The Grey Panel

Record Tumble on Day 1 of October Yearling Sale

The previous record aggregate of €8.5 million for Part I of the October Yearling Sale was eclipsed by a long way on the first session of the 2016 renewal with the 170 horses on offer grossing €12,055,000, a 41% gain from the previous edition. The average price hiked 15% to €70,912 while the median progressed 11% to €50,000. The clearance rate was a whopping 82%, 6 points clear of last year’s figure.

On a day of frantic trade, 41 yearlings sold for six figures, almost double the 2015 total of 23 and 8 broke the €200,000 barrier against 5 the previous year.

Hong Kong Jockey Club take advantage of first trip to October Yearling Sale

A pair of colts by proven sires shared top billing at €260,000. First in the ring was a pitch dark colt by Lawman (lot 148) out of the German Listed winner Sworn Sold, for which the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Mark Richards signed the docket. Bred by Sven and Carina Hanson’s Fair Salinia and offered by Coulonces Consignment, he hails from a rock-solid German family featuring Classic victress Salomina, Serienholde and Champion two-year-old Sworn Pro. Richards, who was accompanied by Senior International Racing Consultant Nick Columb, was paying his first visit to the October Yearling Sale and commented:

“To me he was the very best horse on the complex and when we come to a sale like this, we try to buy the very best available. He is extremely athletic and has a beautiful walk, there is just nothing to dislike about him. Perhaps the only worry is that there is not much speed on his page but he himself looks like he has some speed and I am prepared to take that risk.”

Earlier in the sale, Richards went to €250,000 to buy a half-brother to Athasi Stakes victrix Gossamer Seed (lot 59). From the coveted draft of Haras de Saint-Pair, the roan colt is by Shamardal, whose progeny has proved to adapt extremely well to Hong Kong.

“I'm always in good form when we manage to pick up a horse by Shamardal, quipped Richards. They’re incredibly hard to buy these days. We're having huge success with the last Shamardal we bought here, Pakistan Star, who is obviously a different colour but let's hope this one goes half as well we'll be more than happy. With Gossamer Seed the mare has showed that she's got speed in her if you put speed on top, and with Shamardal you get the quality as well. That really got us attracted to the horse: the fact that you've already got a black type horse on the page and it's a sprinting black type horse.”

Al Shaqab on buying mission

The joint-top lot of the day was secured by Nicolas de Watrigant on behalf of Al Shaqab Racing. Lot 148 is a Dansili half-brother to the multiple Group 1 victrix Zagora, who notably landed the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf in the colours of Martin Schwartz. The dark brown colt from Haras des Capucines attracted interest from all around the ring but Watrigant, who was bidding alongside Jean-Claude Rouget, was not to be denied.

Al Shaqab Racing bought a total of six yearlings via Watrigant for a cumulated €1,050,000. His shopping list also included a daughter of Iffraaj, the first foal out of the Listed Prix Finlande victrix Fairly Fair (lot 20), who was one of the highlights of a very strong draft from Haras de Saint-Pair, Andreas Putsch's operation having chosen this sale as his exclusive objective. Watrigant had the last word at €250,000 and commented: “She is a gorgeous filly who really stood out. We had to pay a significant sum for her, but we didn't want to miss out. We like to buy first foals out of black type mares.”

Prime Equestrian looking to bolster broodmare band

Already represented by the joint second highest price, Shamardal saw another of his yearlings break the €200,000 barrier. Lot 169 actually bore a dual connection with the sire of Dariyan and Speedy Boarding as this filly's third dam is Helen Street, Shamardal's second dam. The family also features the likes of Magna Graecia, Territories and Street Cry.

From the draft of Henri Bozo's Ecurie des Monceaux, the bay caused a protracted bidding duel between Michel Zerolo and Prime Equestrian's Neill Helliwell, and it was the latter who prevailed at €240,000. Alexandre Puyfourcat, who manages the operation's Haras du Mont-dit-Mont, indicated that they had been looking for well-bred fillies to strengthen their broodmare band. Prime Equestrian bought a total of seven lots for €885,000.

Anna Drion's Coulonces Consignment celebrated a quick-fire double with two of their yearlings breaking the €200,000 mark within half an hour. Hot on the heels of the joint sale-topping Lawman colt, a Teofilo half-sister to the Stakes performers Beauvoir and Vaunoise (lot 159) sold for €235,000 to Jeremy Brummitt. “That was definitely the best horse in the sale,” said Brummitt before adding while congratulating Anna’s mother Maya, “he reportedly came from the best breeders in France - I hope he'll be better than Le Havre! His trainer is yet to be decided but at some stage he will come back in France.”

Sun Bloodstock expands French operation

A colt by Invincible Spirit out of the Listed winner Alpine Snow (lot 186) topped Sun Bloodstock's shopping list when selling for €200,000. David O'Callaghan signed the docket for the Haras de la Louvière homebred, who is a close relation to Group 2 winner Terrubi and boasts Allegretta as his third dam, meaning that the stallions Sea The Stars, Galileo, Born To Sea, King's Best, Tamayuz and Anabaa Blue all appear on the page.

Sun Bloodstock owners Danielle and Ting Kong Cheng have celebrated some fabulous success with their first French purchases. National Defense, another son of Invincible Spirit and the first yearling they bought at Arqana last August, took the Gr.1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère by storm on Arc day while Sans Equivoque, a €180,000 buy at the Arc Sale, proved a bargain when winning the Gr.2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte two weeks later. “We liked the horse as an invidual and obviously he has a stallion pedigree,” said O'Callaghan. “He will go to Criquette Head. We are looking to expand our French operation, which has been off to the best possible start.”

New investor from China

Suart Boman of Blandford Bloodstock bought a pair of fillies by Redoute’s Choice (lot 209) and Siyouni (lot 118) on behalf of Chinese business man Zhiqiang An, who races under the name Golden East Horse. Mr. An races in Australia and was making his first European purchases.

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