Twyla Tharp, dam of this year's Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) winner and Investec Epsom Oaks (Eng-I)-placed The Fugue, was the star on opening day of the Tattersalls December Mare Sale Dec. 3 in Newmarket, selling for 1,700,000 guineas ($2,872,190).
French agent Nicholas de Watrigant saw off the Kentucky-based agent David Ingordo and Tomoyuki Nakamura to secure the 10-year-old mare. The group II-placed daughter of Sadler's Wells is a half sister to the group I winners Summoner and Compton Admiral.
"She is a beautiful mare, the dam of a champion and with the best pedigree in this cataloge," said de Watrigant. "Her Oasis Dream foal will be retained—my client likes his racing. We have not yet thought about the next stallion; you have to get them bought first."
Twyla Tharp was sold by Madeline Lloyd-Webber's Kiltinan Castle Stud, the Irish branch of her Watership Down Stud.
Compared with last year's session in guineas, turnover during the first session of the four-day mare sale was up 7% to 11,369,500 guineas ($19,209,037) for the 186 lots sold while the average and median of 61,126 guineas ($103,274) and 30,000 guineas ($50,686) were up 3% and 2%, respectively. Clearance rose sharply to 81%.
Group III-placed Sapphire Pendant, offered with a covering by Sea The Stars, was knocked down to Pierre-Yves Bureau for 480,000 guineas ($810,971) after he saw off Eaton Sales' Reilly McDonald for the Bugley Stud-consigned mare.
"We've been trying for a long time to get into this family, but there have not been many opportunities to do so," said Bureau, stud director for the Wertheimer brothers, after buying Sapphire Pendant on their behalf.
"We have not decided which stallion she will visit, and we may not send her straight to France as she has a very early cover. Of course, she is in-foal to Sea The Stars, which is good."
The Danehill Dancer mare is a grand-daughter of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Blush With Pride, also granddam of fellow Kentucky Oaks and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I) winner and champion Rags to Riches, as well as grade/group I winners Jazil , Peeping Fawn, and Thewayyouare.
The Tattersalls December Mare Sale continues at 9:30am Dec. 4.