Frankel colt tops opening session of Arqana

The Frankel colt bought by Shadwell for €850,000 on Sunday

PICTURE: Patrick McCann
Frankel colt tops opening session of Arqana August
By Martin Stevens 9:52PM 14 AUG 2016

AS IF buyers needed reminding of Frankel's flying start at stud, his daughter Toulifaut made it two wins from two starts with a comfortable victory at the racecourse opposite the Arqana complex before the company's premier August Yearling Sale got underway on Sunday.

All five Frankels offered in the first of the sale's two sessions changed hands for six-figure prices, with the most expensive, a half-brother to Goup 3-placed La Peinture, sold to Shadwell's Angus Gold for €850,000.

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"This Frankel is a very athletic individual," said Gold of the May-born chestnut from Ecurie des Monceaux. "We've had a bit of luck buying from Monceaux before – they do a great job – and the mare has bred a good filly already.

"He's not an early sort but he's very elegant, very light on his feet when we trotted him up, and he seems to have a lovely attitude on him. Hopefully this time next year we'll see him out on the track."

Gold accepted that the frenzy surrounding Frankel's first crop had placed a premium on his offspring.

"Three months ago we'd have probably bought him for €400,000 but that's the fashion when the stallion is on a roll," he said. "We were underbidder on two others so Sheikh Hamdan thought he'd save his powder for this fellow."

Gold had earlier struck for one of the other Frankel lots from Monceaux, a colt out of the Listed-winning Red Clubs mare Faithfilly, at €300,000.

"He's a very solid little horse that looks like more of a two-year-old than some of the Frankels we've seen," he said. "Obviously it's very exciting what the stallion is doing, particularly as they didn't look precocious individuals last year. It seems to me they're not doing it because they're fast, they're doing it because they've got class, which is the exciting thing.

"I got it completely wrong and thought they'd all make three-year-olds, which shows what I know.

"It's nice that Sheikh Hamdan is back here, he hasn't been for a few years. He'll make all the final decisions but they'll head back to England first."

Frankel for Pharoah owner

Frankel's international appeal was demonstrated when a half-brother to Canadian Grade 3 winner Marbre Rose – again, consigned by Monceaux – was knocked down to American agent Justin Casse on behalf of American Pharoah's owner-breeder Ahmed Zayat.

"He'll go back to America," Casse said. "I thought he was debateably the best Frankel in the sale. There's some strong American influence in the pedigree with Unbridled's Song, that was the main draw.

"Obviously with Frankel being as hot as he is, everyone around the world knows the sire and knows how well he's doing, he's a pretty hot commodity right now. I may not be the authority on Frankels but from what I've seen they seem to be mare-dominant, so far as their looks. Unbridled's Song himself is a beautiful specimen and I see a lot of Unbridled's Song in this horse."

Asked whether he thought Frankel progeny could excel on dirt, he replied: "I think it's a possibility, there's enough in the pedigree to suggest it's a definite probability. He'll definitely start training on dirt as that's all we have to train on in Florida.

"It'll all depends on which trainer the owners decide on and how he's training. The nice thing about a horse like this is that the pedigree lets you have lot of options as to the surface."

Sheikh Fahad rides in

Fresh from his noble attempt at riding in the Mongol Derby, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani emerged victorious for one of the catalogue highlights.

The sheikh said he was keen to return to happy hunting ground after going to €650,000 to secure an Invincible Spirit brother to Charm Spirit, who was campaigned by close family members to win three Group 1 races and now stands under the Qatar Racing banner in partnership with the Aga Khan Studs.

"He's as nice as his brother, maybe even a bit nicer," he said. "You can never have enough of a good thing. I think it's a fair price for him – a full-brother to a stallion. It's too early to say who'll train him, we'll decide that around December."

He added the Mongol Derby was "a great challenge – I really enjoyed it."

Monceaux presented the colt.

Million-euro buyback

Seven-figure yearling buybacks are a rare phenomenon but for the second year in a row the Arqana August Yearling Sale featured a breeder unwilling to let go of a beautifully bred filly for less than €1 million.

Last year it was the Head family who retained their Motivator sister to Treve; 12 months on it was Monceaux who kept the Dubawi half-sister to Falmouth Stakes winner Giofra despite bidding appearing to reach €1m.

Monceaux principal Henri Bozo said: "She's from a fantastic family and at that price we'd rather keep her as a broodmare prospect."

