Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale sure to include gems
The Autumn Horses-In-Training catalogue is always a hefty tome of select, high-quality offerings interspersed among a much broader range of more ordinary fare, but a strong interest from the Australian market has become a predominant feature of the sale in its current guise, highlighted by Chris Waller spending 880,000 guineas across seven lots last year.
They included 340,000 guineas purchase Brimham Rocks (Fastnet Rock), who finished runner-up behind Yucatan (IRE) (Galileo) in the Herbert Power Stakes (Gr 2, 2400m) at Caulfield earlier in the month, while the performance of the winner underlines how lucrative the Australian middle-distance programme remains for European horses who can become caught between Listed and Pattern company in the northern hemisphere but are very valuable assets when sent to race abroad.
The 1636 lots catalogued this year are sure to include a number of gems from the perspective of Australian buyers and highlighted below are six offerings across the first two days of the sale which look potentially interesting candidates to continue their racing careers in the southern hemisphere.
Lot 486: Euginio (4 c Fastnet Rock ex Starstone (Diktat)) – Consigned by East Everleigh Stables (R. Hannon)
A colt with a significant update to his page, having landed the Darley Stakes (Gr 3, 1m1f) at Newmarket since the publication of the catalogue, Euginio has enjoyed a productive season, winning two of his nine starts and hitting the frame on a further three occasions. A versatile performer racing between nine and twelve furlongs on an array of ground, Euginio has performed fairly consistently to a Racing Post Rating of 110 throughout the season, making him one of the classiest horses in the first-half of the catalogue. His sire needs no introduction in Australia, while he has more than once suggested a gelding operation could help eke out further improvement, and given he takes his racing well he could prove a significant money-spinner in the southern hemisphere.
Lot 541: Nelson (3 c Frankel ex Moonstone (Dalakhani)) – Consigned by Ballydoyle Stables, Ireland (A. O’Brien)
A colt with a similar profile to stable companion Yucatan (IRE), Nelson won the Ballysax Stakes (Gr 3, 1m2f) at Leopardstown on his seasonal reappearance but struggled to land a blow in hot company subsequently. However, he has since produced an improved performance to finish eighth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1, 2400m) at Longchamp, leading the field before weakening late on, eventually being beaten four and a quarter lengths and recording an RPR of 118. By way of comparison, Yucatan (IRE) achieved a peak RPR of 112 in Europe and while Nelson was probably flattered somewhat by his position to the principals given the tempo at which this race was run, it’s not difficult to envisage such forcing tactics being productive in Australia and he undoubtedly boasts a big engine if allowed to go through the ring as part of a strong draft from Ballydoyle.
Lot 658: Completion (3 g Arch ex Minute Limit (Pivotal)) – Consigned by Somerville Lodge Ltd. (W Haggas), Agent
Despite having only won once this season, landing a Redcar handicap (1m) in May, Completion has run some creditable races in defeat since, including when finishing runner-up in the Silver Bowl (1m) at Haydock later that month. He didn’t make much of an impact on his sole start over ten furlongs, finishing seventh at Goodwood during the Glorious Meeting, but he wasn’t really suited by how that contested developed from a pace perspective, while he appeared ill at ease on the idiosyncratic contours of the track as well. Completion confirmed his well-being on the back of a fifty-day break when finishing third at Pontefract (8f) earlier in October, keeping on in the closing stages on ground that was probably soft enough for him, and he has the potential to improve further over middle-distances next season, despite his pedigree casting some aspersions over the suitability of ten furlongs.
Lot 664: Restive Spirit (3 g Intello ex Hooray (Invincible Spirit)) – Consigned by Somerville Lodge Ltd (W. Haggas)
Another interesting offering from the draft of William Haggas, Restive Spirit finished fourth on his all-weather debut in a Chelmsford handicap (8f) last month, shaping like he would be well suited by the return to turf having travelled strongly before proving a little one-paced under pressure. However, the form of his earlier Ripon success (1m) has worked out nicely with both the second and fourth winning since and he looks capable of further progress after only six career starts. Furthermore, despite the speedy bottom-half of his pedigree, Restive Spirit looks worth a crack over further at some stage given his running style and I doubt we have seen the best of him yet.
Lot 703: Extra Elusive (3 c Mastercraftsman ex Nessina (Hennessy)) – Consigned by Beckhampton House Stables (R. Charlton)
A colt who can easily be forgiven his latest effort in the Legacy Cup (Gr 3, 1m3f) at Newbury, where he proved too keen early in testing underfoot conditions, Extra Elusive had previously looked a smart prospect when quickening up pleasingly to win a Kempton handicap (1m4f) in August, while the form of his runner-up effort at Ascot (1m2f) in July has worked out nicely as well. Having run only five times, Extra Elusive continues to look a work in progress from both a physical and mental perspective and it seems unlikely that his ability limitations lie at his current official rating of 96. He seems equally at home on any ground and he has shown enough at this stage of his career to think he is capable of developing into a southern hemisphere stakes performer of some description.
Lot 709: Corrosive (3 c Uncle Mo ex Lovely Syn (Freud)) – Consigned by The Castlebridge Consignment
A colt with a strong US pedigree both on turf and on dirt, Corrosive has won four of his ten starts, showing a record of steady improvement across the second half of the season having recorded a career-best RPR of 100 when finishing a half-length third at Kempton towards the beginning of the month. That success was over a mile, but the way he hits the line suggests at least another two furlongs will prove within reach, while he gives the impression that he only does enough in his races and he is another for whom a gelding operation could prove beneficial. Furthermore, the form of his latest run looks strong for the level, with a brace of unexposed three-year-olds occupying the first two places, and Corrosive occupied the least advantageous track position of the first three home in a steadily-run affair. He looks the sort with a good deal more to offer next year.
Best Solution proves me wrong but don’t underestimate Benbatl
Finally, an inspired ride from Pat Cosgrave and a willing ally in Best Solution (Kodiac) left this columnist with egg on his face following the Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) on Saturday.
Having quite confidently asserted that the dual German Group 1 winner could not defy his welter burden of 57.5 kilograms, the improving colt stuck his neck out gamely to hold off the strong challenge of Homesman (War Front), making me look somewhat silly but providing a significant result for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, who has made a concerted effort to target the Spring Carnival from early in the European season and for whom this win was highly symbolic in respect to his place within the broader Godolphin hierarchy.
Moreover, the victory whet the appetite beautifully for what ought to be a showdown to remember in the Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2000m) at the weekend, with the high-class Benbatl (Dubawi) one of the stiffest tasks Winx (Street Cry) will have ever faced, and she is by no means a certainty to maintain her magnificent winning streak. Cue another sheepish conclusion to this column next week!
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