Bloodstock Bites: Lasting impression
Chris Hill returns to bring us the latest news from the bloodstock world and reflects on the action from Leopardstown and the sales.
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Racing in Ireland took centre stage last weekend with the Philip Fenton-trained Last Instalment (Anshan) running out a most decisive winner of last Sunday's Grade One Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown under Brian O'Connell for owners Gigginstown House Stud. The nine year-old gelding's victory being all the more impressive as the race was just his second start since he landed his second Grade One, the Dr P J Moriarty Chase, at the same track almost two years ago in February 2012.
Bought by Kevin Power for €10,500 at the Goffs Land Rover National Hunt Sale back in 2008, Last Instalment is a half-brother to Emma Lavelle's three mile hurdle winner King Boru (Brian Boru), being out of the unraced mare Final Instalment (Insan) and from the further family of the Grade Two Kildare Day Chase - now known as the Tied Cottage Chase - winner Call Me Later (Callernish).
Former Glenview Stud resident Anshan, a winner of the Grade Two San Bernardino Handicap and Group Three Supreme Stakes, died in 2005 at the age of eighteen but has produced numerous high-class performers on the flat and over obstacles. That number includes the Prix Ganay and Gran Premio di Milano winner Dark Moondancer and Tom Mullins' four-time Grade One winning hurdler Asian Maze, as well as a dark-horse for this year's Grand National - whose weights were released earlier this week - in Nicky Henderson's Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase winner Shakalakaboomboom.
In the Grade One Dr P J Moriarty Novice Chase, the Willie Mullins-trained Ballycasey (Presenting) followed in the footsteps of stablemate Boston Bob and Last Instalment with victory under Ruby Walsh ahead of the only other finisher Don Cossack (Sholokhov).
Having twice been through the Tattersalls Ireland sales ring, on the latter occasion when purchased by Mullins' long-standing associate Harold Kirk at the 2011 Point-to-Point and Horses in Training sale for €80,000, the seven year-old grey, who runs in the colours of Mrs Susan Ricci, is out of the unraced mare Pink Mist (Montelimar) and is from the family of the 1995 Grand National and Grade One Long Walk hurdle winner Royal Athlete (Roselier) and Grade Two Mick Holly Memorial Handicap Chase winner New Field (Supreme Leader).
Having won the Group Two Geoffrey Freer Stakes after finishing third to Lammtarra in the 1995 Derby, Presenting has gone on to have an immensely successful stud career for Rathbarry Stud and their National Hunt arm Glenview Stud, highlighted by being crowned Champion National Hunt sire on four occasions and being the sire of such jumping luminaries as Denman and War of Attrition as well as last Sunday's Irish Hennessy favourite First Lieutenant.
Another resident of Glenview Stud was responsible for the winner of the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle earlier on the Leopardstown card when Vautour (Robin des Champs) made all the running to record a comfortable success for the same connections as Ballycasey and put himself in line to add to the six Cheltenham Festival victories recorded by paternal siblings Quevega and Sir des Champs, should the five year-old gelding take up any of his three Grade One novice hurdle entries in March.
Out of the French Listed Prix d'Iena Hurdle winner Gazelle de Mai (Dom Pasquini), a half-sister to the Listed Grand Steeplechase de Bordeaux winner Lord Pasquini (Dom Pasquini), Vautour is a half-brother to three other winners including the six-time French jumps winner Belle Preuillade (Royal Charter) with more distant descendants including U.S. black-type winners Southwood Champ and Native Boundary.
With a convincing victory in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle, Guitar Pete (Dark Angel) claimed the race for trainer Dessie Hughes for a second consecutive year following the success of Our Conor (Jeremy) in the 2013 renewal. Holding an entry in next month's Triumph Hurdle, the same race where his year older stablemate destroyed the opposition in a fifteen length romp, Hughes must be hoping that lightning will strike twice with another son of a sire little known for his jumps progeny's exploits.
Bought back for €14,000 by the vendor, Hanlons Farm at the 2011 Goffs Open Yearling Sale, Guitar Pete is one of three winners out of the unraced mare Innishmore (Lear Fan), a half-sister to the Listed Stardom Stakes winner and Group One Gran Criterium third Hearthstead Wings (In The Wings), who after foaling Guitar Pete was covered again by Dark Angel with the resulting foal now an as yet unraced three-year-old colt named Silken Thomas.
Dark Angel was in the headlines in the sales ring too with Michael Bell's Lockinge Stakes runner-up Sovereign Debt (Dark Angel) topping the Tattersalls February Sale when selling to trainer Dandy Nicholls for 145,000 guineas, the highest price ever seen at the sale for a colt or gelding in training.
Helped by Sovereign Debt, the sole six-figure purchase, the sale posted improved figures on the 2013 renewal with an aggregate of 2,166,600 guineas, an increase of 24% and both the average price of 12,597 guineas and median price of 6,750 guineas bettering last year's totals by 35%.
Action also took place at Tattersalls Ireland with their February National Hunt Sale headed by a yearling colt by Presenting out of Willie Mullins' dual Grade Two winning chaser Pomme Tiepy (Apple Tree). The sale topper was bought for €65,000 by Aiden Murphy on behalf of Diane Whateley who in recent seasons has seen her colours carried to Grade One glory by Captain Chris and Menorah.
From a slightly larger offering than in 2013, the sale ended with an aggregate of €1,009,250, an increase of 40% on last year with the average of €7,947 and median of €5,000 being improvements of 25% and 11% respectively.
Finally, in foaling news from the U.S., two of leading breeder Mandy Pope's priciest acquisitions produced their first foals. The 2011 U.S. Horse of the Year, Havre de Grace (Saint Liam), bought by Pope at the 2012 Keeneland November Sale for $10 million produced a filly foal by Tapit, whilst the 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, who was purchased at the same sale for $4,2 million, foaled a filly by Distorted Humor.
Groupie Doll (Bowman's Band), the two time Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner who was bought by Pope for $3.1 million at last year's Keeneland November Sale, made her final racecourse appearance before a visit to Tapit a winning one with an easy victory in the Grade Three Hurricane Bertie Stakes.
Chris is a Pedigree Researcher for Weatherbys Ltd, the company that provides the majority of pedigrees for thoroughbreds sold at public auction in Britain and Ireland and who offer a range of products and services to suit your Bloodstock needs.
For further information please visit http://www.weatherbys.co.uk/bloodstock