The stud was the leading consignor at Book 1, which was great.
It’s a couple of weeks of fairly hard work but we got it done. At the beginning of the year we worked out a target and we hit our numbers, although we did have a few bits of bad luck with horses that went wrong before the sales.
Luckily the two main ones were very well-bred fillies and we can race them. We’re very lucky to have some excellent clients with some lovely mares. When you’re looking after that kind of bloodstock it’s pretty exciting and it’s also addictive.
I feel the stress and the worry of the sales for months before and then very intensively over sale time.
It takes me a couple of months to come down from it all. But on the other hand, when you’re selling ten horses a day, the buzz of going from one to another and trying to get it done, and then getting it done for a client who is happy, is fun. And when there’s not much going on I get bored.
I’m supported by an excellent team of people who are passionate about Newsells.
Gary Coffey is Racing Manager and also helps sell nominations to our stallions Nathaniel and Equiano. We have a new Chief Financial Officer called Steve Atherton. Our Broodmare Manager is Ben Barclay and my new Yearling Manager is Mark Grace.
“My mouth was literally on the floor”
The October Sale was basically Mark’s first sale, so there’s been some pressure for him, but he’s done a great job. They’re terrific guys – they follow all the homebreds and they love their racing and they love their mares.
Nothing will ever take away that Sunday before the sale.
First of all, the decision was whether I should go to the Arc, and everyone was in agreement that I should. On the Saturday, we watched the racing and thought this is not good, the ground is not right. So we thought, ‘Let’s just go and have a nice day, Waldgeist hasn’t got a hope on that ground but hopefully it’s ok for Enable’.
Plus, we also had Japan, who we bred, in the race. I had my wife Georgia and daughter Daisy with me, and before the Arc we went to the stables to see Enable [by Nathaniel].
I’m ashamed to say that I hardly looked at Waldgeist because I was mesmerised by the mare.
It was bittersweet as we felt we had ruined everybody’s Arc.
Coming into the straight, we saw Enable coming and thought, ‘That’s fantastic, she’s going to win’ and then this red thing went past. My mouth was literally on the floor.
Even my mother abused me down the phone. But it was very exciting.
The big thing for me is that Newsells was founded by this incredibly passionate man, Klaus Jacobs.
His favourite mare was Waldmark – he’d always wanted to buy into the ‘W’ family of Waldrun belonging to Gestut Ravensberg, and he managed to persuade the breeder to sell him a Mark Of Esteem filly out of it.
That was Waldmark and she went on to run second in the Falmouth Stakes. She later bred St Leger winner Masked Marvel, who became our first Classic winner sadly not long after Mr Jacobs died.
We managed to retain Waldmark’s daughter Waldlerche – more from luck as we put her through the ring at Arqana and no one wanted her!
Now she’s the dam of Waldgeist. So that’s special as I think winning the Arc as a German with a homebred from a German bloodline would have been the pinnacle of what Mr Jacobs had dreamt of achieving.
He was a classy man, he loved Newsells and it was sad that he didn’t see any of this. So that Sunday was quite emotional.
Waldgeist is such a lovely horse; he’s never taken a lame step and he never gives less than 100%.
We knew from his birth that the arrangement was that he would be retained with Dietrich von Boetticher of Gestut Ammerland and Coolmore, and he was always going to go to Andre Fabre.
After he disappointed in the Irish Derby, Coolmore decided that they had plenty of Galileo sons already and they left the partnership.
Pierre-Charles Boudot knows Waldgeist so well now. The jockey is superb – especially at Longchamp – and he rode the Arc brilliantly. Waldgeist loves Longchamp, the jockey loves Longchamp, and together they know it so well.
We could stand Waldgeist at Newsells, he could go to France or Ireland, though he might stay in training.
Here is a horse that has won Group 1s at two, four and five. He’s won £4.5 million and a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and people are wondering where he might stand at stud. It’s crazy. But if we bought a horse that had won a sprint at two, he’d probably cost you as much money.
I understand it as it’s what the market is saying it wants and you can’t fight it. But you do wonder where it’s ultimately driving us as an industry.
We want another stallion but, ironically, the other horse we have, Nathaniel, is another son of Galileo who wanted ten to 12 furlongs. However, it’s a good problem to have as we are lucky to have Waldgeist.