Alcohol Free Sells for 5,400,000 Guineas on Remarkable Day at Tattersalls December Mares Sale

Lot 1904: Alcohol Free (IRE)
Lot 1904: Alcohol Free (IRE)

ALCOHOL FREE became the second highest price horse ever sold at a European auction when she realised 5,400,000 guineas on the highest grossing day in European auction history. The remarkable day saw eleven lots realise 1,000,000 guineas or more, ten of which were during the second part of the inaugural ‘Sceptre Sessions’, resulting in turnover of 54 million guineas. The previous record of 49,545,000 guineas was set at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale earlier this autumn.  

The second part of the ‘Sceptre Sessions’ saw the 49 sold lots realise a total of 37,637,000 guineas, taking the two-day total for the new December Mares Sale initiative to 45,907,000 guineas at an average of 646,577 guineas.  

Alcohol Free Bound for Australia at 5,400,000 Guineas  

The four-time Group 1 winner ALCHOL FREE was the star attraction on the second day of the Tattersalls December Mares Sale and she entered a sale ring that was standing room only. Australian owner-breeder Michael Sherrin, standing alongside agent Jim Clarke, opened the bidding at 1,000,000 guineas before Blandford Bloodstock’s Richard Brown, BBA Ireland’s Michael Donohoe and Coolmore’s MV Magnier joined the fray. As bidding soared past 4,000,000 guineas it became a direct head-to-head duel between Donohoe and Magnier with Donohoe, sitting alongside Yuesheng Zhang, prevailing with a bid of 5,400,000 guineas. The sale is the second highest price in European auction history.  

BBA Ireland’s Michael Donohoe commented: "She is for partnership to race in Australia. She vetted extremely well and clean for a filly with some miles on the clock. My vet was super happy with her. She is for a partnership who have horses in training and breed as well. There is a lot of money to win in Australia - I think 87 races this year are worth a million plus so we hope to recoup a lot of what we paid for her, and add a bit more too.  

"She is a filly with speed for six furlongs but stayed a mile, so there will be a lot of options for her. Andrew Balding and the team did a great job, she looked very fresh. I went to see her last week at Kingsclere. She will make a lovely broodmare in time, she has the physique and the pedigree. It is a family I know well as I bought the dam for Yulong Investments last year, and she has a lovely Lope de Vega foal at foot and is in-foal to Lucky Vega."  

He added: "She will probably race for a season and then be covered, and we will probably send her to Frankel. So we will decide whether we cover on northern or southern hemisphere time, but obviously Frankel is an exceptional sire and is doing it in both hemispheres."  

Of bidding to over five million guineas, Donohoe laughed and said: "It was pretty cool! But to be honest I was born in an auction ring at Goresbridge and am used to all the theatre. Those blue hen fillies who come off the track, they are collectors' items. They don't come on the market, like a Picasso, and if they do come on the market, you just have to value them and we had a figure in our head. I suppose I was bidding pretty strongly so I guess it indicated there was a bit more petrol in the tank."  

David Bowe, who bought ALCOHOL FREE as a foal, is the stud manager of Jeff Smith’s Littleton Stud and said: "We are delighted, it is the end of a wonderful, wonderful journey we have been on, a wonderful dream. To end up here at Tattersalls, it is magnificent. Ollie Fowlston did a brilliant job from the rostrum and we could not have been better treated, and everyone was here to look at her.  

"She walked in and looked beautiful. If it had been five years earlier with Jeff we might not have brought her to the sale ring, but she will make a beautiful mare in time. We have enough broodmares, she was not bred by us, but it is really to do with the timescale. It is time for someone else.  

"We have had so much luck... everyone involved with her, the team at home on the farm, the Caffneys whom we bought from, all her jockeys. I can't thank everyone enough, and for everyone who put their hands up in the ring - it was lovely. Everyone has had a massive part, I am just the one who happens to be here talking to you.  

"It has been emotional, I can't believe, it just shows that whatever sales ground you are at, we are all trying to do the same thing and it has happened to the likes of us! It is extraordinary. it just goes to show if you keep plugging away it can happen.  

