Sale record price matched for Dark Angel colt

The Dark Angel colt out of Swiss Dream knocked down for £280,000

Record price matched for son of Dark Angel
By James Thomas in Doncaster 9:01PM 24 AUG 2016

DARK ANGEL maintained his stranglehold on a strong renewal of the Goffs UK Premier Sale in Doncaster on Wednesday as Ross Doyle matched the sale-record price of £280,000 for a colt out of Swiss Dream consigned by Highclere Stud.

A sustained bidding duel ensued between Doyle and Ed Sackville ensued, but as the price continued to rise it was with assured nods that Doyle continued to up the ante until Sackville had been seen off.

"He's been bought for Shadwell," revealed Doyle. "We're lucky enough to buy a couple for them each year. We thought he was the pick of the sale, Richard Hannon was mad about him and obviously Angus Gold liked him a lot. He ticked all the boxes for everybody."

The colt was bred by Trevor and Libby Harris's Lordship Stud out of the Listed-winning Oasis Dream mare Swiss Dream, a daughter of the stud's blue hen Swiss Lake.

"We've never sold a horse at Doncaster before," said the Harrises' son Tom. "We thought he'd be a real standout and we wanted to bring him here as we think he's a real two-year-old type. The family are all very fast and he's by the sire of the moment Dark Angel.

"It was touch and go whether we'd get him here – Carolyn Warren and the team at Highclere have done a fantastic job. And the team at home at Lordship have been wonderful as they've reared the whole family.

"This is actually a bit of a landmark occasion for us as it's the first time that a daughter of Swiss Lake has had progeny for sale."

Further success could well be in the offing for the family as Lordship are set to offer a brother to Swiss Spirit and an Oasis Dream colt out of Swiss Diva through Watership Down Stud at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale.

Round two for Richards and Gold

Angus Gold and the Hong Jockey Club's Mark Richards traded blows during the opening day and the second session's second-top lot came when the pair resumed their rivalry over a strong-looking Acclamation colt from Brightwalton Stud.

In a reversal of fortunes from day one it was Richards that emerged on top, with a bid of £230,000 enough to subdue Gold on this occasion.

"Acclamation is a proven horse in Hong Kong," said Richards. "He's had ten winners from 16 horses to race over there which is a pretty good strike-rate. As with most of our purchases, he's just an athlete. He moved beautifully and is very well put together.

"It always gives you a bit of confidence when the right people are on a horse. I'd have liked to have got him for a little bit less, but there you go."

The sale provided bloodstock agent Matt Coleman and his father Roger with an excellent result having bred the colt out of their Listed-winning Sleeping Indian mare Melbourne Memories.

Melbourne Memories, the first foal out of Three Decades – a winning Invincible Spirit mare whom Coleman bought for "next to nothing" – was put into training with Clive Cox having failed to sell for £2,200 as a yearling.

The filly went on to win the 2012 Bosra Sham Stakes and finish third in the following year's Fred Darling.

"I bought Three Decades for Dad and I after I finished the Darley Flying Start," said Coleman. "We sent her to Sleeping Indian and got Melbourne Memories.

"We got lucky – it was wonderful as she took us to Ascot, the French Guineas and the German Guineas and now this is her first foal. He's a cracking colt."

The colt was consigned by Jeffrey Hobby's Berkshire-based Brightwalton Stud, where Melbourne Memories boards.

"He's a belting foal," said Hobby, "and has been lovely right the way through. Melbourne Memories also has a really nice Mukhadram filly foal and is in foal to Showcasing."

French invasion

The route from Normandy to Doncaster isn't a well-worn one, but the thousand-mile round trip proved well worth the effort for the Coulonces Consignment, who sold a daughter of Siyouni for £220,000.

Gold again had to give best, with Salcey Forest Stud's Daniel Creighton, stood with owner John Dance, in no mood to be denied.

"She's beautifully put together," said Dance. "Angus has beaten us to half a dozen of our favourites this week."

Dance currently has around 40 horses in training spread between Tom Dascombe, Karl Burke, James Bethell and Rebecca Menzies and around 14 mares stationed at Salcey Forest.

