As ever at this time of year it’s a case of out with some old friends and in with some new as we look ahead to new challenges. After being busy buying some nice young horses at Tattersalls, we were equally active as a consignor at the Horses In Training sales last week, where we bid farewell to a number of our favourites. Trade was admittedly strong but we did very well – we supplied three of the top six lots and finished second behind Juddmonte in the list of top consignors (our average of over 100,000gns for our twenty lots was particularly pleasing) – and we were delighted for our owners. It’s nice to see them enjoy a return on their purchases that do well, and it often leads to reinvestment in some yearlings.
We had to be very happy with the 425,000gns that Anthony Stroud paid for Havana Cooler (the highest price at this sale since 2010), especially as we bought him for just 30,000gns as a yearling. He is now set to go out to Dubai for the carnival before possibly going on to Australia. You never know, one day he might meet back up with Velox, who is heading Down Under to join trainer David Hayes after selling for 375,000gns; it was interesting that Anthony Stroud, who bought his full-brother Validus off us for a similar amount at the sale last year, was underbidder on him. It was particularly sad to see Danadana go as he had been with us since he was a two-year-old in 2010, but we hope he’ll go to a good home in Qatar and, as he’s still an entire, it’s nice to think that one day we could even train one his sons or daughters.
The sale of Shakopee (170,000gns) caught plenty of people’s attention as we offered to train him for another six months for free, something which his new owner is going to take us up on. We knew that with his good looks, easy movement and of course his pedigree would appeal to Australian buyers (he’s by High Chaparral who they love after the likes of So You Think), but we thought they may be put off by his age as being a northern hemisphere 3yo in January 2015, once down in Australia he would have to compete against older horses until August. We like the horse a huge amount so offering to train him at a reduced fee was a no brainer and potential buyers were encouraged by the incentive. The winning bidder was Al Donald on behalf of a Hong Kong based client who has the option to race horses in the UK, Australia and Hong Kong. We’re thrilled to welcome a new owner to the yard and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.
Among the other lots we sold were Ajmany for 280,000 guineas to David Redvers, which was a good return on his yearling price of €65,000, Elhaame for 120,000 guineas (again to Anthony Stroud) and Semeen and Kinshasa who both went for 90,000 guineas. We also got a good price for Galuppi, who was sold for 65,000 guineas to John Jenkins, though he did show himself off very well and the fact he likes soft ground and stays was always going to make him an attractive proposition as a dual-purpose horse. Being by Galileo always helps too. We’d be lying if we said we were expecting 110,000 guineas for Jazz Master, but he should also make a nice dual-purpose performer and is consistent, so he should give his new owners plenty of fun. We wish all the new connections of our old friends the very best of luck.
Away from the sales ring we also had a good result when Silk Sari added a Group 1 placing to her Group 2 and listed wins in the Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes on Champions Day, though on the bend we were going through our repertoire of excuses! But when she picked up and finished second we were mightily relieved and also very happy that she recovered some prize money for Michael Watt, who so boldly sponsored her to run in the race and then donated a percentage of his winnings to the Injured Jockeys’ Fund and Racing Welfare. It was a strange race as they went flat out at the beginning – the second, third and fourth furlongs were apparently run below 12secs even on heavy ground – but we certainly weren’t complaining. She has, this week, left the yard and been retired to Fittocks Stud where she will be joined by Patterned, Petticoat Lane and Kikonga. She will be covered by one of our favourite stallions, Dubawi, in the spring.
We have Silk Sari’s half-sister Dreamlike to look forward to next year as again she showed promise at Doncaster and should improve with time and distance. The same goes for Highclere’s Pamona who won her maiden at Newmarket in very pleasing fashion. Pamona recorded a fast time that day and wasn’t extended do to it, so we’ll look at a Guineas trial to start her campaign next year. Another female we’re looking forward to racing in 2015 is Kleo who has surprised us this season as, given her breeding – by an unknown Greek stallion out of a mare who was good herself but hadn’t produced anything of note – it was hard to have high expectations for her. She tries hard and goes on all sorts of ground, which gives us plenty of options for next year when she’ll hopefully win races at listed level or better.
Al is another horse for the future, and he has shown a nice level of ability in his two starts considering he’s still a bit weak. We were mightily impressed with the first two home in maiden at Nottingham last week, Golden Horn and Storm The Stars. Rarely do you see two-year-olds finish that fast, and they recorded very impressive closing sectional times – it will hopefully prove strong form.
Ocean Boulevard and Lunasea, who showed plenty of promise on their belated debuts in the same race at Newbury recently, will carry on running for the time being on the all-weather, though the former is a valuable broodmare prospect as a half-sister to Group 3 winner Allessandro Volta so could well head to the paddocks if she wins.
Norway Cross is another of our team who will retire at the end of the season but she have one more run in a listed race over a mile and a half at Saint-Cloud on November 13th, where she’ll hopefully get her favoured testing ground. She’s done well during her relatively short career, winning twice, and we look forward to seeing her offspring one day.
(picture: Shakopee stays in training at Bedford House Stables next year)