200,000gns Farrell ‘Freak’ Shares Top Billing At Guineas Sale

NEWMARKET, UK–Nobody prospecting breeze-up horses here on Thursday will have needed reminding that there is “many a slip twixt cup and lip.” For one thing, the perils of the horse trade had been tragically amplified by the shocking accident that had meanwhile claimed the colt who set a sale record at Doncaster the previous week. The highest price recorded in the opening Horses-in-Training session here, meanwhile, actually represented only a quarter of the sum for which the same horse had been knocked down in the same ring last October.

Nonetheless the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale, after a fairly quiet start, rallied powerfully to complete what has been an extremely strong British cycle in the breeze-up calendar, registering an 18% hike in average from 35,678gns to 42,145gns and a new record in turnover.

This catalogue traditionally invites a slightly longer view than the earlier auctions, and a gratifying case in point was the Zoffany (Ire) colt found by Cormac Farrell at Fairyhouse last September for €55,000.

Brought here as lot 301, he had put a few eyeballs on stalks with the time he clocked the previous day, not least in view of the sturdy German blood clustering down the page. But he corroborated the impression made on the Rowley Mile with his languid stride round the ring, forcing Richard Hughes (with Ted Durcan alongside) all the way to 200,000gns to bring down the gavel.

“I think he might be a freak,” Farrell said. “He can do sectionals like a six-furlong horse, not one that should be wanting a mile and a half. He’s a big rangy horse, nearly 16.2, but he just had this insane foot, it didn’t make sense, particularly as we thought a bit of the other horses we had, the Kodiacs and the ‘Starspangleds’, and he could keep up with them. So he could just be exceptional.

“We’d just been nursing him along, he was raw and we minded him really, went very steady. It was only a month ago that we asked him to show us what he could do, and it came so natural to him that we only had to do a couple of gallops. It sounds silly, but we did come here thinking we might be able to top the sale. You never know until you get the breeze out of the way, though, so it’s great that he’s done what we hoped he would.”

Farrell acknowledged that the colt had not been an obvious type for the job.

“We thought we’d given plenty for him, at the time,” he admitted. “He was a big raw yearling, and people laughed when I said we were going to breeze him. And I could see why: in December he looked like an overgrown yearling still, but he has thrived since.”

He was delighted, moreover, to hear that his new trainer did not intend to press on with the horse immediately.

“We’ll probably turn him out for some May grass,” Hughes confirmed. “I think six weeks will do him good and then we’ll get him in and look to get him ready for an October maiden. He shouldn’t be able to do what he’s doing, really, at this time of the year, it’s almost odd with the backbone of his pedigree a top-class German staying family.”

Sure enough, the colt is out of a sister to two most accomplished stayers: Getaway (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}) won group races in Britain, France and Germany; while G1 Italian Oaks winner Guadalupe (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}) has herself delivered two elite winners.



The Main Talking Points

  • Turnover for both sections of the sale reached a new high, for an aggregate 7,468,000gns on the day. Tally-Ho meanwhile continued their exceptional spring, leading consignors in processing eight juveniles for 438,000gns–highlighted by a 150,000gns Farhh (GB) colt (lot 309) sold to Rabbah.
  • One of the principal services of the breeze-up sector is to bridge the abyss that has culpably opened in recent years between dirt-bred American horses and the European circuit. The latest imported pinhook to impress buyers with her speed over the turf was a brilliant effort, a Congrats filly brought here by Katie Walsh of Greenhills Farm as lot 308. Picked up by Alpha Bloodstock at Keeneland last September for just $20,000, here she made 150,000gns from Oliver St Lawrence for Fawzi Nass. She’ll join Jamie Osborne with Dubai in the back of their mind.
  • Rookies to celebrate headline sales included Calyx (GB), whose Apr. 28 foal from Bushypark Stables (lot 306) won over Richard Brown of Blandford at 135,000gns and who later added a 120,000gns colt (lot 351) sold by Tally-Ho; Magna Grecia (Ire), whose colt from Yeomanstown (lot 272) brought 115,000gns from John McConnell; and Soldier’s Call (GB), who sold two colts at 110,000gns apiece, one from Powerstown (lot 289) to a stable that has excelled at this sale in Alan King (co-signed with Federico Barberini) and another from Derryconnor Stud (lot 327) to Amanda Skiffington.
  • Profitable (Ire) has dropped to a four-figure fee at Kildangan but his third crop showed how he can make that pay when registering a couple of big scores: Richard Ryan gave 150,000gns for the 32,000gns Somerville pinhook presented by Malcolm Bastard (lot 204); while another son brought 78,000gns as lot 267. Ryan’s fellow, acquired for Teme Valley and Opulence Racing, will join Profitable’s trainer Clive Cox.
  • After a fairly long and winding road, Starspangledbanner (Aus) has reached a new peak in his global reputation and prepared for the resumption of his shuttling career with two daughters catching the eye of shrewd racing syndicates. Middleham Park gave 120,000gns for lot 288, sold to Fozzy Stack at the Orby for €40,000 and brought here by A & N Bloodstock; while Nick Bradley landed lot 304, a 27,000gns Book 2 buy by Kilronan and consigned by Knockanglass, for 80,000gns.
  • At a sale that provides some oxygen for those bred to need a little more time and distance, plaudits for showcasing potential within the constraints of the format went to Michael Cleere for turning an Almanzor (Fr) colt (lot 190), found in this ring for just 9,000gns last October, into a 95,000gns sale to Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock. The agent in turn gave credit to client Peter Jeffers, saying, “He doesn’t want the whizz-bangs.”
  • Whether enough attention was being paid to the breeding potential of fillies in the Horses-in-Training session must be in doubt, seeing that 5,000gns sufficed to land the collector’s item that was Margaret Beaufort (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) (lot 29). Though her two recent wins for George Scott had come at a very modest level, her granddam is the only foal ever delivered to the tragic George Washington (Ire).
  • The final transaction of the day prompted warm applause for auctioneer Ollie Fowlston, laying down his gavel after 25 years with Tattersalls to become managing director at Dullingham Park. He was never going to go quietly, given the volume he tends to favour! But there was no mistaking the affection and esteem of the many colleagues and friends who gathered to wish him well in his new role.



