Millions Spent at Tattersalls and Arqana Sales While World Cup Shows Cancelled
While showjumping and dressage World Cup shows in mainland Europe were being cancelled, this week saw the final week of thoroughbred sales at the Tattersalls complex in Newmarket and at Arqana in Deauville, France, and wow what a year both companies have enjoyed with many records broken. In 2020, the returns were, as expected, not that good, but better than many feared with the corona virus in full flight throughout the world, so comparative figures against 2020 to 2021 were always going to be rather suspect. But the comparative figures between 2019 and 2021 shows that the bloodstock industry is in the rudeness of health and has grown almost without precedent.
It is difficult to know where to start. In Deauville, the record price attained for any single horse was broken at 3 million euros and at Tattersalls, there was the most spent on a foal since 2002, and the second highest price ever paid for a foal in a European auction of 1.8 million. Add to that, the first session at Deauville saw a bigger aggregate for the one day surpassing the aggregate for the whole sale in 2020 helped by five million euro plus mares. At Tattersalls, there were four mares breaking the million guinea barrier. The results showed that the total aggregate for the whole sale was over 91 million guineas with both the average and median prices at the highest level for several years and some of the best results ever achieved. For the foals, the median price for the sale was an equal record at 25,000, and the clearance rate was at a near all-time high on over 80%. The mare sale too has posted extraordinary results with a clearance rate of 80% and near record prices paid with a median of 26,000. For both Tattersalls and Arqana, the sale results were stratospheric.
In his closing statement, Edmond Mahoney, chairman of Tattersalls was clearly delighted at being able to reflect, not only on a successful December sale but for the whole year for Tattersalls who sold a total of 320 million guineas over all their sales in the 2021. “Beginning with Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, the 2021 Tattersalls sales season has consistently outperformed expectation and the global demand throughout this week’s December Mares Sale has seen the momentum sustained to the very end. He went on to say “Record medians at both the December Yearling Sale and December Foal Sale demonstrated the extraordinary depth in all sectors of the market and we have seen that replicated over the past four days with buyers from throughout the world all contributing to a sale which has not only comfortably surpassed last year’s returns but also the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
The foal sale in Newmarket was topped by a colt by Dubawi consigned by Genesis Green Stud and purchased by Godolphin for 1.8 million. Madonna Dell orto gave birth to this expensive foal on February 3rd. The mare is a half-sister to two Group performers in I Can Fly and Viscount Barfield.
The top priced mare/filly across the two venues came from Rougir at Deauville, the recent winner of the Group 1 Prix de L’Opera in bottomless conditions at Parislongchamp. She realised 3 million euros and was purchased by Oceanic Bloodstock, an American agency acting on behalf of Peter Brant of the USA and Michael Tabor and M.V.Magnier of Coolmore Stud. This was the highest price ever received for a horse selling in Deauville.
There followed four other million Euro purchases during the day. The second million diva was the Galileo half-sister to the Newmarket topper this week, Waldlied. Wildfeder is the full sister to 2019’s Arc winner Waldgeist, and her visit to Deauville resulted in a 2 million and 50,000 euro sale, brought by Crispin de Moubray. She returns to the German Ammerand Stud.
The third million diva, Grand Glory, a Group 1 winner of the Prix Romanet and runner up to Rougir in the Prix L’Opera was sold to Anne Sophie Yoh for 2.5 million euros. She was acting for Xavier Marie, a French entrepreneur who made his money selling furniture and other household items. Recently, he has been much better known in the sport horse world as he has brought several top dressage and show jumping horses for his stud. However, last year he decided to sell his sport horse interests and move into the top echelons of racing.
The final two million euro divas were sold to Oceanic Bloodstock to continue their lives in the United States. The first was Purplepay, a two year old filly, with little pedigree but did win 3 races and was third in a two year old Group 1 in Parislongchamp. She went for 2 million euros. She looked fantastic at Deauville, but still many think a ridiculous price! The final million euro diva was Speak of the Devil, another filly to continue her racing career in the States at a cost of 1.95 million euros. She is the winner of four listed races and a half-sister to Morando, second in the French classic 1000 guineas last year, and by the recently discovered sensational sire Wotton Bassett.
Back to Newmarket, the mare sale was taken by the 2.2 million purchase by Jill Lamb acting for Graham Smith-Bernal of the Newsells Park Stud for Waldlied, a six year old Group 2 winning mare by New Approach carrying to Kingman. Her pedigree is one of the best and most up to date in the book. Her half-brother, by Galileo is none other than Waldgeist, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2019. The foal she is carrying will be a three parts brother or sister to Waldkonig, another Group 3 winning half-brother to Waldlied. She was bettered in Deauville by her half-sister as the top priced sale in Europe this year. The Ammerland Stud in Germany and the Newsells Park Stud in the UK have been in partnership for a few years and they have decided to split. Therefore it is probably inevitable that the two studs have ended up dividing the spoils of this modern and wonderful family between themselves.
