IT was a day of selling in Deauville like no other. For 15 years the record price for a filly or broodmare at the Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale stood at €1,700,000.

On Saturday that figure was exceeded on no fewer than five occasions. It was the opening salvo of four superb days of trading, leading to a final turnover that exceeded €40 million for the first time.

The lion’s share of that record aggregate was garnered at the opening session, and more than a quarter of the final tally came from the sale of five racing fillies or mares. Testifying to the exceptional quality of the broodmares, fillies and foals on offer on day one, 73% of the 211 lots offered sold for a record average price of €209,201, generating an historic high turnover of €32,217,000.

The exceptional three-year-old Rougir, winner of this year’s Group 1 Prix de l’Opéra, was making her third appearance at Deauville. Sold in a private transaction as a foal by Haras du Haut-Gué to Guy Petit at this sale for just €14,000, she then went through the August Yearling Sale where Françoise Dupuis, bidding on behalf of Haras de la Gousserie whose colours she has worn throughout her career, bought her from Haras de l’Hotellerie. She was a profitable pinhook, realising €55,000.

Added as a wild card to the catalogue last weekend, the daughter of Territories began her juvenile career with two wins and a third place finish in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac before ending the year with a well-deserved victory in the Group 3 Prix des Réservoirs.

Success at Group 1 level this season meant that she was the subject of fierce competition around the ring. It was Oceanic Bloodstock’s Michel Zerolo, facing down Nicolas Bertran de Balanda and David Redvers, who had the final say at €3,000,000 for the filly consigned by Sumbe, thus setting the record for the highest price ever paid in the Arqana sales ring.

Coolmore purchase

Zerolo said afterwards: “I’ve bought her for a partnership between White Birch Farm [Peter Brant] and Coolmore. She’s an exceptional filly.” Haras de la Gousserie’s Pauline Chehboub added: “She’s a filly that has given us so much, and while it’s the end of a chapter for us, it continues elsewhere. We bought her as a yearling and she’s given us so much pleasure. She’s the best filly that we’ve ever had. She is just exceptional, and we saw that again this evening.”

Rougir is the best winner to date from the stakes-placed Elusive City mare Summer Moon, and this is a family that, in further removes, has produced the likes of Group 1 and classic winners Kahyasi, Kastoria, Key Change and Milan.