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Sadlers Wells - Coolmore - Jan 2007

Sadler's Wells leads sire sons Galileo, Montjeu and High Chaparral at Coolmore. His final yearlings sell this week at Tattersalls

  PICTURE: EDWARD WHITAKER  

Final chapter in remarkable sales career

THE curtain may fall on an extraordinary affair with the sales ring later this week when one of the final yearlings by Sadler's Wells, lot 615, passes under the hammer at the Tattersalls October Sale.

With no yearlings set to sell next week and none as yet confirmed for the Tattersalls December Yearling Sale next month, it is more than likely that this sale will mark the final chapter in the sales history of Sadler's Wells, who was retired at Coolmore last season after failing to impregnate any of his final book.

A total of 37 yearlings make up his final crop and among the 18 lots scheduled to sell this week are the full or half-siblings to Angara (221), Cerulean Sky and Moonstone (87), and Yesterday and Quarter Moon (478) as well as those out of the top-class racemares Riskaverse (87) and Necklace (615).

Retired to stud as a triple Group 1 winner at the height of Northern Dancer's dominance, Sadler's Wells never failed to attract quality mares in numbers.

Consequently, he was instantly accepted into the top bracket of the market as the Racing Post's senior bloodstock columnist Tony Morris explains:

"In 1980s America Northern Dancer was renowned as the commercial sire par excellence, his stock regularly commanding huge prices, and there was no comparable phenomenon there until his grandson Storm Cat dominated the auction scene a decade and more later.

"But neither was an instant success in that regard. Northern Dancer's first yearling crop to average in excess of $100,000 was his seventh, the foals born in 1972, and the next two were again below that mark. The really big-money deals came much later.

"Similarly, Storm Cat's yearlings did not average in six figures until his fourth crop, and went stratospheric only after he had become established as a sire of top-class performers.

"On this side of the Atlantic, Sadler's Wells was different. He got outstanding physical specimens from the outset, the market anticipated his rise to stud stardom, and his record as a commercial sire is unequalled in the history of the breed. In all probability it will remain unsurpassed."

Sadler's Wells first crop of yearlings were offered at public auction in 1987 and as the accompanying table shows, averaged 169,266gns.

Among them was a colt out of Irish Bird, later named Almoojid, who changed hands for Ir680,000gns to Shadwell at the Goffs Orby Sale, and a filly, Nearctic Flame, out of the exceptional mare Flame Of Tara, who sold to DavidMinton on behalf of Cheveley Park Stud for 360,000gns at the Tattersalls Houghton Sale.

Although she would never reach the heights of her celebrated sister Salsabil, Nearctic Flame went on to be Group 2-placed before producing the Group 2 winner Blushing Flame.

As the bloodstock markets soared to new heights, so did the value of Sadler's Wells' yearlings, to the extent that his 1999 crop averaged just over 300,000gns in 2000, the year that Diaghilev (later renamed River Dancer in Hong Kong) sold for a record 3.4m guineas to Demi O'Byrne at the Tattersalls Houghton Sale.

Diaghilev was one of many by the stallion to open his career in the colours of Michael Tabor and John Magnier, the latter of whom summed up the stallion's achievements on Monday by saying: "He sired good colts and fillies, and was able to get Guineas, Derby and Gold Cup winners. They are very usable horses - they can be high-class over jumps as well as on the Flat.

"And of course the ultimate for a sire is to produce good sires and broodmares, which he has done. We were very fortunate to have him."

Unlike some stallions, age has not dented buyersperception of him and only two years ago, he was responsible for fillies that sold for €2.4m and 2.5m guineas at Goffs and Tattersalls. The latter, who was a sister to Fillies' Mile winner Listen, smashed the worldwide auction record for a yearling filly, while it was also the fourth time that the great stallion had been represented by the sale-toppers at both of Europe's flagship yearling sales.

With the only two of his yearlings selling at the Goffs Orby Sale for €300,000 and €200,000, that feat will not fall to him again. But don't bet against him producing his share of fireworks again this week.

Sadler's Wells' yearling  average 1987-2008 (gns)

 Crop  Foals (no. sold)  Yearlings (no. sold)
 1986  142,050 (7)  169,266 (36)
 1987  93,642 (7)  186,247 (30)
 1988  163,500 (6)  190,028 (34
 1989  122,500 (4)  225,817 (35)
 1990  240,000 (2)  175,512 (18)
 1991  208,333 (3)  160,730 (24)
 1992  134,408 (3)  226,467 (35)
 1993  172,500 (2)  139,269 (45)
 1994  160,000 (1)  160,819 (47)
 1995  235,000 (2)  227,229 (15)
 1996  187,687 (8)  235,640 (35)
 1997  148,306 (6)  252,973 (25)
 1998  236,818 (11)  253,900 (38)
 1999  135,833 (11)  300,069 (45)
 2000  96,134 (5)  198,975 (54)
 2001  358,531 (4)  230,406 (62)
 2002  68,000 (1)  220,827 (41)
 2003  none sold  165,954 (45)
 2004  87,000 (1)  191,626 (44)
 2005  324,496 (2)  216,536 (45)
 2006  222,500 (6)  240,393 (45)
 2007  105,900 (7)  162,343 (24)
 

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TOP TEN

STALLION £ TOTAL PRIZE
Galileo £11,597,622
Dark Angel £3,704,206
Dubawi £3,194,696
Frankel £2,708,934
Kodiac £2,231,181
Acclamation £2,090,548
Iffraaj £2,067,853
Sea The Stars £1,923,734
Nathaniel £1,880,694
Invincible Spirit £1,699,882