The Grey Panel


Record-breaking breeze up sale topped by €1.4 million Street Sense colt

Hot on the heels of a buoyant 2016 renewal, which saw a 30% leap in turnover and 20% in average price, the Breeze Up sales continued to set new records. The aggregate for the 92 horses sold reached €12,498,000, up another 23%, while the average price now stands at €140,174, a whopping 27% rise from last year. The clearance rate was 74%.

The market was strong from start to finish and a buoyant ARQANA sales ring went surprisingly quiet when Kerri Radcliffe, standing at the top of the stairs next to her husband Jeremy Noseda, offered €1.4 million for a powerful son of Street Sense (lot 35) consigned by Willie Browne's Mocklershill. The price is a new record both for the sale and for all European breeze up sales so far this year. The dark brown, who was picked up by Jim McCartan for $15,000 as a yearling, is out of the Listed Prix Coronation winner Mystic Spirit, who is in turn a half-sister to the Woodward and Travers Stakes scorer Alpha. “I've been to every breeze up sale in the world this year and this is the nicest horse I've seen, a relieved Radcliffe enthused. He is for Phoenix Thoroughbreds, like all the other horses I've bought, and will be trained in England by my husband.”

French sires on fire

Several French-based sires enjoyed extremely solid results, headed by Haras de Bonneval’s Siyouni, whose six juveniles to sell achieved an average price of €332,500. Lot 50, a filly offered by Con Marnane's Bansha House Stables, was the centre of a protracted bidding war of which Angus Gold emerged as the worthy winner. The second foal out of the Listed performer Reech Band, she was a €75,000 purchase at the August yearling sale. “She is a beautiful, quality filly, by a stallion who is particularly successful with his fillies,” said Gold, “and out of a Choisir mare who could run, as Jean-Claude Rouget told me. She will be trained by him.”

Minutes earlier, Godolphin's Dick O'Gorman paid €550,000 for a colt out of the Sinndar mare Ponte Di Legno (lot 44), a winner at two and daughter of the Gr.1 Prix Maurice de Gheest heroine Porlezza, who also produced the Gr.3 Prix de Cabourg scorer Pontenuovo and L. Prix La Flèche runner-up Ponte Vespucci. Such strong credentials didn't go unnoticed at last year's v.2 Yearling Sale, where the colt topped proceedings at €125,000 on a bid from Margaret O'Toole, which now looks to have been money well spent. “He is a very nice horse who breezed very well,” commented Richard O'Gorman. “Siyouni is a very good sire.”

Haras de Colleville’s Kendargent was another French-based stallion whose progeny proved sought after by overseas buyers, headed by an impressive colt brought to the ring by Brendan Holland's Grove Stud (lot 95) and over which Stephen Hillen and Mark Richards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club locked horns. It took a bid of €470,000 from the former to secure the second foal out of the Gr.3 scorer Bugie d'Amore, who had been bought for €155,000 from Haras de Saint-Pair at the October Yearling Sale. “He is a lovely horse and did a very good time”, explained the agent. “He is for an existing client who has a nice Kendargent and will go to Richard Hughes. We tried to buy the Siyouni [lot 44] and thought we would have to stretch our budget a bit more for this one, we are pleased to have bought him at this price. There are some really nice individuals here, which explains why the market is so strong. I had a huge short list!”

Shadwell tops buyers’ standings on first breeze up foray

Sheikh Hamdan’s advisor Angus Gold was paying his first visit to Deauville during the Breeze Up sale and ended the day as leading buyer after shelling out €1,490,000 on five horses. He made his presence felt from the outset when paying €400,000 for the fourth lot in the ring, another progeny of a French-based stallion in Haras de Bouquetot’s Style Vendome, whose first crop has already lifted two winners from four runners. Offered by Brendan Holland's Grove Stud, he is the third foal out of the Stakes performer Irisijana, herself a half-sister to three black type horses in Germany and to the dam of consistent Gr.1 performer Spectre.

“He is a very nice, straightforward, uncomplicated horse who looks to have a very good mind on him”, said Gold. “The stallion seems very promising having already sired a couple of winners and the trainers like his progeny. This one as well as the Sepoy [lot 3] will likely head to England to be trained."

