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Tattersalls Sees Strong December Sale; Gross is Near Record

Published in the Dec. 14 issue of The Blood-Horse
The Tattersalls December sale recorded its second-highest annual turnover when it concluded Dec. 5 with the four-day mares and fillies section of the lengthy auction. Out of 4,982 horses offered, 3,842 sold for 134,682,000 guineas ($221,881,861), an average of 35,055 guineas ($57,751). The aggregate got close to the record of 137,299,230 guineas seen in 2000 when 4,018 sold.

"Only the most incurable optimist would have predicted the year we have had at Park Paddocks in 2002," Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said. "Even under normal circumstances we would have been delighted with the results which have pushed the annual turnover past 130,000,000 guineas ($214,168,500) for only the second time. In the context of the global economy, the consistent strength of the sales here this year has been little short of extraordinary."

The offering of the late Fahd Salman's Newgate Stud, consigned through Voute Sales, realized 4,213,000 guineas ($6,940,707) for 16 lots sold on the third day of the mares and fillies section.

The top price was achieved by 1993 Lowther Stakes (Eng-II) winner Velvet Moon, the dam of Godolphin's top 3-year-old Moon Ballad, in foal to Daylami, who fetched 875,000 guineas ($1,441,519). Salman's former racing manager, Anthony Penfold, triumphed over John Ferguson, Darley's managing director.

The 5-year-old Last Resort, in foal to Mozart, made 825,000 guineas ($1,359,146), with Ferguson in the driving seat this time, ahead of Charlie Gordon-Watson, acting for Lloyd-Webber's Watership Down Stud.

Ferguson said: "She was very good on the racecourse and is a young mare in foal to an exciting horse that sadly died this year. The family has worked really well with the Sharpen Up line, so Halling could be a possibility next year."

He also acquired Velvet Moon's winning daughter Velvet Lady, in foal to Dr Fong, for 450,000 guineas ($741,353).

The dispersal helped the last four days reach an aggregate of 34,040,200 guineas ($56,079,527), with 1,315 catalogued, 1,062 offered, and 756 selling for an average of 45,026 guineas ($74,178) and median of 16,000 guineas ($26,359). Last year's turnover of 36,065,500 guineas, average of 47,022 guineas, and median of 17,750 guineas were all better. However, the overall December sale returned a record aggregate of 54,581,300 guineas ($89,919,963) and the second-highest average of 36,290 guineas ($59,786).

Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales was one of many Americans in a buying mood, purchasing 4-year-old Fantasy Royale, who is in foal to Sadler's Wells, for 440,000 guineas ($724,878) on the first day.

McDonald acted for Betty Moran's Brushwood Stable. "It was a last-minute decision to get her--I just got a fax telling me to bid. I would like to send her back to Coolmore and then take her to America in foal to Danehill next year.

"I know her well as she was raised at Eaton and we sold her at Saratoga as a yearling. Her third dam, Ringing Bells, was Moran's first-ever broodmare."

British agent Gordon-Watson was active throughout, purchasing 14, including for 270,000 guineas ($444,812) 3-year-old Place Rouge, a recent listed winner in France when trained by Elie Lellouche. The Desert King filly will continue her racing career in Britain in 2003, trained by John Gosden for an American owner.

Another to remain in training and switch countries--Germany for America--will be Midnight Angel, acquired for 500,000 guineas ($823,725) by Klaus Jacobs' Newsells Park Stud in Hertfordshire. The 3-year-old Acatenango filly won at Mulheim in May, was second to Salve Regina in the German Oaks (Ger-I), and third to Guadalupe in the Italian Oaks (It-I) in Milan.

Newsells Park manager Robert Acton said: "We will race her in America and I think the fact that she has only won one race will be an advantage to her there. We have not had horses in training in the States before. It is a new venture for us, and we are in the process of picking a trainer."

Penfold had a good sale, as a mare owned in partnership with his wife, Mary Ann, and her father, David Clark, listed winner Pink Cristal, went to agent Hugo Lascelles for 720,000 guineas ($1,186,164). Pink Cristal (in foal to Grand Lodge) is from the family of Royal Palace and Fairy Footsteps and is a half-sister to top broodmare Crystal Spray.

"She was bought to go to America, but she will foal here first and be bred--I don't know to who. It's a great family, you have lots of daughters working for you and there is no Northern Dancer," Lascelles said.

American-based Englishman Patrick Lawley-Wakelin paid 250,000 guineas ($411,863) for Spring Pitch, one of three Storm Cat mares catalogued. The half-sister to Selkirk, in foal to Fantastic Light, went through the Keeneland ring two years ago for $750,000. She returns to America to Robert S. Evans' Courtland Farm in Maryland and could visit A.P. Indy.