THE two-week Tattersalls December Sales kicked off on Monday with the traditional yearling session and a clearance rate of 86% saw 122 lots sold for an average price of 32,675gns, which was slightly up on last year.
The median price of 20,000gns was 20% back on last year but the four million guineas traded on the day was just 4% down on last year, despite their being 15 fewer horses sold than on this day in 2019.
Bloodstock agent Anthony Stroud signed for the day's top lot when going to 300,000gns for the Sea The Stars colt out of the Oaks winner Talent.
Consigned by Ashbrittle Stud, the colt is a half-brother to the Group 2 Prix Corrida winner Ambition. He was bred by James Rowsell along with Mark Dixon, the pair having bred and raced Talent together.
Purchaser Anthony Stroud said: "He is a nice horse, he needs time. He is by a Derby winner and out of an Oaks winner, and his half-sister Ambition has done very well. He goes to John Gosden." Although Stroud buys regularly for Godolphin, the owner of his latest high-profile purchase was not confirmed.
Ashbrittle Stud’s manager Ginny Whales was leading up the colt and commented: "He deserved the price he has got. He got a haematoma on his off-hind hence he missed his sale in October, but we are very pleased."
Earlier a filly by Sea The Stars out of the Group 3 winner Alla Speranza was knocked down to Norelands Stud’s Harry McCalmont for 260,000gns.
The half-sister to the Group 2 City of York Stakes winner Shine So Bright also attracted the attention of that colt’s trainer Andrew Balding and eventual underbidder John Clarke, but it was McCalmont who prevailed.
"She is for a partnership between Norelands and Craig Bernick of Glen Hill Farm," revealed McCalmont. "We had good yearling sales so we thought we would invest. She is a lovely filly, by a stallion whom we love and from a wonderful family – it keeps on producing. Lanwades has the family, Coolmore has a branch and Juddmonte has a branch – we have one now too!"
As for a training plans, McCalmont said: "I have already spoken to John Gosden and I will go and have another chat with him!"
Sold by the Castlebridge Consignment on behalf of Kirsten Rausing’s Lanwades and Staffordstown Studs, the filly had missed her earlier appointment at Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale.
"She had a minor injury three or four weeks before Book 1, it was just a soft tissue injury," said Rausing. "We sold her through the Castlebridge Consignment today and the team has been very helpful. For decades we have sold through Staffordstown, but it was a Covid-related decision and logistics. She was prepared at home and met Castlebridge here."
Rausing has many members of the prolific pedigree, hence the reason for selling the filly as she explained: "I have the dam and the grand-dam both working for me, and two sisters of this filly and other females of the family – so I have many members and there is plenty to come from the family. She is a lovely filly and I wish the new buyer all the best of luck with her."
The Starspangledbanner half-sister to the Group 1 Cheveley Park winner Alcohol Free provided her owners with an impressive pinhooking result when selling to Creighton Schwartz Bloodstock’s Daniel Creighton for 130,000gns.
Consigned by Canice Farrell’s Knockatrina House Stud, the daughter of the Hard Spun mare Plying was purchased in February for €40,000 through Pegasus Bloodstock.
"We were lucky enough that Alcohol Free came along," said Farrell. "This filly was entered in an earlier sale but had an over-reach. She has benefitted anyway from the extra time she has had, she has a phenomenal temperament, and appetite!"
Purchaser Daniel Creighton commented: "She is for a new client and will go into pre-training with my brother. I imagine she will stay in Britain to be trained.
"Her sister has done well his year and she is by a popular sire, who has done well. Let's hope it all adds up to her being a good filly on the track, and eventually a broodmare too. She is a lovely big filly and has a lot of quality, I think she is likely to be a mid-summer to back-end type."
Trainer Andrew Balding struck late in the sale to secure the Lope De Vega colt out of the listed-winning Rip Van Winkle mare Stone Roses for 130,000gns.
"He is a lovely horse, we are thrilled to get him and obviously the stallion has done very well. He is an athletic sort," said Balding, who bought six lots in total for 282,000gns.
Hillwood Stud’s Charlie Vigors said: "We have been lucky with the sire and we picked him out a while back when he stood at €60,000. The mare had a filly foal by him this spring and was covered by him again. I am not sure what we will do next spring – Lope De Vega has become a more expensive sire now!"
Sea The Stars was in the headlines again when Charlie Gordon-Watson struck to secure his colt out of the Dalakhani mare Crysdal for 125,000gns, with trainer Mark Johnston the underbidder.
Consigned by New England Stud on behalf of breeders Watership Down Stud and Sunderland Holdings, the colt is a great grandson of Crystal Spray who Gordon-Watson purchased on behalf of the Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Down Stud for 500,000gns at the 1995 Tattersalls December Mares Sale. She subsequently produced the Irish Derby third Tchaikovsky as well as Group 1 Fillies’ Mile winner Crystal Music, dam of Crysdal.
"He traces back to Crystal Spray who we purchased and obviously I like the stallion," said Gordon-Watson. "He will go into training with Ed Walker."
The Tattersalls December Foal Sale starts on Wednesday and runs until Saturday.
FULL COVERAGE OF THE DECEMBER SALES IN THE IRISH FIELD NEXT WEEKEND
COMPARATIVE STATISTICS FOR THE YEARLING SALE
Current Year Previous Year Change %
Lots Catalogued 173 202 -14%
Lots Withdrawn 31 35 -11%
Lots Offered 142 167 -15%
Lots Unsold 20 36 -44%
Lots Sold 122 131 -7%
Total Value (gns) 3,986,300 4,149,500 -4%
Median Value (gns) 20,000 25,000 -20%
Average Value (gns) 32,675 31,676 +3%
% Offered Lots Sold 86% 78% +10%