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Tatts Foals ends with 39 per cent rise in turnover

Tattersalls Foal Sale comparative figures (gns)

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  950  793  618  78  20,218,700  32,716  16,000
 2008  1261  933  532  60  14,549,100  25,888  10,500

Day 4 Tattersalls Foal Sale comparative figures (gns)

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  188  146  124  85  4,402,900  35,507  18,000
 2008  214  148  98  66  3,732,600  38,088  16,000

AFTER another week wracked by global economic concerns - not least because of events in Dubai - a series of plucky pinhookers and long-term racing buyers helped an amazingly strong Tattersalls' December Foal Sale finish yesterday afternoon with big advances on 2008.

Admittedly the sale was bouncing back from a depleted renewal 12 months ago but the 20.2 million gns turnover for a reduced catalogue was up 39 per cent on last year, the 32,716gns average rose by 26 per cent while the 16,000gns median rocketed by 52 per cent. The clearance rate was 78 per cent, compared to 60 per cent last year.

Dubai's problems have had no impact on Maktoum spending this week and Sheikh Hamdan bought yesterday's top lot via his racing manager Angus Gold. The day's standout was a 250,000gns Invincible Spirit colt, whose yearling half-sister had been bought for 200,000 euros by John Ferguson at Deauville in August.

Gold saw off first James Wigan and finally Timmy Hyde, standing in the sale ring entrance with Paul Shanahan and MV Magnier, to get the March-born colt, who was bred by Bernie Cooke and consigned from his Bryanstown House Stud.

"He was a cracking colt and of what I've seen he was the standout of the day," said Gold, whose purchase will head to Derrinstown Stud in Ireland to mature before going into training.


"The sire has done great and I think the mare is going to turn out to be decent, because her Oasis Dream yearling was for me the standout filly at Deauville this year. The colt had a lovely pedigree and seemed to have a great attitude."

Gold was one of those astounded by the market's resilience and felt that there were more foal buyers at Park Paddocks than he could ever remember.

"This is just the most extraordinary business," he added. "I don't think I've ever seen more people at this sale - certainly not so many different groups of buyers - from the very start of the first day onwards.

"The pinhooking bit of the market actually seems stronger here than in America at the moment in terms of the number of different investors.

"They are the bravest guys and it's great to see. It gives everyone a bit of hope going forward when they are planningthree years ahead with matings for next year. It gives people confidence when they see these foals selling so well and thank goodness for these pinhookers because the whole business needs every level to be strong to keep the wheel turning - especially when the rest of the world is in turmoil financially."

Cathy Grassick, who now runs the agency begun by her late father Brian, was among those shopping for resale prospects. Acting for Clodagh McStay's Oaklawn Stud, she paid 130,000gns for a Cape Cross half-brother to this season's Lowther Stakes third Dubawi Heights.

"We've been trying to buy all week and this was just a very good individual. He'll be reoffered next year. He's got the pedigree and his sire has a consistently strong yearling average," said Grassick after outbidding Gill Richardson.

Grassick was later underbidder on a first-crop Authorized filly whose half-sister Oh Goodness Me finished third in this season's Irish 1,000 Guineas. Patrick Cooper of BBA Ireland put in the successful 170,000gns offer for the filly, who was offered from breeder Sir Eric Parker's Crimbourne Stud.

"We tried very hard to find a nice filly in Book 1 so I'm pleased to have got this one eventually," said Cooper. "She won't be coming back as a yearling but has been bought for a client to join Ralph Beckett when the time comes."

The filly's dam Coyote has been withdrawn from next week's breeding stock sale and will be among Sea The Stars' first book of mares.

Another popular member of the Crimbourne draft was a first-crop Teofilo colt out of Jessica's Dream, whose Galileo yearling half-brother headed to Ballydoyle after making €350,000 at Deauville in August. Timmy Hyde snapped up the April-born foal for 140,000gns.

Coolmore's Newmarket representative Kevin Buckley signed the ticket on behalf of Barry Hurley of Seasons Holidays for a 125,000gns first-crop Dylan Thomas colt consigned from Castletown Stud and out of French Group 3 winner Mother Of Pearl. The colt will be kept to race by Hurley.

Felipe Hinojosa, owner of the Yeguada de Milagrofarm in Spain, offered a Danehill Dancer colt out of Cherry Hinton Stakes winner Spinola from his Chevington and Loughtown Studs and the bay - bred in partnership with Balmerino Bloodstock - will make another sale ring appearance next autumn. Hinojosa signed for the colt after outbidding Peter Doyle at 220,000gns.

"I was just on the limit between being a buyer and seller and he'll be staying here in England and I will try and sell him again next year," said Hinojosa.

Tattersalls' December breeding stock sale begins on Monday at 10am and sales company chairman Edmond Mahony was last night pleasantly surprised by the strength of trade for foals.

"After the successful October Yearling Sales we approached this week's December Foal Sale with a sense of guarded optimism but I think it would be fair to say that the strength of the trade over the last four days has exceeded our expectations," commented Mahony.

"This year's foal catalogue was 25 per cent smaller than its 2008 predecessor but it has generated a 39 per cent increase in turnover, and an average up 26 per cent to a figure only bettered twice in 2006 and 2007. Equally encouraging has been the clearance rate of nearly 80 per cent which demonstrates the enduring demand for quality that has been the key to a 2009 Tattersalls sales season which has consistently outperformed expectation.

"These are still challenging times and itwould be wrong to pretend otherwise, but this week's returns can only help to bring back a measure of confidence to an industry which, like so many others, took a battering last year.

"We have a good, solid breeding stock catalogue to look forward to next week and the usual cosmopolitan crowd should ensure trade to match the vibrant sale we have enjoyed this week."

What they said:

"It's very difficult to buy, which is surprising given what the real world is like outside these gates. I've had to look at foals this week behind five or six other people but if I were selling a yearling, I'd probably have to lassoo buyers over to the box, even if it was Nijinsky." Cormac McCormack, agent.

"It's an unbelievable trade as it's just got stronger and stronger after the first day. I bought ten at Goffs and I'm glad I did because now they look good value." David Powell, Catridge Farm Stud.

"The market has been exceptionally strong - I certainly didn't expect it to be like this. I thought it would be more selective but it's been strong right the way through. The atmosphere is good and there seem to be a few new people buying." Michael O'Downey, pinhooker.

Tattersalls December Foal Sale top lots

 Breeding  Buyer  Price
 c Galileo - Ask For The Moon  Demi O'Byrne  400,000
 f Medicean - Alakananda  Course Investment Corp.  320,000
 f High Chaparral - Diary  Hugo Lascelles B/S  300,000
 c Invincible Spirit - Sabria  John Ferguson B/S  260,000
 c Invincible Spirit - Liscune  Shadwell Estate Co., Ltd  250,000



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