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Low key start to European sales year

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2010  185  147  70  48  308,500  4,407  2,000
 2009  149  111  71  64  320,200  4,510  1,900

EUROPE'S 2010 sales season kicked off in Doncaster yesterday with a mixed opening January Sale session at which Internationaldebut, part of a dispersal by owner Willie McKay provided a modest highlight when making £25,000.

The five-year-old, a €225,000 yearling who was owned by McKay in partnership with footballer Joey Barton, scored six times at distances between five and nine furlongs and will remain in Yorkshire after being bought by trainer Paul Midgley and owner Andy Taylor.

Midgley also paid £15,000 for the seven-time winning sprinter Haajes, who was another offered in McKay's dispersal.

"Internationaldebut's form is in the book and hopefully we got him for the right money," said Midgley. "Everyone I've spoken to had good things to say about him. You'd say six or seven furlongs would be his best trip looking at his form but he could be one of those good horses that has the ability to win over a variety of distances.

"Haajes looks a good fun horse and these sprinters all tend to take their turn to win. We've got 60 horses this season and it's great to get one or two nicer ones that can take us to some decent places."

Seven-time winner Hollow Green could have made her final start for David Evans after making £18,000. Richard Auld, who trades as the Northern Bloodstock Agency, bought out Evans, who raced the four-year-old in partnership.

"We bred her and her dam is getting old now so there's a chance we might breed from her," said Auld, whose family own The Beeches Stud near Down Royal in Northern Ireland. "She'll go back to David for the time being and he's the best trainer in the country. She improved 35lb from two to three and won six races for us last year. Obviously there might be more to come this year but I think we might bring her back to the farm."

Four-year-old Signore Momento, a Fairyhouse handicap winner for David Myerscough in July, was another standout among an unspectacular group of horses in training. He will join Newmarket handler Amy Weaver after making £16,000.

A total of 10 of the 19 National Hunt-bred youngsters offered who turned two this month changed hands headed by a filly out of a half-sister to Kauto Star.

A daughter of Priolo, she has already been given the interesting name of Kauto Shiny (her three-year-old brother is called Kauto Sweety) and - having been offered by the Haras des Loges yesterday - is setto return to France to go into training.
Stephen Kemble, who with his wife Louise runs The Elms Stud in Northamptonshire, paid £18,000 for the filly, is set to race in partnership with Patrick Atkinson.

The Kembles and Atkinson also own Kauto Stone, a half-brother to Kauto Star, who has amassed around £167,000 in prize money with Jehan Bertran de Belanda in France.

"We've had a bit of luck with the family and this filly will alsogo to Belanda. She is two now so can run next year and we'll see what happens with her in France before deciding whether we breed from her," said Kemble. "We bought Kauto Stone privately before Kauto Star had won his first King George and he's getting ready to run when the season gets underway out there in March."

No Green Shoots
Britain may have officially come out of recession yesterday but we will have to wait a bit longer to see if the bloodstock business is on the up. Yesterday's moderate catalogue was never going to set the world alight and it saw 44 of the 147 lots offered fail to realise the minimum £800 selling price.

Quote of the day
"Where's everybody gone?" - one DBS auctioneer last night facing a near-deserted ring. The sales complex had been packed earlier in the day for the stallion parade and foal show but was rather less crowded when selling finished just before 7pm.




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