Tattersalls December Mare Sale
Incredible figures were returned at Tattersalls December Mare Sale in Newmarket, England, over four days, December 3 to 6.
Amazing demand at the top-level led to a new record turnover figure of 69,498,500 guineas ($145.810,779), ahead of the 2006 total of 66,235,800 guineas ($138,651.753) despite 108 fewer selling in the ring. As recently as 2004, turnover came to just 31,838,800 guineas ($66,183,115).
This led to the huge average of 91,205 guineas ($191,269), up nearly 20% on the 2006 average of 76,133 guineas ($175,462). This is nearly three times the level seen in 1998 of 31,887 guineas ($157,422).
However, as has been witnessed throughout the year, there are effectively two markets. The median of 23,000 guineas ($47,068), although still the second highest figure ever at the Tattersalls December Mare Sale, dropped by 3% from the 30,000 guineas ($62,889) seen in 2006.
Tattersalls resisted the impulse this time of increasing the number cataloged, with 1,390 listed as against 1,391 last year. Of the 1,132 offered 762 sold, a 67% clearance rate which was significantly less than the 77% sold in 2006 when 1,125 were offered, with 870 selling.
Sheikh Mohammed dominated the sale in which a record 10 fillies or mares made over 1 million guineas  ($2,096,311) (five last year) and five of these fetched 3 million guineas ($6,288,120) or more.
His bloodstock advisor John Ferguson directly bought six of these lots, including the top three headed by Satwa Queen for a new European auction record for a filly or mare in training of 3.4 million guineas ($6,973,410). The previous record of 3 million guineas ($6,288,120) came at this sale in 2006 for Spinning Queen.
On a dramatic first day, Charlie Gordon-Watson, taking instructions from Coolmore’s Paul Shanahan, was underbidder for Satwa Queen, the five-year-old daughter of Muhtathir trained by Jean de Roualle in France to win five Group races, including the Prix de l’Opera (Fr-I) on her final start in October for the Dubai-based Lamprell family.
Ferguson commented: “She’s an outstanding race mare and she won the Prix de l’Opera which is one of the great races for fillies every year, She has a wonderful character and is a great individual so we are delighted to have her.”
Earlier on the Monday, he again successfully took on Shanahan to last longest for the Dixie Union three-year-old Sander Camillo who failed to sparkle this year after winning the Cherry Hinton Stakes (Eng-II) and Albany Stakes (Eng-III) in 2006 for owner Sir Robert Ogden and trainer Jeremy Noseda.
Ferguson remarked: “I thought she would make a lot of money and can understand why she was in great demand.
“She oozed quality and was a top-class filly at two. She was an exceptional individual and she is a likely candidate to be covered by Street Cry in America.
“Street Sense is out of a mare by (Sander Camillo’s grandfather) Dixieland Band so we know the cross works well. We are consistently on the lookout for quality bloodlines throughout the world and we are very lucky to have such an exciting group of young horses at stud.”
Ocean Silk was part of the dispersal of 10 mares on day two of the Tattersalls Mare Sale from Swettenham Stud, which was founded by the late Robert Sangster.
The seven-year-old Dynaformer mare was offered in foal to
Cheveley Park Stud’s leading stallion Pivotal. Ocean Silk, a $190,000 yearling purchase by BBA Ireland’s Adrian Nicoll, was trained by John Gosden to win the Listed Lupe Stakes at Goodwood and finish runner-up in the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng - I) four years ago. Andreas Putsch and agent Charlie Gordon-Watson made the early running before Ferguson went to 3.2 million guineas ($6,707,186) to break Shanahan’s resolve again.
The Swettenham Stud dispersal made a total of 8,555,000 guineas ($17,503992) that day which itself was a record, with the turnover of 36,084,500 guineas ($75,626,371) making it the highest grossing day in European auction history surpassing the previous record, set at the corresponding session in 2006, by 21%. The 179 lots were sold at an average of 201,589 guineas ($422,527), up 49%, and a median of 85,000 guineas ($178,158), up 47%.
Angara, who was bought privately from Martin Schwartz by Ben Sangster after she was unsold for $2.2 million at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton November Sale, went on to win the grade I Diana Handicap at Saratoga last year and now in foal to Montjeu. She made 3 million guineas ($6,288,120) from James Wigan of London Thoroughbred Services who outbid his cousin Charlie Gordon-Watson to obtain the six-year-old Alzao mare. Angara, who also won the grade I Beverly D Stakes  in 2005, will join last year’s sale toppers Magical Romance and Spinning Queen at Lady Serena Rothschild’s Waddesdon Stud in Buckinghamshire, England.
