Horse Racing

Havana Grey Brother to Dragon Symbol Leads Tattersalls Foals

NEWMARKET, UK–“If we don’t believe in our stallions, who will?” So said breeder and consignor Ed Harper after topping the second day of foal trade at Tattersalls, though in the case of lot 793, the sire in question, this season’s leading freshman Havana Grey (GB), has already garnered the support of plenty of breeders and buyers.

But to justify the day’s top price tag of 250,000gns at this stage of his young life, the colt had to have plenty more going for him, and his half-brother Dragon Symbol (GB) (Cable Bay {Ire}) has certainly helped in that regard with a trio of top three finishes in Group 1 sprints and five victories to his name. 

The Whitsbury Manor Stud consignee was bought by one of the best judges in the business, Philipp Stauffenberg, who carried on his bold spending from Goffs with a first strike at Park Paddocks. He said, “He’s a racy-looking horse and a brother, nominally, to a Group 1 winner. He’s the one I wanted to have today.

“I liked [Havana Grey’s] first crop but I didn’t buy one, but he has proved that he is capable of getting a good horse.”

The colt is a son of the Arcano (Ire) mare Arcamist (GB), a winner at three and herself the daughter of the Group 1-placed Good Enough (Fr) (Mukaddamah) whose seven winners include two at listed level.

“He is probably a bigger model than Dragon Symbol, but Arcamist just keeps throwing lovely stock,” said Harper. “It is a family we have done really well with and we have had for a long time. Dad bought the second dam Good Enough in the US around 25 years ago. She was the most expensive mare he’d bought ever at that time.”

With more squalling rain drenching the foals and their handlers intermittently through the day, a steady start gave way to a livelier evening session which pushed the figures slightly past the markers set in the equivalent session last year. The average and the median were both up, by 8% and 7%, to 42,372gns and 32,000gns. With 223 foals sold at a clearance rate of 81%, the second-day aggregate was also up slightly at 9,449,000gns.

In Mehmas We Trust

There may be plenty of competition from the arrivistes with their first crops for sale, but Mehmas (Ire), who in a few short years has earned a major stamp of approval from the market, commanded plenty of respect in the ring on Thursday. His colt out of the Stormy River (Ire) mare Heavenly River (Fr) stole a significant march on his rivals early in the day when sold to Peter and Ross Doyle for 240,000gns. 

His specific cross has already been tried by breeder John McEnery of Rossenarra Stud with some success as the 11-year-old mare’s previous mating with Mehmas resulted in the American Listed winner and Grade III-placed Quattroelle (Ire), who was set to run in Thursday evening’s GIII Red Carpet S. at Del Mar. The family has been given a further boost this season by the G2 Queen Mary S. victory of Dramatised (Ire) (Showcasing {GB}), who is out of Heavenly River’s Listed-winning half-sister Katie’s Diamond (Fr) (Turtle Bowl {Ire}). 

“We’ve always liked the foals by Mehmas and we’d had a bit of luck with Dark Angel. I thought the first year he was too expensive at €12,500, and I got caught for €25,000 last year,” said McEnery, who bought Heavenly River seven years ago at Tattersalls for 5,000gns.

“I had to go home to Ireland and left my nephew Billy to look at a few pedigrees and he picked her up. She was a maiden mare and we bought her out of Karl Burke’s yard.”

After selling one of the session leaders [lot 667], Rossenarra Stud’s next lot into the ring, by a different son of Acclamation (GB) in Dark Angel (Ire), was knocked down at 85,000gns. The son of the Redback (GB) mare Charlotte Rua (Ire) is a full-brother to the G2 Duke of York S. runner-up Nahaarr (Ire).

Ross Doyle, whose familiarity with Mehmas stretches back to buying him at the Craven Breeze-up Sale for Al Shaqab Racing, said of the purchase of the session-topper for an undisclosed client, “As always it’s the physical and it’s a huge bonus that he’s by Mehmas. He’s from a very good nursery in Rossenarra and is closely related to a very good filly. I thought he was an absolute standout.

“He had a lot of strength for his age; he’s naturally very strong with a good deep girth and he was a real pro for every show. That’s his dad’s influence coming through. He might come back [for resale] but I’d say long-term they’ll race him.”

