The Grey Panel


Record average price and plethora of new faces on strong renewal of August Yearling Sale

The solid appetite for quality horses witnessed during Part I of the 2017 August Yearling Sale carried over to the third and final day, featuring Part II of the catalogue. 76% of the 145 yearlings who were led through the ring sold, an improved clearance rate from the same session a year ago, while the average price of €85,268 was also marginally up. With less horses on offer, the aggregate settled at €9,379,500, down 8%.

Invincible Spirit filly brings massive rewards to friends' syndicate

While some of the super powers were no longer on attendance, there was no shortage of international buyers including Qatar Racing’s David Redvers, who went to €400,000 in partnership with Ghislain Bozo’s Meridian International for a filly by Invincible Spirit. Lot 234 was undoubtedly the yearling whose pedigree page had experienced the most dramatic turn for the better after the catalogue was printed. Six weeks ago, she was the daughter of an 18-year-old mare and half-sister to two black-type horses headed by the dual Listed scorer and multiple Group performer EVAPORATION.

On 30th July, her two-year-old Oasis Dream half-sister POLYDREAM became the eye-catching winner of the coveted Prix de Lisieux, run just across the road at La Touques racecourse, and 48 hours before going through the ring that filly maintained her unbeaten record when running away with the Gr.3 Shadwell Prix du Calvados.

Their dam Polygreen was bought for €200,000 eighteen months ago at the ARQANA Breeding Stock sale by Ecurie des Monceaux, who put together a syndicate of friends and young professionals keen to dip their toes into the breeding industry. The Listed-winning mare offered by Wertheimer et Frère was carrying to Invincible Spirit, and it was the resulting filly that topped today’s sale. “She is for the same syndicate for which we bought the Kingman half-sister to Wings Of Eagles,” commented Redvers. “I saw her six weeks ago at the farm, before Polydream came about, and absolutely loved her. She is a very athletic type and light on her feet, exactly what we are looking for. Now we'll just take her back to Longholes, sit back and watch Polydream win her Group 1.”

€300K Frankel colt Hong-Kong bound

A May birthday is rarely an asset in the sales ring, but there are some notable exceptions as was proved by a son of Frankel (lot 219) offered by Ecurie des Monceaux, who commanded a €300,000 closing bid from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. He is out of the dual Group 3 victrix NOELANI, herself a full sister to the champion sprinter NAMID, and Richards commented on his second purchase of a son of Frankel:

Being born on May 1, he is a very immature horse which suits us. There is no way he could be a two-year-old and he will come to our sale [in Hong Kong] in 18 months, which will leave him all the time he needs. Fingers crossed he has the ability to make a name for himself.

Later in the afternoon, Mark Richards and Nick Columb offered €240,000 to finally get their hands on a Siyouni colt (lot 231), having tried to secure a colt by the Haras de Bonneval resident for a long time. The colt ouf of the Listed performer Peinted Song was offered by Haras de Montaigu and hails from the family of Peintre Celebre.

“This will make our CEO happy,” quipped Richards. “We have been trying to get hold of a Siyouni for a long time and looked at quite a few so we are delighted to have found one that fitted the bill and was within our budget. Our CEO is very keen on the sire, which we think will suit Hong Kong very well. This colt is a massive type of horse who won't do much for the time being and be re-offered at our sale.”

Dabirsim filly commands €270K from Mandore

A daughter of leading first season sire Dabirsim, who has already been represented by 10 winners led by Albany Stakes Gr.3 scorer DIFFERENT LEAGUE, was the pick of Mandore International's Nicolas de Watrigant at €270,000. The Haras des Capucines offering (lot 201) is the second foal out of the winning mare Mi Vida Loca, herself a half-sister to dual Stakes victor SHUJOON. “She is for a new partnership that I have just put together,” commented Watrigant. “Physically she is very special and of course what Dabirsim has achieved to date is quite spectacular. She will stay in training in France.”

2017 renewal posts record average price and figures in line with past three years The three-day sale returned figures largely in line with the 2014 to 2016 editions. The clearance rate of 75% was all but identical to last year while the average price of €166,409 was an all-time high (+9% from 2016) and the cumulated gross was €38,875,500 (-4%). The median was unchanged at €110,000.

For the sixth year running, Henri Bozo’s Ecurie des Monceaux dominated the vendors’ standings with 33 yearlings sold for a total turnover of €9.5 million, followed by Haras d’Etreham in second – despite offering half as many yearlings – and Haras de Montaigu in third. Haras de la Pérelle, which sold the sale-topping son of Dubawi out of Giofra, recorded the highest average of all.

In a repeat scenario from 2016, Shadwell ended the sale as the leading buyer, having spent €2.4 million on 9 horses. The partnership of Mayfair Speculators and Coolmore was just €50,000 short in second while newcomer Kerri Radcliffe made it to the third place with €2 million purchase of a pair of yearlings.

The quintet of leading sires by average price mirrored the list of Europe’s most proven sires – namely Dubawi, Galileo, Shamardal, Frankel and Invincible Spirit, while new kid on the block Kingman ranked 6th with 9 yearlings averaging €275,556.

ARQANA CEO Eric Hoyeau reflected on the 2017 renewal of the auction: “My wholehearted thanks and that of the entire Arqana team go to all our vendors for producing and entrusting us with such a stellar collection of horses. French breeders have definitely upped their game over the past few years, both by investing in young, quality broodmares and in nominations of a very high standard. The result of those efforts is here for all to be seen and the record average price is a fair reward for having produced the best possible yearlings for the top end of the market. We were thrilled to welcome so many investors from all around the world, a combination of our most loyal supporters and of many new faces from Japan, America, Australia, not forgetting France. Our aim is to offer them a choice of cherry-picked yearlings with the strongest credentials as well as an encompassing experience of what French racing and breeding have to offer. In saying that, I cannot bypass a word for the outstanding work that our team produces day after day – to put on a sale like this is the ultimate team project and I am incredibly lucky to be able to rely on such a competent and dedicated group of men and women. Now, from all of us at ARQANA, the very best of luck to our buyers – the next Wings Of Eagles, Almanzor or Qemah are in your hands!”

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