Tattersalls October Part 1 sales Down but Not Out
The Tattersalls October Sale each year is always anticipated by breeders, trainers, sellers and buyers alike. It has established itself as the top sale in Europe for thoroughbred yearlings, and many would say in the world. Tattersalls have sold the top priced yearling in the world for the last few years, and how they would have liked to do the same in 2019, but with the sale of the American bred American Pharaoh filly at Keenland in September for $8.2 million, that seemed unlikely. In 2018, the sale had an aggregate of 106,503. Million guineas with a median price of 167,500 per horse sold.
As always, Tattersalls put together a catalogue of strength, both in pedigrees and looks for the potential stars on offer. This year saw 56 full or half siblings to Group or Grade 1 winners on offer, and by the top stallions in Europe, the likes of Galileo, Frankel, Dawn Approach, Dubawi, Golden Horn, Kingman, Sea The Stars and the rejuvenated sire success of Shamardal whose two year olds have had a sensational year, to name but a few.
With such a catalogue, it is no surprise that representatives from the world were at the sale, including many buyers from the USA. including Mike Ryan, who has been so successful at Tattersalls in recent years. Many others from the USA were expected, particularly with the current weakness of the £ against the $. Also, the reported desire of racing in the USA to put far more emphasis on turf racing was likely to bring more USA buyers into the fray.
Catalogue analysis: The first thing noticed was the number of yearlings originating from non English or Irish studs. Quite a few were sent from the USA, including lot 1, an American Pharaoh filly sold under Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber’s Watership Down Stud banner. They were one of the largest consigners of the week along with Newsells Park Stud and The Castlebridge Consignment. The second was how many lots were by Galileo, Dubawi, Frankel, Kingman and Sea The Stars, a total of 164 yearlings out of 550 lots, just under 30% of the whole catalogue. Kingman had the most representatives with 41 with Dubawi having just one yearling less. Finally, as already said, there were 56 full of half siblings to Group or Grade 1 winners. Five consigners were responsible for 128 entries in the sale, led by The Castlebridge Consignment with 37.
Day one started off briskly enough with the first lot easily making six figures at 360,000 gns. Trade continued at a pace, but already there were signs of weakness particularly for the middle market. Some yearlings looked quite cheap when considering the stallion fee and associated costs. However, Lot 777, a colt by Dubawi out of the wonderful race mare Fugue broke the million barrier, the first of three for the day, making 1 million guineas. She was sold to Sheikh Fahad and will go into training with John Gosden. Sheikh Fahad brought the sale topper last year, another Dubawi from the same family and stud for 3.5 million. Another 47 lots later saw the second million guinea horse, another Dubawi, this time, a May born colt, a half brother to Group 1 winner Without Parole and out of Without You Babe. He was brought by Kevin Ryan and will go to the USA. When lot 148 entered the ring, a half brother to Barney Roy, and a beautiful looking colt to boot, the scene was set for some real fireworks.
Another by Dubawi out of Alina, both Godolphin and Coolmore wanted this colt. The bidding went up by 200,000 per bid, and at 3 million, MV Magnier of Coolmore thought he had secured the colt, but a quick response from Anthony Stroud standing next to Sheikh Mohammed for another 200,000 showed that the battle was not yet over. Reluctantly, Magnier put in another 200,000 which was responded to by Stroud to secure the cold for 3.6 million guineas. Of the 164 yearlings offered, 136 sold for over 35,000,000 guineas. The median price was up on the corresponding day of last year up by 6% and the average slightly down by 2%.
Day two saw a sharp slackening off of the pace. Sales were taking longer and the auctioneers were having to work that much harder to elicit the necessary bids. Luckily for vendors, the team USA were buying in large numbers, particularly Kevin Ryan. However, there were four who made the million and over mark, three of them purchased by The Godolphin team of Sheikh Mohammed. The first was a colt by by Siyouni out of Cabaret, a half brother to 2000 guineas winner at Newmarket this year Magna Grecia. This lot went to MV Magnier, who already owned Magna Grecia, for 1.3 million. All the other three million plus sales were brought by Godolphin.
The first was a 3.1 million guinea purchase by Frankel out of Fleche d’or, the dam of Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn. The underbidder was again MV Magnier from Coolmore. The next was a 2.3 million purchase by successful sire Kingman out of a half sister to the 14 winning horse Fame and Glory, Grace and Favour. The colt was
consigned by Coln Valley Stud in Gloucestershire, a small stud with only six brood mares. After the sale, a visibly stunned Nicholas Jones, stud owner, remarked “You can’t expect numbers like that. A lot of people told me he was a gorgeous individual but you never know if the bidders will show up or not. We were hoping for a good sale but you can’t predict something on this scale
The final million guinea purchase of the day came late on and was a Galileo colt out of Jacqueline Quest, dam of a Line of Duty, also by Galileo. Sheikh Mohammed had to go to 1.1 million for this one. Despite the million guinea wonders, the stats were well down on the corresponding day of last year. The aggregate was down by 22%, the average down by 24% and median by 21%.
The first thing noticeable today was how the market appeared to have softened even more over night. Auctioneers were having to work much harder to get those all important bids and although many would think that today’s catalogue had the best horses, you wouldn’t have thought it from the bidding. The market was definitely patchy. Even if you were selling a beautiful specimen with great paper, this didn’t necessarily mean that a good sale was in prospect. There were three million guinea lots however. Godolphin’s buying power over the first two days seemed to have
diminished somewhat which allowed the Coolmore team end up with purchasing two of them, including the top price of the day at 2.1 million for a Galileo filly out of Quiet Oasis, a Group two winner and half sister to the well thought of Lancaster House. Their second million purchase was a colt by Kingman out of One Last Dance for 1.8 million. The third million lot of the day was purchased by Godolphin, a Dubawi colt out of Miss Marjurie a Group 3 winner. This was her first foal which made 1.1 million.
All in all, this sale seemed to lack the razz mi tazz you might expect from such an illustrious catalogue. There were high points in the sale, like all sales, but generally business was carried out in a rather more sedate fashion. The figures for the whole sale were down on 2018, but remember, 2018 was a record breaking year so this might be expected. The average price was down by 5% and the median down by 10. If it hadn’t been for an excellent start to the sale on day one, the figures would have been far
worse. The top buyer was Godolphin spending over 17.5 million, well ahead of Shadwell, the next top purchaser spending just over 7 million. In the end, there were 10 lots which made a million or more (down from 14 in 2018) and 54 who made over 500,000, (down from 59 in 2018.)
The biggest impression made on the market was the interest and buyers from the USA. Mike Ryan took home eleven yearlings, while other USA agents, Chad Schumer, Deuce Greathouse, Maverick Racing and Justin Casse, to name a few were responsible for over 50 yearlings heading to the USA. Without the interest of the USA purchasers, the figures could have ended up considerably worse. It doesn’t appear to auger very well for the October Book 2 next week, but that story is for another day.
Pictures Courtesy Tattersalls, Racing Post and Bernard Simpson