He continued, “Mehmas has obviously been very lucky for lots of people including ourselves. We bought Persian Force last year for Amo Racing. We’ve had massive pleasure out of Mehmas and so have so many people, going right back to John Cullinan and Roger Marley in his breeze-up days, then at Richard Hannon’s yard, and all the staff there were mad about him. They used to say to me that he’d go the races, come home, go for a pick of grass and put on weight. Then he ended up at Tally-Ho, which is one of the best studs in the world, and they’ve done a wonderful job with him.”

Tally-Ho reaffirmed their support of the stallion when buying lot 766, Plantation Stud’s Mehmas half-brother to Group 3-placed Flash Gordon (Ire) (Kodiac {GB})  for 115,000gns.

Ghaiyyath and Earthlight Impress

Ghaiyyath (Ire), whose first-crop members have been the subjects of increasingly positive bulletins, was responsible for three of the six-figure lots of the session including lot 789, Kellgrange Stud’s half-brother to to the useful Harrow (Ire) (El Kabeir), and from the further family of Group 1 winners Dream Ahead and Fairyland (Ire). 

John Cullinan and Roger Marley, signing under the name of JR Bloodstock, held their nerve to 240,000gns for the Ballyreddin Stud and DCL-bred colt but Cullinan was heard to comment after signing the ticket, “I think I need a change of underpants now.”

He added, “I saw the horse yesterday and loved him. We were keen to buy a Ghaiyyath as he’s one of the stallions who has been on our mind as a first-crop sire. He looks to have very good stock, he was a brilliant racehorse and was the highest-rated racehorse in the world for a time and is by a sire of sires.”

Cullinan continued, “This is a lovely individual. He vetted very well, and we were at full stretch at that price, but nice horses are always hard to come by, and have to pay a bit more for the ones you want. We will try to keep him safe and come back to one of the premier sales.”

Ringfort Stud also had a decent result with a Ghaiyyath filly from the Listed-placed Shenoya (Fr) (Zoffany {Ire}). Sold as lot 705, she brought a final bid of 130,000gns from Tally-Ho Stud and boasts a suitably smart pedigree which includes two prominent horses of this season in G1 Champion S. winner Bay Bridge (GB) and G3 Sweet Solera S. victrix Lakota Sioux (Ire).

“We thought Ghaiyyath would would suit the mare physically,” said Ringfort’s Derek Veitch. “He is a big, scopey stallion and would suit a smallish mare. We are delighted with that price.”

Ghaiyyath’s average for four weanlings sold at Tattersalls over the last 48 hours is 143,000gns.

Earthlight (Ire) also featured among the sires of the top ten lots of the day when Cullinan returned to the ring to sign for lot 827 at 100,000gns. Consigned by Northern Bloodstock, the colt is a half-brother to the stakes-placed Born To Be (Ire) (Born To Sea {Ire}) out of the Intikhab mare Duquesa (Ire).

Yeomanstown Stud, Redpender Stud and Jamie Railton are also among the pinhookers to have taken home an Earthlight weanling include. Railton bought two on Thursday, including a colt from Carisbrooke Stud for 72,000gns, while Redpender’s Jimmy Murphy bid 78,000gns for lot 594, a half-sister to this season’s juvenile winner Selenaia (Ire) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) from Keith Harte’s consignment and bred by Derek Iceton.

Sergei the Tongue-Twister

They may not agree on how to pronounce his name, but plenty of buyers appear to agree on the desirability of the stock of Sergei Prokofiev. Whitsbury Manor Stud’s newest recruit will have his work cut out to follow the example of Havana Grey but he is certainly not sparsely represented at Tattersalls: so far 29 of his 67 weanlings catalogued have gone through the ring, returning an average of 28,172gns.

They include lot 607, consigned by the stallion’s home team and bought by Andrew Black’s Chasemore Farm for 95,000gns. The chestnut colt is the first foal of Italian Listed winner Avengers Queen (GB) (Brazen Beau {Aus}), whose half-sister El Cabala (GB) (Havana Gold {Ire}) won the G2 Sandy Lane S.

The first weanling to breach the six-figure mark this week [lot 604] at Tattersalls was by another of the Whitsbury Manor Stud crew, the popular Showcasing (GB), and was bred and consigned by Natton House Thoroughbreds, who have enjoyed a successful couple of days at Park Paddocks. 

