The worth of the Ballymacoll Stud dispersal was summed up best by Fiona Craig when the farm’s yearlings went under the hammer during Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale. Craig had just gone to 1.7 million guineas for their Kingman filly out of Justlookdontouch on behalf of Moyglare Stud and was swift to emphasise the youngster’s importance to Moyglare’s future health. “This was a priceless chance - one of those opportunities that do not come around again,” she said shortly after signing the docket.
The dispersal of horses belonging to Ballymacoll, responsible in the past 60 years for such greats as Troy, Sun Princess, Pilsudski and Islington, represents the opportunity to tap into bloodlines that have been nurtured for decades by some of the best stockmen in the business.
Each of the 22 mares and fillies on offer descend from either Coventry Belle or Jamaica, two foundation mares introduced to the stud by Dorothy Paget between 1931 and 1938. And, when Ballymacoll changed hands to Sir Michael Sobell and son-in-law Lord Weinstock in 1960, those lines continued to flourish under the eye of Charlie Rogers and then Peter Reynolds, the farm’s long serving stud manager until the present day.
The Ballymacoll dispersal follows on the heels of those hailing from the Wildenstein Stable, Paulyn Ltd, Bloomsbury Stud and Swettenham Stud, each of whom have taken place in the past ten years.
Several provided a slice of auction history; it was at Paul Makin’s Paulyn dispersal at Goffs in 2013 that Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita sold to Coolmore via Peter and Ross Doyle for €6 million - an Irish record for a horse at auction - while the Swettenham Stud dispersal was led by Playful Act, who sold for a then world record of $10.5 million at Keeneland to John Ferguson.
Tattersalls, for their part, have played host to the Bloomsbury, Swettenham and Prince Fahd Salman’s Newgate Stud Farm dispersals in recent years while, back in 1986, it was the scene of the Jim Joel dispersal, where a total of 3,937,200gns was spent on 20 horses.
International money was a vibrant force behind trade that day, with Joel’s 1981 1,000 Guineas winner Fairy Footsteps selling for 720,000gns to join Heronwood Farm in America; 31 years on and it is no different, with an array of international investors expected to descend upon Tattersalls when the final round of the Ballymacoll draft gets underway.
It opened back in July with the sale of dual G3 winner Arab Spring for 100,000gns to Rashed Bouresly. Another eight yearlings were sold during the October Sale, led by the aforementioned Kingman filly out of Justlookdontouch, a half-sister to listed winner Abingdon, who ended Book 1 as the sale’s third most expensive filly.
Rabbah Bloodstock, meanwhile, signed at 550,000gns for the Sea The Stars daughter of champion Islington. In all, eight yearlings changed hands for a total of 2,744,000gns.
The Ballymacoll horses were also to the fore at the recent Autumn Horses in Training Sale, where the progressive 3-year-old Pivoine, a dual winner this year for Sir Michael Stoute bred by Ballymacoll out of Fleur De Cactus, realised 340,000gns to SackvilleDonald on behalf of Australian interests.
Now there are 36 horses left to sell. The majority will take their place during the upcoming Tattersalls December Sale (December 4-7), starting with a Sea The Stars yearling colt out of Centred (Lot 132) who missed his engagement in October. He is followed by nine foals, to be sold through Norelands Stud, and then 22 fillies and mares, a group which will be offered through The Castlebridge Consignment and is set to include the mighty Islington herself.
Below is an outline of those likely to light up the ring.
The Coventry Belle clan
Mares and fillies descending from Coventry Belle, a daughter of Hyperion purchased by Dorothy Paget in 1938, account for 17 of the 22-strong draft of fillies and mares. They include:
b m Sadler’s Wells - Hellenic (Darshaan)
Islington was bred to be good as a Sadler’s Wells daughter of Yorkshire Oaks heroine Hellenic. However, so great was her talent that she actually came to be regarded as one of the crowning achievements of Ballymacoll during its illustrious history.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, she was the champion 3yo filly of England in 2002 by virtue of wins in the Yorkshire Oaks, Nassau Stakes and Musidora Stakes and repeated as champion again in 2003, this time as leading older mare of Europe thanks to victories in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and a second renewal of the Yorkshire Oaks.
At stud, Islington owns the rare distinction of having bred 11 consecutive fillies. Several, including $2.4 million foal purchase Isla Canela, are winners, while her current 2yo Floria Tosca is said to be well regarded by Sir Michael Stoute. Floria Tosca, by Shamardal, will be offered as Lot 1873 alongside Islington’s winning Oasis Dream daughters Angel Vision (Lot 1820; in foal to Invincible Spirit) and Canonbury (Lot 1819; in foal to Dark Angel).
Islington’s latest foal, a filly by Oasis Dream, is catalogued too, as Lot 1027.
In foal to Kingman.
1825) JUSTLOOKDONTOUCHch m Galileo - Hellenic (Darshaan)
1876) ABINGDON b f Street Cry - Justlookdontouch (Galileo)
Islington’s three-parts sister, Justlookdontouch, never made it to the track but she has swiftly redeemed herself at stud as the dam of the high-class Abingdon - the last horse to carry the Ballymacoll colours at G1 level - as well as that Kingman filly who made 1.7 million gns to Moyglare Stud in October.
Abingdon, whose 2017 campaign included a ten-length victory in this year’s Pontefract Castle Stakes and runner-up effort in the G2 Lancashire Oaks, is the first foal out of Justlookdontouch and followed by the winning Hard Spun filly Superioritycomplex. Real promise has also been shown by the mare’s 2yo Aim Of Artemis, a filly from the first British-bred crop of Leroidesanimaux, who earned good reviews when breaking her maiden second time out for Sir Michael Stoute at Leicester.
