Big-money buys at Brightwells
The Brightwells Cheltenham January Sale took place after Saturday's racing and once again proved how much people are willing to pay for the right National Hunt horse as the £1,550,500 grossed was over three times as much taken at the 2012 sale, with five lots reaching six figures.
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The £250,000 paid for Irish Bumper winner Moyle Park (Flemensfirth), who was bought on behalf of Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, ensured top lot status and the first foal out of the Grade Two-placed mare Lovely Present looks likely to be a leading contender in the season's premier NH Flat Races.
Mullins was also the purchaser of another of the six figure lots, the wildcard Totally Dominant (War Chant) but it was Roger Brookhouse who forked out £120,000 on Irish point-to-point winner Wuff (Beneficial) and ended the sale as owner of the second top lot.
Wuff will be sent to Tom George who recently sent out Chartreux, another graduate of the Cheltenham sales to win the Somerset National for the same owner.
The domestic sales bandwagon rolls on to Doncaster this week as they host their January sale on the 29th where both Flat and NH horses in training are being offered along with Flat and NH mares. Alumni from previous years include Darlan, the winner of the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day and a leading fancy for the Champion Hurdle.
The Inglis Sydney Classic Yearling Sale concluded last Monday with the sale of 348 yearlings grossing AUS $11,731,722 over the two days that resulted in a 13% increase in the average price paid from 2012.
The dual top lots, a Magic Albert colt out of Kianben and a Not A Single Doubt colt out of Fleecing sold for AUS $170,000, an increase on last year's high of AUS $140,000.
Not A Single Doubt ended the sale as the second leading sire on average price paid behind Snitzel, who it was revealed later in the week was also the leading stallion by mares covered during the 2012 Australian breeding season.
The promising start to the 2013 sales season in Australia however has been tempered by the news from the Australian Stud Book that the number of recorded matings for the 2012 season was 8% down on the 2011 figure.
In New Zealand, trading got off to a strong start at the Karaka Premier Yearling Sale where Tom Magnier spent NZ $1,975,000 for a Fastnet Rock colt out of Celebria (Peintre Celebre), the dam of 2 winners from her 3 foals to have raced to date including the Group 1 winner Gathering (Tale Of The Cat).
The sale which takes place over two days has already seen a turnover of NZ $25.4 million which is comfortably ahead of the corresponding day in 2012.
First foals born last week included a Bernardini filly out of Blind Luck, the 2010 Champion 3 year old filly in U.S.A. The daughter of Pollard's Vision was a six-times Grade One winner including the Kentucky Oaks in 2010 and descends from the great U.S. broodmare Chris Evert.
The filly's sire was also a Champion three-year-old in the US after winning the Grade One Preakness Stakes, Travers Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup, and has spent his stud career shuttling between the U.S.A. and Australia for owners Darley.
Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire (Montjeu) had his first recorded foal when the mare Ann's Forest gave birth to a bay filly at his residency, Coolagown Stud, and dual Group One winner Dick Turpin (Arakan), who stands at The National Stud in Newmarket, also has his first offspring on the ground when a colt was born at Wood Farm in Shropshire.
Sprinter Sacre (Network) backed up the talk of him being the jumps equivalent of Frankel when hacking up in the rescheduled Victor Chandler Chase where he dispatched Grade One winners Somersby and Sanctuaire with ease and is now an even shorter price to continue his unbeaten chase record in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March.
Sprinter Sacre was just one of the French-bred horses who dominated Festival Trials day.
Rolling Aces (Smadoun) made an impressive British debut for Nicky Henderson in the Grade Two Finesse Juvenile Hurdle, Vino Griego (Kahyasi) and Katenko (Laveron) took the handicap chases with connections of the latter eying a run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup after his comfortable victory, and Reve De Sivola (Assessor) shortened in price for the World Hurdle after his success in the Cleeve Hurdle.
The Nick Williams-trained gelding will be looking to become the second son of Assessor to win at the Cheltenham Festival should he follow in the path of My Way De Solzen who took the 2006 renewal for Alan King as well as the following year's Arkle Chase. At Fishers Cross (Oscar) flew the flag for Irish-breds, and for Brightwells graduates, when defeating The New One (King's Theatre) in the Grade Two Classic Novices' Hurdle for trainer Rebecca Curtis and owner JP McManus. The six-year-old was purchased for £38,000 at the course's December Breeze-Up salesin 2011 and in the final race Mr Watson (Gold Well) again nicely linked the action on the racetrack with the following Brightwells sale as he was purchased by trainer Jonjo O'Neill for £215,000 at the course's Cheltenham April sale in 2012.
Cape Tribulation (Hernando) brought British-breds a much-needed win when taking the Argento Chase and is another who could take his chance in the Gold Cup after battling past the 2010 victor, Imperial Commander (Flemensfirth) in the final strides.
Over in Ireland, Willie Mullins continued to recoup some of his expenditure from the previous day's Brightwells sale as Pont Alexandre (Dai Jin) formed the second leg of a four-timer at Leopardstown on Sunday when taking the Grade Two Novices' Hurdle. The five-year-old gelding is the sole jumps Grade One winner by the sire of the flat Group One winner Girolamo but with just the four runners over obstacles to date, that statistic reads fairly impressively and Pont Alexandre looks likely to have a say in whatever festival race he disputes.
Hurricane Fly (Montjeu) also looked back to his imperious best after comfortably seeing off stablemate Thousand Stars and the Henderson-trained Binocular in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The deceased stallion may not have had a huge amount of success at the Cheltenham Festival with just the aforementioned Hurricane Fly (2011 Champion Hurdle) and Noble Prince (2011 Jewson Novices' Chase) his only winners there to date, but his hurdlers this season are running at a 25% success rate and his chasers are doing even better with a 33% wins-runs record.