A picturesque seaside location that boasts top-quality racing - for plenty of racing aficionados, there are few better places to be in August than Deauville. Add in an elite yearling sale and it becomes an extremely potent mix.
The Arqana August Sale is the first stop on a marathon European sales circuit, making it an important opening barometer for the sales season. As France’s premier yearling sale, it also has the ability to attract major buyers on a global scale and has duly been well represented in recent months on the world stage; for instance, current graduates range from top European 3yos Intellogent and Magic Wand to the high-class American-based runners A Raving Beauty, Mekhtaal and Gidu.
This year’s sale, a 345-strong renewal set for 18 - 20 August, has a tough act to follow after last year, which achieved a record average of €165,587. But, as ever, Arqana have compiled a catalogue with the power to attract the sport’s big hitters.
For, while there are the annual smatterings of yearlings by Galileo, Dubawi, Frankel and Sea The Stars, there is an additional spice through the presence of two fillies from the first crop of Triple Crown hero American Pharoah. They look set to be the only yearlings offered at a select sale this year in Europe by the American icon, whose yearling average is running at $590,250 this year. Also responsible for four seven-figure yearlings, he heads a group of 15 first-crop stallions to come under scrutiny alongside the likes of Golden Horn, Gleneagles and Muhaarar.
It’s a dazzling array of young sire power, many of whom are represented in the powerful drafts belonging to Ecurie des Monceaux and Haras d’Etreham, between them responsible for 58 yearlings.
Monceaux, managed by Henri Bozo, is a stud of immense ambition, one that has reaped the rewards of investment and skill during a relatively short history under its current guise. The Monceaux team sell all their stock annually at Arqana and, in turn, have come to exert a significant influence on the sale’s fortunes as its dominant vendor, a category they have topped every year since 2012. They have sold a seven-figure yearling in every renewal since that time as well, including the winning Parabellum, a Dubawi colt out of Pacifique who set a new sale record of €2.6 million when sold to John Ferguson in 2015. It was that year that Monceaux turned over €12,157,000 in total sales - 28 per cent of the auction’s entire aggregate.
The following year, they topped the sale again, on that occasion with a €1.4 million Galileo half-sister to Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita who turned out to be Ribblesdale Stakes heroine Magic Wand. She was the star turn of a draft that also included Prix Jean Prat winner Intellogent and Poule d’Essai des Pouliches third Wind Chimes.
Both Magic Wand and Parabellum are members of the famous Platonic family that has been cultivated in recent years by Monceaux with Skymarc Farm. The pair paid ‘just’ 100,000gns for Platonic in 2004; since then, the mare and her daughters have provided Monceaux with an incredible €11.89 million worth of Arqana yearlings.
Once again, the Platonic family assumes an important role in Monceaux’s draft, this time via a pair of Muhaarar yearlings; lot 9 is a half-sister to Parabellum out of G3 winner Pacifique, while lot 16 is a half-brother to Chicquita and Magic Wand and out of listed winner Prudenzia.
“I’m a great believer in Muhaarar,” says Bozo. “He has a lot of class, an interesting pedigree and physically I like him a lot. We’ve supported him strongly, using him to bring in a bit of power and kick to some of our mares.”
At 35 entries, the Monceaux draft is similar in size to recent years. It kicks off with lot 1, one of six entries by Galileo and out of G2 winner Naissance Royale. Lot 8 is a Gleneagles half-brother to Intellogent while Medaglia d’Oro is responsible for a colt out of G3 winner Rusty Slipper (25). Charm Spirit, himself a Monceaux-bred, is represented by a half-brother to current G1 Beverly D and Diana Stakes heroine Sistercharlie (43). There are also the half-brothers to recent G2 Vintage Stakes winner Dark Vision (94; by Lope De Vega) and G1 winner National Defense (79; by Siyouni) as well as a Golden Horn colt out of G1 winner Molly Malone (168).
“We’re trying to put value on to our families all the time,” says Bozo. “We want to be a long-term success. We’re investing in new fillies and land. And we’re very fortunate to have good clients, both those who partner and sell with us and those who buy our yearlings.”
