The final session of the 2016 Breeding Stock sale saw some lively trade and solid demand for the best-bred NH foals, fillies and mares from a variety of investors from both sides of the Channel. The same session a year ago included the dispersal of seven stallions from the former National Studs sires which grossed €500,000 and as a result, comparisons on the average and median prices are difficult to make. The aggregate for this year’s final day was €1,855,000, almost exactly €500,000 less than in 2015, on a day where 76% of the 150 lots through the ring sold for an average price of €16,130.
From the coveted draft of Haras du Berlais, BOREALE DU BERLAIS (lot 941) caused a major stir in the ring until being knocked down to LJ Negoce, represented by Anthony Baudouin of Haras du Hoguenet, for €210,000 – the highest price for a National Hunt mare since the Grade 1 winner Royale Athenia commanded €300,000 back in 2008. A daughter of Presenting, the five-year-old place in the Listed Prix Sagan and Prix d’Iéna over the Auteuil hurdles from only five starts and was offered in foal to Haras d’Etreham’s leading jumps sire Saint Des Saints. She is out of the Listed winner Bonita du Berlais, herself a half-sister to four highly talented jumpers headed by the Gr.1 Prix Cambacérès hurdle hero Bonito du Berlais. “I have bought her on behalf of a French client who is descended from an old racing family and want to reinvigorate their breeding operation, explained Baudouin. He has already bought into the Comte de Montesson’s “K” family and wanted to step into this one. We went slightly over budget but weren’t going home without her. Her 2017 mating hasn’t been decided yet but I don’t think we would struggle to book her into one of the best sires.”
David Futter of Yorton Stud has been a massive supporter of French bloodlines and French form and proved this yet again when offering €86,000 for another member of the Berlais draft, the regally-bred HOUSTON DU BERLAIS (lot 924). Twice placed at Listed level at Auteuil over hurdles, she is by the great jumping influence Mansonnien and a half-sister to four Stakes winners including leading chaser Madison du Berlais. Richard Venn did the bidding alongside Futter and offered: “It is a family David loves and has always wanted to get into. Obviously Yorton Farm just bought Clovis du Berlais who will stand alongside Blue Bresil, Gentlewave etc. so the primary aim with the mares we bought today [6 for a total of 188,000] is to support the stallions. We will then make plans with the progeny but we might race some, even possibly in France, to keep enhancing the families. David is massively pro French as everybody knows.”
A dual Listed winner over hurdles at Auteuil offered carrying her first foal by leading NH sire Martaline, TORNADA (lot 905) was always going to be one of the main attractions of the day. The daughter of Ballingarry is a half-sister to another Listed-winning hurdler in Tourwell and her proud owner-breeder André Duboe was the first to come up and congratulate agent Guy Petit after he signed the docket at €70,000. “She is for a new French client who used to breed for the flat and has just decided to branch out in the jumping game and breed commercially, Petit commented. This mare fitted our criteria: she was a good racemare in foal to one of the top stallions and we will keep sending her to proven sires in order to produce quality foals.”
Guy Petit ended the day as leading buyer with a shopping list of 15 lots for a cumulated €293,000 while the Haras du Berlais topped the vendors’ standings selling all their four mares for a total of €358,000.
Demand for quality remains strong, weakens in the lower tier
With a catalogue reduced by 33 lots and 43 fewer horses sold over the four days of trading, the cumulated aggregate for the 2016 Breeding Stock Sale reached €23,382,500, 12% lower than a year ago. The average, however, kept almost steady at €37,169 (-1.7%) and the clearance rate also held up at 74.8% against 76.6%.
ARQANA President Eric Hoyeau commented on the 2016 edition, “This year we had purposely assemble a smaller catalogue, which reflected on the sale’s aggregate. Unfortunately the market proved sticky in the lower tiers, a sign of the return of a degree of overproduction – a reality that has been observed in many other countries this season and must act as a warning for all stakeholders in the industry. On the other hand, there was plenty of appetite for the quality horses, whether fillies, broodmares or foals, for the flat or jumps. The opening day was very lively and we were pleased to welcome as many international buyers as ever including some new faces, while Sunday still saw some strong competition at the higher end of the market, and today French National Hunt bloodlines were once again popular.”
Full results on www.arqana.com
Next sale: February Mixed Sale, 14 February 2017, Deauville