The bar keeps raising ever higher as far as the Tattersalls October Sale is concerned.
When all was done and dusted at the end of the 2018 renewal of Book 1, Tattersalls could celebrate generating a record turnover for the seventh consecutive year as the host of 106 million guineas worth of yearlings. Included in that total was the world’s most expensive yearling of 2018 in the Dubawi brother to Too Darn Hot, sold by his breeder Watership Down Stud to David Redvers for 3.5 million guineas.
Only time will tell whether this year’s edition can match those heady levels. But a catalogue of 552 well-bred individuals, among them the full or half-siblings to 56 Group/Grade 1 winners, aligned with another year of excellent results on the track, that growing momentum behind the £25,000 Tattersalls October Book 1 bonus and increased international interest is a potent mixture that suggests another strong renewal is on the cards.
However, the lower levels of Book 2 and certainly Books 3 and 4 will present a very different test. In an increasingly selective market, those yearlings that don’t conform to market expectations will be a challenge to move on, many of them undoubtedly winners in waiting. Look no further than Princess Margaret Stakes heroine Under The Stars, a 6,000gns yearling out of Book 3 last year.
THE INSIDE VIEW
Charlie Vigors, Hillwood Stud
“One thing that has been evident out of the early sales so far this year is the polarisation of the market – the gap is getting wider and wider. Average but perfectly acceptable fillies, which I’m sure will go on to win plenty of races, will be hard to sell and I can see that trend going right the way through the season.
“We have a draft of 11 heading to Book 1. I suppose the obvious one is the Kodiac colt out of Yarrow. We bought the mare out of the Ballymacoll dispersal and this is a gorgeous first foal, very athletic.
“The Awtaad colt out of Witnessed is a lovely strong colt. We also have a very nice Frankel colt out of Tropical Paradise and a particularly nice Lope De Vega colt out of Moi Meme.
“Looking at Book 2, we have a solid bunch of horses by the right kind of stallions. The Exceed And Excel half-brother to Rawdaa is a lovely colt.
“We also have the Charming Thought half-sister to Accidental Agent. She represents a great opportunity to buy into a happening family and this filly is very similar to Accidental Agent at the same stage.”
Paul Thorman, Trickledown Stud
“We have five going to Book 1, which is the most we’ve ever had, and the individuals stack up. The Frankel colt out of Fann is a good colt and then we have the Muhaarar colt out of Talampaya, who for me is one of the best mares out there as the dam of Group 3 winner La Rioja and granddam of Liberty Beach.
“Book 2 is the real barometer of the market – if we get there and there’s a demand for those 30,000gns to 40,000gns yearlings, then we’re okay.
“The Goffs UK Premier Sale was strong, especially on the first day. But if you had one that missed, even by the slightest, it didn’t just drop 10% in value, it dropped 30%.
“Looking at it all so far this year, a fantastic amount of horses have been bought in. It’s not just overproduction – yes it plays its part but, for me, the biggest change of the past three to four years has been the drop in smaller trainers buying those £15,000 – £20,000 horses. If you talk to them, they say there are two problems.
“First, they don’t have the staff good enough to ride two-year-olds, so it becomes cheaper and more manageable to buy an older horse. And second, the BHA needs to sort the novice race system out.
“If you go into an open novice, the chances are you’ll meet a highly rated animal and have little chance of winning. So unless those cheaper yearlings are freaks, they’re now having little choice but to go handicapping.”
Robin Sharp, Houghton Bloodstock
“We’re very fortunate in that we have a pair of Shamardals in Book 1. Lot 144 is exceptional. He’s big, strong and a good mover – he looks to me like the next Blue Point. The Kingman filly out of Lustrous is attractive and
we also have two free-moving colts by Oasis Dream.
“For Book 2, there is a very smart New Approach colt and Pearl Secret colt out of a half-sister to Sands Of Mali, who looks like a real strong two-year-old type.
“As ever, the top end of the market will be great. But by the end of Book 3 and then into Book 4, we’ll all be under pressure. The smaller trainers have fewer orders and they’re no longer buying on spec.”
Five to watch out for…
Lot 11 • b f Invincible Spirit – Scarlett Rose (Royal Applause)
The half-sister to fellow Book 1 graduate Blue Point, who captured the imagination of the racing public earlier this year with his sweep of Royal Ascot’s King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Oak Lodge & Springfield House Studs
Lot 19 • b f No Nay Never – Seeking Solace (Exceed And Excel)
The sister to Ten Sovereigns. Successful in last year’s Middle Park Stakes, Ten Sovereigns returned this season to take the July Cup and is currently in training for a tilt at the Everest at Randwick in Australia.
Camas Park Stud
Lot 77 • b c Dubawi – The Fugue (Dansili)
The first foal out of Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s champion mare The Fugue to come under the hammer. A member of Watership Down Stud’s Sumoto family, The Fugue was saddled by John Gosden to win the Yorkshire Oaks, Irish Champion, Nassau and Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
An outstanding draft for Dubawi also includes the half-brothers to Legatissio and Galileo Gold as well as the first foal out of Prix de l’Opera heroine Speedy Boarding.
Watership Down Stud
Lot 166 • b f Dark Angel – Anna Law (Lawman)
The sister to sprint sensation Battaash, Sheikh Hamdan’s speedball who was at his most lethal recently when lowering Dayjur’s track record in the Nunthorpe Stakes.
Lot 180 • b c Frankel – Attraction (Efisio)
Hopes will be high that this colt can provide a fitting tribute to his breeder, the Duke of Roxburghe, who died in late August. He is the 11th foal out of the Duke’s wonderful miler Attraction and a brother to this year’s York Stakes winner Elarqam. A strong draft for Frankel also includes the half-brother to Golden Horn and half-sister to Japanese Derby hero Deep Brillante.