Broodmare prospect Carribean Sunset, a group III winner in Ireland and a stakes winner in this country, brought $1 million Nov. 8 during the opening session in the Keeneland November breeding stock sale in Lexington. Australian bloodstock agent James Bester purchased the 5-year-old daughter of Danehill Dancer from Helen Alexander’s Middlebrook Farm, agent.
Bester was acting on behalf of Kiaora Stud, an Australian operation, but he declined to discuss details of its ownership.
“She’ll go back to Australia and be bred to one of the leading stallions there,” said Bester of Carribean Sunset. “She was a beautiful mover, a very classy filly with a wonderful head.”
Helen Alexander’s Middlebrook Farm, agent, consigned Carribean Sunset. The mare has not raced since June 5, when she finished fifth in the Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine while running for Alexander, Jon and Sarah Kelly, and Donald and Joan Cimpl. Jon Kelly purchased the mare for $1,250,000 from Paramount Sales, agent, at the 2008 Keeneland November sale.
Bred in Ireland by Barronstown Stud and produced from the winning Royal Academy mare Bonheur, Carribean Sunset started her racing career in Europe. She won three group III events in Ireland and finished third in the Boylesports Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) in 2008.
In this country, Carribean Sunset captured the Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap, finished second in the Diana (gr. IT) and Beaugay (gr. IIIT) Stakes, and was third in the Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT) in 2009.
“I liked the pedigree; there was a lot going on there,” Bester said. “Obviously, Danehill Dancer is well-known in Australia, so that part of the pedigree appealed. But we also want group-winning fillies, preferably on turf because we race on turf. She had group I form as well; she did it in Ireland and in America, so we liked that. Royal Academy is a very good broodmare sire as well. He’s the broodmare sire of Fastnet Rock, our leading stallion in Australia. We figured this filly ticked all the boxes.”
The Australian dollar is stronger against the American dollar this year and that makes shopping for buyers from Down Under easier, according to Bester.
“We participated last year (in the Keeneland November sale) and we were competitors, but it’s even better this year,” Bester said. “(There is) no doubt the exchange rate makes it worthwhile. We have a limit on what we can spend on any given horse, but with the exchange rate the way it is now, we are able to compete (more aggressively) here.”