Record Turnover at Tattersalls December Foal Sale

Lot 1407: Dark Angel (IRE) / Welsh Angel (GB)
Lot 1407: Dark Angel (IRE) / Welsh Angel (GB)

A colt by DARK ANGEL from Usk Valley Stud topped the final session of the Tattersalls December Foal Sale at 170,000 guineas as strong demand for quality foals continued as turnover for the sale broke into unchartered territory. Four lots topped 100,000 guineas on the final day, taking the number of six-figure foals across the week to 77, a record for the Foal Sale. The final day’s trade saw a total of 132 lots sell for 3,653,900 guineas, at an average of 27,681 guineas and a median of 19,500 guineas. This took the five-day total to 803 lots sold for 33,565,600 guineas, at an average of 41,800 guineas and a median of 20,000 guineas. The turnover was a record for the third consecutive year and up 5% on last year’s sales total. 

Catalogued as lot 1407, the colt by DARK ANGEL out of the DUBAI DESTINATION mare WELSH ANGEL was knocked down to Yeomanstown’s Robert O’Callaghan, stood alongside his brothers and father Gay, for 170,000 guineas.

"He's a big slashing colt, like his Daddy," said O'Callaghan.

Bred by Kevin and Sue Mercer’s Usk Valley Stud, the colt is by a stallion who has enjoyed a great year on the racecourse courtesy of the Group 1 winner MECCA’S ANGEL and the Group 2 two-year-old winners BIRCHWOOD and GUTAIFAN. Similarly the colt’s damsire DUBAI DESTINATION has enjoyed a remarkable year, being the broodmare sire of Derby and Arc winner GOLDEN HORN and King George winner POSTPONED.

The colt is out of a half-sister to the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes third NANTYGLO, who was bred by the Mercers, and from the family of Classic performers MOONSTONE, L’ANCRESSE, HONOLULU, MEMPHIS TENNESSEE and ORCHESTRA.

"He is the best foal of the day and by the best sire!" laughed O'Callaghan whose family stands the sire. "Dark Angel has had another great year with 14 stakes winners and 26 stakes performers - we are very lucky to have him. He was my choice - with a bit of luck, he'll be back here next October."

Tattersalls December Foal Sale Day 5 Comparative Figures:
Year CataloguedOfferedSoldAggregateAverageMedian
2015 224 184 132 3,653,900 27,681 19,500
2014 221 189 144 4,663,600 32,386 21,000
Tattersalls December Foal Sale  Comparative Figures:
Year CataloguedOfferedSoldAggregateAverageMedian
2015 1,277 1,089 803 33,565,600 41,800 20,000
2014 1,116 966 779 32,110,900 41,221 25,000

Earlier in the day Bryanstown Stud’s Bernard Cooke was all smiles after his DAWN APPROACH colt out of his homebred mare LISCUNE sold to Camas Park Stud for 150,000 guineas.

"She has been a wonderful mare," he said. "She has earned me over 2 million guineas through her foal sales. She has visited Invincible Spirit a lot so I decided to mix it up a bit with the Dawn Approach covering. She is barren now, but will be going back to Invincible Spirit next spring. I have five mares, I come here to sell all of their foals."

LISCUNE is dam of the Group 2 Dante Stakes runner-up EKTIHAAM and is from the family of the champion three-year-old filly AWAASIF, dam of SNOW BRIDE and grand-dam of LAMMTARRA.

The ill-fated AZAMOUR has enjoyed a great year on the racecourse with his daughter COVERT LOVE successful in the Group 1 Irish Oaks and Group 1 Prix de l’Opera and there was plenty of competition to secure his filly out of the Listed winning DALAKHANI mare SHE IS GREAT. She was knocked down to Emerald Bloodstock’s Peter Kelly stood alongside Pat Downes, manager of the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud.

"You'd have to go a long way back into the history books to find the last time we bought a foal," said Downes. "She is a lovely filly and obviously they're not making Azamours anymore - we only have a couple from his last crop.”

The filly was consigned by Simon Sweeting’s Overbury Stud on behalf of the Italian breeders Riccardo Cantoni and Giovanni Benvenuto who own her dam SHE IS GREAT in partnership.

"I am very keen on pedigrees, I don't know so much about the physical horse side of things, we use Simon [Sweeting] for that!" smiled Cantoni. "I like to breed horses to race rather than as sales horse, unfortunately I can't keep them all.

"I liked Azamour - sadly he died the day after covering this mare!" added Cantoni who is based in Milan.

At the conclusion of the 2015 Tattersalls December Foal Sale, Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony commented;

“The highest priced foal to be sold in Europe this year, three filly foals, all by the outstanding DUBAWI, making more than 600,000 guineas, and record turnover for the Tattersalls December Foal Sale for the third consecutive year are tributes to a December Foal catalogue which, as ever, has featured so many of the best foals to be found in Britain and Ireland. 

“The 800,000 guineas European top price for West Blagdon Stud’s  DUBAWI filly out HIGH HEELED is the highest priced filly to sell at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale since 2002, and the fourth highest ever in Europe. In addition, nearly 80 foals have sold for 100,000 guineas or more this week, which is another record for the sale and a real indication of the intense competition for the best foals throughout the week. 

"The Tattersalls December Foal Sale is primarily the domain of British and Irish pinhookers and they have worked tirelessly all week, joined, in increasing numbers, by international owners looking for quality foals to race. Buyers from America, China, Hong Kong, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have all purchased foals for 200,000 guineas or more and made a huge contribution to the 2015 December Foal Sale.

“While there have been many positives to take from this week’s sale, it would be wrong to overlook the impact of a significantly larger catalogue than last year. Only twice have we offered more foals at the December Foal Sale, and the larger numbers have resulted in a more selective market and a lower clearance rate than in recent years, very much mirroring the dynamics at play in the yearling market.

“Nevertheless, the demand for quality foals has yet again demonstrated the enduring demand for quality British and Irish bloodstock as we turn our attention to the eagerly awaited Tattersalls December Mares Sale which begins on Monday. We have an outstanding catalogue with some rare gems on offer, and look forward to welcoming a truly cosmopolitan cast of buyers."

The Tattersalls December Mare Sale starts on Monday, November 30 at 9.30am.