Abingdon is also a likely candidate to break the million-guinea barrier when she comes under the hammer, especially as she has the added attraction of being a daughter of emerging broodmare sire Street Cry. She will be preceded into the ring by Superioritycomplex (1874) and Aim Of Artemis (Lot 1875) while Justlookdontouch’s Kingman colt foal is catalogued as Lot 1026. The mare herself is barren to Sea The Stars.
b m Fastnet Rock - Olympienne (Sadler’s Wells)
Islington’s family is also on show via the winning Moruadh, sold carrying a foal from the first crop of The Gurkha, and her first foal, a filly by Kodiac (1024).
Moruadh is out of Islington’s sister Olympienne and therefore a half-sister to Sagaro Stakes winner Patkai, who also ran second in the Ascot Gold Cup, September Stakes winner Modun and the G2-placed Saptapadi.
In foal to The Gurkha.
b m Sea The Stars - Highland Gift (Generous)
This young stakes-placed mare hails from a family that has featured prominently on a regular basis in the top tier of the December Sale market.
In 2013, for instance, James Delahooke went to 550,000gns for her half-sister Auld Alliance on behalf of celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Then a year later, Hugo Lascelles went to 1.1 million gns on behalf of Claiborne Farm for her winning half-sister Long View.
The reasoning behind such investments is simple: they are the half-sisters to two of the best colts seen in recent years in Golan, who won the 2,000 Guineas on only his second start and followed up in the King George at four, and Dante Stakes winner Tartan Bearer. Both colts also ran second in the Epsom Derby.
The listed-placed Yarrow is one of six stakes performers out of Highland Gift, a half-sister to the classic-placed Bonny Scot from the family of Derby hero North Light. Others include the G3-placed Gift Range, a sister to Golan and Tartan Bearer who will be offered as Lot 1813, and the listed-placed Leocorno, a daughter of Pivotal who is Lot 1814.
Yarrow is in foal to Kodiac.
1871) ARIZONA SUN
b f Redoute’s Choice - Desert Bloom (Pilsudski)
This 3-year-old filly surely has immense international appeal as the Redoute’s Choice half-sister to Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente, the champion Australian stayer of 2013/14. Also winner of the G1 Australian Cup and a trio of G2 events, the son of Monsun now stands at Sun Stud in Australia and his first crop will hit the track shortly.
Not only that, Arizona Sun is also a half-sister to Roshanak, the dam of current Australian G1 performer Tom Melbourne, who was beaten only a head by Shillelagh in the G1 Kennedy Mile at Flemington earlier this month, current French listed winner Araaja and exciting 2yo Radio Source.
The Jamaica clan
The remaining lots on offer descend via Sunny Valley from the Phalaris mare Jamaica, purchased as a yearling in 1931 on behalf of Paget by trainer Basil Briscoe.
1823) ELEANORA DUSE b m Azamour - Drama Class (Caerleon)
SCOTTISH STAGEch m Selkirk - Drama Class (Caerleon)
It took a performance of the highest order for Eleanora Duse to defeat the likes of Lush Lashes when successful in the 2010 Blandford Stakes for Sir Michael Stoute. It was the highlight of a career that also saw the daughter of Azamour run out a fitting winner of the Ballymacoll Stud Stakes and run third to Midday and Snow Fairy in the Yorkshire Oaks.
Now in foal to Frankel, Eleanora Duse is set to take her turn in the behind her equally talented Selkirk half-sister Scottish Stage (Lot 1815), the Irish Oaks and Ribblesdale Stakes runner-up who is carrying a foal from the first crop of Fascinating Rock. Another half-sister, the Dalakhani mare Centred, will be sold as Lot 1817 in foal to Dark Angel, while the 3yo Counterweight, by Azamour, is Lot 1872.
In Eleanora Duse and her immediate relations, buyers have the opportunity to tap into the Ballymacoll dynasty of Sunny Valley via her outstanding daughter Sun Princess, the runaway Oaks heroine of 1983 who later bred the brilliant but ill-fated 2yo Prince Of Dance.
Also catalogued is Eleanora Duse’s 2-year-old Capesthorne (Lot 1869), by Oasis Dream, and her filly foal by Gleneagles (Lot 985).
In foal to Frankel
1824) LIBER NAUTICUSb m Azamour - Serres (Daylami)
1821) THETISb m Invincible Spirit - Serres (Daylami)
So impressive was Liber Nauticus’ victory in the 2013 Musidora Stakes that the mare was sent off at just for 4/1 that year’s Oaks. She ran creditably behind Talent that day but unfortunately suffered a career-ending injury not long after.
Liber Nauticus is one of four stakes performers from just five foals out of Serres, who clicked again with Azamour to produce this season’s Musidora Stakes third Serenada. Further back, this a family of true Ballymacoll greats in that Serres is a three-parts sister to their King George and dual Breeders’ Cup Turf hero Conduit and a granddaughter of the G1-placed River Dancer, the dam of Spectrum.
Liber Nauticus has three foals on the ground, including a colt from the first crop of Golden Horn that is catalogued as Lot 1023.
She will also be sold alongside her half-sister Thetis (Lot 1821), a daughter of Invincible Spirit who showed high-class form and a degree of precocity when second in the 2015 Rockfel Stakes. She is in foal to Lope De Vega.
Liber Nauticus is in foal to Harzand.