"Jeff was not here tonight, but it is all down to him. He let us buy her, let us all get involved in the whole dream. I am absolutely delighted, it is a beautiful end to our chapter, and we wish the new connections all the luck. We don't buy an awful lot of horses, but we have been lucky with the ones we have, and I hope you are here talking to me again some time!" 

Lot 1878: Saffron Beach (IRE)

Najd Stud Secures Saffron Beach for 3,600,000 Guineas  

The dual Group 1 winner SAFFRON BEACH looked one of the standout lots of the inaugural Sceptre Sessions and so it proved when she was knocked down for 3,600,000 guineas to Najd Stud’s Saad Bin Mishraf, who saw off a determined effort from Northern Farm’s Shunsuke Yoshida after Badgers Bloodstock’s Grant Pritchard-Gordon had made much of the early running.  

Bin Mishraf said: "She is for the Saudi Cup. Inshallah she will go to the Saudi Cup, Inshallah she will win it! She has good breeding from the dam's side to act on the dirt, and we like her physically. We thought she would not make that much. We will see about plans after."  

Trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, the four-year-old filly won the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes and Group 1 Prix Rothchild for owners Lucy Sangster, James Wigan and Ollie Sangster. The daughter of NEW BAY out of the RAVEN’S PASS mare FALLING PETALS was sold in training and was bought by Bin Mishraf on behalf of Prince Faisal.  

"I am thrilled and very excited," said Chapple-Hyam. "It is a big honour, we have got a good winter to look forward. I think going around the ring she was waiting for the saddle, she was giving a few bops with her backend! She is in good order, she is tough, I believe she will get the nine furlongs in Saudi, you never know about the surface but we will give it a go."  

"I think we will have a little rest, and then build her up and get her ready," outlined Chapple-Hyam. "I will have to do a very good racecourse gallop with her. When I sent her to Dubai World Cup meeting I felt that, although we ran fourth and went well, the ones who finished in front and had had a run, I am aware of that."  

Part owner James Wigan commented: "She has been wonderful for us. She looked fantastic tonight, Jane always has her looking fantastic and has done a wonderful job with her. We are very sorry to see her go, we have had a lot of fun." 

Lot 1909: Tranquil Lady (IRE)

Godolphin Strike for Tranquil Lady at 2,700,000 Guineas  

The Tattersalls December Mares Sale is regarded as the world’s most international sale and this was reflected in both the global appeal of TRANQUIL LADY’s pedigree and the array of bidders who attempted to secure the Group 3 winning filly.  

Domestic bloodstock agents Charlie Gordon-Watson and Jill Lamb made the early running and were joined by Australian Michael King and Ireland’s Paul Shanahan, but it was Anthony Stroud who won out with a bid of 2,700,000 guineas of behalf of Godolphin.  

Offered by the Castlebridge Consignment, TRANQUIL LADY is a two-time Group 3 winner, most recently in the Prix de Flore at Saint-Cloud, and is a half-sister to the brilliant globetrotter STATE OF REST, a four-time Group 1 winner in Australia, Britain, France and the USA. They are out of a granddaughter of Champion American three-year-old filly IT’S IN THE AIR.  

"She is a really nice filly and can either go into training or go to see Dubawi," said Stroud. "We will discuss and will come to a plan, and obviously if she goes into training it will be with Charlie Appleby and for Godolphin. We will see where we are at as there is more racing in her and she is only three. Charlie came up and looked at her."  

TRANQUIL LADY was owned by Teme Valley Racing, whose Richard Ryan purchased her as a yearling. He commented: "It was a bittersweet situation really. It’s so hard to acquire something at this level with these credentials - that clean, that sound, and her best year is next year, but we knew there was an incredible desire at this moment and you don’t know how long those windows stay open.  

"We were pretty brave to quite a long way ourselves to make sure she wasn’t going to be undersold, and Joseph had a team very keen to try to retain her but this is a fabulous result. There’s a lot more to come from her." 

