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Radcliffe And Scat Daddy Keep A Share Of Centre Stage After Hectic Week


Ron Mitchell of Blood-Horse | 16.09.2017

The usual suspects were to the fore as a fiercely competitive market produced two more seven-figure yearlings on the closing day of Book Two at the Keeneland September Sale. Kerri Radcliffe paid US$1,000,000 for a filly by the inevitable Scat Daddy (Johannesburg), while the only sire to set a higher average through the opening phase of the marathon sale, Tapit (Pulpit), accounted for the other filly to share top billing on Thursday.

Prospectors have a chance to regroup during Friday’s “dark day” before entering the middle reaches of the 4,000-lot saga in Book Three. For now, while year-on-year comparisons remain difficult, because of the sale’s new format, there is no mistaking the significance of 13 yearlings at US$1,000,000 or more, compared with nine through the whole sale last year.

Thursday’s session saw 198 yearlings change hands for a total of US$47,231,000, an average of US$238,540 and a median of US$175,000. Through the first four days, 681 horses have been sold for US$196,645,000, at an average of US$288,759 and median of US$200,000.

In the new format, a single, select Book One session was followed by a three-day Book Two, in contrast with the three-day Book One staged last year. The idea was to create early momentum that would carry through the entire auction, and to put as many top-quality horses before the world’s major buyers as possible during the first week.

“The goals we set out before the sale have been accomplished,” said Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell. “We wanted to engage buyers early, and Monday showed that with great highlights. The table has been very well set for the rest of the sale based on this week.”

“We have sold million-dollar horses throughout the week, which shows the strength of the market. There is a hunger for top-end horses.”

Thursday’s two session-toppers sold within minutes of each other. The first, consigned by Brereton Jones/Airdrie Stud, was Hip 1038, a filly out of Jones’s 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can (Proud Citizen). Don Alberto was the winning bidder.

“First of all, she’s a Tapit,” said Liliana Solari of Don Alberto. “We had Proud Citizen at our farm in Chile. He was a wonderful horse and sired very good fillies and colts. [This filly] had very nice lines: not too big, not too strong, but nice lines. So we want to have good horses [from] her.”

“All the smart people have told us that the filly looks exactly like all the really good Tapits,” said Bret Jones of Airdrie. “She is not a great big, robust filly, but well put together, and gives you the feeling she is going to give everything she has on the racetrack.”

Radcliffe’s latest investment from the last crop of Scat Daddy, meanwhile, was Hip 1041,  consigned by Gainesway, agent, out of the Graded stakes-placed Ghostzapper (Awesome Again) mare Beloveda, a half-sister to Grade Three winner Golden Mystery (Awesome Again).

“This was my favourite horse in the whole sale,” said Radcliffe, continuing her spree on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds. “I saw her on Sunday and I knew I wasn’t going home without her. In my eyes she is the best horse in the sale. She is a queen and hopefully she will be in the Queen Mary Stakes next year!”

“[The filly] rose to the occasion here,” said Gainesway’s director of sales, Michael Hernon. “She was shown over 220 times. She was just as strong at the end. And she came along really well, I’d say in the last six weeks. She attracted all the top buyers, as she deserved to do. We think she’s a Royal Ascot filly. There was a lot of across-the-board interest from major buyers and you know the cream rises to the top. We think she’s a really good horse, and we’re delighted with the result.”

Radcliffe additionally bought a colt by Verrazano (More Than Ready) for US$650,000. Tapit also accounted for the top colt of the session, Eric Fein paying US$900,000 for a half-brother to Grade One winner Taris (Flatter). Out of the Theatrical (Nureyev) mare Comedy, he was consigned by Denali Stud, agent for Stonestreet Bred & Raised and catalogued as Hip 1125. 

“We priced him anywhere from US$500,000 to US$1,000,000,” said Ian Brennan, who signed the ticket. “Good Tapit colts are bringing that kind of money. I’ve seen him for the last six, seven months and I’ve loved him. He’s done everything right.”

Catalogued as Hip 986,  John Oxley paid US$800,000 for a daughter of Pioneerof The Nile (Empire Maker) from the consignment of Blandford Stud, agent. The filly is out of the winning Touch Gold (Deputy Minister) mare All Mettle, a half-sister to multiple Grade One winner Paulassilverlining (Ghostzapper).

“She is gorgeous and I love Pioneerof the Nile,” Oxley said. “She had the same look as American Pharoah. She was too attractive to pass up, so I had to stay in there and win. That was a little more than I thought she would go for – and quite a bit more than I hoped she would go for.”

Robert and Lawana Low paid US$750,000 for a Distorted Humor half-sister to recent Grade One winner Moonshine Memories (Malibu Moon) from the family of Favorite Trick (Phone Trick). She was consigned by Lane’s End, agent and was catalogued as Hip 900. 

“I said to Mr Low: ‘It’s the perfect recipe for a filly to bring a lot of money,'” said Jacob West, who signed the ticket for the filly. “She’s an outstanding physical [and has an] incredible pedigree behind her. So it was a recipe for success. She’ll go to Todd Pletcher.”

West summed up the market as “incredibly strong,” adding: “You have a number in your head and you better be prepared to give 25 per cent, sometimes 50 per cent more. It’s good for the breeders. It’s hard to get through all the hoops and get them in here, so when you do that, you need to get rewarded.”

Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm was the leading buyer of the fourth session, spending US$1,675,000 for seven yearlings. Leading consignor was Taylor Made Sales Agency, which sold 33 horses for US$6,617,000.

Sale Results

Catalogued: 354

Offered: 262

Sold: 198

Aggregate: US$47,231,000

Average: US$238,540

Median: US$175,000

Top Lot: US$1,000,000


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