Gold’s support to French sires continued to materialise with the purchase of a daughter of Haras d'Etreham's Elusive City (lot 33) for €320,000. Offered by Paul Basquin’s Haras du Saubouas, she is out of My Girl Charlie, who remained unraced but as the name hints is a half-sister to the dual Gr.1 winning juvenile and successful sire Myboycharlie. “I thought she was a fantastic filly, expressed Gold. Masculine, powerful, with great presence. She is bred to be fast and definitely looks fast. She will go into training with Francois Rohaut and I hope she is as fast as she looks!”

Al Shaqab spreads its net

Al Shaqab Racing was active via several agents including Mandore International Agency, who placed the final bid of €400,000 for a son of Zoffany (lot 113) offered by Willie Browne's Mocklershill. The bay is the fourth foal out of a winning daughter of Gr.2 Prix de Malleret victrix Diamilina, closely related to last year's Gr.2 Beresford Stakes scorer and 2017 Classic hopeful Capri.

Peter and Ross Doyle were also on shopping duty for Al Shaqab and sets their minds on a colt from the draft of Bansha House Stables (lot 12). The Doyles have tasted Gr.1 glory with that colt’s sire Choisir in the past, having notably bought Olympic Glory, subsequently a Group 1 winner at two, three and four. The bay is the first foal out of the Raven's Pass mare Lady McKell, who hails from the close family of the dual Group 1-winning sprinter Mozart. “We've been very lucky with Choisir, with horses like Olympic Glory among others,” commented Ross Doyle. “He came highly recommended by Con Marnane and proved very straightforward in his breeze. He will go to Richard Hannon for Al Shaqab."

Charles Gordon-Watson completed the trio of Al Shaqab agents to appear on the score sheet, notably securing a daughter of the regretted Scat Daddy (lot 34), sire of top class juveniles No Nay Never, Caravaggio, Lady Aurelia, Acapulco et al., offered by Jim McCartan’s Gaybrook Lodge Stud. “We like Scat Daddy very much and there is not many of them around anymore”, expressed Gordon-Watson. “This filly is very athletic with a great temperament. She ticks a lot of boxes and I am thrilled to have her.”

Lootah makes his presence felt on first Deauville visit

Dubai-based businessman Hussain Lootah, who notably races Group 3 winner Frankuus with Mark Johnston, had never attended the ARQANA sales before and surely made his trip worthwhile by purchasing four juveniles for a cumulated €885,000. The dearest of the quartet was a sharp filly by Mastercraftsman (lot 133) from the draft of Mocklershill, the first foal out of the winning Galileo mare Goddess Of Love.

He also spent €260,000 on a January-born daughter of Choisir (lot 19) out of the Galileo mare Livia's Wake, herself from the family of Gr.1 winners Linngari and Mont Ormel, and consigned by Norman Williamson's Oak Tree Farm. “She breezed very fast, said Knight, and we like the fact she is the second foal out of a Galileo mare. She looks precocious. We tried to buy the other Choisir [lot 12] but he made a lot of money. She will race in the UK but we haven't decided on a trainer yet. 

Intello and Kendargent colts to Cheveley Park

David and Patricia Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud have been making an unusual splash at breeze up sales this year and Charles Gordon-Watson was also acting on their behalf at Deauville, securing two colts by exciting young stallions. Their most expensive purchase at €340,000 was a son of their former resident sire Intello (lot 88), whose dam is a half-sister to three black type horses and who has Group 1 winners Or Vision, Beethoven, Henrythenavigator and Magician all under his third dam.

Gordon-Watson also paid €280,000 for a son of Haras de Colleville’s flagship sire Kendargent (lot 36), who is enjoying a tremendous run of form on the track with the likes of Jimmy Two Times and Soleil Marin. Both colts will go into training with Roger Varian in Newmarket.

ARQANA CEO pays tribute to vendors

Reflecting on a day of fierce trade, ARQANA CEO Eric Hoyeau commented: “The ARQANA Breeze Up sale has become truly global and is firmly set on all buyers’ calendar. We are delighted to have seen so many international buyers battling it out at the top end of the market, including several who were attending this sale for the very first time. Our wholehearted thanks go to the consignors, who invest in a higher standard of yearlings every year and do a fabulous job of turning them into young athletes out of them. The comfort of our Deauville complex is another great asset and we will surely consider the option of keeping the sale here even when the French Guineas return to Longchamp.”

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