To the relief of buyers and consignors alike, the delayed yearling season got underway at Goffs UK’s Doncaster complex on Tuesday, when a colt by Starspangledbanner topped trade at £170,000 during the first session of the Premier Yearling Sale.

With disruption to a number of sales prior to this auction due to the coronavirus pandemic, Goffs decided in May to push the Premier Yearling Sale from its traditional August slot to September.

Encouragement for those attending could be gained in the clearance that stood at 83% after 190 lots from 229 offered changed hands, accounting for receipts of £6,970,500, down 34 per cent on 2019’s turnover. The average dropped 25 per cent to £36,685 and the median fell 21 per cent to £30,000.

It was noticeable that Shadwell, which spent £1,993,000 on 17 yearlings at this sale last year, was the only big name absent from those investing in stock on Tuesday.

The session-topping colt, one of 11 lots on offer by Coolmore’s reverse shuttler Starspangledbanner, was offered by Anna Sundstrom’s Coulonces Sales and is the first foal out of the Dalakhani mare Dalakania, a half-sister to Group 1 winner Ziyad.

Purchased by Richard Ryan, plans now call for the colt to head into training with Roger Varian.

Ryan said: “He was the star of the show; the best in the sale in our opinion, and in the opinion of the trainer.

“Starspangledbanner gets winners out of all sorts of mares and all sorts of pages, but only very rarely will they have that kind of look at this age; that scope and quality, backed up by a top-class pedigree.

“It’s a beautiful family. We’re looking for Classic horses, but those who have the precocity to show something at two. He fits that brief perfectly.”

For much of Tuesday’s session trade was headed by a Kodi Bear colt, snapped up by Phil Cunningham under his Rebel Racing banner, for £110,000. It was one of three lots Cunningham secured on the day, with the owner utilising the Goffs UK online bidding platform to secure his new purchases.

Consigned by Lewinstown Stud, the colt had been purchased in utero out of the unraced Bahamian Bounty mare Usem by his breeders Lewinstown Farm and Lemongrove Stud for just 4,000gns at the Tattersalls December Sale in 2018.

A half-brother to the winners Ikigai and Sayem, his dam is out of the Listed-winning Ripples Maid and is a half-sister to Japanese Grade 2 scorer Mikki Charm.

Ken Carroll of Lewinstown Farm said: “He had seven or eight vets on him and everyone seemed to be on him. He was the easy one to sell!

“It’s thanks to the mare, look what she’s done with two fillies by Sayif. She has a filly by Galileo Gold, who is a queen, and is in foal to Invincible Spirit – that’s how much we think of her.”

Bloodstock agents Peter and Ross Doyle, who have sourced a number of top-class horses from this sale over the years including Group 1 winner Tiggy Wiggy, were on the mark during Tuesday’s first session.

Their purchases included a colt by Acclamation from Redpender Stud for £105,000 and a filly by Kodiac, who was offered by Loughtown Stud, for £100,000.

Ross Doyle said: “We’ve had some very good Acclamations down the years; Mehmas, Ventura Tormenta, Harbour Watch. He’s been a very good sire for our clients and the Hannons.

“And I don’t need to explain our association with Redpender, we’ve bought two champions from them and we bought Happy Romance last year.”

Another yearling to break the six-figure mark was a filly by Tally-Ho Stud’s flying first-season sire Mehmas who was purchased by John and Jake Warren for £100,000.

It represented a fine return for Alice Fitzgerald, who had secured the filly’s dam Applauding for 6,500gns at the Tattersalls December Sale. The mare has already produced Ginger Nut, winner of the Weatherbys Super Sprint in 2018 who also took the Limeston Turf Sprint Stakes at Keeneland.

Fitzgerald said: “We’re in tough times but obviously her sire is flying which helped and she’s a half-sister to a fast filly in Ginger Nut. We knew she was popular, but we didn’t expect her to make that much.”

The Warrens struck late on in the session when going to £140,000 for a colt by Dark Angel out of the stakes-placed Kodiac mare Futoon offered by Grangemore Stud. The further family has produced a number of talented horses including Mill Reef Stakes winner Galeota and Molecomb Stakes scorer Brown Sugar.

On the Dark Angel colt, Warren said: “He’s a cracker of a horse who’s by a top sire. Getting horses like this by stakes-performing mares by Kodiac gives one tremendous confidence.

“He’s a terrific mover and there’s a lot of substance to him and he should make into a lovely two-year-old. He’ll stay in England, but we haven’t decided who’ll train him yet. He’s been bought for a private client.”