TAKING place over three days, the Arqana Autumn Sale began on Monday with a day of flat and National Hunt horses-in-training, as well as two-year-old stores. Returning to the same levels as 2019, the horses-in-training opened the sale.
Eagerly anticipated following his second place finish last time over hurdles at Compiegne to the future Grade 1 Prix Cambaceres winner, the Francois Nicolle-trained Foxfire Glow, a wild card entry, sold for €315,000 to Freddy Powell taking instructions by telephone. It is understood the gelding will race overseas.
Tom Malone bought two horses for Gwent Holdings and Welsh trainer Christian Williams. The first was Si Elegant, a son of Gemix who cost €155,000. Offered as a wild card, the Yannick Fouin-trained gelding finished runner-up on his debut over hurdles at Auteuil.
The same team also struck for Ironica De Thaix at €210,000. Yet another wild card, the three-year-old AQPS gelding won on his debut at Senonnes for Daniela Mele. The son of Coastal Path is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Dica De Thaix.
Bidding on behalf of Willie Mullins, Pierre Boulard and Harold Kirk bought three horses, led by Quais De Paris. Knocked down for €180,000, the Yannick Fouin-trained gelding was third on his debut at Compiegne. A little earlier in the day, they signed the docket at €150,000 for the wild card entry Alastor. The three-year-old son of Helmet finished runner-up in the Listed Prix Pelléas at Compiègne this season, and third in the Group 2 Derby Italiano for Gianluca Bietolini.
Completing the trio was Houlanbatordechais who also cost €150,000. Unbeaten in two starts, the four-year-old son of Great Pretender delighted Boulard. He said: “His trainer Alain Couetil said a lot of good things about him. He has run twice and won twice, and is now ready to go jumping. We’ll now let Willie work his magic!”
With a good update following the publication of the catalogue, blacktype performer Aristocrate was knocked down for €140,000. Third in the Listed Prix Scaramouche at the beginning of October, the Alain Couetil- trained colt finished runner-up in the Listed Prix Denisy at Saint-Cloud last week. A son of Elusive City, the four-year-old is from the family of Monsun.
It was Nicolas Bertran de Balanda (NBB Racing) who had the final say, commenting: “He’ll go to England to be trained by Richard Newland. He’s a lovely horse with a great physique and good performances.”
A session entirely devoted to National Hunt-bred yearlings, the second day of the Autumn Sale was marked by strong demand at all levels, surpassing the 2019 edition. The results show that 79% of the lots offered were sold for an average price of €27,840, generating a turnover of €3,730,500. A healthy 27 yearlings made €50,000 or more; there were 14 in 2020 and 18 in 2019.
The Highflyer Bloodstock team bought 13 yearlings for a total of €697,000, ending the day as leading buyers. Acting mostly on behalf of Welsh owner Dai Walters (Walters Plant Hire), they notably had the final say for a half-brother by Doctor Dino to the talented Thrilling, from the family of Grade 1 winning chaser Hinterland. Sold for €170,000, the yearling, offered from Haras des Sablonnets, set a record price for a National Hunt-bred yearling at the sale.
Organised for the second year in this format, the Autumn Sale concluded with a day entirely dedicated to breeding stock, recording excellent results. Some 83% of the lots sold, compared to 73% previously. The average price increased by 8% to €24,026, and the turnover jumped by 58%, thanks in large part to the breeding stock dispersal of the late Magalen Bryant. All but one of the 19 lots offered from Haras du Lieu des Champs sold.
Two of the draft that represented her famous blue and red silks made the top prices on the day, led by Fabulous Dragoness who was knocked down for €300,000 to Thierry Délègue (Pegase Bloodstock). A winner of four AQ graded races, including the Prix Jacques de Vienne (Grade 1 PA), the half-sister by Poliglote to the champion Blue Dragon was offered carrying her first foal by Doctor Dino.
After signing the docket, the agent said: “She’s a mare that has so many strings to her bow - she has an exceptional pedigree and was a very good performer herself, is still young, and in foal to one of the best stallions. I think to start breeding, which is my client Mr van Robais’s case, it is hard to do better than this mare. He is passionate about National Hunt racing and has had good success with his first purchases and now wishes to breed as well.”
The Grade 3 Grand Prix de Pau winner Laterana was also in demand, selling for €140,000. Rupert Pritchard-Gordon (RPG Bloodstock) had the final say for the half-sister to dual group winner Laterano, offered in foal for the first time to Great Pretender. “We’ve bought her to send to Success Days. His first foals sold well last week, with one of his fillies making the top price. We really like the mare, she’s very good looking and was very well prepped by Richard Powell and his team”.
Over the three days of sales, 444 horses sold, at a clearance rate of 81%, for a total turnover of €12,870,500. Following the sale, Eric Hoyeau, president of Arqana, and Freddy Powell, executive director, issued a statement. They said: “The aim of this week, which we put in place last year, was to encourage reinvestment by creating a sequence of specific sales: horses in training including jumpers, stores and yearlings, ending with a day entirely dedicated to breeding stock.
“After these three days, we can only be positive. The results exceeded our expectations and we would like to thank all our consignors who have put their trust in this new format. The market was very strong and the majority of the National Hunt professionals were present from start to finish from France, Ireland, England and Eastern Europe.”