Chris Hill brings us the latest news from the bloodstock world and the sales rings as Hurricane Fly sets a new world record.
In winning Sunday's Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, Hurricane Fly (Montjeu) surpassed equine greats John Henry and Kauto Star as sole holder of the world record for number of Grade/Group One wins with a remarkable seventeenth such success.
Bred by Agricola Del Parco out of Scandisk (Kenmare), a winner over seven furlongs in Italy at two for John Oxx, Hurricane Fly is a half-brother to three other winners including the two-time Italian winner and Listed placed Hunzy (Desert King) and last week his youngest sibling, a colt foal by the four-time Ascot Gold Cup winner Yeats, topped the Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale when purchased by Ben Case for €120,000.
Hurricane Fly himself was purchased by R Teman and French trainer J L Pelletan at the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale of 2005 for the relatively meagre sum of €65,000, especially considering that having switched from the French flat where Pelletan trained him to win the Listed Prix Omnium II, and now running over hurdles in the colours of George Creighton and Mrs Rose Boyd, under the care of Irish master Willie Mullins he has developed into the highest earning Irish National Hunt horse in history.
Being by the deceased Coolmore stallion Montjeu, Hurricane Fly is bred along the same lines as dual Group One winner Jukebox Jury and though their sire is best known for his flat offspring, having been responsible for four Epsom Derby winners amongst his twenty eight Grade/Group One flat winners , his jumps runners have had success at the top level highlighted by the Graded race double achieved at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival when Noble Prince added to Hurricane Fly's Champion Hurdle victory when successful in the Jewson Novices' Chase.
Speaking of the Tattersalls Ireland November Sale which saw foals, yearlings and horses in training changing hands over six days, the sale topping half-brother to Hurricane Fly helped the sale post a 35% improvement on the 2012 renewal, with a total turnover of €10.9 million. The average of €12,302 and median of €8,500 were also yearly improvements at 4% and 6% respectively, with the clearance rate a healthy 68%, up 5% on 2012.
Though just the one lot made six figures, the joint second top lots, the Grade One placed chaser Belle Brook (Alderbrook) and an Oscar filly foal out of Stony View (Tirol), each sold for the not inconsiderable sum of €85,000.
Belle Brook (Alderbrook), a three-time winner over obstacles, was sold in foal to Milan and purchased by Treasa O'Keeffe. The nine year-old mare is out of a half-sister to Willie Mullins' dual Grade One winning jumper Boston Bob (Bob Back) and is therefore also closely related to Mullins' hugely promising novice hurdler Briar Hill (Shantou), the winner of last season's Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
The top priced foal, bought for €85,000 by Ballinlea Stud, is also from a family that has had recent success at the Cheltenham Festival, being a full sister to the 2012 Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby (Oscar), as well as to the Grade Two Tara Hurdle third and dual Grade Three-placed hurdler Alpine Glade (Oscar) and a half-sister to the Grade Two Navan Bumper third Bluebyyou (Lake Coniston).
Jonjo O'Neill claimed the highlight of last weekend's Cheltenham's Open Meeting, the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup, when jockey Richie McLernon brought Johns Spirit (Gold Well) from last to first to land the Grade Three handicap, just over a week after his sire died at The Beeches Stud in County Waterford.
Johns Spirit is a graduate of both sales houses that held major sales last week, firstly selling at the Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale when a yearling in 2008 where he was bought by Ballybrennan Stud for €17,000, and then at Brightwells in 2010 where he was bought back for £18,000 at their Cheltenham December Sale.
A half-brother to the Irish bumper and hurdles winner The Game Changer (Arcadio), out of the unraced mare Gilt Ridden (Heron Island), a full sister to O'Neill's Grade Two bumper winner Crocodiles Rock (Heron Island) and the Listed INH Flat Race runner-up Fickle Fortune (Heron Island), Johns Spirit is also closely related to the Grade One Royal Bond Hurdle winner That's My Man (Remainder Man) and the dual Grade Three winning hurdler Spirit Leader (Supreme Leader).
Sunday's feature race, the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle, was won on his British debut by the David Pipe-trained Dell'Arca (Sholokhov), having been bought by owner Professor Caroline Tisdall for €280,000 at the Arqana Deauville Summer Mixed Sale after wins in France on the Flat and over hurdles.
Out of the five-time German and Italian winner Daisy Belle (Acatenango), a half-sister to the two-time German Listed winner Dalarna (Dashing Blade), Dell'Arca is a full brother to the German winner Diorissima (Sholokhov) and descends from the further family of multiple European Listed performers including the 2000 Listed Grand Prix Aufgalopp winner Damiano (Acatenango).
Sholokhov, the winner of the 2001 Grand Criterium at Milan and runner-up in the following year's Irish Derby and Eclipse Stakes, is probably best known as a sire of flat performers, highlighted by his dual Group One winning daughter Night Magic. However, with Dell'Arca along with exciting novice chaser Don Cossack looking capable of holding their own at the top level, it will surely be just a matter of time before the Glenview Stud resident is responsible for more Grade One performers to join his dual French Grade One winning hurdling son, Esmondo.
Brightwells held their November Sale after racing on the first day of the Open Meeting where regular purchaser Roger Brookhouse was again in attendance and secured Neck Or Nothing (Intikhab), an INH Flat Race winner at Punchestown in October for the sale topping price of £200,000.
Out of the German Listed runner-up Nova (Winged Love), Neck Or Nothing is a half-brother to the Italian Listed winner Nebukadnezar (Lomitas) and more distantly is related to the German Listed winners Notabilis (Caracol) and Nigrita (Lichine), the dam of the German Listed winner Nicaragua (Acatenango) and grandam to Group Three Premio Mario Incisa heroine Navarra Queen (Singspiel).
Brookhouse also signed for the sale's second top lot when paying £180,000 for the recent Tattersalls Farm point-to-point winner, Some Buckle (Milan), a half-brother to the Grade Three Dolores Purcell Memorial Novice hurdle runner-up Bleakfield Lady (Turtle Island) and four-time jumps winner Plunkett (Fourstars Allstar).
At the close of the evening's bidding, the turnover had totalled £2,320,500, a drop of 35% on the 2012 sale, with the average of £44,625 a decrease at 21%, though it has to be remembered that last year's renewal posted a spectacular set or results boosted by eight six-figure lots and highlighted by a £260,000 top lot, whereas this year there were just five lots that changed hands for six-figures.