Skiffington gets top lot in happy hunting ground

The Epaulette filly knocked down to Amanda Skiffington for €150,000

PICTURE: Pat Healy Skiffington gets top lot in happy hunting ground By James Thomas in Fairyhouse 8:46PM 20 SEP 2016

AFTER a strong set of results in the ring in 2015 and a quartet of Classic winners on the track in 2016, this year's renewal of the Tattersalls Ireland September Sale, which kicked off in Ratoath on Tuesday, had plenty to live up to. With buoyant trade right from the off and a €150,000 top lot, the opening day's session didn't disappoint.

The sale-topper came late in the day, with September Sale regular Amanda Skiffington signing for the daughter of Darley's first-crop sire Epaulette on behalf of Chris Humber.

"Chris has been very lucky at this sale as he bought Hawksmoor from here," said Skiffington, standing with Humber and Hugo Palmer. "She's a lovely, lovely mover. She's a classy filly, very much like one I bought for them before that turned out to be a stakes winner [Audacia]. She was born in the same place too."

The filly, consigned by Rathasker Stud – who bred the filly out of the unraced Mr Greeley mare Onomatomania, shares her page with a plethora of US stakes performers, such as Aristocrat and Harrisa.

Palmer has enjoyed some notable success with his Skiffington-purchased September Sale graduates, namely Galileo Gold and Hawksmoor.

Epaulette, a close relation of leading freshman sire Helmet, stood the 2016 breeding season at Dalham Hall Stud at a fee of €7,000.

Prendergast dreams big

The six-figure barrier was first breached when Kevin Prendergast went to €140,000 for a strong-looking son of Oasis Dream from The Castlebridge Consignment.

"I bought him on spec," said Prendergast after securing the colt. "I thought he looked like a proper horse. Oasis Dream has been a very successful sire, although I've not had too many of them. He'll come straight back to my place – we train them ourselves."

The March-born colt is the first foal out of the Listed-placed Nayef mare Harmonic Note and is from the further family of Hong Kong champion Mensa and Flying Childers Stakes winner Wunders Dream. He was knocked down to Ballyshiel Farm for €210,000 as a foal at the Goffs November Foals sale.

Later in the session Ed Sackville matched that price for a son of red-hot sire Dark Angel from Ballyhimikin Stud.

"He's by a great stallion who showed his talents only last weekend when having a one-two in the Mill Reef," said Sackville. "He's from a very good nursery. He's a lovely looking, imposing colt, I thought he was the nicest colt today. Hopefully he'll do us proud on the racecourse. He'll go to Tom Dascombe and he's for sale."

The colt, out of a Desert Style mare who has produced one winner from two runners, was bought as a foal by Stroud Coleman Bloodstock for €56,000.

Sky's the limit for Sea The Stars colt

The day's third-top lot went the way of Aiden Murphy, who went to €135,000 to secure the Mount Coote Stud-consigned Sea The Stars colt.

"He's going to come back to me and he's been bought for a syndicate," said Murphy, who added that he was unsure whether or not a trainer had been decided on for the colt. "He'll be run as a back-end two-year-old. He looked to me like a horse that was in the wrong sale."

Out of the Monsun mare Jumooh, a cross which has already produced Germany Derby winner Sea The Moon, the colt is a brother to Sir Michael Stoute's useful handicapper Shraaoh and the two-year-old Raheen House, who has finished second on both of his starts to date for Brian Meehan.

"He's the most improved yearling we've had for a long time," said Mount Coote's Luke Lillingston. "He didn't end up in this sale by accident. The team at Mount Coote have done a fabulous job with him and it's great that there are people here to appreciate him."

The colt shares his page with the likes of Ghanaati and Nashwan, and Lillingston clearly has high hopes that this colt will uphold the family name.

"I'm delight to sell these horses for Mrs Tsui and this one's given me particular pleasure in the way that he's progressed. He could be a Derby horse, and that's not a ridiculous dream because it's a proper Classic pedigree and he's a lovely horse. Aren't horses wonderful? They can drive you mad, they can disappoint you, they can break your heart, but sometimes they can just make you smile in the best way."

Sea The Stars stood the 2016 breeding season at the Aga Khan's Gilltown Stud at a fee of €125,000.

Pinhookers' paradise

Willie Browne was one of a number of pinhookers in action throughout the sale, and his two purchases were headed by a racy daughter of Dark Angel, for whom Browne parted with €120,000.

"She's going breezing," said Browne. "She's a lovely filly, she looks fast and you want those sharp-looking ones. Hopefully she'll be capable of doing a good time. You couldn't be doing better than the sire is doing, he's absolutely flying. Outside of Galileo and Dubawi I suppose you couldn't do much better."

The filly, consigned by Yeomanstown Stud, is out of the Most Welcome mare Lady Duxyana and shares her page with one of her sire's early flagbearers, Sovereign Debt.

Start as you mean to go on

The very first lot through the ring gave an indication of the level of trade that was to follow, with Sackville going to €50,000 for a son of Excelebration consigned by Michael Downey.

The April-born foal is out of the Sadler's Wells mare Da's Wish, and returned a tidy profit on the 15,500gns Peter and Ross Doyle parted with to secure him as a foal from the Tattersalls December Sale.

"Being the first lot in the ring, hopefully we got a bit of value," said Sackville of the purchase who is bound for the yard of Ed Walker.

"He's bred on the same cross as my nice horse Ultimate Avenue who runs in the Somerville Stakes on Thursday," added Walker. "I thought this colt was an extremely athletic, good-looking horse and he moved very well. He's going to take a little bit of time but he should be a nice horse for the late-summer, early-autumn two-year-old races and should make into a nice three-year-old."

The colt shares his page with the likes of Group 2 winner Katiyra and champion three-year-old Shahrastani.

Final figures

Despite an expanded catalogue, the opening session of the two-day sale maintained the auction's upward trajectory, with an aggregate of €5,510500 including five six-figure lots, a total which surpasses last year's number.

The average of €26,240 was a six per cent gain, while the median price held steady at €20,000. The clearance-rate was a healthy 84 per cent.

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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