He adds: “I think we have a strong draft. We have yearlings by some exciting young sires but also proven horses like Galileo, Frankel, Dansili, Dark Angel and Medaglia d’Oro. I’m excited by that colt.”
Of particular note, however, is Monceaux’s American Pharoah filly out of Marbre Rose (158). The filly, bred by the farm with Andreas Putsch’s Haras de Saint Pair, is the first foal out of her G3-winning dam, by Smart Strike.
“She is exciting,” says Bozo. “We bred her dam, Marbre Rose, but bought her back as a yearling. She became a very good filly - she was a good 2-year-old and then she did well in America. She had a great kick.
“We saw American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup and were impressed with him. Obviously there is his race record, but he’s a horse with a great physique and balance. He’s very agile and light on his feet, and this filly is the same. To me, he looks like he could have run on turf as well.”
Eyes will also be on the other American Pharoah yearling on offer, Haras d’Etreham’s filly from a deep Aga Khan family (34). Bred by David and Diane Nagle’s Barronstown Stud, she is a half-sister to G1 Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille winner Shareta and out of listed winner Shawara, a daughter of Barathea for whom Barronstown paid €550,000 at Goffs in November 2013.
“She came to us in June,” says Nicolas de Chambure of Haras d’Etreham. “She’s similar to what I saw from the American Pharoah foals last year at the sales. She’s a great mover, a really athletic filly with plenty substance and a really good attitude.
“It’s great to have a filly like this by an American champion to sell in Europe.”
Etreham was the sale’s leading vendor in 2011 and hit a high point last year when selling a Frankel filly out of young stakes producer Sefroua, a granddaughter of Serena’s Song, for €650,000 to Charlie Gordon-Watson. Etreham returns this year with another out of the listed winner in lot 31, a colt from the first crop of Golden Horn.
“I saw some Cape Cross in the Golden Horn foals last year,” says de Chambure. “They have that length and scope to them but with the potential to be even better as yearlings.
“Sefroua is a neat, strong, compact mare, as you’d expect from a Kingmambo. Thanks to Golden Horn, this colt has a bit more scope than some of the others out of her.”
Overall, Etreham’s draft is a blueblooded one that also includes a Galileo filly out of Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Margot Did (159). Bred by Katsumi Yoshida, she is the second foal out of her dam, one of Exceed And Excel’s best European runners, following this season’s G2 Prix Sandringham winner Mission Impassible.
“We bought the Galileo filly privately from Mr Yoshida,” says de Chambure. “There is a bit going on in the family as the mare has a Frankel filly and is in foal to Deep Impact.
“And we all know how well Galileo does with faster mares, [Tyros Stakes winner] Anthony Van Dyck being another example - he’s also out of an Exceed And Excel mare.
“This is a nice filly, a little bigger than Mission Impassible but she still looks like she might be pretty early.”
Lot 97, meanwhile, is a half-sister to this season’s Prix de Diane third Homerique, winner of the G3 Prix de Pysche since the publication of the catalogue. The Irish-bred is set to be the first yearling offered anywhere in Europe by Spendthrift Farm’s ascendant Temple City, the sire of G1 winners Annals Of Time and Miss Temple City on turf.
“There’s no reason why Temple City shouldn’t work in Europe,” says de Chambure. “He’s a Dynaformer who’s had some good runners on turf. And this filly is a half-sister to one of the best 3-year-old fillies in France in Homerique, a proper filly who could go now for the Moulin.
“We also have a very nice half-brother to [classic-placed] Heuristique - he is probably the nicest Teofilo we’ve raised here (lot 49). And the Siyouni filly (lot 185) is from a good Wildenstein family. She is out of a winning Distorted Humor mare - there are not too many of those in Europe, but we all know what a good broodmare sire he is.”
Just as importantly for Etreham, the catalogue features 17 yearlings by their own Wootton Bassett.
Winner of the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for Richard Fahey, the son of Iffraaj is the sire of Almanzor and this season’s Prix du Jockey Club runner-up Patascoy despite spending his early seasons battling against small numbers - indeed Almanzor hails from a first crop of 17 foals.
Wootton Bassett’s yearling crop numbers close to 90, making it his biggest yet. However, it is also his last inexpensive group, having been produced off a €6,000 fee prior to his promotion to €20,000.
