BALLYLINCH Stud in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, sold two of the three highest-priced lots at Tattersalls on Wednesday, as Book 2 of the October Yearling Sale drew to a close.
The three-day sale saw over 60 million guineas spent on 633 horses, returning an average price of 96,000gns and a median price of 70,000gns.
All of these metrics are well up on last year, when a larger number of yearlings (650) fetched 54.5 million guineas. This year's average price is up 14% on last year and the median is up 13%. It's worth noting that last year's median price of 62,000gns was itself 13% up on the 2019 figure.
The leading purchaser over the three days of Book 2 was the Stroud Coleman Bloodstock agency and it was confirmed on Wednesday that at least some of their 23 acquisitions (costing 5.6 million guineas) were for Godolphin.
Godolphin are the new owners of Wednesday's top lot, a Lope De Vega filly from Ballylinch Stud, who sold for 650,000gns. The filly is an own-sister to Ovideo who was placed in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York this year.
"I knew she'd sell well," said Ballylinch boss John O'Connor. "This is a family we have been associated with a long time – I originally bought Ingabelle [third dam] from Tom Lacy, Tony Lacy's father, and we have bred most of the blacktype on this page."
O'Connor continued: "Lope De Vega's stock appeals to so many people, he is such a good sire we have been blessed to have him. It is wonderful when things go your way, it is almost a surreal feeling."
The filly bounced around the sale ring throughout the bidding, kicking out and enjoying herself, and O'Connor said: "That is the kind of energy she has, and still so full of energy after being busy here. She is a filly with lots of resilience."
New Bay colt
A short time earlier bloodstock agent Anthony Stroud also signed for Ballylinch's New Bay colt out of Fact Or Folklore, the price reaching 425,000gns. However this colt, a full-brother to recent Tipperary Group 3 winner Statement, is not for Godolphin but will be trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam for owner Peter Harris.
The dam Fact Or Folklore is by Lope De Vega.
Of this colt, O'Connor said: "This horse was a beautiful horse, free-moving, well-balanced, and he took everything really well – there were a few who kicked off in the pre-parade ring and he handled it very well. He has got a racehorse mind, I think.
"The trainers really like the New Bays, and with the kind of mares he is covering now he has the opportunity now to step to a higher level again. Every horse has to take that opportunity, but we believe he can.
Ballyvolane Stud in Bruff, Co Limerick, achieved a fine result in Book 2 last year when selling the Time Test colt out of Aurelia for 400,000gns, and John Foley's farm bettered that result on Wednesday when selling a colt by Starspangledbanner for 600,000gns.
Last year's six-figure sum came from a pinhooked yearling – this year it is via first foal, bred by The Great Dame Partnership and out of the mare who inspired the partnership's name. A daughter of Dandy Man, she was bought by Barry Lynch at the 2019 December Sale for just 28,000gns.
Trained by David O'Meara, she won twice at two, and her wins included the Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes. She is a half-sister to the Group 3 winer Donnerschlag and the Listed winner Izzy Bizu, and an own-sister to De Boss Man, who finished third in the Round Tower Stakes.
Foley said: "She is owned by myself and good friend, Jason Kelly, who is David O'Meara's assistant, and he liked the mare. We bought the syndicate out at the sale, bred her, and this is her first foal.
"I am delighted, he is a lovely, lovely horse – he has always been a mighty sort. He has great action and some of the most respected judges here liked him."
The colt was bought by bloodstock agent Richard Knight, who said: "He was the only one we picked out in this sale, thought he was a lovely individual. He is by Starspangledbanner, who I am a big fan of, having had The Wow Signal.
"I like the fact that the mare was a useful two-year-old herself and he looks like he will be sharp. We felt he will be a great addition to the horses we have already bought. He is a horse who should not take a huge amount of time, he is very athletic and vetted very well."
Book 3 of the sale starts on Thursday morning.