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Demand was solid throughout the first session of the three-day Autumn Sale, comprising horses in training and stores, with some fierce bidding battles taking place around the best performers, whether on the flat or over jumps. On the back of a record-breaking renewal, figures still managed to show significant gains. 83.8% of the 216 horses on offer sold, up 3 points from 2015, and they grossed €5,327,500, a 7% increase and new landmark for the session. The average price was marginally down at €29,434 (-1%) and the median progressed steadily from €13,500 to €14,000.

Four horses broke the €200,000 mark and a total of 12 sold for six figures, including 4 representatives of the ever more popular AQPS stud-book.

McManus team on top for second year running

JP McManus paid his first visit to Deauville and the buying team led by Hubert Barbe’s Horse Racing Advisory proved as busy as ever, topping the buyers’ standings for the second year running with 5 horses purchased for a total €788,000. They included the two highest-priced horses in training on the day, who both joined the catalogue as Wild Card entries.

DOSTAL PHIL (lot 185), an AQPS three-year-old who went through the ring as the winner of his only start, commanded a closing bid of €295,000. The son of Coastal Path saluted over 2500m at Deauville in October for trainer Yannick Fouin. On that occasion, he was holding off Louis Baudron’s DEMON D’AUNOU, who was also snapped up by McManus for £130,000 at Cheltenham last Friday via Frank Berry. Dostal Phil is from the same family as Gr.2 Golden Cynet Novice Hurdle scorer A TOI PHIL. “He won his bumper well and is a very nice, sound individual from a lovely family,” commented advisor Charlie Swan. “Mr. McManus was impressed by his race at Deauville and obviously he also has the runner-up now so we hope the form holds!

The final Wild Card to go through the ring, CHARLI PARCS (lot 230) was an impressive winner over hurdles at Enghien November 2nd, and his performance didn’t go unnoticed as Joffrey Huet and Hubert Barbe went head to head for the charge of Arnaud Chaillé-Chaillé. Team McManus ultimately prevailed with a bid of €250,000. “We were very impressed with him, the way he did it,” said Charlie Swan. “We thought we would have to pay that sort of money for him as these horses don’t come along so often.”

The same connections acquired the most expensive store of the day, who happened to be the first store offered under the Haras de Cercy banner. The two-year-old colt bred by Stephane Milaveau and by the farm’s much-missed Saddler Maker (lot 182) was knocked down to Hubert Barbe for €130,000.

Progressive CARZOFF bound for Australia at €225,000

Placed at Listed level over 2000m and 5th over the Classic trip in the Arc trial Gr.2 Prix Niel, CARZOFF (lot 143) boasted a rating of 94 and the ideal profile for Australian racing. Indeed, bidding for the Alain Couétil trainee resulted in a spirited battle between Sydney-based agent Avo Darmidjian and Guy Mulcaster, who acted on behalf of Chris Waller and was bidding over the phone to Arqana principal Eric Hoyeau. It was the latter who prevailed at €225,000 for the son of Zoffany, who despite his paternal origin hails from a staying family which includes the likes of Pentire, Konigstiger and Gr.1-winning chaser Tarxien.

Kirk sweet on dual purpose prospects

Harold Kirk bidding in tandem with Pierre Boulard filled the runner-up spot on the buyers’ rankings with five horses bought for €595,000 in total. Top of his shopping list was CHELKAR (lot 157), a gelded son of Azamour from the family of triple Gr.1 winning stayer CHERRY MIX and offered by the Aga Khan Studs. “He will make a nice dual purpose horse,” commented Boulard. “He is a big, fine, scopey horse who could be a top class stayer as well as a jumper. He could be a Melbourne Cup horse on day.”

A winner over 2700m on debut and placed at Lyon the week before the sale from only two starts, Wild Card entry ANTEY (lot 160b) was another who ticked the criteria of Harold Kirk and Pierre Boulard and will be on the ferry to Willie Mullins’s Closutton yard after commanding €130,000. The son of Lord Of England raced for Ecurie Drost and was offered by trainer Laurent Viel, an owner-trainer combination that has proved lucky in the past for Mullins, notably providing the top class hurdler Arctic Fire, bought for €110,000 by Pierre Boulard at the 2012 Autumn Sale, and Alvisio Ville, a €100,000 purchase in the same ring two years ago who went on to win his first start over hurdles and take 3rd in the Gr.1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. “He will go jumping,” offered Kirk on the subject of Antey. “Everything we buy off Laurent Viel wins so we just hope the successful combination continues.”

Another €130,000 purchase from the yard of Laurent Viel was the AQPS three-year-old gelding DIDERO VALLIS (lot 180), also added to the catalogue via the Wild Card system. The son of Poliglote ran 3rd on all his four starts to date but they took place in select company. He contested two newly-created Group events reserved for the AQPS breed, the Gr.3 Prix du Bourbonnais at Maisons-Laffitte and Gr.3 Prix de l’Avenir at Nantes, both over the Classic trip, and posted some promising efforts each time. Didero Vallis was bred and raced by André-Noël Dutertre, who was also responsible for his close relative Chirico Vallis, the highest-priced horse at the sale a year ago when selling for €355,000 to Hubert Barbe. “He is just below the elite but has the most consistent form,” commented Pierre Boulard. “He is from the same family as last year’s top price and we expected to have to pay more for him. He may be on the small side but will grow further. Willie saw him run at Maisons-Laffitte the day after the Arc and loved him.

AQPS trio for Highflyer

Anthony Bromley and David Minton’s Highflyer Bloodstock signed for 5 horses for a cumulated €552,000, including three AQPS, two of which for six figures. Patrice Quinton’s CHARMING ZEN (lot 190), a son of Youmzain who won his only start over hurdles by 10 lengths at Les Sables d’Olonne, was the first through the ring, with David Minton signing at €210,000 for the four-year-old.

Minton and Bromley were back for more on the three-year-old DOUX PRETENDER (lot 207) and relegated Harold Kirk to the underbidder seat when offering €190,000. Trained by Fabrice Foucher, who counts Un De Sceaux as the many jumping stars to have started their career under his guidance, the son of Great Pretender won his only start on the flat, over the Classic trip at Nantes. “He is by a stallion we are very keen on, the sire of Ptit Zig among others,” explained Bromley. “I had not seen him before but he is a very attractive horse and he beat four previous winners in his bumper. He is for the same client as Charming Zen and we will take all our purchases home before we decide on training arrangements.”

From one champion trainer to another

Offered by French Champion NH trainer Guillaume Macaire, MONSIEUR CO (lot 206) boasted an attractive profile as a winner over hurdles and 4th in the Gr.3 Prix Aguado at Auteuil but also the exciting winner of his second start over fences, at Enghien a week before the sale. The three-year-old son of Turgeon is a full-brother to the filly Pur Style, a Listed winner at Auteuil.

Tom Malone, acting on behalf of Paul Nicholls, outbid Highflyer for the bay.

As the session drew to a close, ARQANA President Eric Hoyeau reflected on the day’s trading: “To be able to build up on last year’s solid result is a very satisfactory achievement and a testimony of the quality of horses that the owners, trainers and store breeders once again entrusted us with. All the credit goes to them and to the buyers who acknowledge the market value of these quality horses. AQPS horses were particularly well-represented among the six-figure prices this year, a pleasing sign that this French-made breed has truly gained international recognition. Tomorrow we turn our attention to the yearlings, with some very well-bred National Hunt individuals.”


The sale continues tomorrow at 1:00pm
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