Wathnan Racing, the racing vehicle belonging to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, again made its presence felt in Newmarket on Wednesday when paying 500,000gns through Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock for classy sprinter Dark Trooper to top the third day of the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale.
The son of Dark Angel has won no fewer than six races this season for owner Chi Un Fred Ma and trainer Ed Walker highlighted by the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Sprint at Ascot. Tried at stakes level last time in the Bengough Stakes at Ascot, he wasn’t beaten far in sixth.
“The idea is to buy quality over quantity,” said Brown. “That was the message that came from Qatar to Ollie Tait, to me and Ali Al Kubaisi of Wathnan, who is here with me working the sale. This horse has actually been on our radar for most of the year because Al Donald, who bought the horse, and Ed Walker have been saying all along that there’s a lot more to come from him. He won a very competitive Ascot handicap on quick ground off 97 and then he was probably unlucky last time out in the Bengough.
“He’s obviously a Group-calibre sprinter. And he’s a gorgeous horse who is very sound. Credit to Ed Walker – he looks magnificent here.”
He added: “He will go to Qatar to be trained by Alban de Mieulle. There is a programme for him there but he is also the sort of horse that can come back and race here. Wathnan bought Bolthole here last year and he did very well in Qatar before going to France, where he also did well. So all avenues are open.”
Also on his travels is the recent Diamond Stakes runner-up Sea The Caspar, in his case to Saudi Arabia following his sale for 425,0000gns to Mubarak Al-Ruwis
The four-year-old gelding has won four races for Simon and Ed Crisford and fell only a neck short of the Breeders’ Cup Turf hopeful Piz Badile when second last time out in the Diamond Stakes at Dundalk.
“You need a quality horse to race at the carnival and he’s a very good horse, I hope he will be a champion,” said Al-Ruwis after outbidding Najd Stud.
As ever, the Juddmonte Farms draft also attracted plenty of attention, ultimately turning over 1,398,000gns for 14 lots sold. They included the three-year-old Halfway Line, who is on his way to California after selling for 320,000gns to Michael Donohoe of the BBA Ireland.
Donohoe outbid Adam Potts for the Zoffany gelding, who has won three times and been Listed-placed in France this season for Francis-Henri Graffard.
“He has been bought with Niall Dalton to go to California for a new client with trainer Phil D’Amato, who has had a good bit of success training European horses,” said Donohoe.
“He came recommended by Francis-Henri Graffard as well as Barry Mahon at Juddmonte. He should suit California. He is progressive, he goes on firm ground and has a turn of foot – all the attributes you need.”
Also on his travels is the Royal Lodge Stakes winner Royal Patronage, who was snapped up for 300,000gns by McKeever Bloodstock, acting on behalf of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
The colt was one of the best two-year-olds of 2021 for Mark Johnston and Highclere Thoroughbred Racing when his performances included wins in the Acomb and Royal Lodge Stakes, the latter won by a neck over subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner Coroebus.
He returned the following year to run second to Desert Crown in the Dante Stakes and later plied his trade in the US for Graham Motion, who saddled him to win an allowance at Keeneland in the spring.
“Not only is he a beautiful type, he’s got the form on the board,” said Claudia Miller, sales and bloodstock manager at Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott Racing. “We really liked him, he rated very highly for us and I think he’ll adapt well in Australia. We’ll get him through the system and see how he goes.”
Johnny McKeever added: “We had a chat with Graham Motion and he gave us a very positive report on the horse. He thought he would be ideal for Australia. It’s hard to find horses with such good Group form and he has got a certain quality. We are not guessing here, we know he is a pretty good horse if all goes well for him.”