Lot 1893: Ville de Grace (GB)

Ville de Grace to Lordship Stud for 2,000,000 Guineas  

ARCHANGEL GABRIEL was the star of the opening day of the Tattersalls December Mares Sale when she topped proceedings at 800,000 guineas and it was her Group winning daughter VILLE DE GRACE who lit up proceedings on Tuesday evening, attracting bids from all corners of the ring. Bloodstock agents Charlie Gordon-Watson and Michel Zerolo, and the Wertheimer Brothers’ Pierre-Yves Bureau all made bold bids to secure the beautiful filly before David Lanigan, standing alongside Joseph O’Brien, and Lordship Stud’s Trevor & Tom Harris both took up the running. Lanigan bid 1,900,000 guineas but was trumped by the Lordship team who secured the daughter of LE HAVRE for 2,000,000 guineas.  

Following the purchase Tom Harris commented: "We loved her, she was our pick of the sale. Beautiful, athletic, a very good race filly and she is an outcross so she can be mated to all of the top stallions. It is very difficult to buy in this market, as owner-breeders we are trying to invest in new blood for the farm and for something like her to come and breed for us is a long-term plan and an investment in the future. We are over the moon.  

"It was a little bit more than we were initially going to pay, but it is so competitive and you go so far selecting the ones you like... it was a bit more, probably a lot more!"  

He continued: "She is a very easy mare to look at! We saw her maybe three or four times. She is beautiful and if the foals are as good looking and as athletic, then we will be happy. It was nice to see the Mum sell yesterday and she is producing very nice foals, and she will help us too."  

VILLE DE GRACE was consigned by Norris Bloodstock and Jenny Norris said: "It has been amazing. We had so many views, all the right people are here, Tattersalls has done an amazing job at getting everyone here. All credit to Hunscote Stud, they bred her and raced her and had the courage of their convictions, and she has rewarded their efforts."  

Andy Lloyd of Hunscote Stud who bred and owned VILLE DE GRACE with Chris Humber, continued: "Our plan was to buy Mum, and we bought Mum. We knew there was phenomenal interest in the daughter from all over the world. I never dreamt that in my wildest dreams, but hey it is the marketplace at the moment. We had Japanese vetting, Americans, French, English...  

"I am thrilled, and we can keep in touch and go and see her and give her a pat. I am sure Trevor will have big mating plans, which will only help our family. It is a great result for Chris Humber, for us at Hunscote and everybody." 

Lot 1891: Desert Berry (GB)

Magnier Buys Dam of Derby Winner for 1,900,000 Guineas  

MV Magnier secured DESERT BERRY, the dam of this year’s Derby winner DESERT CROWN, for 1,900,000 guineas despite a determined effort from Petches Farms’ Simon Venner. The thirteen-year-old GREEN DESERT mare was offered carrying a full-sibling to the Derby winner and was consigned by her owner Gary Robinson’s Strawberry Fields Stud.  

A delighted Magnier commented: "At the end of the day she has bred a Derby winner and from our point of view the Derby is everything, the most important stallion making race, the Holy Grail of racing. She has bred a Derby winner, is carrying a full-sibling to a Derby winner and is a very good mare. We have no plans as yet, but there are a lot of stallions that we could pick, any of the sons of Galileo, there are plenty of options. I heard that Desert Crown is in good form and is going to run next year."  

Strawberry Fields Stud’s Gary Robinson said: "Merry Christmas! We are going to have a good party in a minute, job done! Definitely it is a problem losing one like that, but we have all the family behind - it’s like losing a beautiful woman, they leave you but she has left me with her children!  

"Everyone has done well from her. She has done well for us, and the new owner can go on and create those family lines. She is a good mare and she will have a great home and great life, she has gone to a proper home. They will look after her."  

He laughed: "I did tell everyone that I would breed the Derby winner, and they didn’t listen! I told John Oxx, and he sent me a message saying that I had said so!"  

The Tattersalls December Mares Sale continues at 9.30am on Wednesday, 30th November.