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Storm Cat colt tops stronger Keeneland day

Day 2 Keeneland September comparative results ($)

 Year  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  172  115  67  33,807,000
 2008  214  146  68  57,310,000  392,534  300,000

Book 1 Keeneland September comparative results ($)

 Year  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  222  62  58,756,000 (-48%)  264,667 (-30%)  215,000
 2008  300  69  113,357,000  377,857  300,000

A POWERFUL colt from the final full crop of Storm Cat went some way to rescuing a subdued select portion of the Keeneland September Sale in Kentucky on Tuesday after John Ferguson had the final say over Demi O'Byrne at $2,050,000.

After Monday's tough opening day, which was a reality check for breeders who had produced these yearlings at the height of the market, vendors approached the second session - traditionally the stronger of the two days - with a degree of trepidation.

However, although declines were returned across-the-board, three yearlings made $1m or more compared to none yesterday. That in turn helped the figures to show a slight rebound from Monday's bloodbath, with 115 horses selling for a total of $33,807,000, down 41 per cent from last year.

The average and median also registered softer drops than on Monday, falling 25 per cent and 17 per cent to $293,974 and $250,000 respectively.

Unsurprisingly, thenumber of horses sold for $500,000 over the select two days took a turn for the worse, dropping from 82 to 28.

"Today was slightly stronger than Monday and I thought the vendors adjusted their expectations well," said Geoffrey Russell, director of sales at Keeneland. "But this sale is a reflection of the world, although perhaps it will show some people that this industry is now affordable. You never know, it might encourage some more people to turn up."

Tuesday's sale-topper was the first foal out of champion Fleet Indian, who was led out unsold for $3,900,000 carrying this colt at the 2007 Keeneland November Sale following an outstanding career in which she won the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes and Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes.

She was later privately acquired by Summer Wind Farm in Kentucky, who bred the colt and offered him through Taylor Made Sales Agency.

"He was raised by a very good farm in Summer Wind, who we bought two yearlings from at Saratoga," said Ferguson, who as on Monday was standing alongside Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya.

"It was a fair price for him. You know, he's out of a champion mare and there was alot of Storm Cat in him. He was just a great athlete."

Day 2 top prices

 Lot  Breeding  Buyer  Price ($)
 342  b c Storm Cat - Fleet Indian  John Ferguson  2,050,000
 383  ch c A P Indy - Madcap Escapade  Demi O'Byrne  1,000,000
 245  b f Unbridled's Song - Strawberry Reason  John Ferguson  1,000,000
 400  b c Unbridled's Song - Ocean Drive  Baccari B/S  875,000
 274  b f Unbridled's Song - Win McCool  Seth Hancock  825,000

Ferguson had earlier signed for the first yearling to hit the $1m mark, a daughter of Unbridled's Song.

The February-born filly, who was consigned by Stone Farm on behalf of St. Jovite's owner Virginia Kraft Payson, owned family connections worthy of intense interest as a half-sister to Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Vindication, himself a $2.15m purchase as a yearling, and Grade 3 winner Scipion.

She also extended the fabulous sale run enjoyed by Unbridled's Song, who was responsible for Monday's session-topper.

"She was an outstanding, beautiful filly," said Ferguson. "We've seen her many times throughout the year and each time we loved her - she's very athletic and straightforward with a lot of quality. She comes from one of the greatest nurseries in the US and hopefully she'll do well for us."

Veteran consignor Arthur Hancock, owner of Stone Farm, was satisfied rather than ecstatic about selling the sale's first $1m yearling.

He said: "She deserved to make every cent. She was a beautiful filly with a wonderful pedigree and personality. She acts like a racehorse - she's bold, a little bit aggressive but very sensible. She's the ultimate filly and has gone to wonderful hands."

Ferguson's expenditure for the day amounted to $8.63m for 17 lots and also included a $800,000 son of Street Cry.

After coming out second best for the session-topper, O'Byrne enjoyed better luck when securing one of the most anticipated lots of the sale, an A P Indy three-parts brother to recent Debutante Stakes heroine Mi Sueno out of Grade 1 winner Madcap Escapade. Despite attracting an opening bid of just $20,000, the colt didn't disappoint onlookers, eventually falling to the Coolmore operation for $1m following a prolonged bidding process.

"He had everything; appearance and pedigree, and he was my favourite horse of the sale," declared O'Byrne. "The mare has started off very well and this colt looks like he could have a lot of speed. He's by A P Indy so I should think he'll stay in the US to race but it's early days and nothing has been decided."

As the sale drew to a close, O'Byrne made a successful play for a First Samurai half-brother to Pulpit and Urban Poet who cost $775,000.

Storm Cat ended the first book as leading sire by average for the eighth time buthis margin was  only a narrow one from Unbridled's Song,whose popularity was best summed up by Seth Hancock, the buyer of a $825,000 daughter of the Taylor Made stallion.

"The stallion is about as good as it gets and this filly is from a great family," said Hancock of the filly who is out of Grade 3 winner Win McCool. "She is out of a good racemare and she's her first foal - I particularly like first foals."

Unbridled's Song was also responsible for a colt out of Grade 3 winner Ocean Drive who sold to Baccari Bloodstock for $875,000.

Earlier in the day, Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales went to $775,000 on behalf of Elizabeth Moran's Brushwood Stables for a Dynaformer half-brother to Grade 2 winner Bel Air Beauty to cap a strong dayfor consignor Lane's End.

"We love Dynaformer and I thought that this was one of the best by the sire in the sale, if not one of the best colts," said McDonald. "He was an outstanding individual."

Moments after the $1m daughter of Unbridled's Song had passed through the ring, Ontario-based Angus Glen Stables - operating under the banner of AGS Thoroughbreds - paid $700,000 for a Giant's Causeway half-brother to Grade 1 winner Startac.

His figure was later matched by a Dynaformer three-parts brother to Riskaverse, who was knocked down to Rick Nichols of Shadwell Estates.

As on the first day, Blandford Bloodstock were a force at the top end of the market, paying $350,000 for the first foal out of Grade 1 winner Sand Springs while BBA Ireland, Rabbah Bloodstock, Tom Tate and Mark Johnston also came away with purchases.

Book 1 leading sires by average (with more than one sold)

 Name  No. sold  Average ($)
 Storm Cat  18  432,500
 Unbridled's Song  15  429,333
 Dixie Union  2  400,000
 Street Cry  6  344,116
 Malibu Moon  2  337,500

Book 1 leading buyers

 Name  No. bought  Total
 John Ferguson  31  13,460,000
 Shadwell Estate Co., Ltd  8  3,915,000
 Demi O'Byrne  5  2,980,000
 Blandford Bloodstock  11  2,742,000
 WestrockStables LLC  4  1,535,000



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