mohammed] for supporting the trade. A lot of credit must also go to the Players and the team at Whatton Manor Stud, they do such a fantastic job.”

It was also a first seven-figure sale for Whatton Manor Stud.

“Last year was our highest price when his half-brother made 725,000gns, so to hit the million is unbelievably exciting,” said Ed Player. “We are delighted for Andrew. He is such a great guy, and a massive supporter of the industry and for him to have a big sale, I could not be more delighted for him and his family.

“All year we knew he was a beautiful horse. He has got the pedigree and the looks. There are so many hoops to jump. He has given us a few nervous moments along the way, but the guys at home have done an amazing job.”

Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Sale starts on Monday.