Ben Sangster, who was at the sale with his brothers Adam and Guy and other family members, commented: “It is a sad day but we have to be delighted with the prices. We had a lot of sport with Ocean Silk and Angara and we’ll let the dust settle and see what the future holds.
“I will have several horses running in my colors and I have a younger brother with two farms in Australia. Manton is an ongoing concern with (trainer) Brian Meehan there, and it is business as usual.”
Two more Ferguson additions came from the Niarchos family’s Normandy farm, Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard; three-year-olds Ama, a 1.8 million guineas ($4,562,855) Storm Cat daughter out of Miesque, and Beta, a listed-winning half-sister to Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) hero Bago who cost 1.7 million guineas ($3,562,866).
Ferguson also outbid agent John Warren, acting for Newsells Park Stud, to purchase the group III winner Galatee at 1.4 million guineas ($5,799,476). The four-year-old is in foal to Dalakhani.
Another top lot will also join Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley broodmare band, Manduro’s dam Mandellicht, covered again by Monsun, was consigned leading German sales agent Ronald Rauscher for breeder Rolf Brunner.
The three-time group 1 winner, now 13, was a late entry to the sale, and agent Dick O’Gorman overcame John Warren at 3 million guineas ($6,288,120).
O’Gorman explained: “She’s for Darley and will head to Dalham Hall Stud. She was never going to be cheap and has been bred to an outstanding horse, she’s done it already.”
Among acquisitions by Americans was last year’s Prix Miesque (Fr-III) winner Magic America. James Wigan went 625,000 guineas ($1,310,222) for the three-year-old High Yield filly, on behalf of George Strawbridge, who gained his first British Classic success with Lucarno in the St Leger (Eng-I) at Doncaster in September.
Wake Up Maggie, who finished second as a juvenile in the Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) before scoring twice this year at group III level, was bought by Hubert Guy for 300,000 guineas ($628,748). The four-year-old Xaar filly will join Californian trainer Julio Canani and be syndicated to race by Guy and Pete Bradley.
The well-bred Ballette, out of a half sister to El Gran Senor and in foal to Galileo, was snapped up for 320,000 guineas ($629,748) by Charlie Gordon-Watson on behalf of breeder Paul Manganaro. The five-year-old Giant’s Causeway mare will join Manganaro’s breeding stock at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky, where she will be covered next season by Mr. Greeley.
The aggregate for the full December Sale over 10 days, including foals and yearlings, was a new record at 102,269,000 guineas ($209,208,334) , while the average also reached unprecedented heights of 60,514 guineas ($123,996), though the median fell to 20,000 guineas ($42,360) from 25,000 guineas ($52,393).
There were also new records for aggregate and average of the entire year for sales at Tattersalls’ Newmarket base of 244,720,900 guineas ($525,750,152) and 48,326 guineas ($101,297).
Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony had mixed feelings at the end of the sale and Tattersalls’ year.
He reported “The 2006 December Sales were truly extraordinary with turnover exceeding 100 million guineas for the first time and it is a tribute to this year’s outstanding catalog that the sale has yet again achieved record returns and as ever attracted buyers from throughout the world.
“Last year we reflected on the amazing global demand for quality bloodstock and this has very much been the feature of the 2007 December Sales from start to finish.
“Ten fillies and mares breaking the one million guineas mark, a European record of 3.4 million guineas for the group 1 winning filly Satwa Queen and five fillies and mares making 3 million guineas or more, are statistics which may not be bettered for many years to come.
“It was also a privilege to have been entrusted with a significant part of the Swettenham Stud dispersal and we were delighted that the consignment provided such a wonderful tribute to the late Robert Sangster.”
“While competition for quality animals has been unprecedented it would, however, be wrong to gloss over the warning signs at the less commercial end of the market. We have enjoyed a very successful year at Tattersalls, but the sheer number of horses now being offered is without doubt placing a strain on the market.
“In 2002 we offered less than 5,000 horses, this year we have offered 7,000. The market is struggling to absorb such a massive difference which suggests that a period of adjustment is needed, especially at a time when prize money in Britain is dwindling in real terms.
“The huge numbers are, however, a measure of the amazing support we have enjoyed from both vendors and purchasers alike throughout 2007 and it is this support which has allowed us to achieve record annual turnover for the third consecutive year.”
—Mark Popham

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