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Palace Episode wins Racing Post Trophy Doncaster

Palace Episode: Runnymede offer his half-brother by Pivotal at Keeneland

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

adds international flavour to Keeneland

ALTHOUGH Catesby Clay's Runnymede Farm will send through only two yearlings in Book 1 this year, no other vendor can match the international flavour of his draft which comprises an Irish-bred son of Pivotal and a Japanese-bred son of Medaglia d'Oro.

Both colts were bred by the Kentucky-based Runnymede, which has never shied from experimenting with international bloodlines; last year at this sale, they sold a Dubawi filly for $300,000 to Mark Johnston and two years ago a son of Galileo for $600,000.

"We've always kept a couple of mares in Europe between Watership Down and Kiltinan in Ireland," says Martin O'Dowd, general manager of Runnymede.

"We've brought back yearlings by European sires for several years now - in 2004, we sold a Galileo colt for $1.9m and a few years back, we had one from the Irish crop of Giant's Causeway.

"They've always gone down well and it's something we like to do. Next year, we'll hopefully have an Oasis Dream and a Danehill Dancer to sell."

Runnymede offered a Danehill Dancer colt at this sale last year, but were forced to take him home when bidding stalled at $475,000. Now named Dancing David, he was recently a closing second on his debut in a conditions race at Salisbury for trainer Brian Meehan, who also handles Saturday's Goodwoodmaiden winner Manhattan Fox for the farm.

The Pivotal colt is a half-brother to Racing Post Trophy winner Palace Episode (402), whom Runnymede sold at this sale in 2004 for $100,000 to Peter Doyle.

"We knew there would be a lot of Pivotal yearlings selling in Europe, so we brought this colt back thinking he might stand out a bit more," says O'Dowd. "He's very light on his feet and has it all together."

The Medaglia d'Oro colt(258) is the first foal out of the unraced Tres Tres Jolie, a daughter of Gone West from the family of Roman Ruler who was sent to Japan carrying this colt in 2007.

"We've kept a few mares in Japan for a while now and we like to sell the progeny at the JRHA Select Sale," says O'Dowd. "We took this foal to the sale but we couldn't sell him - they don't seem to want to know US stallions in Japan now. So we brought him back here, which as it turned out to be the best thingto do as Medaglia has done nothing but take off."

Later in the sale, the farm will be represented by a further 27 yearlings including those by Tiger Hill, Arch and Bluegrass Cat, the latter of which was also bred in Ireland.

Runnymede, which has bred and sold Group/Grade 1 winners such as Agnes Tachyon, Maryleborne and Divine Park, has ridden the lows as well as the highs of this industry but that doesn't make O'Dowd any less apprehensive over what the next two weeks holds for vendors.

He says: "I'm concerned. I think vendors have got to be honest with themselves. It's going to be difficult for everybody and we can't expect levels to be the same."




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