THE owners of Breeders' Cup hopeful Big Evs spent some of their winnings at Tattersalls Ireland on Tuesday when they paid €190,000 for the day's top lot, a yearling filly by Lope De Vega.
Consigned by Bill Dwan's The Castlebridge Consignment on behalf of the Jennings family's Stonethorn Stud Farms Ltd, the filly is a half-sister to Bluedrum who won first time out at Naas last week,
The bidding kicked off at €30,000 and rose quickly with the main protagonists being Hubie de Burgh, Matt Houldsworth and Conor Quirke, the last-named emerging successful at €190,000.
Quirke was buying for RP Racing, a syndicate which has enjoyed a fine season, courtesy of the Mick Appleby-trained Big Evs – winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood and the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster last week.
"She was a stand-out for me, and ultimately the half-sister got her over the line," reported Quirke. "This filly is lovely and was well-placed here – the breeders are good at their job. Today was not her cup final, she is going to keep improving, which I appreciate. She is a lovely filly and hard to fault. We like the sire too, and it all made sense."
He added: "She will go to Mick Appleby. I have bought for RP for the last five years or so – we have danced all the big dances this year with Big Evs and we want to get back to it again next year!"
Quirke sees the new purchase as a mid-season filly as a juvenile, but is dreaming big for her three-year-old campaign.
"She is a long term prospect. We knew she'd cost something in that window. We followed a couple through earlier and they made way more [than we predicted] and she was close to where we saw her. We did not come here necessarily to buy but I am always on the look-out. When you see a horse such as her ... well, I made the call."
Of Big Evs, Quirke updated: "He bounced out as usual, and I have booked my flights to America! Mick is great fun, the owners are good people and it has been a great journey so long may it continue!"
Bill Dwan, on behalf of the vendors, said: "She came from Kiltinan Stud, they did a great job. She is a lovely filly and obviously had a well-timed pedigree update. The sire is having a great time too, and it all came together for today.
"There was a lot of interest and she was vetted 10 times. The sale was selected in order to stand out, which she did, and at the time of the sale entry the two-year-old was unnamed."
The opening session produced a solid set of returns. While the clearance rate dipped a few points from last year to 86%, the aggregate, average and median all registered an increase on 2022’s opening day.
The top price of €115,000 from last year’s sale was matched when a son of first crop sire Kameko was knocked down to Edgar Byrne. Offered by Adrian Costello's Clenagh Castle Stud, the chesnut colt’s prospects were enhanced by the recent exploits of his progressive 97-rated half-brother Zoulu Chief who won a competitive nursery at York in good style last month.
Byrne was bidding alongside Norwegian trainer Niels Petersen who will take charge of the colt and who said: "He is a lovely horse, we saw him yesterday and he was one of our top picks, so we are looking forward to taking him back to Norway.
"For Scandinavia you tend to look for a well-balanced horse as our tracks are a little sharper than here. We also have both dirt and turf tracks and he might be one that could suit either surface. He fits what we are after.”
The horse will carry the colours of the JC Organization who were purchasing at Tattersalls Ireland for the first time. “The group is a big client of Niels and he has trained a Derby winner for the syndicate. We did have to push to buy him, but you usually do for the right horse and for the good ones,” Byrne added.
It was a great piece of business for Costello who purchased the colt as a foal for just 11,000gns and saw his investment increase 10-fold. “He was a lovely foal who turned into a lovely yearling and Zoulu Chief coming along really made a big difference,” Costello said.
It didn’t take long for the six-figure mark to be reached on Tuesday when a filly by Ten Sovereigns was knocked down to Anthony Bromley of Highflyer Bloodstock for €100,000.
Offered by Ciaran Conroy’s Glenvale Stud the attractive brown filly out of All Time High is a half-sister to the useful Joseph O’Brien-trained Lakota Seven who was stakes placed last year and will go into training with Ed Dunlop.
“I’ve bought her for Andrew Megson,” Bromley said. “Ten Sovereigns is doing great with his first crop, this filly is a very good walker and very athletic,” he added. Bromley was in the company of former trainer Harry Dunlop with whom he bought Group 2 May Hill Stakes winner Polly Pott as a yearling for the same owner.
“Harry is helping the Megsons, and this filly is going to his brother Ed Dunlop, who has a few for the couple to run on the flat for some fun. Joseph [O'Brien] had the two-year-old last year who was smart over a mile and sold well at the end of the year. The pedigree goes back to a good Juddmonte bloodline in Monroe, the dam of Xaar. There are few Group 1 performers down at the bottom of the page. It is really exciting, and this filly looks as though she has the size and scope to make up into a nice three-year-old also,” he said.
Bromley was one of the more active buyers on the day and he struck again later in the afternoon when also going to €100,000 for a son of Mehmas. This colt was a €40,000 pinhook purchase by his vendor Rochestown Lodge Stud last year and he was bought on Tuesday with another trip to the sales in mind next spring.
"He is for an Irish breeze-up client,” Bromley revealed. “It’s a punchy enough price but I love the sire and this colt has a little more scope than some by Mehmas. He’s very athletic, looks a racehorse and my client thinks the same, so let's hope he is a weapon!”
Coolmore’s exciting stallion Wootton Bassett has just two yearlings catalogued in the sale and the first to appear in the ring was snapped up by Michael Donohoe of BBA Ireland for €82,000.
This filly was consigned by Norelands Stud out of the winning Dalakhani mare Aspasi and is a granddaughter of Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes winner Insight.
“We are big fans of the sire, she is a lovely filly and a gorgeous physical,” Donohoe said. “She has been really well produced by Norelands, the farm produces good horses, and we think she is good value. She has been bought for a Middle Eastern-based client who has been a lucky client of mine. She will stay in Ireland to be broken and will go on to be trained in Ireland, England or France,” he added.
A full-brother to Royal Ascot winning two-year-old Dandalla unsurprisingly proved popular when selling to Stroud Coleman and Mark Loughnane for €75,000.
The Dandy Man colt was offered by Peter Nolan on behalf of Robert Norton and afterwards Loughnane said: "He is coming into training with me, we will get him broken in and we will see where we are at, but he is a fine horse and has a great page as a full-brother to Dandalla and the mare has had three winners from three runners. He looks an early type and is for a local syndicate made up of my landlord Steve Mares and a few friends."
The sale continues on Wednesday and concludes on Thursday with Part 2.