ELEVEN lots realised 300,000gns or more in Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2019. All were named and just one of them has failed to appear on the racecourse.
The 10 runners include seven winners, two placed horses and one who has failed to reach the first three in a couple of starts.
Two of the winners have been successful at stakes level, Rumbles Of Thunder who is a dual blacktype winner, and the unbeaten, five-time winner and rising star of Hong Kong racing, Romantic Warrior, selected by Michael Kinane on behalf of the Hong Kong Jockey Club in his first season as their selector. The former multiple Irish champion jockey had to see off the persistent Jake Warren for the colt.
Romantic Warrior’s latest win in the Listed Hong Kong Classic Mile at Sha Tin, a race won two years ago by the sensational Golden Sixty, takes his earning to more than three times his purchase price at Tattersalls, while his owner Peter Lau bought him at last June’s HKJC International sale for the equivalent of €550,000.
A feature of the sales in Hong Kong is that the catalogue details the pre-sale cost of the lots which are purchased by the Jockey Club, and Romantic Warrior had cost €490,000 by that time.
A son of Acclamation (Royal Applause), Rathbarry Stud’s veteran but still hugely prolific flagbearer, Romantic Warrior was bred in partnership by James and David Egan’s Corduff Stud and Tim Rooney.
They bought the dam Folk Melody (Street Cry) for €82,000 through Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock at Goffs and got that investment back quickly when the foal she was carrying, Melodic Charm (Exceed And Excel), sold for 85,000gns as a yearling. That filly won twice, including at two.
Melodic Charm was the second offspring of Folk Melody who herself won a 16-runner maiden at Newmarket over seven furlongs at two for Godolphin, but she failed to add even a placed effort in four starts after transferring from Saeed bin Suroor to Charlie Appleby.
Her first foal was Pennywhistle (Iffraaj) and she was a very consistent type for John Gosden, finishing in the first three on eight of her 11 starts, though she managed just once to get her head in front at the finish.
Now Romantic Warrior gives Folk Melody a perfect three from three with her runners, and this year she will be represented on the track by her Showcasing (Oasis Dream) two-year-old Operation Gimcrack who sold for 160,000gns last year to Bryan Smart. Last year Folk Melody went back again to Showcasing and Henrietta Egan told me this week that she is due to foal imminently.
The emergence of Romantic Warrior is part of a resurgence in this female line. His dam is one of four winners from 10 foals of racing age, including this year’s juvenile filly Folk Star (Le Havre), from the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes winner Folk Opera (Singspiel). She also won the 2008 Group 2 Prix Jean Romanet, the last year before it was upgraded to Group 1 status.
After her retirement Folk Opera visited Street Cry (Machiavellian) for her first two seasons at stud, and Folk Melody was born the year after her full-sister Opera Lily. The latter was trained by Kiaran McLaughlin but never ran, was sold in the summer of 2013 for $20,000, and was later covered that year by Exchange Rate (Danzig).
The resulting colt, born in Argentina, was named Mr Bailetti, and his victories in Peru included the Group 1 Gran Premio Nacional Augusto B Leguia at three. Opera Lily has since produced a second stakes winner, this time in Argentina, in the form of Opus Alpha (Cima De Triomphe).
There is one other Group 1 winner that crops up in the first four generations of Romantic Warrior’s pedigree, and that is the Beat Hollow (Sadler’s Wells) filly Proportional. She was the best of her sex and generation at two in France after her success in the Prix Marcel Boussac, and she is a stakes-producer at stud. Her dam, the group-placed Minority (Generous) is a half-sister to Skiphall (Halling), the placed dam of Folk Opera.
One person who was instrumental in the story of Romantic Warrior’s development is Malcolm Bastard. He and his team had the gelding for 10 months before he headed to Manton after the HKJC changed their operations. The groundwork Malcolm’s team put in is now manifesting itself in the burgeoning career of Romantic Warrior, by some way the best of his sire’s 20 winning offspring in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Classic Mile has for many years been the traditional lead-up for the Hong Kong Derby which will be staged on Sunday, March 20th. It is also the first of the three major races for the classic generation in Hong Kong, their ‘Triple Crown’, and the middle leg is the Hong Kong Classic Cup in three weeks’ time. Remember the name – Romantic Warrior.