Chris Hill returns to bring us the latest news from the bloodstock world and reflects on the action from Leopardstown.
Leopardstown on Sunday played host to yet another sensational performance from the horse many are calling the greatest Irish hurdler of all time, Hurricane Fly (Montjeu), who in seeing off the brave effort of Our Conor (Jeremy) in the Irish Champion Hurdle, recorded his nineteenth Grade One success.
Having now equalled the record of another Irish legend, Istabraq, with four Irish Champion Hurdle wins, Willie Mullins' ten year-old continues to make the €65,000 paid by Raoul Teman to secure the son of Montjeu at the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale back in 2005 look the steal of the century.
Bred by Agricola Del Parco out of Scandisk (Kenmare), a two year-old winner for John Oxx in Italy over seven furlongs, Hurricane Fly is a half-brother to three other winners including the two-time Italian winner and Listed Criterium Labronico third Hunzy (Desert King), with his youngest sibling, a yearling colt by Yeats, having topped last season's Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale when purchased by Ben Case for €120,000.
Going further back, George Creighton and Mrs Rose Boyd's record breaking gelding hails from the family of the dual Italian Listed flat winner Laguna Salada, as well as the Group Two winning siblings Yankee Gold (Lord Gayle) - twice a winner of the Ballymoss Stakes - and Lady Singer (Lord Gayle) - Pretty Polly Stakes - and the Listed Hurdle winner and multiple Grade One jumps placed Goldspun (Weaver's Hall).
Having finished runner-up three times on previous attempts in Grade One company, including when a half a length second to Alderwood in the 2012 Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle, Trifolium (Goldneyev) gained a richly deserved maiden top level victory when comprehensively winning the Irish Arkle Novice Chase under Bryan Cooper, his first as retained rider for owner Gigginstown House Stud.
Bred jointly by Haras de la Rousseliere and Mme Joel Poirier out of the unraced mare Opium des Mottes (April Night), the Charles Byrnes-trained seven year-old is a half-brother to the five-time French flat winner Urticaire (Mister Sacha) who, like his year older sibling, now resides in Ireland having being bought by Gigginstown, and has won a Navan hurdle for new trainer Willie Mullins.
From the family of multiple French Group One winner Goldikova, Trifolium's sire Goldneyev was a winner of the Listed Prix Yacowlef in 1988 before finishing runner-up to Kendor in the following year's French 2000 Guineas. On his retirement to stud, where much of his time which was spent at Haras de Mirande in France, he produced a pair of Group Two winners and sires in Gold Away and Dananeyev, though sadly it is only after his death at the age of twenty four in 2010 that we have seen his best jumps performers in the shape of the 2012 French Grade One Prix Alain du Breil - Courses d'Ete 4yo Hurdle winner, Usual Suspects and now Trifolium.
Glenview Stud resident Shirocco also deserves mention this week following a sensational Saturday where the four-time Group One winner was responsible for an across the card treble courtesy of Annie Power, Willie Mullins' unbeaten mare who extended her winning sequence to ten with an effortless victory in Doncaster's Grade Two Mares' Hurdle, the David Pipe-trained Red Sherlock who maintained his own undefeated record with a battling victory in the Grade Two Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, whilst Lac Fontana completed the treble when comfortably claiming the final race on the card for Paul Nicholls.
Brightwells' bloodstock sales season got under way after racing at Cheltenham on Saturday with their January sale yet again posting impressive results. The thirty-six lots on offer changed hands for a total of £1,459,500, just over 5% down on the 2013 renewal but from a smaller quantity, whilst the average price paid an improvement of 5% on 2013 at £52,125.
Jonjo O'Neill was the purchaser of the sale's top lot when paying £190,000 for Young Mr Gorsky (High Chaparral), the winner of a 5yo Geldings Maiden point-to-point at Kilfeacle earlier this month when trained by Kevin O'Sullivan. A three-parts brother to the five-time hurdle winner Thunderstorm (Milan), being out of the unraced mare Elizabeth Tudor (Supreme Leader), the new addition to Jackdaws Castle is from the family of dual Grade Two jumps runner-up Dawn Leader (Supreme Leader), Aintree Champion Bumper third Indian Spring (Executive Perk) and the Troytown Chase winner and Irish Grand National third Bold Agent.
High Chaparral was also responsible for the sale's second priciest lot when regular contributor Roger Brookhouse went to £170,000 to secure the four year-old mare Montana Belle (High Chaparral), the winner of a Newbury fillies' bumper in December when trained by John Butler. Out of Stiletta (Dancing Brave), a full sister to the 1993 Derby winner Commander In Chief and half-sister to Grade/Group One winners Warning and Yashmak, Brookhouse's acquisition is herself a three-parts sister to the Grade Three National Hunt Novices' Handicap Hurdle winner Julius Caesar (Sadler's Wells).
Following a protracted ownership dispute, Mossey Joe (Moscow Society), the leading hunter chaser in both Britain and Ireland, arrived in the Cheltenham sales ring and ended up being bought by Gerry Hogan Bloodstock, on behalf of leading Irish owner Barry Connell, with a bid of £160,000. The winner of his last four starts, though unraced since June where he broke the Stratford course record in a rout of leading hunter chasers Chapoturgeon and Salsify, Mossey Joe is set to join leading Irish trainer Enda Bolger with a return visit to Cheltenham for the Foxhunter Chase a possibility.
In breeding news, last Monday saw the 2011 Arc winner and 2012 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Danedream give birth to a filly foal by Frankel - who she will be covered by again this season - at Newsells Park Stud where the five-time Group One winner is currently boarding. Frankel has also had his first foal born in the U.S. when Compelling, a winning half-sister to the Group Two Flying Childers winner Requinto, foaled a bay colt by the ten-time Group One winner on 18th January.
At the annual Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association (ITBA) National Breeding and Racing Awards, Denis McDonnell of Parkway Stud in County Cork received the small breeder award having been responsible for breeding last year's Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner Olympic Glory and the Group Three Prix du Calvados winner Sandiva. Also at the ceremony, leading Irish trainer Jim Bolger was inducted into the Hall of Fame following a season that saw two of his Redmonstown Stud homebreds, Dawn Approach and Trading Leather, successful in the 2000 Guineas and Irish Derby respectively, land Classics for the master of Coolcullen.
Chris is a Pedigree Researcher for Weatherbys Ltd, the company that provides the majority of pedigrees for thoroughbreds sold at public auction in Britain and Ireland and who offer a range of products and services to suit your Bloodstock needs.
For further information please visit http://www.weatherbys.co.uk/bloodstock