Japanese owner/breeder Katsumi Yoshida plucked another juvenile with strong credentials as a stallion prospect out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales April sale April 26 when he bought a well-pedigreed son of War Front for $725,000.
Offered as Hip 888 by Niall Brennan Stables, the colt is out of the grade 1-placed, English group 3 winner River Belle, who has already produced grade 1-placed, graded stakes winner Strathnaver (by Oasis Dream) and black-type winner Siyaadah (Shamardal).
Emmanuel de Seroux's Narvick International bought the colt named Battle of Algiers on Yoshida's behalf.
"We have been trying for a while to get a good War Front colt, and they are not so easy to get, so we are very happy to get this one," said de Seroux. "This one is a very nice type, he breezed well, and has a turf pedigree, which is a plus for Japan. He is everything we were looking for. And he has a stallion's pedigree if he's any good."
"Obviously, he has a fantastic pedigree, and he is by Speightstown, who has done very well in Japan, so we have very high hopes for him," de Seroux said. "He has a stallion's pedigree, so if he wins a group for us, there is a lot of potential. We thought he was a good value."
Yoshida's purchases are the third- and fourth-highest prices so far at the April sale, which has produced significantly higher returns than the first three sessions of the 2017 sale.
For only the third session of the sale, 175 horses sold for a total of $16,047,500, which is down 10.8% from the comparable session of 2017 when 182 sold for $18,006,500 at last year's third session. The big difference is due to three horses that sold for $1 million or more during the third session in 2017. The top price in 2017 was a Tiznow colt out of Moonbow that sold to M.V. Magnier for $2.45 million.
A horse has not brought seven-figures so far at this week's OBS April sale. The third-day average price slumped 7.3% to $91,700 compared with $98,937 a year ago, but the median rose 13.4% to $55,000, up from $48,500 a year ago. The buy-back percentage was 19.4% compared with 7.6% last year.
Overall for the first three sessions combined, gross sales are tracking 7.9% ahead of last year at $51,550,500, and the average price of $96,718 is 8.1% higher than at this point in 2017 More significantly, the collective median is tracking 22% ahead of last year at $55,000.
Brennan said he's been happy to see good horses bringing good money this week.
"Look at what the top of the market is and the War Front colt deserved to be there," he said. "If he follows through and is successful, he'll be well worth that price as a stallion prospect in Japan. War Front is very popular around the world, and the market is pushing up the price on these horses.
"It is not like a really good individual with no pedigree that has to breeze really good to show it has brilliant ability," Brennan continued. "Those horses sell really well. If you then have pedigree to back it up, then you're on the right track."
Two other horses sold for north of $500,000 during the third session. They were: Hip 669, a $650,000 chestnut filly by Candy Ride consigned by RiceHorse Stable as agent that agent Mike Ryan bought for Jeff Drown; and Hip 726, a $625,000 son of Giant's Causeway bought by Phoenix Thoroughbreds and consigned by Off the Hook as agent.
Other top sales included:
- Hip 899, a $425,000 son of Arch sold to D.J. Stable by de Meric Sales, agent. The dark bay or brown colt, who worked a quarter in :21 1/5 on April 20, is out of stakes-winning OBS graduate Rosa Salvaje, by Chapel Royal.
- Hip 651, a $410,000 son of Arch consigned by Tom McCrocklin, agent, purchased by agent Mike Ryan on behalf of Marc Keller. The dark bay or brown colt, who worked a quarter in :22 1/5 on April 19, is out of graded stakes-placed stakes winner Mega Dream, by Medaglia d'Oro , a half sister to stakes winner Grant Jack.
- Hip 800, a $400,000 dark bay or brown colt by Hard Spun , was purchased by John C. Oxley out of McCrocklin's consignment. The half brother to graded stakes winner Annual Report who worked a quarter in :21 1/5 on April 19, is out of Pension, by Seeking the Gold.
- Hip 913, a $400,000 dark bay or brown filly by Shakin It Up consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, was purchased by Spendthrift Farm. Out of Rupert's Promise, by Capote, from the family of grade 1 winner Roman Ruler, she breezed a quarter in :20 4/5.
The OBS sale concludes April 27. The session begins at 10:30 a.m.