Tattersalls Ireland Riding Group 1 Momentum

By Daithi Harvey

When Unfortunately (Ire) (Society Rock {Ire}) led home stablemate Havana Grey (GB) (Havana Gold {Ire}) in the G1 Darley Prix Morny at Deauville last month it wasn’t just team Karl Burke that were shouting home the winner. The victory for the Tally-Ho bred colt saw Tattersalls Ireland become the only European yearling sale to have sold a Group 1-winning 2-year-old so far in 2017. The fact that particular juvenile cost his trainer just €24,000 at last year’s September Yearling Sale is surely cause for celebration for all concerned. Every auction house hopes for a result like this in advance of their flagship yearling sale and this result coupled with the general health of the sector has Tattersalls Ireland marketing director Simon Kerins in buoyant mood ahead of the company’s September Yearling Sale which runs Sept. 19 to 20, followed by Part II on Sept. 21.

“I know it sounds strange to say about a rival sales company but I was very glad to see the yearling sale in Doncaster perform so well as it’s a good indicator of how the market currently is,” said Kerins. “The fact that there seems to be plenty of confidence among owners and trainers to invest in yearlings suggests we too should be in for a good sale. Also we’re delighted with our catalogue; it looks the strongest we have put together and our selection team has done a great job. There are some proper horses in it and the results on the track are proof that we can consistently assemble a quality book of yearlings.”

Changes to this year’s sale not only include a slightly trimmed catalogue for the main sale, which is down 45 horses on last year, but it also sees Part II being reduced to just a single session from a two day affair in 2016. “We got some negative feedback from both purchasers and vendors after last year. Purchasers felt there were too many horses to try and get around to inspect and consequently vendors struggled to sell their stock, in particular on the last day of Part II,” Kerins said.

Last year saw turnover for the sale breach the €10-million mark for the first time since 2006 but it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the sale with the Tattersalls team having navigated some choppy waters since the last time the aggregate reached eight figures. “We had a record average and a record median for the sale last year but there is no doubt we had a few tough years, in particular 2008 and 2009. However since then we have had seven years of successive growth with the sale progressing each year and the indicators are for it to continue in that vein,” Kerins said.

One buyer who will certainly be in attendance is French-based Irishman Eoghan O’Neill. O’Neill has found his trips to Tattersalls Ireland particularly rewarding over the years, particularly last year when he picked up two subsequent stakes winners in Ardenode (Ire) (Hellvelyn {GB}) and Cold Stare (Ire) (Intense Focus). The pair cost €15,000 and €46,000, respectively, with Cold Stare costing slightly more than O’Neill usually pays for a yearling at the sale.

“The Tattersalls team does a great job selecting the horses to suit all pockets. I rarely pay more than €40,000 for any yearling but can always find athletic horses with pedigrees that can work. I have been going to this sale since 1986 and never miss a year and Tattersalls are brilliant to work with; it’s a real trainer’s sale,” O’Neill said.

The sale does indeed have a lot of die-hard international fans who never miss a renewal and Kerins said he is looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces on the sales grounds next week, in addition to some very welcome newcomers. “Apart from our usual European neighbours we will have buyers from Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, America, Dubai and for the first time the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which is a big boost and great endorsement of the quality of the catalogue.”

Kerins is also quick to hail the importance of breeze up purchasers to the success of the sale and he sees that sector of the business again contributing significantly to trade. “The breeze up buyers have been very strong in the last number of years and many of them have been rewarded with some fantastic pinhooks from our sale so their presence also adds further depth to the buying bench,” he said.

One notable feature of the current catalogue is the broad spectrum of sires represented throughout, including the likes of the Japanese based Tanino Gimlet (Jpn) and Rulership (Jpn) and a few that could generate interest in the ring are lot 31, a son of Kodiac (GB) who is a half-brother to the speedy stakes winner Hamza (Ire) (Amadeus Wolf {GB}) from the family of the high class sprinters Alexander Anthem (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) and Dandy Man (Ire) (Mozart {Ire}), while lot 81, a colt by No Nay Never, received a valuable update when the dam’s first and only runner to date Sirici (Ire) (Choisir {Aus}) won a listed race at Tipperary in July for Fozzy Stack when beating the subsequently Group 1-placed Actress (Ire) (Declaration Of War).

One bred to excel over more middle distance trips is lot 197, a son of Big Bad Bob (Ire) offered by Dooneen Stud. He is a full-brother to two graded stakes winners in Bible Belt (Ire) and Bob Le Beau (Ire). Another one worth playing a longer game with could be lot 266 from Grove Stud. This colt is by Nathaniel (Ire) and is a half-brother to the 110 rated stakes winner Mount Logan (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) from the immediate family of MG1SW Observatory (Distant View).

One mare who has already caused a stir at Tattersalls Ireland is Blue Angel (Ire) (Oratorio {Ire}) when her Listed Dee S. winning son Viren’s Army (Ire) (Twirling Candy) sold to Peter Ross Doyle for €115,000 in 2014, and her daughter by Slade Power (Ire) will be offered by The Castlebridge Consignment as lot 345.

Another filly whose pedigree could improve further is lot 454 from Luke Lillingston’s Mount Coote Stud. The daughter of Born To Sea (Ire) is a full sister to Muirin, who made a winning debut at The Curragh last month and finished fourth in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. at The Curragh last Sunday. Muirin was bought at the sale last year by Eddie Lynam for €41,000 and the trainer will no doubt be keen to assess her year younger sister next week.

Lot 303 from Frank Motherway’s Yellowford Farm is another yearling who got a valuable update this summer when the colt’s half-brother Alexios Komnenos (Ire) (Choisir {Aus}) won the G3 Desmond S. at Leopardstown in August before a slightly disappointing effort in the G2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang S. at Leopardstown last Saturday.

Having proven year after year that top-class horses are there to be bought–Galileo Gold (GB) (Paco Boy {Ire}) is another prime example–Simon Kerins said he thinks the personal touch goes a long way in building long lasting relationships with buyers.

“We like to think that people enjoy coming to the sale, that between the Tattersalls Ireland team and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing buyers get well looked after and they have a good time as well as getting the chance to buy nice horses,” he said. “We have to be confident, almost bullish if you like that, all things being equal, and fingers crossed there are no big shocks in the world economy, that we will live up to our tagline of being Europe’s most progressive yearling sale.”

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