Rock 'n' foal from Liberthine
Katherine Fidler with a bloodstock review of the racing week and news from the sales
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The final fortnight of selling at Tattersalls for 2012 got underway this week, while escapades out on course were limited due to ongoing flooding.
• Festival and Topham Chase heroine Liberthine (Chamberlin) got off to a flying start in her new career after first foal Free Thinking justified evens favouritism to land an all weather bumper at Kempton by nine lengths, an additional fixture added to the calendar in light of recent events. The daughter of Hernando is bred by owner Robert Waley-Cohen's Upton Viva Stud, and was partnered by his son Sam, who was also in the plate for Liberthine's British victories and remains the regular jockey of Gold Cup-winning half-sibling Long Run (Cadoudal).
• The jumps arm of bloodstock power house Coolmore has welcomed two new names to their stallion roster, in the same week that saw another of their National Hunt residents sire a first Grade 1 winner. Classic winner Fame And Glory (Montjeu) counts the British Champions Day Long Distance Cup and Ascot Gold Cup among his five top-flight victories, while fellow recruit Sans Frontieres (Galileo) had already proved his staying credentials in Newbury's Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes before landing the Group 1 Irish St Leger.
Grange Stud resident Milan, trained in his heyday by Aidan O'Brien, earned a first Grade 1 on Sunday courtesy of Jessica Harrington's Jezki. The four-year-old gelding is a full brother to Grade 2-winning hurdler Jenari, but went one better than his sibling when serving dual Champion Bumper hero Champagne Fever only his second ever defeat to claim the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse. The pair are also half-brothers to Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle winner Jered (Presenting).
Milan narrowly missed out on a top accolade at the Festival when Nicky Henderson's exciting young hurdler Darlan finished a staying on second to Cinders And Ashes (Beat Hollow) in the Supreme Novice.
• The Unfuwain mare Unseeded brightened up a quiet day on Tuesday with an across the card double at Lingfield. Her 2007 foal Seedsman (Sulamani) posted his first win since May last year when half a length clear of Dormouse (Medicean) in the afternoon's 2m handicap hurdle, before his Cockney Rebel half-brother got off to a perfect start when landing the closing bumper, both for the trainer/jockey partnership of Charles Egerton and Sam Twiston-Davies. Tuesday's winning pair hail from the family of Grade 3 Coral Cup winner Son Of Flicka (Groom Dancer), while their dam is out of a half-sister to Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup winner Celeric (Mtoto).
• Despite a relatively quiet final session, Tattersall's December Foal Sale posted an increased aggregate over the four days, boosted by a 500,000gns top lot by, no prizes for guessing, Galileo (Sadler's Wells).
The sales topper, a half brother to Derby runner-up At First Sight, was purchased by David Redvers on behalf of Sheikh Fahad al Thani, the same connections responsible for October's 2,500,000gns yearling Hydrogen, a Galileo half-brother to Epsom Classic hero Authorized. Strong trade during the Yearling Sales looked to have had a knock on effect last week, resulting in turnover exceeding 24,000,000gns for only the third time, a small increase on last year's aggregate, which in turn had seen an enormous rise from 2010. A slight drop in average and median was of little concern given the slightly larger catalogue, with the most striking aspect of the sale being that our bloodstock market continues to show incredible resilience to the external economic difficulties still faced in Britain and abroad.
The number of six-figure lots to pass through the ring was on a par with last year's renewal, including a 300,000gns purchase by Australian Champion sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill) out of Piping, a Montjeu half-sister to Sagamix (Linamix) who sells at Tattersalls today (Tuesday), while six of those to break the 100,000gns mark were by freshman sire sensation New Approach (Galileo).
• The preceding one day yearling session, held on Monday, saw a marked rise in six figure lots, topped by a 140,000gns son of Acclamation. Bought by John Ferguson, who would go on to be leading buying during the foal sale, the colt is out of a Barathea half-sister to dual 1,000 Guineas winner Finsceal Beo (Mr Greeley) and German 2,000 Guineas hero Frozen Power (Oasis Dream).
Despite these higher bids and a bigger catalogue however, a drop in figures was seen across the board, most notably the median which decreased by 37% from 20,500gns in 2011 to 13,000gns last week.
The concluding portion of Tattersall's December Sales, the four session Breeding Stock sale, commenced yesterday (Monday).