Chris Dudfield of Natton House explained that he had bought the colt’s dam, Parliament House (Ire) (Slade Power {Ire}) from the Godolphin draft back in 2019 for 22,000gns. 

He said, “She was tiny, only about 14.3hh, but she has grown well since and her first two Showcasings have been beautiful foals. Last year’s foal made 72,000gns; this horse was even nicer and some of the lads said he is flawless, he is just a beautiful horse.”

The diminutive Parliament House did not excel on the racecourse but she boasts bloodlines that entitle her to be considered a smart breeding prospect. Her dam was Embassy (GB) (Cadeaux Genereux {GB}), the former European champion two-year-old filly, who was herself a daughter of the Irish champion two-year-old Pass the Peace (GB) (Alzao). Top-class performers stemming from those two smart race fillies include King’s Apostle (Ire), Atlantic Jewel (Aus), Tarfshi (GB) and Russian Emperor (Ire). 

Yeomanstown Stud placed the final bid for the colt at 100,000gns and later went to the same figure for Tweenhills Stud’s colt by New Bay (GB). Offered as lot 648, he is out of the Listed winner Strawberry Martini (GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}), who will be offered for sale next week as lot 1480 in foal to Kameko.

Tweenhills’ David Redvers said of the colt, “He has a good outlook and action and captured the attention of some big buyers. Strawberry Martini is quite a stout Mount Nelson mare and New Bay gives his progeny a bit of ‘energy’, which I like.

“She has now had some very good foals. We sold her Masar for 110,000gns at October Book 2 this year to Shadwell, and then this horse has made 100,000gns. She is in the sale next week and is owned by a syndicate of friends, and we will need to have a chat and make a decision as to whether we keep her or sell her.”

New Bay, who has been represented by Group 1 winners Saffron Beach (Ire), Bayside Boy (Ire) and Bay Bridge (GB) this season, also found favour with Joe Foley, who bought the Norelands Stud-bred colt [lot 763] out of the Cheshire Oaks runner-up Moorside (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) for 150,000gns. 

Harry McCalmont of Norelands said, “Moorisde was a very good racemare. We bought her from Juddmonte and I have always been a fan of New Bay–we got in at the right time. He’s going to be very expensive now but she may have to go back to him.”

The mare’s first two foals, both by Invincible Spirit (Ire), are in training in Hong Kong and at Kingsclere with Andrew Balding respectively.

Classic Winners Shine

Both Persian King (Ire) and Kameko, in the top echelon of the Classic generation in 2019 and 2020 respectively, have first-crop foals on offer this year, and the sole weanling by the former was one of the leading lights during Wednesday’s session. Based at Haras d’Etreham, Persian King, the winner of six group races, whose three Group 1 victories include the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, was the sire of the third most expensive foal. His first-crop son [lot 779] was bought for 130,000gns by the French-based pinhooking syndicate Fairway Partners, which is led by Charles Briens. 

Consigned by Newsells Park Stud on behalf of breeder Al Shahania Stud, the colt is the second foal of the G3 Nell Gwyn S. winner Qabala (Scat Daddy), who was covered by Persian King’s sire Kingman (GB) in her first season at stud.

The 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko, on the other hand, has had 15 foals sold so far at Tattersalls for an average of 32,800gns and headed by a pair of colts sold for 92,000gns and 90,000gns. Lot 768 was sold by breeder Gigginstown House Stud through Michael O’Leary’s British-based Plantation Stud to Roger Marley and is out of the winning Frankel (GB) mare Like (Ire). The Tweenhills draft features seven Kameko foals, including lot 749, a half-brother to Australian Group 2 winner Surf Dancer (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), who as pinhooked by Aughamore Stud and Matt Houldsworth for 90,000gns. 

Two More Wildcards for Mares Sale

Next week’s Tattersalls December Mares Sale has been boosted by another two late entrants. On Monday, the Group 3-placed juvenile All The Time  (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) will be offered by Highclere Stud as lot 1639D. Tuesday’s session will now include the Paddy Twomey-trained three-year-old Limiti Di Greccio (Ire) (Elzaam {Aus}), who won the Listed Staffordstown Stud S on her most recent outing in October and has been added to the catalogue as lot 1924C.


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