The next million guinea queen was Flotus, a listed winner at two this year and a classic contender for 2022 having won a listed race and was second in the Cheveley Park Stakes. She was brought by the Japanese concern of Northern Farm.
The third million queen was the very next lot after Waldlied; Cayenne Pepper brought by Coolmore for 2 million guineas. She was sold as a filly out of training as a four year old and winner for the Group 2 Blandford Stakes in Ireland this year. Her pedigree goes back to Galileo and Sea The Stars in her third dam. Not bad eh!
The final queen joining the million club was another brought by Coolmore for 1.8 million guineas – Sunday Times; a 2009 bay mare, winner of the Sceptre Stakes a Group 3 herself and the dam of Newspaperofrecord, winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Classic Times, winner of the Cecil Frail Stakes in the UK. She is in foal to Lope de Vega, a stallion who has certainly made his mark in the sale rings this year and co-incidentally when she foals down, the result will be a full brother/sister to Newspaperofrecord.
In the past few years, apart from 2020 with the global corona pandemic, the returns from most sales held around the world have consistently improved. Why, we ask ourselves? Is it that those who invest are oblivious to the state of many of the world economies and live in some sort of time warp with absolutely no reality of the world outside their own? Perhaps the reasons are different? Are the horses being offered today are better quality than was the case in yesteryear? Perhaps the reason can be explained away by new money coming into the industry than was the case, say 30 years ago? We look at some of the possible reasons for this meteoric rise of value in the thoroughbred racehorse over the past thirty or so years.
The first reason we think is that the individuals involved in the industry have changed very significantly. Thirty years ago, the owners of the top brood mares, and therefore the off spring were owned by and large by the aristocracy and very wealthy; a sort of ‘rich man’s club’ if you will. Now many of those, the likes of Lord Howard de Waldon, Lord Halifax and Lord Carnarvon have passed on and those left responsible for their horses left behind are far more business savvy and have brought the bloodstock world, sometimes kicking and screaming, into the twenty first century. We think the quality of horses coming onto the market is far better than was the case in earlier times. The aristos of the time would keep their mares year after year and quite often race the fillies and then breed from them and sell the colts; thus, it was rare for a female member of one of these families to come on the market. Now this is not the case.
So much for the horses. In the early 1990s, there grew a whole group of people who became bloodstock agents and to survive, they had to go out and promote themselves and look at their operation in a wholly business like way. They also needed successful horses, whether a mare well brought and covered to produce a top racehorse, or whether they brought a foal to sell on as a yearling, they needed that yearling to sell for a huge profit; and the best advertisement of the lot would be if they continually brought yearlings which went onto win big on the racecourse. So a big reason for the constant health of the industry must down to bloodstock agents and the more professional way they operate.
Trainers have also made a massive contribution. They have encouraged and seen a huge rise in the syndication of race horses; thus continually fuelling the market with more money and owners enjoying the sport. Then we must not forget what the auction companies themselves have brought to the table.
They now have huge advertising budgets and have representatives throughout the globe pushing for investors into the bloodstock world. This is another very beneficial factor to keep the investment flowing. Basically, the whole cycle begins with yearling sales, if they are good, this gives confidence to pinhookers to reinvest in more foals to sell the following year which then feeds onto the mare sales, as after all, without the mare, there would be no foal!
Perhaps these may be some of the factors which have kept the bloodstock industry so buoyant in recent years. Reading the above sounds a little bit that investing in bloodstock is a license to print money. We stress very strongly, that despite the increased returns in recent years, the bloodstock industry is still a very high risk business. The returns may have gone up, but boy, so have the costs. The caveat for bloodstock investment still remains in our opinion, do not invest any more than you can afford to loose – rather like betting really?
Sport horse news and show cancellations
In showjumping and dressage international news, Mechelen in Belgium and Frankfurt in Germany have announced that due to a big rise in covid cases throughout Europe, both of their World Cup qualifiers for dressage and showjumping have been cancelled. Currently, the next World Cup qualifiers, to be held in London is still expected to go ahead as planned.
Furthermore, La Baule showjumping, held every summer in France has changed. No longer will the French leg of the Nations Cup be run at the venue as Longines have been replaced by Rolex as title sponsors.