Montjeu Filly Tops Tattersalls' First Session

Europe's premier yearling sale -- the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale (Part 1), enjoyed an excellent start in Newmarket, England, on Tuesday, with the very first lot making the top price of the first of four days selling.

Lot 1, a Montjeu half-sister to this year's Coronation Stakes (Eng-1) heroine Maids Causeway from Richard and Joanna Wellesley's Marston Stud in Oxfordshire, set the sales ring buzzing at 825,000 guineas.

It was a duel between Cheveley Park Stud's managing director Chris Richardson and vet Walter Connors, who trades as Emerald Bloodstock. The latter eventually won the battle on behalf of owner/breeder Michael Ryan, who has a developing stud, Al Eile Stud, in County Westmeath, Ireland

Ryan, who made his money in construction, was one of the new entrants active in the buoyant market last week at Goffs Orby Million Sale, Ireland.

Connors said: "Michael already has some mares and wants to upgrade. Hopefully, this will be a nice foundation mare for the stud. This and a filly from Goffs will come back to the stud before a decision is taken on who will train them."

Joanna Wellesley commented: "I am delighted with the result and wish the buyer all the luck in the world -- I am sure she will be a huge success. We are a very small stud so we are thrilled to bits."

Japanese agent Nobutaka Tada, underbidder on last year's 1,150,000 guineas sale topper George Washington who has won four races including two Group 1s, was a determined man when lasting longer than Demi O'Byrne, acting for Coolmore, for Lot 37, the Galileo colt bred by Kilfrush Stud and consigned from Knocktoran Stud in Ireland.

Tada reported: "He had everything -- the movement, face, eyes, conformation, and was sold by a great breeder -- we loved him. I thought he was the best one. Last year we bid for George Washington and lost so this year we wanted to have him. He is for the owner who was underbidder on George Washington and has many horses in Japan."

Japan's champion trainer Kazuo Fujisawa, the handler of Zenno Rob Roy, will train the colt who is a half-brother to French group II winner Zipping.

John Magnier, the Coolmore boss, went to 625,000 guineas for Lot 126, the half-brother to group II winner First Charter by his recent Arc winner Hurricane Run's sire Montjeu.

While not wishing to comment on the seeming Maktoum family boycott of progeny of Coolmore's stallions, he said: "Sunday at Longchamp was just one of those lucky days. The plan is for this colt to go to Ballydoyle and race for the usual partnership."

The top purchases by John Ferguson, Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor, were two for 400,000 guineas each -- a well-related Alhaarth filly (Lot 147) from Meon Valley Stud and the Inchinor colt (Lot 131), who is full-brother to international performer Cape Of Good Hope.

Trade was strong but no direct comparison is available with last year because of the absence of select sessions this time around. The average for the 147 sold was 119,754 guineas, up over last year's overall average of 102,795 guineas. The session gross was 14,131,000 guineas.

Jimmy George of Tattersalls commented: "It was solid trading from the word go and there is plenty of time for a seven-figure lot. It is great to see buyers from all over the world - it has not been just the usual faces.

"It was encouraging to see people like Frank Stronach (buyer of a Danehill colt for 300,000 guineas) buying today.'

The sale resumes Wednesday.