"We're quite new but we're looking to move into having more quality mares," explained Creighton. "This filly is definitely a candidate to breed from. When she walked out of the stable I just loved her. She has a lot of class and the stallion can do no wrong."

Dance said he was yet to decide who would take charge of the filly, but added: "All the trainers were quite interested, we might have to have a coin flip later on!"

The Coulonces Consignment is run by Anna Drion, who was clearly delighted with the returns her cross-Channel journey had yielded.

"That was more than we expected," said Drion, who was still shaking after the event. "We thought maybe £50,000 in the spring but she absolutely blossomed.

On the decision to bring a draft to Doncaster she added: "I needed a new challenge. Arqana comes early and isn't suitable for every horse. Coming here also allows me to meet different British trainers and owners – I've met so many new people, it's been amazing and I've loved it."

The filly was bred by Melchior-Francois Mathet, the son of multiple Classic-winning French trainer Francois Mathet at Haras de Bourgfontaine, which is situated just north east of Paris.

The April-born filly is out of a half-sister to Listed winner Salford Mill and is from the further family of the likes of Berkshire and Ivawood.

Ivory invests

Dean Ivory was another buyer keen to secure the progeny of Dark Angel, and the trainer snapped up a daughter of the Yeomanstown Stud resident at £170,000.

"There's so much to like about her," said Ivory. "She has a lovely page, a nice walk and a good bit of bone. If you imagine what she's going to be like in six months' time, hopefully she could be anything.

"Sometimes with these sires the progeny can get a bit over-inflated because everyone wants one. But this filly is put together very well, I liked her attitude too and she has the most gorgeous head.

"She's been bought for Mr and Mrs Yarrow who own the likes of Sirius Prospect, Lancelot Du Lac and Temeraire, to name but a few! Let's hope their luck continues," concluded Ivory.

The filly, offered by Cooneen Stud, is out of the Italian Oaks-placed Marju mare Oeuvre D'Art, whose first foal, a colt by Helmet named Dark Destroyer, finished third in a Newmarket maiden on debut for Joseph Tuite.

First-crop focus

A couple of first-crop sires have drawn significant figures during the two-day sale. First came a son of Dalham Hall resident Farhh, who brought £170,000 during the opening session, with the winning bid coming from Jill Lamb on behalf of Julie and David Martin.

Day two saw a son of Havana Gold from Trickledown Stud knocked down to Angus Gold, who saw off stiff competition from Amanda Skiffington – who had purchased Havana Gold himself as a yearling – with a bid of £160,000.

"The horse of the sale," said Gold. "He just looked a little bit special. He has a magnificent head – he reminded me a little bit of Elzaam."

Trickledown's Paul Thorman spoke in similarly glowing terms about the February-born colt. "He's as good as I've ever had and I think if he'd been a first foal he would have topped the sale."

The colt was bred by Shortgrove Manor Stud out of the placed Alhaarth mare Roselea Lady, a half-sister to 2006 Gimcrack Stakes winner Conquest. Havana Gold stood the 2016 breeding season at a fee of £8,500 at Tweenhills Stud.

Final figures

At the conclusion of the two-day auction the sale had seen 396 lots change hands – a clearance-rate of 87 per cent, for a turnover of £17,455,000 – down two per cent on last year, an average of £44,078 – a three per cent rise, and a median of £34,000, a 13 per cent increase. Of the lots sold, 32 made £100,000 or more, an improvement on last year's figure of 31.

Henry Beeby, Goffs group chief executive, said: "For the fifth consecutive year the Premier Sale has returned improved figures following two powerful days of sustained trade at a level we have not witness at Doncaster at any sale in memory.

"To put this sale's progress into perspective, the average price has grown by a staggering 64 per cent in just four year as it increasingly competes at a higher level for the type of yearling that breeders never used to consider for Doncaster.

"Indeed, the key to this sale has always been the individual and we can only marvel at how our vendors keep getting it right and upping the ante at the same time as without the 'Donny yearlings' for which the sale is renowned we have nothing.

"Add to the mix a real hunger from our buyers from home and abroad, and the result is the kind of consistently strong trade that we have witnessed over the last two days headlined by a record-equalling yearling at £280,000 for the second consecutive year."

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