haafhdHaafhd (Shadwell)

Bloodstock buyers were out in force and created some memorable results that bucked many a prediction at yesterday’s opening session of the Craven Breeze-Up Sale, in England.

In a catalogue that features large numbers of American bred horses, no fewer than six juveniles made 300,000gns and ten bettered 200,000gns. Only five made that mark during two sessions at last year’s sale.

The Maktoum family and their friends and associates were key buyers yesterday – Sheikh Hamdan bought several choice lots including three of the top ten – and while Mr Greeley’s progeny achieved three of the top four prices, the ace in the pack was held by Haafhd.

One of his daughters (Lot 46), offered by The Bloodstock Connection aka John Hassett Jr, fetched 380,000gns to a bid from Kern Lillingston’s Luke Lillingston, at the same time showing a marked turn in fortune from her previous appearance in this ring last October – then she was led out unsold at 48,000gns.

Lillingston said: “She’s for a newclient to race in this country – she’s got a great filly’s page. Now I hope we’re all right about Haafhd [whose first yearlings were popular last year].”

In a sale stuffed with US-bred horses, bought at a time when the weakness of the Dollar makes them particularly attractive to European buyers, an indication of this American glut is the ten catalogued offspring of key sire Mr Greeley. Only Invincible Spirit has more horses in this book, and while he has made an exceptional start to his stud career, Mr Greeley’s successes on turf in Europe give added appeal to his stock.

Lillingston was among those who bought into his lineage when paying 300,000gns for a liver chesnut filly (Lot 75) from Willie Browne’s Mocklershill Stables. Jamie McCalmont and Mark Johnston were among those who bid on this April foal, although Marc-Antoine Bergracht was left in the role of underbidder as the filly’s price towered upwards. She cost Willie Browne the equivalent of 43,000gns at Keeneland last year, but this huge jump in profit was typical of a quite remarkable day in the ring.

Talk of global economic meltdown may be filling every news and current affairs programme on television and radio, but buyers at this sale are either immune or not tuning in. Tattersalls was able to deliver remarkable figures at the close of play, revealing that turnover achieved 6,477,000gns, a rise of 26%, while the average achieved 101,203gns (up 36%) and the median 67,500gns (a rise of 30%). The clearance rate was an impressive 77%, which was also an improvement on the same day 12 months ago.

Extract from European Bloodstock News