Dangling carrots and equine carats were part of the mix as Tattersalls’ October Sale Book 1 broke from the stalls in front of a large audience at Newmarket yesterday.

John MagnierJohn Magnier (Getty)Buyers were lured by several incentives, including a catalogue of finely-bred yearlings and the chance to race them in three new, highly-valuable races collectively known as the Tattersalls Millions. There was also the opportunity to enjoy a hospitality marquee run by betting exchange Betfair, sponsors of this week’s sale, although anyone hoping yesterday’s trade would give new meaning to the Betfair Million (a bonus won by Kauto Star last jumps season) were disappointed – the Betfair Half-Million was achieved when John Magnier gave 500,000gns for the day’s top lot, a son of Montjeu , who walked into the ring as the very last horse of the day.

At least Betfair’s presence meant there was another piece of canvas under which people could shelter from rain which persisted for most of the session, and one of the company’s founders, Andrew Black, dipped into his wallet for a 480,000gns half-sister to Dutch Art , part of his growing investment in an industry that has made him a fortune. At a time when there are more than enough people who want to play the bloodstock market, but not necessarily become racehorse owners, Black is as welcome as a green light.

His purchase was a triumph for her pinhooking owners, and became the pick of the day for that branch of the industry. Pinhooking results were generally successful despite some sticky patches, although Gerard Burke’s Glidawn Stud enjoyed one of the highs when converting an 85,000gns Danetime foal into a 260,000gns yearling bought by Charlie Gordon-Watson. This April filly’s full brother is the useful sprinter Baltic King .

Peter and Michelle Morgan of the Carmel Stud near Bath were also happy consignors, turning their 90,000gns Linamix filly ( Lot 73 ) from the family of topclass Kalanisi into a 175,000gns sale to the Meon Valley Stud.

When the day’s takings were tallied the clearance rate was 76%, and, from a slightly larger book the aggregate had climbed 11% to 14,548,000gns. Not surprisingly given the lack of seven-figure stars, the average dropped slightly to 115,460gns, down 6% on last year when a George Washington half-brother made 1,200,000gns. However, the median achieved 86,000gns, up 8%.

Sheikh MohammedSheikh MohammedThe two men who control the pulse of this industry were in attendance yesterday, although the days when John Magnier and Sheikh Mohammed squared up like proud boxers are currently in the past.

As at other yearling sales in recent months, it was the Irishman who proved more active than his old adversary, and he was responsible for buying the day’s highest-priced yearling, a son of Montjeu ( Lot 185 ) from Hampshire’s Meon Valley Stud.

Given that this was the last lot of the day, eight hours after the first, many people would have been caught off guard and missed the entertainment, but trainer Marcus Tregoning and a foreign client standing near the ring entrance, hidden from the Coolmore entourage, created some intrigue. Having made several bids they appeared to be slowing as the 400,000gns mark loomed, but came back for more time and again before going down as valiant underbidders.

Magnier said of the colt, “ He’s come from one of the best farms and they’ve bred a lot of good horses, so the signs are good. We’re full of hope. ” His acquisition was produced by the Nashwan mare Millennium Dash , a daughter of top-class Milligram and already dam of Gr.1-placed Dash To The Top .

Michael GoodbodyMichael GoodbodyThe Coolmore chief got off to an early start when spending just short of 1,000,000gns during a late morning, three-from-four perm involving sons of his stud’s stallions – good news for the breeders, but not for Michael Goodbody (ex CEO of Sheikh Maktoum’s operation and founder of their Summerhill based entity) who was thwarted when playing for two of them.

Extract by Carl Evans from European Bloodstock News 10.10.07