Million dollar mares
As 2012 comes to a close, so too did the Tattersalls calendar, while on the track National Hunt and international Flat racing hit the headlines.
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* In what has been a record-breaking few months, it was a fitting end to the Tattersalls year that a 105,000gns purchase should set the top price ever seen on the final day of the December Breeding Stock Sale. The filly in question, Despatch (Nayef) was consigned by Jamie Railton and knocked down to Dwayne Woods of Brook Stud.
The sale has proven once again the remarkable resilience of Britain's domestic bloodstock market, and as always at this sale, affirmed the popularity of British and Irish produce worldwide.
The first two sessions, held on Monday and Tuesday, were treated to a hat-trick of seven figure sales, one of whom, Banimpire, was also responsible for the record-breaking top lot at last year's Goffs November Breeding Stock sale when changing hands for €2.3m. Bought to race, injury curtailed her new owner Martin Schwartz's plans, and so the Holy Roman Emperor filly was offered again here, selling on Tuesday for 1.5m gns. On this occasion however the four-year-old had to settle for second highest price of the week, following the day one 1.7m gn purchase of Twyla Tharp by Mandore International. Sold in foal to Oasis Dream, the daughter of Sadler's Wells is now best known as the dam of The Fugue (Dansili), winner of this year's Group 1 Nassau Stakes for John Gosden.
The third and final million guinea sale, Blue Symphony (Darshaan), was purchased by MV Magnier and consigned by Fittocks Stud, while just missing out on a seven figure sum was dual Group winner Wild Coco (Shirocco); consigned by Sir Henry Cecil's Warren Place, the four-year-old filly will now return to the master trainer after selling for 985,000gns.
"Wild Coco just missed out on a seven figure sum after selling for 985,000gns."
The two week long December Sales combined amassed a turnover of 71.7m gns, which when added to previous 2012 sales produced an aggregate of 210m gns. At the conclusion of the sale, Chairman Ed Mahony commented:
'The bloodstock industry is a truly global business and nowhere is this more apparent than at the Tattersalls December Sale. Every year the December Sale attracts buyers from all corners of the globe and the 2012 renewal has yet again enhanced its reputation as the most international sale of its type in the world.'
* Coolmore's jumps arm enjoyed its fair share of the limelight this weekend as two of their leading lights, Flemensfirth and Oscar, scored five winners apiece.
Flemensfirth, sire of Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander, looks to have another contender for the jewel in jump racing's crown after his seven-year-old son Flemenstar made easy work of former Festival winner and worthy adversary Sir Des Champs (Robin Des Champs) to land the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on Sunday. The victory added to a double on Saturday courtesy of Wetherby handicap hurdle winner Micro Mission and Fred The Shred, who claimed a similar contest at Chepstow. Sunday's top-flight triumph completed a hat-trick at Punchestown for the Beeches Stud resident following maiden and handicap hurdle wins by Pride Ofthe Parish and Happy New Year respectively.
A four-timer on Saturday got the weekend off to a winning start for Oscar, topped by a Grade 2 victory at Cork on Sunday. Days Hotel, trained by Henry de Bromhead, put six lengths over three time Grade 1 winner Realt Dubh (Beneficial) with a smart performance in the Hilly Way Chase, staying on strongly from the last. Saturday's winners, O'Foalains Boy, Mwaleshi, Golden Hoof and Oscars Well did so in a bumper, novice hurdle, handicap hurdle and novice chase respectively, the latter in an easy fashion on his first outing since a heavy fall at Punchestown in November.
"Flemensfirth, sire of Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander, looks to have another contender for the jewel in jump racing's crown."
* Bullet Train (Sadler's Wells), Group 3 winner and three parts brother to Frankel (Galileo), will stand at John Greely's Wintergreen Stallion Station in Kentucky from 2013. Out of the Listed winning sprinter Kind (Danehill), the former Sir Henry Cecil trained runner will offer US breeders the chance to introduce a thread of the Frankel bloodline for just $7,500.
* The Kentucky stallion ranks may have been boosted considerably over the past few weeks with news of track retirements from around the world, but sad news also emerged from the US breeding capital after it was announced Claiborne Farm resident Pulpit had died suddenly in his paddock. The 18-year-old son of A P Indy had been showing no signs of ill health, adding to the shock amongst farm staff and breeders alike. A Grade 2 winner on the track himself, Pulpit went on to sire 63 Stakes winners during his reign at the farm, ten at top-flight including Tapit, who leads the charge for his sons at stud.
* The late Cadeaux Genereux earned an eighth Group 1 winner in the early hours of Sunday morning British time after Ed Dunlop's Red Cadeaux claimed a well-deserved first top-flight victory in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin. Beaten a nose in the 2011 Melbourne Cup, the six-year-old consistently performs well at the highest level, though was unable to challenge on his last two starts at Flemington and Tokyo. Bought for 55,000gns as a yearling, Red Cadeaux has now earned almost £1.8m in prize money, adding another successful line to the legacy of Al Bahathri (Blushing Groom).