The decision of Goffs and Arqana to combine their breeze-up auctions owing to the coronavirus pandemic paid off on Wednesday when both sales posted a string of six-figure lots.

Proceedings started with the Goffs UK Breeze-Up Sale and despite a significant number of withdrawals for various reasons, the auction hit its stride early on when a Mehmas colt fetched £165,000 from Alastair Donald of SackvilleDonald.

It capped a memorable day for Grade 1-winning jockey Andrew Lynch, who consigns under the Kilbrew Stables banner, after he had acquired the colt in a private sale last year having being unsold at €19,000 in the Sportsman’s Sale.

The Mehmas colt is out of Alexander Alliance, herself a Listed-winning half-sister to the dams of Maarek and Ardad.

Lynch said: “We’re delighted with that. He’s a gorgeous horse. I met the man who was selling him just as he was coming out of the sales ring and I bought him privately. My wife Fiona and I do them together and we only have a handful of horses.”

Donald added: “He’s for King Power Racing and will go to Andrew Balding. His breeze was the second-fastest breeze and he did it very easily. He’s just a very well-made and well-balanced individual from a speedy family and the stallion has had a solid start.”

Two lots later a Kingman colt from Gaybrook Lodge Stud set the benchmark of £290,000, a price that wasn’t to be eclipsed for the remainder of the Goffs UK Breeze Up-Sale.

Secured by Jamie Lloyd on behalf of Meah Lloyd Bloodstock, the agent said: “He’s been bought with my partner David Meah for one of our clients in America, Calvin Nguyen, and he’ll stay here for a while but will eventually be trained by Richard Baltas in California.

“The sire is well known to them over there and he’s a half-brother to two highly-rated two-year-olds.”

Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock was also active throughout the Goffs UK session and he struck at £175,000 for Star Bloodstock’s American Pharoah colt, who is out of the Grade 3-winning Final Fling.

Brown said: “He’s going to David Simcock. The stallion is exceptional. He’s not over-big but he has quite a bit of growing to do and we will give him a little bit of time.

“He’s been bought for our resale syndicate, Never Say Die, and this is far more than we’ve ever given for a horse so some of the shareholders might be having a heart attack. There are ten shares and Star Bloodstock are staying in for a share, that’s how much they believe in him.

“We thought long and hard about relaunching the syndicate this year, but the resale market seems to be completely unaffected by what’s going on in the world. Obviously, it’s a big risk but he’s by a properly international stallion and if he’s good enough then he will appeal to Hong Kong or America.”

All told, 83 lots sold for an aggregate of £3,869,900, an average of £46,625 and a median of £30,000.

After the conclusion of the Goffs UK section, Managing Director Tim Kent said: “We couldn’t have predicted that! It’s been a very long journey to enable us to hold this sale and there have been many twists and turns along the way but we are absolutely delighted with what has been achieved today.

“To deliver those results is way beyond what we could have imagined, and the timing could not be better with the yearling sales not far away.

“It has been a huge team effort to get to this stage and it has been a real joy working with Arqana to hold this event. The original (Doncaster) and the best (Arqana) have come together to outperform any similar sales in Europe this year but none of this could have been done without the huge support of the BHA, Doncaster racecourse and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council.

“All three of these organisations have been extremely proactive during the planning of this sale and a special mention must go to Roderick Duncan and his team at the racecourse who have prepared some of the best ground ever offered. We must also mention the local hotels who have opened especially for our clients and we could not have held the sale without them.

“However, the real credit for today’s achievements lie with the vendors. They have been extremely supportive during the planning of today’s sale and have kept these horses in top form for an extra two months before today.

“Many have resisted the temptation to sell privately and have instead shown huge faith in what we’re doing, only to be well rewarded as a result. We are nothing without our vendors and this has never been more evident than in the last three months, meaning that we are indebted to them for their loyalty.

“So, it’s fair to say that this has been worth the wait and we look forward to today’s graduates racing very soon, where we will be in the strange position of cheering home those sold by Goffs and Arqana – something else that I would not have predicted!”

Arqana starts with a bang

Immediately after the conclusion of the Goffs UK Breeze-Up, the equivalent Arqana session began and Nick Bell swooped for the very first lot on offer, a son of More Than Ready offered by Longway Stables.

Bell, the son of trainer Michael, stretched to £265,000 to secure the two-year-old, who is a half-brother to Lady Of The Nile and Lord Simba.

He said: “His gallop was the fastest in the sale which is obviously very important, and he’s from a very good farm. He’s been bought for Kulbir Sohe and we came here to buy one really nice colt.

“It’s exciting to have such a nice colt coming to the yard, he’s a horse for next year as well and will hopefully take us to plenty of good Saturday meetings.”

That was followed by the only lot on offer by Claiborne Farm resident War Front, purchased by agent Kerri Radcliffe for a sale-topping price of £650,000.

The filly, who is out of the Elusive Quality mare Beauty Parlour, was consigned by Brendan Holland’s Grove Stud and Radcliffe said: “I am thrilled to say that she is for Larry Best of OXO Equine and as far as I know this is the first horse he has bought in Europe. I’d say she will be going to Saratoga, but I don’t know who will train her.

“Larry said to me ‘if ever you see something exceptional in Europe get in touch’ and she is exceptional. We bought her with one bid, I thought she would go for more.

“Well done to Goffs and Arqana for getting this sale on, and to Tattersalls last week, and to all the vendors for keeping these horses going.”

Holland added: “We are eternally optimistic, but you wouldn’t want to look too far ahead in this business. We’re surprised with how well the day has started – it’s a strong sale for sure.

“The fact that there’s even a sale on is fantastic but this pales into insignificance when you look outside the sales ground.”

 The £500,000 barrier was broken again when Jamie McCalmont and MV Magnier went to £525,000 to secure an Exceed And Excel colt out of the winning Intikhab mare Duquesa.

Vendor Johnny Collins of Brown Island Stables said: “There has been lots of American trade at Arqana in the past and I put him in this sale as I think Exceed And Excels work best with some sun on their backs and on fast ground.

“I’ve been very lucky to have some good horses in the past, but it doesn’t happen every year, though this year I felt they were a very good bunch and they have proved that on the track. I have to admit I have had some sleepless nights though.”