The Grey Panel


MAGIC at Tattersalls

SHE CAUSED a considerable stir two years ago winning the Cheveley Park Stakes (Gr 1) at long odds and Magical Romance – a three-quarter sister-in-blood to dual Oaks winning filly Alexandrova – created waves again when she set a world record for a broodmare at the Tattersalls December Mare Sale.

Magical Romance fetched 4.6 million guineas ($US9.4m), eclipsing the previous mark set by Ashado when she sold for $US9 million at Keeneland a year ago. She was sold to London Thoroughbred Services' James Wigan, who also bought the session one sale-topper, the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes victor Spinning Queen. Wigan has had the air of one who knows no limits, and revealed he was purchasing for Lady Serena Rothschild, with both mares destined for Waddesdon Stud in Buckinghamshire as part of a strategy to breed and race the progeny of a dozen top drawer mares.

Consigned by Stephen and Louise Kemble's Elms Stud on behalf of Con Wilson, the Barathea filly Magical Romance was offered in foal to Cheveley Park Stud's outstanding stallion Pivotal.

Underbidders included Lodge Park Stud's Seamus Burns, agent Anthony Stroud, Shadwell Estates' Angus Gold, with Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor John Ferguson – who purchased Ashado a year ago -- entering the fray at the 3 million mark.

Ferguson and Wigan then duelled, with the latter quietly determined to triumph, regardless of the records smashed along the way.

Trained by Brian Meehan, Magical Romance improved sharply to become one of the best juveniles in Europe, winning the Cheveley Park Stakes, racing prominently throughout, grabbing the lead close to home to beat Suez by a neck, with well-supported Damson the same margin further back in third.

By Barathea, best known as a winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (Gr 1), out of the Shirley Heights mare Shouk, Magical Romance is a half-sister to Alexandrova. The Aidan O’Brien trained filly, a 420,000gns purchase, won the Musidora Stakes (Gr 3) over 10 furlongs in May, from Short Skirt, and was virtually unstoppable thereafter, capturing the English Oaks by six lengths, the Irish Oaks by four lengths and the Yorkshire Oaks (Gr 1) by 3-1/2 lengths, again with Short Skirt in her wake. Is it any wonder, then, that the Diktat filly Short Skirt herself fetched 1,600,000 on Monday to the bid of John Ferguson?

Magical Romance did not do as well after her juvenile season, and she certainly did not have anything like the stamina of Alexandrova. Magical Romance tried the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Gr 1) and the Oaks (Gr 1) in her classic campaign, and finished a distant sixth in both, her best best placings in four races as a three-year-old.

Her dam, Shouk, a half-sister to the Listed winner Puce, managed one win from eight career starts, in an 11 furlong maiden at Haydock as a three-year-old. She has done considerably better as a broodmare. Alexandrova was her third black type winner from nine runners (all winners).

Magical Romance’s full-sister Saree won as a juvenile when she was also placed third in the Natalma Stakes (Gr 3) over a mile on turf at Woodbine in Canada. Shouk is a half-sister to Puce (Darshaan), who was a Listed winner and placed third in the Park Hill Stakes (Gr 2) at Doncaster.

Puce produced Pongee, a winner of six races whose career high was a success in the Lancashire Oaks (Gr 2) at Haydock Park.

Shouk, Puce and Pongee were all bred by Fittocks Stud and trained by Luca Cumani. Cumani probably watched procedings feeling very proud indeed.

Turnover for the session climbed to 29,936,500 guineas for 221 lots sold, and gross receipts after two days are 49,505,000 guineas.

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