By James Thomas
Courtesy of Racing Post
A son of Le Havre stole the show late in the day April 29 at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-up Sale at Park Paddocks, going to Tom Goff of Blandford Bloodstock for 300,000 guineas (US$ 460,310).
The colt, who went through the ring around ten lots from the end, was consigned by Ardglas Stables having been bought in a private transaction for just €12,000 ($13,309) at last year's Arqana August Yearling Sale.
Goff, acting for an undisclosed client, said: "I love the stallion and thought the colt breezed exceptionally well - especially so, considering he's going to be more of a 1 1/4-mile 3-year-old.
"I also liked the fact he is out of a Cape Cross mare—I'm a big fan of them."
There were emotional scenes outside the ring, with people queuing up to congratulate Mary Reynolds, who runs Ardglas with her partner Ambrose O'Mullane.
On the success O'Mullane said: "We bought him from the Drions. He's a real nice individual by a top-class sire. He slipped through the net at Arqana but we caught him.
"He's so well balanced and he gallops like a proper horse, he's a natural."
All action for Acclamation
Trade for most of the day was headed by a daughter of Acclamation who knocked down to Goff's Blandford Bloodstock partner Richard Brown for 260,000gns ($398,935).
Bidding areas filled as the Derryconnor Stud-consigned filly made her way through the ring, and Charlie Gordon-Watson and Simon Crisford were among the underbidders when the hammer eventually fell.
Brown struck again a few lots later, going to 140,000gns ($214,811) for a daughter of Cheveley Park Stud freshman sire Mayson.
The filly was consigned by Sherbourne Lodge, who pinhooked her for £9,000 ($14,067) from the Doncaster Premier Yearling Sale. She is out of the Stravinsky mare Millinsky, a half-sister to dual group III winner Mirza out of the 1992 Molecomb winner Millyant.
On his pair of pricey fillies Brown said: "I thought these two fillies were standouts at the sale. They both breezed very well, and they have been bought for John Gosden.
"The Acclamation has a good pedigree and the Mayson has a page I know well.
"I've been impressed by the way the Maysons I've seen have breezed," added Brown. "You can see which ones are nice at the yearling sales but the breeze is the first indication of ability you get and there's a few of them I thought went really well."
Sherbourne Lodge's Ger Kennedy was similarly impressed, saying: "She had the look of a real Royal Ascot 2-year-old at Doncaster—I couldn't believe we were able to buy her so cheaply. I hope we see her in the Queen Mary.
"It's hard to know what the market wants this year, but my sister Yvonne has put all the hard work in with this horse so it's great that people had a bit of faith. If the purchaser can trust the vendor it's very important."
Game on for Gordon-Watson
Not to be outdone a second time, Charlie Gordon-Watson went to 170,000gns ($260,842) to secure a son of Zoffany out of a winning half-sister to the listed winner Beckermet, already named Rigoletto.
Gordon-Watson said: "We thought he was the nicest colt in the sale. We like the stallion very much and we like the horse very much.
"He's for a new partnership with Luca Cumani."
The colt was pinhooked by Alex Elliott for €40,000 ($44,363) from the Baden-Baden September Yearling sale.
Gordon-Watson made another six-figure purchase on behalf of Cumani later in the session, going to 120,000gns ($184,124) for a Footstepsinthesand colt from Bushypark Stables.
The transaction proved to be a fruitful one for Bushypark's Matt Whyte, who pinhooked the colt for just 10,000gns from Book 3 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
"He was very big and very babyish as a yearling, but I could just see he was going to be a racehorse in time, he's got a very good mental constitution.
"I'm very fond of the sire, I think he's very underrated. Everything just fell into place."
The colt is the first foal produced by the Acclamation mare Swift Acclaim, and shares his page with the likes of Sun Chariot Stakes heroine Talented and Dante winner Carlton House.
The first six-figure lot of day was another Gosden-bound Blandford purchase, with Brown stumping up 120,000gns for a son of first-season sire Elzaam consigned by Kilminfoyle House Stud.
"He did a very good breeze," said Brown, whose purchase is out of the Swain mare Extraordinary, and shares his page with the likes of Derby winner Erhaab and last year's Group 1 Prix De Diane winner Star Of Seville. "He's a strong colt that looks like a 2-year-old with a bit of quality."
"Elzaam was a good two-year-old himself, and Redoute's Choice is a very good sire of sires."
The colt made a sizeable pinhooking return for Allan Delaney, who picked the juvenile up at the Doncaster Premier Yearling Sale for just £15,000 ($23,445).
Blandford's domination continued when Tom Goff went to 100,000gns ($153,437) for a Bahamian Bounty colt from Seamus O'Donnell's Windmill Stables.
Goff, who bought the colt for an existing client who wished to remain anonymous, said: "He's a lovely, old-fashioned horse from Norse Dancer's family, who he bore a very close resemblance to, in my humble opinion. I really, really loved him."
"The man who was selling him sold me Dutch Art, a dual group I winner and now a successful stallion, at Doncaster back in 2005."
That man was Sean Dowling, who pinhooked the colt—who went unsold at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale - in partnership with Ronan O'Connor, and he added: "I've never been as disappointed as when he didn't sell as a yearling, but it happens. I've always loved him."
Top lot from a muted horses in training section of the catalogue was Neoclassical, a Dubawi colt offered by John Gosden's Clarehaven Stables, who was knocked down to Gordon-Watson's assistant Will Douglass on behalf of Qatari interests for 47,000gns.
By the end of trade 164 lots had sold for a total of 4,207,900gns ($6,456,454), a 9% decrease on last year's aggregate. The average, of 25,658gns ($39,369), and median, of 15,000gns ($23,015), showed decreases of 4% and 17%, respectively.
Despite that set of statistics the sale still managed to set a new record for six-figure lots sold, with eight horses realising 100,000gns or more.
Blandford Bloodstock finished the sale as leading buyer, having signed for seven lots for a total of 1,054,000gns ($1,617,221), while leading consignor honours went to Norman Williamson's Oak Tree Farm, who sold four lots for a total of 332,000gns ($509,409).
At the conclusion of trade Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said: "The feature of our recent Craven Breeze-Up Sale was the strength at the top of the market and today's sale has very much followed suit.
"The 300,000gns sale-topping Le Havre colt is the third-highest price ever at this sale and the highest price since 2008. In addition, eight lots sold for 100,000 guineas or more, breaking the previous record set in 2009. There has been plenty of competition for quality 2-year-olds which breezed well, and there have been some spectacular pinhooking successes, as ever reflecting the professionalism and judgment of the consignors.
"As well as strong demand at the top of the market, the significant number of overseas buyers, particularly from Greece, Italy, Scandinavia and Spain, has been another positive to take from today's sale.
"It would be wrong to ignore the fact that the market has been selective at times, but we should also recognise that overseas buyers have made a significant contribution to the sale and have been active at all levels of the market for both horses in training and the breeze up 2-year-olds."
For more European racing, sales, and bloodstock news visit RacingPost.com.