The format may have changed, from in person to online, but the global reach of Tattersalls remained strong through the second session of the February Sale, with the leading lots being bought for owners in America, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
If the pandemic has taught us anything it is how much we are all able to adapt to new ways of working, and bloodstock sales have been no different. For this virtual version of the February Sale, 250 different bidders were engaged online, casting 1520 bids for the 205 lots sold in that manner, while many more conducted their business over the telephone to members of the Tattersalls team.
All of this activity brought about an encouraging conclusion to the two days of trade, with overall turnover settling at 2,564,000gns, which represented a reduction of 21% but from 45 fewer horses sold than last year. A high number of withdrawals from the published catalogue after the sale was switched online led to 292 horses being offered for sale, with 219 selling at a clearance rate of 75%. This was lifted by a stronger session of trade on Friday, at which the clearance rate was 81% for 101 of 125 lots sold. The single-day average was actually up by 16% at 13,869gns, while for the sale as a whole the average contracted by 5% to 11,710gns. The median was down by 8% at 6,000gns.
Reflecting on the opening two days of Tattersalls' business for 2021, chairman Edmond Mahony said, “Not for the first time in recent months the most important message to convey is one of sincere thanks and gratitude to vendors and purchasers alike for responding so positively to changes and disruptions to the traditional Tattersalls sales format. The collective support we have received throughout the pandemic continues to be an inspiration and cannot be underestimated.”
He continued, “This is the first time we have had to utilise the 'live virtual' format for a sale at Park Paddocks and, apart from fervently hoping it will be the last time, overall the process has worked very well. Feedback from vendors and purchasers has been overwhelmingly positive with the vast majority of buyers using the live internet bidding platform which served us so well last year. Crucially, the quality of the videos and photographs supplied by the vendors has been of a high standard and additional information also available on the Tattersalls website has facilitated the buying process and given the necessary confidence for people to participate from throughout the world.
Demand for horses in training
The 3-year-old colt Fayathaan (Ire) (Mehmas Ire) has won twice so far in 2021 for David Loughnane and Kulbir Sohi, and he will continue his racing career in Milan under the guidance of Raffaelle Biondi after topping Friday's session.
Bloodstock agent Marco Bozzi, who placed the successful bid of 85,000gns for lot 414, said, “He is for owner Mrs Roveda. This is a nice horse, we vetted him and he ticked all the boxes. He is a good performer, a sharp horse and should suit seven furlongs or a mile in Italy.”
A winner last season for Richard Fahey, Fayathaan then changed hands in October for 40,000gns and has subsequently won twice and placed twice for Loughnane to increase his rating to 86. Co-bred by GHS Bloodstock and Tally-Ho Stud, he is a grandson of the G3 Oh So Sharp S. winner Raymi Coya (Van Nistelrooy) and from the family of The Queen's 2020 G2 July S. winner Tactical (GB) (Toronado Ire).
A late offering from the dispersal of Lady Rothschild's Waddesdon Stud was the Sixties Icon (GB) 3-year-old Clay (GB), who has been runner-up on both his starts this year for Richard Hannon, having also run twice and been placed at two. The colt (lot 455), who raced for Lady Rothschild's son Nat, will remain with Hannon after the trainer went to 71,000gns to buy him for John Davies, whose successful previous purchases from the trainer include G1 Stayers' Hurdle runner-up Lil Rockerfella (Hard Spun), who went on to be trained by Neil King, and Group 3 winner Danehill Kodiac (Ire) (Kodiac GB).
“Richard has been very good to us, and Clay will be staying with Richard,” said the owner. “If Clay continues to progress, and becomes the horse that Richard thinks he will, he should make up into a Saturday horse.”
Out of the unraced Tamso (Seeking The Gold), Clay is a half-brother to the listed Warrnambool Cup winner High Church (Ire) (High Chaparral Ire). His dam's half-siblings include the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches victrix Matiara (Bering) and G2 Richmond S winner Pyrus (Mr Prospector).
At Ease (GB), a winning 4-year-old filly by Oasis Dream (GB) was the pick of the Juddmonte draft and, with a pedigree to make her an enticing broodmare prospect in the future, for now she will carry on with her racing career in the United States. Offered as lot 385, she fetched 70,000gns to a bid from BBA Ireland's Michael Donohoe.
He said, “There are no plans regarding trainer as yet. She is lightly raced, she has a U.S. pedigree and her siblings went on from three to four. She looks a good physical, too.”
A winner over a mile last season for Charlie Hills, At Ease is a daughter of Jostle (Brocco), whose six graded stakes victories include the GI American Oaks and GI Alabama S.
Donohoe added: “Her videos and photos were very good, and Juddmonte, as always, has been very forthcoming with information. You'd always rather see the horse yourself, but we all have to do what we can in current times.”
Oasis Dream is also the sire of Rovaniemi (Ire) (lot 417), who has changed hands but will not be changing trainer. The 4-year-old, bred by Epona Bloodstock and initially raced by Sun Bloodstock, is a winner and multiple place-getter with a rating of 82. He will remain in the Newmarket stable of David Simcock having been bought by Reda Al-Khalaf , who is based in Saudi Arabia.
The horse's new owner said via telephone, “Hopefully, he will be lucky for us, he is the first horse we have in training in the U.K. We will keep him with David Simcock, he knows the horse already. He looks a fast horse and has a good pedigree.”
Rovaniemi is a half-brother to listed winner Cameron Highland (Ire) (Galileo Ire) and to G2 Ribblesdale S. runner-up Field Of Miracles (Ire) (Galileo Ire). Their winning dam Landmark (Arch) is a full-sister to the GI Del Mar Oaks and GI EP Taylor S. winner Arravale.
Agent Colm Sharkey signed for six horses during the sale, including 3-year-old colt Stiletto (GB) (lot 453), for 67,000gns. The well-bred son of Frankel (GB) and G3 St Simon S. winner High Heeled (Ire) (High Chaparral Ire) has had four runs for John Gosden and co-breeders Jame Wigan and George Strawbridge, finishing runner-up in December over 10 furlongs.
The Andrew Balding-trained Lope De Vega (Ire) 4-year-old Arctic Vega (Ire) (lot 365) will race on on Bahrain for Sheikh Sultan's Almohamediya Racing, who bought the gelding for 60,000gns through bloodstock agent Peter Harper.
“He is a nice, big strong type and should suit racing in Bahrain,” Harper said. “We had him vetted; Andrew Balding's yard was very helpful.”
The grey, who won on debut last February, returned to the winner's enclosure on Jan. 15 after scoring over a mile at Newcastle and is rated 81. A son of the listed Prix Rose de Mai winner Childa (Ire) (Duke Of Marmalade Ire), his half-brother Chilean (GB) (Iffraaj GB) was also a stakes winner in France, landing the G3 Prix La Force for Martyn Meade.
Concluding his assessment of the sale, Edmond Mahony added, “The February Sale has again demonstrated how readily the Tattersalls worldwide client base has embraced our online services and we will be continuing to develop and invest in the Tattersalls online platforms which have served the industry so well in recent times.
“In recognition of the difficulties which we all continue to face under the current lockdown conditions, we will be staging an additional mixed March fixture taking place March 31 and April 1 here at Park Paddocks, for which entries are now being taken. At this stage the intention is for the Tattersalls March Sale to take place conventionally, in compliance as ever with any prevailing Covid-related protocols, and timely announcements will be made if it becomes necessary to make any changes to these plans.”