The filly was the only offering in the catalogue by Dubawi, the sire of last year's sale topper.

Al Kazeem colt popular

Another sire with a sole representative in the catalogue was Dubawi's son Al Kazeem – thanks partly, in his case, to having a small crop in his subfertility-curtailed debut season – and the Newsells Park Stud-consigned colt was eventually knocked down to George Ma of Blossom Trading and Breeding.

"I've bought the horse on behalf of Macau Jockey Club chief executive Thomas Li," said Ma. "We loved the horse, a lot of the Dubawi line horses look like he does. He's by a freshman sire but many of Dubawi's sire sons are proven so we have confidence in Al Kazeem. The horse will stay in France for a short break and then we'll think about his future."

Dark Angel filly in demand

Laurent Benoit of Broadhurst Agency dug deep for a filly by Dark Angel, paying €600,000 for a filly from a fine Haras de la Louviere family.

The daughter of the red-hot Yeomanstown Stud sire is a half-sister to Ribblesdale Stakes third The Black Princess and is out of a half-sister to Classic winners Latice and Lawman.

Benoit was tight-lipped on who the winning bidder was.

The result suggests the more than doubling of Dark Angel's fee to €27,500 in 2014 will have still meant good value for many breeders this sales season.

Coolmore into the Spirit

An excellent session for Irish National Stud mainstay Invincible Spirit, in which he was represented by five six-figure lots, continued when Coolmore's MV Magnier went to €475,000 to secure an colt by the sire out of the Group 3-winning Elusive City mare Marvada from Grove Stud.

Magnier said: "He looks a very good horse, he's a good mover and Invincible Spirit is capable of getting a good horse. All the guys liked him so let's hope he's a good one."

Slade Power brother to Hong Kong

Bidding for Slade Power reached only £5,000 when he was offered as a yearling, before he raced for his breeder Sabena Power and developed into a leading sprinter.

The sale of his brother at Deauville panned out very differently, with Mark Richards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club forced all the way up to €450,000 for the chestnut, consigned by Horse Park Stud.

"It's good to get a nice horse early in the sale," said Richards. "He's bred to be a fast horse, he looks like a fast horse and he's got a great temperament.

"What I particularly liked about Slade Power was that he did it for so many years. We don't want to buy fast, sharp two-year-olds, we're trying to buy horses that'll last a while."

Great Scott

Up-and-coming trainer George Scott has an extremely well-bred horse to go to war with after he and Alex Elliott saw off all opposition for an Invincible Spirit brother to Concorde Stakes winner Anam Allta and half-brother to Group-winning stayers Fox Hunt and Opinion with a bid of €420,000.

Elliott would not reveal whose silks the grandson of Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Priory Belle would carry, saying only he was English.

He said: "He's been bought to go to George Scott for a new client – George is absolutely flying so he's an easy sell at the moment. This horse has a fantastic pedigree and comes from a very good farm."

Scott, who recently celebrated a winner at Glorious Goodwood with Illusive, added: "He was my pick of the sale so I'm delighted to get him."

Off to a good start

The auction opened with a bang when the very first lot in the ring, a Kendargent sister to stakes winners Kendam and Kenfreeze, was sold to Nicolas de Watrigant for €125,000 and was followed in by a Nathaniel half-brother to champion two-year-old and Lockinge Stakes winner Belardo who was snapped up by Charlie Gordon-Watson for €250,000.

"He's going to Ed Dunlop and he's been bought for Dr Johnny Hon from Hong Kong, who bought the Galileo here at the breeze-up sale," reported Gordon-Watson. "I think Nathaniel is definitely going to come good – by the time of Book 1 the Nathaniel yearlings might cost a bit more.

"He's a mid-April foal so he's going to improve a lot; these Deauville August yearlings just transform. And he's a half-brother to Belardo!"

The yearling provided the latest auction highlight for breeder and consignor Ballylinch Stud's Group 1-placed Danehill mare Danaskaya, having also sold 650,000gns Book 1 joint-top lot and Group 3 winner Berling and €100,000 Arqana August graduate Belardo out of her.

Average slightly down

At the end of the first session, 76 lots from 91 offered had changed hands for a clearance rate of 84 per cent – up sharply from last year's comparative tally of 72 per cent.

Turnover came in at €14,116,000, an increase of 26 per cent from last year, although the average price dropped by four per cent to €185,737.

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