Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale concluded with the GALILEO filly out of BRIGID selling for 1.7m guineas, the top price for a yearling filly in Europe or North America in 2011, and rises across the board for turnover, clearance rate, average and median for both the session and sale. The final day saw a total of 121 lots sold for 17,689,000 guineas, a rise of 16% on the corresponding session in 2010 with the average up 37% to 146,190 guineas and the median up 27% to 95,000 guineas. The final sale figures saw 364 lots sold for 51,634,000 guineas at an average of 141,852 guineas and a median of 100,000 guineas. The final clearance rate was 82%, which rises to 86% when the 19 private sales totalling 947,000 guineas are included.
The best was definitely saved until last with Lot 502, one of the final lots left in the sale providing the headlines when being knocked down to Charlie Gordon-Watson for 1,700,000 guineas. The sale represented the highest price for a yearling in either Europe or North America this year and saw a cosmopolitan mix of buyers making an effort to secure the blue-blooded daughter of GALILEO out of IRISH RIVER mare BRIGID.
Consigned from Mark Dwyers Oaks Farm Stables, the filly is a three-parts-sister to Group 1 winning juveniles LISTEN and SEQUOYAH as well as LIFFEY DANCER who set a World record price for a yearling filly when sold at the same sale in 2007.
Blandford Bloodstocks Richard Brown made the early running to secure the filly along with Kuwaiti businessman Saleh Al Homaizi and agent Charlie Gordon-Watson. Hong Kong based Australian Paul Makin often makes an impact in the sale ring and took up the running for a short period with his bid of 1 million guineas. It soon settled down to a one-on-one bid between Brown and Gordon-Watson with the latter securing the filly on behalf of Nurlan Bizakov, the new Kazakhstani owner of Hesmonds Stud, for 1,700,000 guineas.
Following his purchase, Gordon-Watson commented; “I did not expect her to make her so much, it is very exciting. I can't say that I wasn't nervous.
“I obviously know this family quite well, but I have to say that I think Galileo will be the best stallion we will see in our lifetime. He gets all sorts of Group 1 winners, including two-year-olds that his own sire Sadler's Wells did not get.
“My client is confident new player, who wants the best. You don't get many opportunities to buy these sort of fillies, and they come on the market less and less.”
For around eighty lots, the top priced yearling in the sale was Lot 420, the GALILEO filly out of the LEAR FAN mare WITCH OF FIFE who was knocked down to Sir Robert Ogden for 850,000 guineas. The sibling to the Group winners DRUMFIRE and CABARET was consigned to the sale from Denis Brosnans Croom House Stud and caught the attention of both underbidder John Magnier and Charlie Gordon-Watson.
“I knew we'd have a battle,” said Sir Robert Ogden following his purchase.
“She was the pick of the sale, a very nice filly. I knew there was a lot of interest in her, I knew Coolmore were interested,” said Sir Robert.
“The brief to my people was that I did not want any horses by first-season sires or first foals – I wanted proven and top pedigrees.
“It's not been easy, we've been waiting on the sidelines for the right horse.”
Sir Robert's racing manager Barry Simpson said: “She is a fantastic individual with a wonderful pedigree. Sir Robert loved her the minute he saw her. We've had to wait all week – we've been very patient.
“There is no trainer decided as yet and she will go from here to Sir Robert's stud. I think I'll go for a large brandy now!” he joked.
At the conclusion of Book 1 of the 2011 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony commented;
We knew that we had a superb catalogue for Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale but not even the most incurable optimist would have predicted the level of trade we have experienced at Park Paddocks this week. A record average and median as well as the highest priced yearling sold in Europe or America this year are impressive statistics. In addition, the outstanding clearance rate demonstrates the extraordinary strength and depth to the sale. Equally telling has been the turnover this week which has surpassed last years level, and there have been a greater number of lots sold for 200,000 guineas or more despite cataloguing 181 fewer yearlings than last year. To stage a record breaking sale is always something to celebrate, but to do this in the current economic climate is truly remarkable and a welcome boost for the bloodstock industry. Our vendors have sent us some magnificent yearlings and it is wonderful to see their confidence in the sale so richly rewarded.
The real feature of the sale has been the number and diversity of buyers active throughout the three days and particularly significant has been the contribution from new or relatively new overseas participants at all levels of the market. Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale is established as Europes premier yearling sale and it is this reputation that brings so many of the worlds leading owners to the sale. Year after year graduates of Book 1 succeed at the highest level, not only in Europe but throughout the world, and to see so many international buyers here this week shows the enduring demand for quality thoroughbreds even in testing times. There are plenty of challenges facing the British racing industry and it would be wrong to pretend that the success of this sale means all in the garden is rosy, but Book 1 of the 2011 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale has been a wonderful advertisement for British and Irish bloodstock and we can look forward to Books 2 and 3 next week with a degree of cautious optimism.
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