“Wootton Bassett stamps his stock. They tend to be dark bay with plenty of substance and strength, and with a good enough walk,” says de Chambure. “We have a colt by him (310) out of a Dubawi mare who looks early, and our filly (290) has a lot of quality - she’s very refined but with substance.”
He adds: “It’s been a selective market in the past few years but with plenty of money for the good ones.
“As a breeder, you need to be selective with using the right horses for your mares and then in sending the right horses to the right sales.”
This year’s renewal is unlikely to benefit from the presence of the beleaguered South African owner Markus Jooste, a major buying force in recent years under his Mayfair Speculators banner. However, Arqana and the FRBC have done an excellent job in nurturing international interest in this sale, something that has been borne out by the recent enthusiasm of buyers such as the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Phoenix Thoroughbreds, alongside an array of Japanese investors and American agents, among them Solis/Litt, James Crupi and Justin Casse. Indeed, it was Casse who signed at €410,000 on behalf of Zayat Stables for Gidu, a two-time listed winner for Todd Pletcher earlier in the year.
With the likes of A Raving Beauty and Gidu currently flying the flag, it would be disappointing if we don’t see more of the same this year to complement the traditional strong domestic buying bench.
FIVE OTHERS THAT TAKE THE EYE
24) b c Siyouni - Rumored (Royal Academy)
The increasingly popularity of Siyouni is illustrated by the fact that the young Aga Khan Stud stallion has a strong group of 25 yearlings on offer.
They include this colt, the half-brother to G1 Prix Morny winner Dabirsim, now one of France’s leading young sires. Also a half-brother to a Frankel colt who sold for €550,000 at this sale to Richard Knight last year, he is out of a daughter of Oaks d’Italia heroine Bright Generation and from the further family of Irish Oaks winner Sea Of Class.
Siyouni’s draft, which were bred the year his fee rose to €30,000, also include the half-brothers to fellow G1-winning 2yos Naaqoos (44) and National Defence (79).
Haras de Grandcamp
68) b c Le Havre - Absolute Lady (Galileo)
The brother to La Cressionniere, the Prix de Diane and Poule d’Essai des Pouliches winner.
His placed dam is a sister to listed winner Paris Winds and also responsible for a Le Havre colt, Gratot, who realised €520,000 at this sale in 2016.
Coulonce Sales’ draft also includes the Invincible Spirit half-brother to G1 winner Alterite (76) and a Camelot colt out of Irish Oaks runner-up Venus De Milo (62).
105) b c Lope De Vega - Danaskaya (Danehill)
Five years after selling subsequent champion Belardo for €100,000 to Ted Voute, Ballylinch Stud return to Arqana to offer his brother. Belardo won five races in total, including the G1 Dewhurst and Lockinge Stakes, and is now a popular young stallion for Darley.
A son of the G1-placed Danaskaya, the homebred is also a half-brother to G3 winner Berling and the G2-placed Diamond Sky.
121) b c Galileo - Giofra (Dansili)
A half-brother to last year’s €1.55 million sale-topper, who was bought by Kerri Radcliffe on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, lot 121 is the only colt catalogued by Galileo.
He is the third foal out of G1 Falmouth Stakes winner Giofra, herself bred by Haras de la Perelle out of G3 Prestige Stakes winner Gracefully. The mare’s €1.55 million Dubawi colt is now named Al Battar and in training with Ed Vaughan.
Haras de la Perelle
137) b c Dubawi - Just The Judge (Lawman)
Just The Judge was a brilliant filly for Charlie Hills, winning five races, including the G1 Irish 1,000 Guineas and G1 E P Taylor Stakes. The daughter of Lawman, a member of Ballylinch Stud’s excellent Uncharted Haven family that traces back to Mesopotamia, also ran several excellent races in defeat, notably when second in the 1000 Guineas and third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
As a result, Just The Judge commanded a sale-topping 4,500,000gns from a partnership between Qatar Racing and the China Horse Club when she came under the hammer at the 2014 Tattersalls December Sale. This colt, bred on a variation of the successful Dubawi - Green Desert cross, is her first foal.
La Motteraye Consignment