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lot405 - George Washington filly - Tattersalls - 7.10.09

Lot 405: the filly, George Washington's only yearling, made 320,000gns

  PICTURE: Tattersalls 

GeorgeWashington filly sells for 320,000gns

THE sole yearling sired by George Washington drew a packed crowd to the Tattersalls sale ring this evening, and it was Ross Doyle on behalf of owner Julie Wood who bought her for 320,000gns. She will enter training with Richard Hannon.

Most conversations around Park Paddocks yesterday revolved around speculation over who would buy lot 405, a filly out of the Rainbow Quest mare Flawlessly, and what price she would fetch. The filly usurped even Sea The Stars as the most gossiped-about horse on the sale ground.

The level of interest in her was hardly surprising, considering she is a unique specimen: the only live foal sired by George Washington, who captured the imagination of racegoers through his colossal talent and enigmatic personality, returned to the track after displaying low fertility levels at Coolmore, and met with a tragic end in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Gerard Burke, whose Glidawn Stud had bought the filly for €280,000 at the Goffs November foal sale and consigned her to Tattersalls, had to manage immense interest inher over the course of the sale.

She was pulled out of her box on numerous occasions, and not just for potential purchasers - television crews descended on the corner of the lower sale paddocks where her stable was located, and racing fans from as far afield as Scotland came to Newmarket especially to view her.

By the time the George Washington filly was due to enter the ring at around 6.45pm, the sale ring was packed to the rafters - though you wouldn't have known it from the hush that descended when she came in.

The silence was broken only by laughter when auctioneer John O'Kelly jokedafter lot 404 - no less than a Danehill Dancer half-sister to Frozen Fire - entered the ring, that "the sale was now over - see you tomorrow ladies and gentlemen."

O'Kelly tried for 500,000gns but bidding started at 100,000gns. Eamonn Reilly of BBA Ireland and Julian Dollar of Newells Park Stud cut out the early pace, but the final phase of the bidding was a duel between agent Charlie Gordon-Watson, who went as far as 310,000gns, and Ross Doyle, who added 10,000gns to that figure to win the day.

The filly was purchased by Doyle on behalf of Buckinghamshire-based owner Julie Wood and will go into training with Richard Hannon. Wood's purchasing power was no doubt enhanced by the £956,000 her two-year-old colt Lucky General picked up when winning last month's Goffs Million.

Among the other 22 horses Wood has in training with Hannon include The Miniver Rose, Pure Poetry and Stags Leap. She also ownedHannon's Queen Mary Stakes winner Gilded.

Wood said: "When you get horses like Sea The Stars and George Washington, they become a bit of a fairytale and especially in his case after his sad demise, which makes this a very specialfilly.

"She's a very nice filly and I wanted to give her a good go. Buying something like her is always in the back of your mind as you go around the sale and although that's obviously a lot of money, I thought she might have made even more - we were shouting for the auctioneer to bring his hammer down!

"She's a one off, there's no other one like her and I wanted to be with her all of the way.

"We'll have a good look at her pedigree and try to come up with a special name for her and, although we decided after Gilded won the Queen Mary Stakes that we'd just race horses and wouldn't breed, at the same time maybe we will now review that again."

Richard Hannonjnr said:"We don't normally look at these type of horses very often - or in fact ever. It's nice for someone who started off with a horse for 2,000gns whose had massive success with not massively expensive horses.

"We've stepped it up with this filly and she is totally unique. I didn't think we would get her - she represents an awful lot of value."

Burke was all smiles after the filly's sale. "The market decided," he said. "We are verypleased with that, especially given the wider economic climate. And of course we are over the moon that she is going to such good connections."




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