THE European yearling sales season got off to a strong start at Deauville on Saturday when almost €20 million was spent on 112 horses at the opening session of the Arqana August Sale.

The clearance rate was over 84% and the median price was €120,000.

Top price paid during the session was €1.6 million for a son of Shamardal out of group race winner Lady Frankel. Bidding on behalf of Godolphin, Anthony Stroud had the final say for the colt from the close family of the very talented Lady Vettori, Lope De Vega, Bal De La Rose, Danceteria and Blossomtime, offered by Gestüt Ammerland.

"He’s a lovely colt that walks well," said the agent. "He is by Shamardal, a fantastic stallion with which we have had a lot of success. We’re very happy - he comes from a great family and a renowned nursery."

This was the only lot Godolphin signed for during the session.

Sea The Stars colt

The second highest price of €675,000 was paid for a first foal by Sea The Stars out of listed winner Shamtee. Sébastien Desmontils (Chauvigny Global Equine) signed the docket for the colt from the family of Group 1 winners Territories, Helen Street, Street Cry and Victor Ludorum, from Haras du Mont dit Mont.

"He’s a very nice colt that walks well," said Desmontils. "His physique is a mix between what you would expect of a Sea The Stars and a dam by Shamardal. I’ve bought him for my Japanese client Mr Hisaaki Saito, and we’re delighted! We don’t know who will train him yet, but he is likely to be trained in Chantilly like all Mr Saito’s horses."

Al Shira'aa purchases

Kieran Lalor, who manages Meadow Park Stud in Kildare for Abu Dhabi-based Al Shira'aa Farm, bought the two top-priced fillies of the session. He paid €570,000 for a daughter of Galileo (sister to Rumi) and €550,000 for a filly by Siyouni who is a half-sister to champion Native Trail. Al Shira'aa also bought a Night Of Thunder filly for €320,000.

M.V. Magnier of Coolmore Stud spent €550,000 on a filly by Wootton Bassett. The half-sister to Prix de Psyché winner Penja was consigned by Haras de Castillon.

Coolmore also took a share (with Peter Brant) in the Siyouni colt out of a full-sister to Johannes Vermeer, who sold for €580,000. The same partnership went to €400,000 for a Gleneagles half-sister to recent Grand Prix de Paris winner Onesto.

The sale continues after racing on Sunday and concludes on Monday.