A colt by Central Kentucky stallion War Front sold for 850,000 guineas (more than US$1.3 million) on the final night of the Tattersalls Craven breeze-up sale April 16 in Newmarket, England.
The sale-topping price is the second highest at a European breeze-up sale, on an evening that was the highest grossing session in Great Britain since the breeze-up sales began.
A total of 55 horses were sold for a combined 6,589,500 guineas (nearly $10.2 million), at an average of 119,809 guineas (US$184,939) and a median of 80,000 guineas ($123,489), with the clearance rate at 86%. The two-day sale saw a total of 96 lots sold for 9,893,500 guineas ($15.3 million), at an average of 103,057 guineas ($159,080) and a median of 71,000 guineas ($109,597). The average was the second-highest for this sale and the median was a record. The clearance rate for the sale was 79%, up from 73% last year.
The Kentucky-bred War Front colt, consigned from Willie Browne's Mocklershill and bought by Newmarket-based agent Alex Elliot, is a half brother brother to 2008 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) winner Mani Bhavan and 2013 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) victor Hear the Ghost. Browne enjoyed a nice pinhook profit as Mockelershill snagged the colt, who was bred by William S. Farish of the Lane's End and Lazy F Ranch, for $400,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale from Lane's End's consignment.
The China Horse Club's Michael Wallace and Tony Nerses both made strong bids to secure the colt, but neither could better Elliot, who bought the horse with Jamie McCalmont on behalf of Michael Tabor.
"His purchase is self-explanatory," Elliot said. "He has a stallion's page and he did a great breeze. I was in the U.S. when The Factor (a multiple grade I winner by War Front) was running and this horse is the closest I have seen to him. (The colt's yearling purchase was) was a big bet and it has paid off for them."
Consignor Norman Williamson's Oak Tree Farm also had one of the most lucrative pinhooks of the sale when their Virginia-bred Exchange Rate filly out of the Cape Town mare Ruler's Charm was knocked down to Oliver St. Lawrence for 350,000 guineas ($540,265), the sale's second-highest price. A half sister to two stakes winners, she was bought for $45,000 at Keeneland September, where Williamson bought from breeder Audley Farm via Brookdale Sales.
"She is a lovely filly and stays in training in Britain for an undisclosed client," St. Lawrence said. "She has a pedigree and let's hope she can add some more black type."
The Tattersalls Craven breeze-up attracts a wide cross section of international clients and one lot heading overseas is the Kentucky-bred Elusive Quality colt from Eddie O'Leary's Lynn Lodge Stud. The half brother to 2014 Las Vegas Marathon (gr. II) winner Cary Street was knocked down to agent Ger Hourigan for 300,000 guineas ($463,084) on behalf of Danish clients and is set to head to Denmark. The price was the co-fourth-highest of the sale.
"He's a lovely colt and did a good breeze," Hourigan said of the colt who was purchased as a yearling by Mags O'Toole for $90,000 from co-breeder Mineola Farm at Keeneland September.
Three of the sale's top-five priced horses were by Central Kentucky stallions. Like War Front, who stands at Claiborne Farm near Paris, Exchange Rate and Elusive Quality are based in at Three Chimneys Farm near Midway and Darley near Lexington, respectively.
Late in the evening, Michael Wallace from the China Horse Club secured the Exceed And Excel colt out of the Oasis Dream mare Tortentosa for 310,000 guineas ($478,520) after seeing off St. Lawrence. Already named Jackfish, and consigned by Mocklershill on behalf of The Channel Consignment, the colt was bought in partnership with Sheikh Fahad's Qatar Bloodstock.
"This is for the two and he stays in the U.K.," Wallace said. "He did a good breeze with some good sectionals and is by a very capable sire. He looks like the better ones of the breed."
The next sale at Tattersalls is the Guineas breeze-up and horses in training sale, which takes place April 30 and May 1. Catalogs are out now and available from Tattersalls and Tattersalls representatives and online at www.tattersalls.com.