It's been a long while since Chris Richardson shopped the Keeneland September yearling sale, but Sept. 12 he made his return known with the purchase of a $750,000 War Front filly.
"It's been about 15 years at least," the managing director of Cheveley Park Stud said from the back ring after signing the ticket on his first buy of the sale. "I think last time I came to Kentucky was 12 years ago, for the November sale. So it's good to be back."
Richardson picked up Hip 400, a full sister to group 2-placed War Envoy, from Taylor Made Sales Agency's consignment to the first Book 2 session. She is out of the Elusive Quality mare La Conseillante, a French stakes winner.
"She's a beautifully balanced filly," Richardson said. "She's by a sire who is doing extremely well all over the world. It's a lovely pedigree, and although we haven't been here for a few years, it's nice to come and try to find something we can add to the broodmare band in due course. And hopefully she'll prove a successful racing prospect."
Richardson, who bid on several Book 1 horses Sept. 11 but was unable to purchase any, said he was close to losing the War Front filly as well.
"I was very much at my limit. I hoped to get her for less than that, I'll admit, but the quality fillies are bringing a good return," he said. "Let's hope it's all worthwhile in due course.
"I tried to buy four yesterday and I got blown out all the time. I was under-bidder twice, so I was hoping to get something today. I have another couple on the list for today and tomorrow, so we'll see what happens. Over the years we've bought successfully here, and I hope that we can continue that."
That success continued a few horses later with Hip 419, a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro consigned by Eaton Sales. Out of the group 2-winning Mr. Greeley mare Laughing Lashes, the filly was a $350,000 buy.
Cheveley Park homebred Queen's Trust won the 2016 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T) and the owners of Newmarket's oldest stud farm are not resting on their laurels.
"Having won the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf last year with Queen's Trust was a big influence as far as the owners, David and Patricia Thompson, are concerned," Richardson said of the decision to invest in U.S.-bred stock. "And Wesley Ward's probably got something to do with it with his successful raids on racing at England, especially at Royal Ascot. There are a number of (U.S.) stallions now that are becoming more appealing to the European (market), and it's exciting to be back, and exciting I think for the industry worldwide that that is happening."