Records tumbled at Tattersalls Thursday night during the second and final session of the Craven breeze-up sale in England. A British-bred daughter of Mr. Greeley out of the Silver Hawk mare Silver Kestrel became the dearest filly to sell at a European sale of 2-year-olds in training when she brought 540,000 guineas. Sold for 62,000 guineas as a yearling at Tattersalls and reoffered by Willie Browne’s Mocklershill Stables , the filly showed an instant profit as bidding kicked off at 80,000 guineas.
Agent Kerri Radcliffe bought the filly on behalf of an un-named new British owner after fighting off a string of opponents, including agents James Delahooke, David Metcalfe, Marc-Antoine Berghgracht, and finally Jamie McCalmont, standing with Coolmore’s Paul Shanahan and Michael Tabor.
Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jump jockey Norman Williamson, now a consignor from Oak Tree Farm in Ireland’s County Meath, scored with two memorable pinhooks. They were headed by a French-bred son of Dansili out of the Red Ransommare Red Bravo that had been bought for 140,000 euros at Deauville last August before being resold for 490,000 guineas to Sir Robert Ogden. An Invincible Spirit – Need You Badly colt offered by Williamson rose in price from the 50,000 guineas he had cost as a yearling at Doncaster last August to 440,000 guineas. McCalmont, again standing Shanahan and Michael Tabor, was underbidder, this time to trainer John Gosden.
With 16 lots making 200,000 guineas or more apiece - compared to five in 2007 - the Craven breeze-up sale returned records all around. The gross of 11,884,000 guineas, for the 116 horses sold, was up 35% from last year. The average price of 102,448 guineas represented an increase of 40%, and the median of 70,000 guineas was up 27%.
"There has been understandable apprehension in the lead-up to the breeze-up season, but even without the prevailing economic uncertainties, we would have to be pleased with the way the Craven breeze-up has gone this week," said Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony. "The sale has broken records across the board, and an average over 100,000 guineas would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
"As ever," Mahony continued, "the sale’s success is a massive tribute to the vendors and it is their support and professionalism which continues to attract top owners from throughout the world in ever increasing numbers. The number of lots which have sold for 200,000 guineas or more has leapt from five last year to 16 this year, and demand for quality 2-year-olds has been unprecedented.
"The combination of a strong catalogue, a huge number of eye-catching breezes at the racecourse and outstanding racecourse results from last year’s sale has been the key to the record-breaking demand. It has been wonderful to see so many vendors rewarded for their confidence in the sale."