‘Worldwide’ Breeze-up Demand Fuels Bumper Arqana Edition

DEAUVILLE, France–Close to €38 million had already been spent on juveniles at the four breeze-up sales in Europe to have preceded Arqana, and that figure has now risen to around €59 million following a bullish day of trading in Deauville.

Featuring the season’s only seven-figure breezer and with a much larger catalogue than usual, it was no surprise to see turnover increase, though a near-50% upturn was perhaps even better than anticipated, with the 137 sold bringing in a total of €21,049,500 to ring the new record bell. Other indicators were also up: the average by 16.5% at €152,624, and the median to €110,000.

No stranger to picking up the top lot at this sale, Oliver St Lawrence was the agent behind the first millionaire two-year-old of the European season when going to €1.2 million for Grove Stud’s Siyouni (Fr) colt out of the dual Listed winner Isabel De Urbina (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}).

“I had to pay twice the price for this one,” joked St Lawrence in reference to the €550,000 it took to buy last year’s top lot, the subsequent G2 Mill Reef S. winner Sakheer (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}). 

“He turned out alright so hopefully this one will be just as good. I wouldn’t have thought we’ll see him racing until August or September, a proper race towards the end of the season.”

He also issued an update on KHK Racing’s Sakheer, who finished seventh in the 2,000 Guineas. He said, “He didn’t love the ground but he has come out of the race well. There was some discussion about withdrawing him on the morning of the race when all that rain came. He’ll drop back in trip now for the Commonwealth Cup, that seems the obvious thing to do, and we’ll just take it one race at a time.”

KHK Racing also owns 2021 Arqana Breeze-up graduate Eldar Eldarov (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), the winner of last year’s St Leger, who is entered in Friday’s G2 Yorkshire Cup.

The main talking points:

  • The transatlantic travels of Arqana’s executive director Freddy Powell have not been in vain for there was a strong American theme to proceedings on Saturday. Two of the top four lots are both heading to the United States. Coolmore bought the Uncle Mo colt (lot 51) for €600,000 from Tom Whitehead’s Powerstown Stud and he will be trained by Todd Pletcher, while Arnaud Delacour will take charge of a Blue Point (Ire) filly bought for €500,000 by Nicolas Bertran de Balanda for Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stable.
  • West Point Thoroughbreds, one of the owners of Flightline, also appeared on the buyers’ sheet alongside a Street Sense colt from Knockanglass Stables, while Flightline‘s trainer John Sadler was active at the sale, buying three horses through Fernando Laffon-Parias and Francoise Dupuis.
  • It was a stellar day for Brendan Holland, who sold seven horses through his Grove Stud, including three of the top eight, for a total of €2.4 million and average of €342,857 to lead the vendors’ table.
  • Two colts by Dubawi (Ire) featured in the catalogue, and they both sold to Godolphin through Anthony Stroud for €800,000 and €400,000, from Oak Tree Farm and Yeomanstown Stud respectively. Mags O’Toole had bought the colt from from the family of Group 1 winner Chicquita (Ire) and Magic Wand (Ire) for €150,000 at the Arqana October Sale, while Yoemanstown gave 180,000gns for the half-brother to Group 2 winner Turath (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) at Tattersalls December Yearling Sale.
  • Richard Brown struck early with three purchases within the first 11 horses through the ring, led by the €420,000 bid for lot 13, Mocklershill’s full-brother to G2 German 1000 Guineas winner Txope (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}). The colt had been a €170,000 buy-back in the same ring last August. Blandford Bloodstock ended the day as the second-leading buyer at the sale with nine bought for €1,525,000.
  • Lot 12, a Saxon Warrior (Jpn) colt out of the unraced Posh Claret (GB) (Royal Applause {GB}) bought for 34,000gns as a yearling, was not sold when knocked down at €480,000 in the ring. A private sale of €400,000 was later agreed between vendor Johnny Collins of Brown Island Stables and Anthony Stroud, and the colt will go into training with John and Thady Gosden.
  • Anthony Stroud later bought the Blue Point half-brother to Darley sire Palace Pier (GB) (Kingman {GB}) for €325,000. Bred by Coolmore, the colt was in utero when his dam Beach Frolic (GB) (Nayef) sold for 2.2 million gns to MV Magnier at Tattersalls in 2020. Another half-brother, the year-older Castle Way (GB) (Almanzor {Fr}), provided a recent update when winning the Listed Newmarket S. at the Guineas meeting.
  • The run on Blue Point continued, with four members of his first crop sold for an average of €281,250 to make him the leading freshman. Of his contemporaries, Calyx (GB) was also represented by four sold for an average of €178,000.

The Bleep Bleep Connection

We had to utilise the bleep-o-meter when transcribing the interview with Johnny Hassett of the Bloodstock Connection after he sold his Sioux Nation filly to Oliver St Lawrence. There weren’t quite 450,000 expletives on the tape, but that was the number of euros it took to secure the half-sister to Listed winner Manhattan Jungle (Ire) (Bungle Inthejungle {Ire}) who had been picked up for €90,000 at the Goffs Sportsman’s Sale. From that same sale, Hassett had also bought a Magna Grecia (Ire) colt for €145,000 in partnership with Nico Archdale and resold that son of the unraced Callisto Star (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) on Saturday for €210,000 to Saudi Arabia’s Najd Stud.

