Arqana August – the verdict from our jury

Arqana: the August Yearling Sale gets underway on Sunday

PICTURE: Patrick McCann ( Arqana August – the verdict from our jury
1:23PM 13 AUG 2016


Industry insiders give their verdicts on the upcoming Arqana August Yearling Sale

Do you think Brexit will affect trade negatively or positively?

Marc-Antoine Berghgracht, agent I don't think it will affect the sales. Nothing can affect the famous British fighting spirit.

Richard Brown, agent I'm neither an economist nor politician but my own view would be it will have little effect on the Arqana Sales as there is always a significant domestic spend. Looking further ahead, it could significantly strengthen the sales held in Britain as the weak pound will surely make it an appealing opportunity for foreign investors.

Charlie Gordon-Watson, agent Absolutely not. I'm all for being positive and hopefully we'll get our blue passports back!

Stephen Hillen, agent I can't see Brexit having a negative effect on Deauville in the select section of the sale as most of the top players at this level are recession-proof. In Part Two and V2 there was a strong French presence last year and I think this will also be the case this year.

Rob Speers, Araci family bloodstock manager I'm of the opinion the racing and bloodstock industries have always been in their own separate bubble. They've survived the boom and busts of the economy before and I don't see why any ripples in the economy at the moment from Brexit would affect the industry.

Which first-season sires are you most looking forward to?

M-A B I'm most looking forward to seeing the progeny of three different stallions in Camelot, Intello and Penny's Picnic. The former is producing some nice, elegant horses, including some with an early profile, while Intello has stamped his stock and they look lovely. I'm also looking forward to seeing Penny's Picnic's progeny as he's producing some really nice yearlings with a lot of scope and size.

RB I'm not a big fan of buying the progeny of unproven sires for racing. However, Camelot, Dawn Approach and Intello should all be well received. I'm particularly interested in Farhh. Pivotal has a couple of decent sons at stud and a potentially outstanding one in Siyouni. Farhh was very talented and comes from a strong female line.

C G-W Intello and Camelot are the most exciting. However, both Planteur and Style Vendome will have a lot of French appeal in the ring.

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SH I've seen some nice Style Vendome yearlings who look racy and precocious. I loved Intello as a racehorse and I'm looking forward to seeing his stock as well. But the obvious one would be Camelot – being a Derby winner his stock have great appeal and I thought his foals last year looked like racehorses.

RS Camelot was very close to becoming a Triple Crown winner and we bought a foal of his at Goffs for €180,000 who has turned out to be a standout yearling.

Do you think there will be a premium this year on Frankel progeny?

M-A B Yes, I think there will definitely be a premium on his progeny. His strike-rate with his first runners is very impressive and there's more to come for sure.

RB For sure. He's made a remarkable start to his stud career and it's exciting for everybody that he may turn from an outstanding racehorse into an outstanding sire. A wise old sage once told me ‘most great stallions sire a horse better than themselves', and if you think about it, that's true. Imagine if he did that!

C G-W Most certainly. I've already resigned myself to not being able to buy any of them but there's every chance certain owners could say ‘buy me a Frankel whatever it costs'. That's my hope, anyway!

SH Yes. His statistics are outstanding and we almost certainly haven't seen the best of them yet.

RS Yes, I think there certainly will be at this stage and he's done nothing other than impress me so far as a stallion. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a premium, as all of the mares he's covering are top-class with lovely back pedigrees. It's not like he's covering a load of average mares.

What are your ideas of the top lots?

M-A B I haven't seen them all yet, but I suspect Ecurie des Monceaux will be the leading consignor again, with the top price being for a filly.

RB It's impossible to say before seeing them but it's probably fair to assume the top lot will be by either Dubawi, although he only has one catalogued, Galileo or Frankel.

C G-W The top lot this year will probably be sold by Ecurie des Monceaux, as usual. It could possibly be the Galileo filly
[lot 97] or Dubawi filly [lot 25].

SH There's only one Dubawi catalogued, out of Gracefully
– dam of Group 1 winner Giofra – consigned by Ecurie des Monceaux, who topped this sale last year with a Dubawi yearling. Frankel's progeny will also be immensely popular.

RS There might be lots of standouts based on pedigree but it comes down to the individual. It happens often that the yearlings with nice pedigrees don't often stand out when you see them. I always look to buy the individual, not the page.

And most importantly, your favourite places to eat or drink in Deauville?

M-A B Le Drakkar or Les Ammonites for me.

RB This is definitely a question best posed to my business partner Tom Goff. He's known among his close friends as the ‘minister for lunch' and takes eating very seriously, so I'm rarely allowed to choose where we go. A favourite of mine is Santa Lucia, but Chez Herve is always great fun. I just go where I'm told, though!

C G-W Chez Herve when the proprietor isn't grumpy!

SH Spinnaker restaurant is very good, while the 21 restaurant is the place to go when you want one for the road.

RS For the second year running I'm living in a self-catering apartment so am looking forward to cooking.

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