O’Callaghan Passes Test of Resolve

Michael O’Callaghan has done too well, too often, with the business model he has more or less trademarked at the breeze-ups to be disheartened even by the calamity that befell his record-breaking Harry Angel (Ire) colt in a freak transport accident following his £500,000 purchase at Doncaster.

Certainly the trainer will deserve redress from Lady Luck with the Time Test (GB) colt (lot 322) that again took him to the top of the sale, alongside the Zoffany colt sold by Cormac Farrell a few minutes earlier, at 200,000gns.

Found in the same ring as a foal by Pier House Stud, for 67,000gns at the 2021 December Sale, he was brought back by the masterly Willie Browne of Mocklershill. The colt has some top-class blood behind him–his mother is an unraced sister to G3 Queen’s Vase winner Mikhail Glinka (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), the pair out of a sister to none other than Sir Percy (GB) (Mark Of Esteem {Ire})–and Brendan Morrin of Pier House soon decided that he might be a longer-term project.

“Willie does five or six breezers for us every year,” he explained. “And this horses has a lot of Galileo in him. We decided we’d hang on and wait for breeze, rather than sell as a yearling. Sometimes those plans don’t work out, when you’re buying them as foals, but we have been lucky today: Willie has done a fantastic job on him. He went there in January unbroken, but we’d handled him with the sales yearlings.”

“He’s a magnificent-looking horse,” enthused Browne. “He looks a racehorse, he has a great walk and a great mind on him. I thought waiting for this sale might give him a bit of extra time, and he was a standout today.”

O’Callaghan was additionally intrigued by a resemblance to G2 Beresford S. winner Crypto Force (GB), another son of Time Test that he found at this sale last year for 160,000gns.

“He’s a lovely, quality horse, and I hope lightning can strike twice,” O’Callaghan said. “Crypto Force was also out of a Galileo mare. This horse has a lovely action, he was a bit green in his breeze but we can forgive him that.”

Stars Align For Oakgrove

The last lot catalogued in the first half of the sale, comprising older Horses-in-Training, actually belonged to the same crop as the breezers that followed. But this Sea The Stars (Ire) filly, out of an unraced Nathaniel (Ire) half-sister to G2 Lancashire Oaks winner Pongee (GB) (Barathea {Ire}), arrived with a challenging history as one of 30 yearlings purchased for some £20 million by Richard Knight Bloodstock last year, only for client Saleh Al Homaizi to fail to come up with payment.

Most have already been re-offered (including one that won at Salisbury on Thursday afternoon) but this filly, who made 600,000gns when consigned by Newsells Park at the October Sale, has meanwhile been in pre-training and, according to Oakgrove Stud manager David Hilton after signing a 150,000gns docket, has had to overcome a “couple of niggles”.

Whatever her immediate future, Hilton emphasised that his employer John Deer had targeted the filly as a long-term project for Oakgrove, given a long screed of black type beneath her granddam Puce (GB) (Darshaan {GB}).

“This is very much a pedigree-based purchase,” explained Hilton. “We have [Pongee’s daughter] Poplin (GB) (Medicean {GB}) and she’s doing well for us. Whether we race her or not is up for debate, but we’re very happy to buy her and she will join the broodmare band eventually.

“I spoke to Megan Evans at [consignor] Vicarage Farm, who was very honest and said they have not done a great deal with her. She’s a big filly but very elegant, a good mover with a lovely head. She’s very Sea The Stars, and Nathaniel (Ire) is starting to do well as a broodmare sire. The mare is based at Newsells and I’m sure they will be looking after her very well, so we’ll be looking on with interest.”

The only runner to date out of this filly’s unraced dam is Paz (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}), a dual juvenile scorer in France who ran second in the Listed Prix des Lilas at Chantilly Thursday evening.



Records All Round

Having seen his rivals at Doncaster celebrate a remarkable auction last week, Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony was glad to note the continued strong trade here.

“The momentum from the recent record-breaking Craven Breeze-Up Sale has been well and truly sustained at a second consecutive record-breaking renewal of this sale,” he said. “The combined turnover for the breeze-up 2-year-olds and horses-in-training has surpassed last year’s record of 6.7 million guineas; the key indicators of average and median have matched or exceeded last year’s impressive returns; and 13 2-year-olds have sold for 100,000 guineas or more, which is another record for the fixture.

“This sale traditionally attracts an abundance of overseas buyers and this year has been no exception with international demand, most notably from throughout Europe and the Gulf region, proving to be a feature of the sale which has also produced a combined clearance rate well in excess of 80%.

“Domestic buyers have as ever made a huge contribution to a successful sale and it is a tribute to the consignors that the breeze-up sector continues to go from strength to strength. There is no doubt that the consistent ability of both the Tattersalls Craven and Guineas Breeze-Up Sales to produce Classic and Group 1 winners has not gone unnoticed by the buyers, and we look forward to seeing plenty more quality performers emerge from both sales in the coming months.”

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