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Bloodstock agents have had a busy seven days as sales took place all over the northern hemisphere.; each had a different story to tell, but overall the outlook for 2012 remains positive.
An outstanding clearance rate at Tattersalls’ July Sale went some way to compensating a lower aggregate, due in part to almost a third of the catalogue being withdrawn. Down 20% to 4,745,400gns from 2011, the 402 lots sold were 55 fewer than last year, with the median and average dropping 7% and 9% to 6,500gns and 11,804gns respectively.
Nevertheless, buyers from Britain, Ireland, Europe and further afield ensured the clearance rate from each session of the three day sale never dropped below 80%, capped by a 96% clearance rate on Thursday.
Two lots made their way into the six-figure bracket, those being sale-topper Esentepe (Oratorio), the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes-winning filly bought by Blandford Bloodstock for 220,000gns, and Figaro, a four-year-old son of Medicean sold to Tom Malone for 100,000gns.
Earlier in the week it was a rather different story at the Japan Racing Horse Association (JRHA) Select Sale, where the two sessions combined made an aggregate of ¥10,296,300,000 and showed a 12.2% rise on 2011 figures, with the average almost matching that increase at 11.6% up on last year, hitting ¥28,600,833.
Deep Impact, who has been enjoying incredible success from his first three crops on the track, proved in demand once again. As the sale came to a close, the son of Sunday Silence was responsible for many high-earners, including four of the top five lots in both the foal and yearling sessions. Lot 327, a 2011 colt out of Grade 1 Frizette Stakes winner Sky Diva (Sky Mess) topped the table at ¥250,000,000 (over £2m). Harbinger, outstanding winner of the 2010 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, also made his mark during the foal session, as a member from his first crop, out of the winning mare Careless Whisper (Fuji Kiseki), fetched ¥135,000,000 to take third place on the board.
The first day’s yearling session proved equally successful for Deep Impact, and also saw the first Sea The Stars yearling go under the hammer. Whilst the colt may have failed to make the leader board when selling for ¥40,000,000, this Irish-bred half-brother to Mastercraftsman far exceeded the average, and hopefully bodes well for future offspring of the six-time Group 1 winner.
The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale, a session of selected yearlings, also posted improved figures compared to the 2011 renewal. A 15.1% increase in aggregate saw total returns of $15,364,000, despite a lower clearance rate from a larger catalogue. Average followed suit rising 16.3% to $81,291, while the $60,000 median saw no change.
A Malibu Moon colt out of the winning mare Uncontrollable (Wild Again), dam of three winners from three runners, topped the session when knocked down to Ken McPeek for $375,000, exceeding last year’s highest price of $310,000. Fifteen horses broke the $200,000 mark, including a filly by Malibu Moon and two by Sky Mesa, a Three Chmineys resident and sire of two Grade 1 winners.
Just a week after Magnificient Style (Silver Hawk) earned a prolific double when her produce Nathaniel and Great Heavens, both by Galileo, claimed the Group 1 Eclipse and Group 2 Lancashire Oaks respectively, another top-class broodmare hit the headlines with a big Saturday two-timer. Ionian Sea, a daughter of 1985 Derby winner Slip Anchor, was first represented at York by her five-year-old gelding Mount Athos (Montjeu), winner of the Listed John Smith’s Silver Cup, a heritage handicap run over 1m6f.
The winning mare, who spent her last few years at Coolmore, had to wait a little longer than Magnificient Style to notch up the double; her second representative, Imperial Monarch, wasn’t in action until the evening at Longchamp, where the son of Galileo lined up in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris. With a field of nine including Group 2 winners Hard Dream and Top Trip, this year’s renewal went right down to the wire as less than three quarters of a length separated the first three, with a lengthy steward’s enquiry and an official winning distance of a head. Nevertheless it was the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt who secured the win from Last Train (Rail Link), earning his dam a first Group 1 title, and his sire a first victory in the historic event.
Five-time Group 1 scorer Duke Of Marmalade (Danehill) got off the mark as a sire on Monday when his son Count Of Limonade won an EBF maiden at Roscommon by three and a quarter lengths. It was a third outing for the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt, whose dam Hoity Toity (Darshaan) has enjoyed great success at stud so far thanks to dual Group 1-winner Lillie Langtry (Danehill Dancer).
A fortnight after Champion jockey Paul Hanagan suffered a serious fall at the July course, he returned fully recovered to post a first win in the Group 1 July Cup. His mount Mayson, at 20/1, was certainly not the most fancied runner in the six furlong event, but handled the heavy going in fine style to lead from early on, before passing the post five lengths ahead of runner-up The Cheka. The Richard Fahey-trained four-year-old is a first foal for the unraced Mayleaf, and not only provided his sire Invincible Spirit with a second win in the race, following on from Fleeting Spirit in 2009, but also gave Pivotal a first Group 1 victory as a broodmare sire.
The French-trained favourite Golden Lilac may have missed out on victory in Friday’s Group 1 Falmouth Stakes, but the trophy still returned across the Channel for the first time since Goldikova won in 2009 after the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained four-year-old Giofra kept on well in the testing conditions to win by half a length from Elusive Kate (Elusive Quality). In doing so, the filly became her sire Dansili’s tenth individual Group 1 winner, a first for her dam Gracefully (Orpen).
The firsts kept on coming as Lady Of Shamrock gave her sire Scat Daddy a first win at top-flight in the Grade 1 American Oaks, beating recent conqueror My Gi Gi (E Dubai).
Sad news emerged early in the week when it was revealed that Miinnehoma, winner of the 1994 Grand National, had died at the age of 29. Owned by comedian Freddie Starr, the Martin Pipe-trained gelding enjoyed an illustrious career either side of his Aintree victory, winning the Sun Alliance Novices’ Chase at the Festival in 1992, and reverting back to 2m4f following the National to claim a Grade 2 Handicap at Aintree before finishing third to Master Oats in the 1995 Cheltenham Gold Cup.