A day for Dance
With such a dramatic run-up to the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, it should come as no surprise that the race itself evolved in equally enthralling fashion, resulting in one family enjoying a particularly successful afternoon.
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* A shock result in Europe's richest turf race saw 33/1 shot Solemia (Poliglote) beat the favourite Orfevre (Stay Gold) by a neck in heavy conditions at Longchamp. The result means that once again the Japanese will have to wait for a Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, whilst trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias enjoyed his first triumph in the event. Solemia, third in last month's Prix Vermeille behind Arc rival Shareta (Sinndar), is from the family of Green Dancer, Authorized and Makfi. Closer to home, her dam Brooklyn's Dance has proven a versatile mare at stud, producing black-type winners on the flat and several winners over jumps, including the Paul Nicholls-trained Prospect Wells, who was also runner-up in the 2008 Grand Prix de Paris. Solemia would have been a first Group 1 winner for the daughter of Shirley Heights, adding yet another string to the bow of this illustrious family.
* Solemia was not the only winner for Brooklyn's Dance however, as the Wertheimer brothers' homebred is also third dam to Silasol, who earlier in the day earned her late sire Monsun a first win in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp. The juvenile, also trained by Laffon-Parias, was making her Group 1 debut when beating Topaze Blanche by just a head, with Alterite the same distance back in third. Monsun himself only visited the Parisian track once, when half a length second to Sunshack in the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris.
* Sunday also proved a landmark for Woodlands Stud-resident Byron, whose son Gordon Lord Byron earned the sire a first Group 1 title when beating last week's Joel Stakes winner Penitent (Kyllachy) in the Prix de la Foret. A former handicapper, this tough gelding has shown exponential improvement in recent months, finishing 11th of 15 on his debut in a Listed contest and taking in ten more races before Sunday's win. Europe's only seven furlong Group 1 open to older horses, the race's roll of honour includes such luminaries as Dream Ahead and Goldikova.
"Two of Australia's top performers in recent seasons, Sepoy and Helmet, are to stand the coming Northern hemisphere season for Darley, by whom both are bred. "
* Earlier in the week 2011 winner Danedream (Lomitas) was denied a chance to defend her Arc title when an outbreak of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) at Cologne Racecourse's training centre resulted in a movement ban. The disease, colloquially known as 'swamp fever', is transmitted via biting insects, resulting in symptoms including a fever, anaemia, weight loss and an irregular heartbeat. While Danedream is reported not to have been affected by the disease, quarantine restrictions may prevent the superstar mare from running for up to three months.
* Two of Australia's top performers in recent seasons, Sepoy and Helmet, are to stand the coming Northern hemisphere season for Darley, by whom both are bred. The former claimed two Group 1 events during his juvenile campaign, including the prestigious Golden Slipper, doubling his top-flight tally the following season with wins at Moonee Valley and Flemington, beating fellow shuttler Foxwedge by a head in the latter's Coolmore Stud Stakes. By Elusive Quality, Sepoy was crowned World Champion three-year-old sprinter last season, and is currently standing at Darley's Kelvinside Stud.
Helmet would have been crowned Champion two-year-old in 2010/11 were it not for Sepoy, the pair winning four out of five Australian juvenile Group 1 events. Victories in the Sires Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes were followed up at three with a Caulfield Guineas win, posting a record time and earning a rating higher than his sire Exceed And Excel, also a Darley representative. Unlike his sire however, Helmet will stand at their Irish base, Kildangan Stud, whilst Sepoy will stand alongside Exceed And Excel at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.
* One of the Northern hemisphere's top sprinters, Bated Breath, has also been retired to stud. The son of Dansili is due to stand alongside his sire at Juddmonte's Banstead Manor Stud, Newmarket, from 2013. Though a Group 1 title eluded the Roger Charlton-trained colt, during his 18-race career he has beaten 17 individual top-flight winners, including Society Rock and Sole Power, while going down by just a nose to the top-class Dream Ahead in last season's July Cup.
"Power, the dual Group 1-winning son of Oasis Dream, has been retired to Coolmore. Out of a half-sister to fellow Classic winner and sire Footstepsinthesand, Power is the only son of Oasis Dream to land a Group 1 event at two and three."
* Power, the dual Group 1-winning son of Oasis Dream, has been retired to Coolmore. The three-year-old, winner of the National Stakes at two, was unlucky not to add the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas to his tally, but bounced back to claim the Irish Classic. Out of a half-sister to fellow Classic winner and sire Footstepsinthesand, Power is the only son of Oasis Dream to land a Group 1 event at two and three.
* Increases in aggregate, median and average saw the Goffs Orby sale conclude on a high when Lot 377, a Galileo half-brother to Grade 1 winner Lahaleeb, claimed the two day sale's top price when commanding €800,000. Consigned by Tally-Ho Stud, the yearling was subject to a bidding war between Coolmore's Demi O'Byrne and Form Bloodstock, with the latter coming out on top.
The sale began much as it concluded, the first lot being an Intense Focus half-sister to Parish Hall, followed shortly by a full sister to the unbeaten Dawn Approach. The daughter of New Approach fetched €775,000, the session's highest price, and one of ten to better last year's top lot of €350,000.
Despite a smaller catalogue, aggregate increased 33% to €27,189,500, a rise bettered by the median, up 38% to €58,000, and the average, up 47% to €90,331.