International Sales News

Johnson pays 135,000gns for Topanga at Tattersalls

The news that Australia’s champion first-season sire elect Too Darn Hot (Dubawi) will not return to the Hunter Valley later on this year was a blow to breeders who had booked mares to him. However, owner and breeder Gary Johnson will be hoping he is one of the lucky few who can secure a spot among the stallion’s book when he covers a select few mares on southern hemisphere time from his Darley base in Newmarket. 

Johnson, a familiar face in years gone by at Tattersalls, was back on the buyers sheet at the July Sale on Tuesday, combining with Johnny McKeever to secure Topanga, a dual winning daughter of Siyouni (Pivotal), for 135,000gns (approx. AU$269,700). 

Catalogued as Lot 138, the three-year-old filly added a second win to her record when she landed a seven-furlong contest at Haydock on July 5. 

McKeever said she would be kept in training with Andrew Balding for another few months in the hope of securing black-type and then would likely be covered to Too Darn Hot later this year. 

“This filly will most likely be covered by Too Darn Hot to southern hemisphere time, although she might stay in training for a few months and see if there’s a chance of grabbing a bit of black type somewhere. Probably with Andrew because then we can keep her in the routine she’s used to,” McKeever said.

“It’s an amazing back family and she’s a beautiful filly, very, very good looking. That was important because a good physique is paramount.”

Topanga is out of placed mare Time Tunnel (Invincible Spirit), herself a daughter of Falmouth Stakes (Gr 1, 1m) winner Timepiece (Zamindar), who is a half-sister to Passage Of Time (Dansili), the dam of Group 3 winner Tempus (Kingman) and Group 2 scorer Time Test (Dubawi), who would usually be preparing to shuttle to Little Avondale in New Zealand, but will sit out the southern hemisphere covering season this year. 

Johnson has around 25 broodmares in Australia and seven in Europe and McKeever said he is working on expanding the northern hemisphere presence. 

“He [Johnson] has a reasonably large broodmare band building from Europe because he likes our slightly more staying bloodlines,” said McKeever. “He keeps all his mares at Peter Stanley’s New England Stud and is here on his annual July race meeting visit. 

“We’re gradually buying up mares who’ll be covered on southern hemisphere time after living in England for a year or so. Then they’ll go on to join Toby Liston at Three Bridges.

Too Darn Hot’s 12 winners in Australia are headed by his JJ Atkins (Gr 1, 1600m) and ATC Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m)-winning son, exciting stallion prospect Broadsiding. His southern hemisphere progeny also include stakes-performing winners Arabian Summer, Too Darn Lizzie and stakes-placed trio Superalloy, Silmarillion and Trembles. 

Too Darn Hot stood his first four seasons at Darley Australia for $44,000 (inc GST) and was due to stand his fifth term in the Hunter Valley at a price of $110,000, the sixthmost expensive advertised stallion in the country, with only I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), ($275,000), Zoustar (Northern Meteor) ($275,000), Extreme Choice (Not A Single Doubt) ($275,000), Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) ($247,500) and Too Darn Hot’s former barnmate Anamoe (Street Boss) ($121,000) priced higher.

Too Darn Hot’s success has taken a similar trajectory in the northern hemisphere. In his first season with runners he sired four stakes winners and they were headlined by Moyglare Stud Stakes (Gr 1, 7f) winner Fallen Angel and Group 2 scorer Darnation. 

This season in Europe his progeny have built on the foundations they laid in 2023, with his number of individual stakes winners in the northern hemisphere sitting at nine, with Fallen Angel once again leading the way courtesy of her dominant Irish 1,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1m) triumph. 

McKeever said the decision for Too Darn Hot to forgo his trip to Darley’s Kelvinside base in 2024 was taken with the stallion’s best interests in mind. 

“There were a lot of disappointed Australian breeders,” McKeever said. “Having said that, I’m quite close to the whole operation and I know why the decision was taken and it was taken for all the correct reasons. It’s a very expensive economic decision for the Too Darn Hot team to take, but at the end of the day the horse’s health and welfare is the most important factor.

“He looks like being an absolute breed-shaping stallion. It’s so unusual when you get a horse who can operate in two hemispheres and be very good in two hemispheres. Simon Marsh has just told me that Sam Bullard had called to say there’d been nearly 50 mares booked in. That’s a testament to how popular he is in Australia.”

Too Darn Hot’s southern hemisphere fee has been set at £50,000 (approx. AU$95,000)

Ritchie seeks repeat trick

New Zealand-based trainer Shaune Ritchie made his intentions clear that he was making a trip to the July Sale on a quest to find another Mahrajaan (Kitten’s Joy), the blue-blooded Shadwell homebred who was bought by Ritchie for 75,000gns at the Autumn Horses In Training Sale in 2022 who has gone on to win the New Zealand Cup (Gr 3, 3200m) and Auckland Cup (Gr 2, 3200m) for new connections. 

During Tuesday’s session of the Newmarket-based auction the Kiwi handler parted with 130,000gns (approx. AU$259,500) to secure Davideo (Galileo), another staying type he believes has a similar profile to his other Tattersalls graduate.

Offered by Imperium Sales, Davideo was bought in conjunction with Hubie de Burgh. The son of Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) has won three of his nine career starts for trainer Ralph Beckett, with his most recent victory coming over a mile and four furlongs at Kempton in May.

“He was probably my number one pick because he’s got that big frame to fill out. With the English style of stayer, when you ask people if he’ll stay, they think you mean 4,000 metres! Back home we think a mile and a half and two miles,” said Ritchie. 

“He looks like he goes on all types of going and he’s got the pedigree to back that up. If we can get him home and try and put him through the Cup class like we did with Mahrajaan then we’ll make our way to Australia with him.

“He’ll be on the next flight back. The advantage we’ve got with our paddocks at home is that every horse gets a quarter-acre paddock throughout the day. A horse with a big frame like him will really suit that style of training.”

Ritchie said he finds European stayers easier to sell and was hoping that trend would continue with Davideo. 

“[Mahrajaan] has a strong chance of being New Zealand stayer of the year next month, so off the back of that success we’re looking to do the same thing again. I bought him with 50 per cent sold and I’ve done the same with this horse here. It’s supply and demand. 

“I can buy a nice yearling back in Australia and New Zealand and sometimes they’re hard to move, whereas if you buy a horse here and start mentioning the Cup races then everyone wants to get involved.”

Out of the one-time winning mare Here To Eternity (Stormy Atlantic), Davideo, who was sold with an official rating of 98, is a half-brother to Hong Kong Group 1 winners Time Warp (Archipenko) and Glorious Forever (Archipenko).

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