THIS week marked the beginning of a pivotal four weeks for the European yearling sales season and events at Tattersalls Ireland ensured that the month long sales period in Ireland and England could hardly have begun better.
Following a period of sustained growth, the September Sale took a marked jump forward this year with solid, steady and consistent trade matched by strong demand for the best lots on offer. A new record price for the sale and a record equalling price for a filly at this auction were testament to demand at the head of the market.
Over the two days, the number of six-figure lots improved from five to seven, while there was actually a slight decrease in the number of horses making €50,000 or more, which went from 47 12 months ago to 44.
However, the key strength of the sale was the middle market as evidenced by activity in the price bracket of €30,000 to €49,000. In 2016 there were 73 horses who fell within this range but that number increased to 103 this week which is a key pointer to the sale’s growing profile and popularity.
A somewhat smaller catalogue for the first two days was always likely to concentrate demand and help boost the average and median but even so the turnover managed to grow by €1.2m. Furthermore, there was a reduction of 53 in the number of horses to come under the hammer on Tuesday and Wednesday yet there were only eight fewer horses sold than was the case in 2016. All this led to a 90% clearance rate which represents an excellent result for a sale of this nature.
As ever, there were varying fortunes on the pinhooking front. In all there were 165 horses offered over the two days which had come up for sale as foals. Allowing for a keep figure of €10,000 on top of the price they were knocked down for as a foal, there were 77 profitable pinhooks, while the other 88 were unable to cover their costs from last November.
An interesting point from a pinhooking point of view was the number of successful purchases made from the inaugural Tattersalls Ireland Flat Foal And Breeding Stock Sale last November. These included the Society Rock filly who went from €14,500 to €160,000 and an €11,000 son of Requinto who fetched €85,000 on his return to the sales ring.
It was fitting that another year of growth for the September Sale should yield a record priced top lot, which came when Michael O’Hagan forked out €230,000 for a son of Showcasing from Paul and Marie McCartan’s Ballyphilip Stud. The 11-year record for this sale stood at €225,000 but it was clear that this long standing figure was in serious jeopardy when no fewer than four separate parties bid in excess of €150,000 for this colt.
Matt Coleman provided the stiffest opposition to O’Hagan but he eventually had to concede defeat for the colt who will be trained by Clive Cox. The sale-topper numbers the likes of Esentepe and this season’s classy juvenile Mythical Magic amongst his relations and he hails from a farm that has raised the likes of Harry Angel and Tiggy Wiggy in recent seasons.
Agent Anthony Stroud, acting for Godolphin, made quite an impact on his first visit to this sale for some time when going to €200,000 for a Kodiac colt who was sold by John Foley’s Ballyvolane Stud. Stroud outlasted Mick Flanagan for the half-brother to the very useful three-time winner Rusumaat. The dam, Queen Wasp, has served her connections well since being picked up for 10,000gns at the 2011 Tattersalls July Sale and this sale followed on from the £150,000 that her two-year-old by Kodiac made at the yearling sales in 2016.
The late Society Rock is responsible for the horse that adorned the front of this year’s catalogue – the Group 1-winning Unfortunately – and he was responsible for this year’s star filly who went to Joe Foley for €160,000.
A daughter of the listed-placed Coolminx, this filly cost Tally-Ho Stud €14,500 at the first staging of the Tattersalls Ireland Flat Foal and Breeding Stock Sale and her sire has since done tremendously well with his first runners. As a result, this filly was touted as one of the best yearlings on offer and Foley, acting for Clipper Logistics, had to dig deep to see off Matt Coleman.
Earlier in the day, Foley saw off Ross Doyle when giving €100,000 for a son of Footstepsinthesand belonging to Cloughmealy Stud. The colt is out of a Pivotal half-sister to this season’s smart three-year-old Wild Irish Rose.
The last six-figure transaction of this year’s sale came when Ger Lyons, who has enjoyed plenty of success with the sire’s progeny in the past, forked out €110,000 for a Kodiac colt from Ballyhimikin Stud. Lyons’ purchase is a half-brother to several winners out of a half-sister to the Middle Park Stakes third Doc Holiday.
The first horse to reach six figures at this year’s auction was an Acclamation colt from Rathbarry Stud who cost Mark Gittins €110,000. The own-brother to a trio of two-year-old winners will be trained by Karl Burke who has done so well with graduates of this sale in the past.
Another to reach six figures, and continuing a superb sale for Tally-Ho Stud, was a €100,000 colt from the first crop of the Prix Maurice de Gheest scorer Garswood who had been picked up for €38,000 as a foal. Johnny Murtagh will train the Gill Richardson purchase who is a half-brother to two winners out of a half-sister to the top-class Australian runner Tawqeet.
An industrious season for Murtagh has included a particularly impressive strike rate in the juvenile division with the trainer having won with seven of the 13 two-year-olds he has run this year.
This year was the first time that the Hong Kong Jockey Club were represented at the sale and its representatives struck early when going to €85,000 for a son of Requinto from Jonathan and Mary Hillman’s Danesrath Stud. The colt was showing an excellent return on the €11,000 he cost in this ring last November.
Much later in the day an Exceed And Excel colt predictibly found favour with the breeze-up fraternity and Con Marnane outlasted Thomond O’Mara when he brought the price to €90,000. This colt hails from the immediate family of the classic-placed duo of Tarfasha and Galileo Rock.
Ross Doyle and Ed Sackville, who have been among the leading purchasers at this sale for some time, both gave €80,000 for Dark Angel yearlings.
Doyle secured a daughter of the listed-winning Waveband for Richard Hannon and Sackville picked up a colt related to the classy juvenile Alsindi, on behalf of Tom Dascombe.
Among the first crop sires to enjoy a good week was Slade Power and he was responsible for an €80,000 filly who will join Richard Fahey, for Rabbah Bloodstock.
This well-related sort is a half-sister to last season’s Dee Stakes winner Viren’s Army who topped the 2014 edition of this sale when fetching €115,000.