“What’s not to like? I’ve had a tricky season,” Hassett said. “I haven’t counted it yet but my gut reaction was that I hadn’t made or lost too much money up to here, which probably means I had lost some because I’m always positive. But I’d say I’m out now and I’ve four more horses to sell here.

“This sale is strong so far and I think a lot of the high-dollar horses are stacked later. I think I have a couple of shots at the €150,0000-plus lots and that was the first one and it worked.”

Asked if the pressure was off now, he replied, “Oh ****, yeah. You do a bit better when you’re not hungry. It makes it easier when the pressure is off; you perform better.”

Hassett added, “A lot of credit must go to Emma Chilcot and the selection team, who got this right.”

The Bloodstock Connection ended up with six sold for an average of €193,667 and aggregate of €1,162,000, and there was a definite improvement in Hassett’s language as the day wore on.

Ryan Signs Up Lone Waldgeist

Very few French consignors feature at the breeze-up sales but Philip Prévost Baratte made his presence felt when selling the sole entrant in the catalogue from the first-crop of Ballylinch Stud resident Waldgeist (GB) for €360,000.

Richard Ryan, who was been busy throughout the season, signed for lot 47 on behalf of Teme Valley, with Anthony Stroud and Alastair Donald also in the hunt. 

Ryan indicated that the son of Sous Le Soleil (Tizway), who is out of the G1 Preis der Diana winner Que Belle (Ger) (Seattle Dancer), would be trained in Ireland by Paddy Twomey.

“He’s quite set and neat, balanced, there’s an awful lot of Galileo about him,” said the agent, who signed for four on the day for Teme Valley and Opulence Thoroughbreds respectively. “He’ll get a run or two for sure before this season is out, but he was bought with a view to try to run in the Classics next year.”

Ryan continued, “He has a German pedigree on top of an Arc winner. Waldgeist wanted a mile at two himself, so you’re not trying to break any records, you just want them to present properly, have a good mouth, nice stride, and finish out the breeze ready for the next stage of his career, which is where he’s at.”

He added of Prévost Baratte, “He’s a skilled vendor. At this stage, everything has been done right for the horse.”

No Jogging but a Trio of Breezers for Sadler

In the company of Fernando Laffon-Parias and Francoise Dupuis, Californian trainer John Sadler made the most of his maiden voyage to Arqana by recruiting a trio of European breezers to take home with him.  

“It’s my first trip to Deauville and to Arqana. It’s lovely driving here from Paris through the French countryside and everyone has been so nice,” Sadler told TDN.

“The Powell brothers [Freddy and Richard] have been good hosts. [Their brother] Lenny Powell, who trains with us at Santa Anita, sent me a text and said ‘You might want to think about going for a jog along the boardwalk’. This was last night when it was raining and cold!”

He continued, “There are a lot of horses here with American pedigrees, which is good, through we didn’t end up buying one. There’s so much turf racing now worldwide, and there are plenty of options for a turf runner in the United States, especially in California, because we have year-round turf racing and the perfect climate for it.”

Joining the Sadler barn will be a colt by Highclere Stud’s freshman sire Land Force (Ire), who has been represented by his first two winners in the last two days. Lot 100 from Lackendarra Stables was knocked down at €250,000, and was later joined by Knockanglass Stables’ Siyouni filly (lot 122), sold for €150,000, and a filly from the first crop of Haras d’Etreham’s City Light (Fr), himself a son of Siyouni, who was bought from Philip Prévost Baratte for €160,000 as lot 177.

A Blether with Blarney

Brendan Holland, best known to all as Blarney, was understandably a happy man as he reflected on a day’s work that represents months and months of planning and hard graft, starting at last season’s yearling sales. 

The sale’s leading vendor said, “Today has gone above and beyond Plan A, for once, as everyone who does it will appreciate, things went according to plan. 

“I’ve been lucky in France since this sale was in Saint-Cloud, and I tend to buy, in general, a later-maturing horse. I’m just attracted to that kind of horse, and that type of horse is more suited to this sale than any other sale. It’s not just that I like coming here, it just suits my type of horse, and I also have a few left for Goresbridge for a similar reason. I have to split my horses.”

Observing the breeze-up market overall in 2023, he added, “Regardless of many economic woes, if this year wasn’t a good year for the breeze-ups then there was never going to be a god year. We had three Classic winners last year and four other Group 1 winners. The quality of the horses is improving every year. We, as a bunch, are spending more on yearlings. That’s not always reflected on the track if you spend more, but in this sector that is being reflected. The more we spend on yearlings, we’re offering a better product, and maybe we’re producing the product better as we are learning. 

“The industry is very connected worldwide and everyone is aware of what’s going on in the different jurisdictions. It’s no surprise that the breeze-ups are attracting new clients from different parts of the world. I sold one to America and two to Australia today, and that’s reflective of the market. The breeze-up market really is worldwide.”

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