This time of year we are always very busy with the yearling sales at Newmarket, usually both buying and selling, and this year has been no different. Our Fittocks Stud had several good results in the Book 1 sale, selling a Dubawi half-brother to Silk Sari for 850,000 guineas to Roger Varian, a Dubawi half-brother to Total Star for 500,000 guineas to Howson and Houldsworth Bloodstock and a Shamardal half-sister to Laurence for 500,000 guineas to Shawn Dugan on behalf of Al Shira’aa Farms, and we would like to wish all their new owners the very best of luck with them in the future. We generally do not sell all the yearlings we have at Fittocks each year, so there will be four or five who will come into training at Bedford House Stables before the year is out and, hopefully, there is a star or two among them. At the time of writing, we have also secured eight purchases from the Book 2 sale for OTI Racing, Coolmore, Mr Stuart Stuckey, Buxted Partnership and the Booth, Boorer & Bengough partnership.
On the racing front, we have had five winners since our last update, namely Cryptic and Diamond Geyser who gave us a handicap double at Kempton last Tuesday, Rosental who took a listed race at Saint-Cloud the following afternoon, Archery Peak who made a winning comeback after 737 days off the track to take the mile maiden at Windsor this Monday and Red Label who took our domestic winners tally to 31 for the year when winning the opening maiden at Leicester yesterday (Tuesday). Having been bought at last year’s Tattersalls Book 1 sale Red Label’s victory also made him the 36th winner of the Tattersalls October Book 1 bonus scheme and he collected a generous bonus prize of £25,000. He also scooped up £7,500 from the Plus 10 bonus scheme which all totals to £37,675 including the prizemoney for winning the race. Cryptic really is developing an excellent all-weather record, especially at Kempton where his form figures now read 1211, while his attitude should continue to stand him in good stead. Similar comments apply to Diamond Geyser (now two from three on the all-weather) who routed his older rivals and remains with potential, especially as he still has the option to race over further than a mile and a half. Rosental (pictured) was sent off favourite for the Listed Prix Dahlia – Fonds Europeans de l’Elevage at Saint-Cloud and she did not let her backers down, responding to Pierre-Charles Boudot’s every call to win by a head over a mile and a quarter. She now has the black type to go with her smart pedigree and is valuable broodmare prospect. It has been a very long wait for Mr Jon and Sarah Kelly with Archery Peak; however, he made his first start since 2014 a winning one and did so in comfortable fashion. It will be interesting to see how the handicapper rates his success.
We have also had a handful of third place finishers in the last week including two year old debutantes Great Court at Kempton and Gorgeous Noora at Chelmsford. Both ran well, particularly Great Court, who was caught further back than was ideal and finished with a flourish without being given a hard time and she will be open to improvement next time out. Houndstooth has finished third on his last two starts, including at Nottingham last Wednesday, and he should make up into a useful performer in 2017, especially as he will be suited by a return to seven furlongs and possibly further. Blind Faith at least showed her previous start was all wrong when finishing third at Chelmsford this Monday but it was still frustrating that she could not go close to winning having been dropped back to a mile. Like Rosental, she is an excellent broodmare prospect as a winning half-sister to the Group 1 placed miler Gabrial.
Medicean Dream was green on his debut at Yarmouth and should come into his own next year, while Chocolate Box should do better now he can be switched to handicaps. Rock’N Gold went backwards from his encouraging debut when fourth at Chelmsford, but he is still not the finished article and is worth another chance, perhaps back on turf. Materialistic was undoubtedly disappointing when only seventh in the Listed Dubai Business Internships Pride Stakes at Newmarket last Friday, but she is a lightly raced filly who remains with potential so hopefully she can regain the progressive thread if kept in training next year. While discussing Newmarket, we must pay tribute to Aidan O’Brien and his achievements over the past two weekends. To saddle the first, second and third in the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe as well as first and second in both the Dewhurst Stakes and Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket’s Dubai Future Champions Festival is incredible.