Top billing for Famous Name
The past seven days formed a week of two codes as the National Hunt scene began to emerge from the shadow of its Flat counterpart; the latter rarely loosens its grip on the bloodstock headlines however, as proven by a busy week of racing and sales.
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Famous Name, given the most apt of monikers, is a stalwart amongst the racing fans and industry press, regularly securing top billing at tracks across Britain, Ireland and beyond. Saturday proved much of the same in one way, and very different in another, as the son of Dansili posted a 20th career black-type win, but had to share the limelight with his full sister Big Break.
The elder of the pair ran second on the day, easily accounting for his rivals to land Leopardstown's Listed Trigo Stakes for the third time, bringing his total winning tally to 21. A frequent runner-up in Group 1 events, including when a head second to Vision d'Etat in the Prix du Jockey Club, Famous Name has now earned over £1.2m for his owner Prince Khalid Abdulla and trainer Dermot Weld.
Big Break, owned and trained by the same connections, was an impressive winner of the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes earlier on the card, ensuring a black-type double for her dam Fame At Last. The daughter of Quest For Fame, who hails from the family of Champion Australian stayer Makybe Diva (Desert King) and joint top-rated juvenile Halland Park Girl (Primo Dominie), has now produced seven winners, including Zaminast (Zamindar), who also won the Trigo Stakes.
Not to be upstaged however, news of his retirement ensured top billing for Famous Name once again. Following the landmark win, it was announced the long-time Weld inmate would be standing at the Irish National Stud from 2013.
Returning to the winter code, last season's Grade 1 Feltham Novices' Chase winner Grands Crus (Dom Alco) could also be subject to some sibling rivalry soon after his full brother Gevrey Chambertin made a winning debut over hurdles at Aintree on Saturday. Fourth in a Listed bumper after a 30 length annihilation of the field on his first appearance, the David Pipe-trained runner still has some way to go if hoping to emulate the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle winning Grands Crus, but early signs are certainly promising.
The victory was a third on the card for Dom Alco, following a novice handicap hurdle win by Sixty Something, promptly followed by Unioniste in a 2m4f novice chase. The late sire still has a strong hand in the field, represented by the likes of Al Ferof, Silviniaco Conti, Grands Crus and last year's Grand National winner Neptune Collonges.
There aren't many contests around which reigning Champion sire Galileo hasn't featured in one way or another, but the Racing Post Trophy, Britain's last Group 1 of the season, is a title which has so far eluded the Coolmore resident. A once-raced colt from Ballydoyle put an end to that however, landing quite a gamble to defeat two proven Group performers to the post. Kingsbarns, first seen in public less than three weeks ago, ran out the seven-length winner of a fairly ordinary maiden at Navan, but silenced any critics with a worthy performance when leaving Group 2 Royal Lodge winner Steeler in third behind Van Der Neer, with Trading Leather, who landed the Group 3 Autumn Stakes a fortnight ago, back in fifth. Whether Kingsbarns will go on to emulate 2011 Racing Post Trophy hero Camelot remains to be seen, but for now his trainer Aidan O'Brien, whose wife Ann Marie bred the colt, will once again spend the winter stabling one of the most high-profile juveniles of the year, following the six other runners he has saddled to land the race.
Three-time Group 1 winner Lush Lashes (Galileo) has been sold by Jim Bolger to continue her stud career in Japan. Bought for just €80,000 as a yearling, the Coronation Stakes, Yorkshire Oaks and Matron Stakes heroine was offered for sale at Tattersalls in 2009, but was unsold at 1.8m gns. Now in the ownership of Katsumi Yoshida, her first match will likely be brilliant young sire Deep Impact.
Sortilege became a fourth individual Group 1 winner for the late Tiger Hill on Sunday when driven out to claim the ten furlong Premio Lydia Tesio Longines at Capannelle. The run was only her second in top-flight company after finishing eighth behind Snow Fairy in August's Prix Jean Romanet, but comes off the back of a Listed win last month. The €30,000 Arqana purchase is out of Sahel (Monsun), a full sister to Group 1 winners Schiaparelli, Samum and Salve Regina.
The two part Arqana October Yearling Sale enjoyed a busy opening session on Monday, with 128 lots selling at a 77% clearance rate, amassing €6,295,000. Following on from Tattersalls Book One Sale earlier in the month it should come as no surprise that a Galileo colt topped the day's bidding, selling to Hautieres Bloodstock for €210,000; lot 155, consigned by Haras d'Etreham, is a half-brother to Group 3 Prix du Lys winner Kreem (Hurricane Run). A full brother to the all-conquering Dunaden was also catalogued, and it came as little surprise when the son of Nicobar was snapped up by David Redvers on behalf of Pearl Bloodstock, in whose colours the Globe-trotting Melbourne Cup winner runs.
Part Two of the sale was held over Tuesday and Wednesday, with the final session producing the €77,000 top lot courtesy of a Shamardal colt out of the unraced Singspiel mare Songbook. Purchased by Mick Flanagan when seeing off his compatriot Con Marnane, the colt hails from a family replete with black-type, from which recent Group 2 Fillies' and Mares' Stakes heroine Sapphire also descends. Overall Part Two of the sale showed a 6.1% increase in aggregate to €10,963,000, with even bigger increases in average and median, 15% and 20%, resulted in figures of €31,685 and €24,000 respectively.