Chris Hill brings us the latest from the bloodstock world and reflects on the action from the track and the sales ring.

By Chris Hill.   Last Updated: 30/04/14 8:48am

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Sire De Grugy put the cap on a fine season at Sandown

Sire De Grugy put the cap on a fine season at Sandown

Sky Bet

The British National Hunt season concluded at Sandown Park on Saturday with another heart-warming success for Sire de Grugy whilst Longchamp played host to an enthralling battle between the sexes and trade in the sales ring was hot with record figures at DBS and a successful Brightwells April Sale.

On the day he was crowned National Hunt Horse of the Year at Sandown Park’s end of season awards, Sire de Grugy lived up to his star billing when running out a comprehensive winner of the Grade One Celebration Chase under Jamie Moore, capping a memorable season that has seen the Preston Family and Friends-owned eight year old record four Grade One successes including in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Undoubtedly the star jumps performer by Haras de Victot resident My Risk, who has been represented on the Flat by French Group Three scorers No Risk At All and Barouda, the Gary Moore-trained gelding is a half-brother to three other jumps winners including the Listed Prix Alain du Breil Chase third Nassor de Grugy (Assessor). Being out of Hirlish (Passing Sale), an unraced half-sister to the Listed Grand Steeplechase de Loire Atlantique winner Orlando Magic (Assessor), Sire de Grugy also hails from the family of French black-type winning chasers Oteuil, French Kankan and Okaido as well as the Ascot Listed United House Handicap Chase winner Hot Shots.

Five days on from his first Irish National victory, Barry Geraghty again proved himself the jockey for the big occasion when steering the Nicky Henderson-trained Hadrian’s Approach (High Chaparral) to victory in the Grade Three bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase.

"Hadrian’s Approach is from the same family that has produced the 1996 Irish National winner Feathered Gale, Grade Two winners Apt Approach and Bewleys Berry as well as Adamant Approach, Approaching, Harwell Lad and Magical Approach."
Hadrian's Approach

Bred by Marie Gavin out of John Kiely’s Irish National Hunt Flat winner Gifted Approach (Roselier), Hadrian’s Approach is from the same family that has produced the 1996 Irish National winner Feathered Gale, Grade Two winners Apt Approach and Bewleys Berry as well as Grade Three Chase winners Adamant Approach, Approaching, Harwell Lad – winner of the bet 365 Gold Cup’s 1997 renewal when it was known as the Whitbread Gold Cup - and Magical Approach.

For High Chaparral, the six-time Group One winner who stands at Coolmore Stud, this was the second Grade Three jumps winner he has sired following the victory of the Tim Easterby-trained Hawk High in the Fred Winter Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, though Baccalaureate has recorded a Grade Two success for the 2005 Derby winner when springing a shock in the 2010 Grade Two Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle.

On the day that the late Ballylinch Stud stallion King’s Theatre was crowned Champion National Hunt sire for a second time it was somewhat appropriate that he should record a Listed race double at Sandown courtesy of the victories of Menorah in the Oaksey Chase and Southfield Theatre in the Select Hurdle and in a season that probably his best son, Cue Card, put in his best performances when winning the Betfair Chase and finishing runner up in the King George VI Chase.

Sandown’s Friday Flat card saw Andrew Balding’s six year-old gelding Tullius (Le Vie Dei Colori) secure his first Group Two when landing the bet365 Mile under Jimmy Fortune for owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds VI.

Bought by David Redvers Bloodstock for 20,000 guineas at the 2009 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, this was Tullius’ first victory since 2012 when he was successful in Salisbury’s Group Three Sovereign Stakes and in Listed races at York and Windsor. Out of Whipped Queen (Kingmambo), a two-time winning half-sister to the Grade Three Cherry Hill Mile Stakes winner Pie In Your Eye (Spend A Buck) and the U.S. Listed winner Monsagem (Nureyev), Friday’s victory made Tullius the second Group Two winner from just three crops by his late sire Le Vie Dei Colori following the victory of Gold-Fun in last year’s Jockey Club Mile at Sha Tin.

In the other two Group races on the card, the John Gosden-trained Western Hymn (High Chaparral), a 50,000 guineas purchase by Blandford Bloodstock at the 2012 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale out of a winning half-sister to the Group Three winners Fantasia (Sadler’s Wells) and Pink Symphony (Montjeu), maintained his unbeaten record in the Group Three bet365 Classic Trial, whilst Frankel’s full-brother Noble Mission (Galileo) ran away with the Group Three bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes for Lady Cecil.

In a thrilling duel on Sunday up the Longchamp straight, Cirrus des Aigles (Even Top) inflicted a first defeat on last season’s Champion European Three Year-Old and Arc heroine Treve (Motivator) when landing his second Prix Ganay - and fourth Group One success - under Christophe Soumillon for trainer Corinne Barrande-Barbe.

"Jonjo O’Neill spent £750,000 on four lots, the priciest acquisition being the four year-old gelding Adam du Breteau (Network) who was a six-length winner of a Dromahane Point-to-Point last month and cost the Jackdaws Castle trainer £280,000."
Brightwells April Sale

One of two winners out of the unraced French mare Taille de Guepe (Septieme Ciel), the Jean-Claude-Alain Dupouy-owned eight year-old gelding hails from the further family of the Group Three Prix La Rochette winner Banjer and European Listed winners Diagnostic, Lou Biella, Mokambo, Moyenne, Opus Dei and Selangor.

The winner of sixteen black-type races in all, Cirrus des Aigles is undoubtedly the star performer by the late stallion Even Top, a dual Listed winner for Mark Tompkins and runner-up in the 1996 2000 Guineas, who’s only other black-type performer is the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase third Diablo.

Last Friday saw Brightwells host their Cheltenham Premier April Sale for the first time as a stand-alone sale on a non-racing day so for a smaller catalogue featuring 47 lots, compared to last year’s 88, to achieve sales totalling £3,362,000, a reduction of just 11% at an average of £86,000, an increase of 31%, the sale must be seen as a spectacular success.

A veritable who’s who of the National Hunt world was in attendance and the top lot, the Lingstown Stables-consigned four year-old Alisier d’Irlande (Kapgarde), went to a Brightwells regular when Roger Brookhouse paid £300,000 to acquire the impressive seven length Templemore Point-to-Point winner.

The April sale saw eleven lots change hands for six-figure sums with one of the busiest purchasers being Jonjo O’Neill who spent £750,000 on four lots, the priciest acquisition being the four year-old gelding Adam du Breteau (Network) who was a six-length winner of a Dromahane Point-to-Point last month and cost the Jackdaws Castle trainer £280,000.

Barely a Cheltenham sale goes by without Willie Mullins being involved and the April Sale continued the trend when regular purchasing partner Harold Kirk bought a son of a stallion the Champion Irish trainer does particularly well with when acquiring Potters Point (Robin des Champs), a narrow runner-up on his sole point-to-point start at Monksgrange for £260,000.

"Harold Kirk bought a son of a stallion the Champion Irish trainer does particularly well with when acquiring Potters Point (Robin des Champs), a narrow runner-up on his sole point-to-point start at Monksgrange for £260,000."
Brightwells April Sale

DBS also held their Breeze Up Sale last week where turnover totalled £4,646,250, a remarkable increase of 56% on the 2013 renewal, helped by six lots selling for six figures with the average of £36,584 and median of £22,000 being improvements of 19% and 10% respectively.

The priciest lot of them all, an Exceed And Excel filly out of La Pilaya (Pivotal), set a new sale record when selling to David Redvers for £340,000. La Pilaya is a German placed half-sister to the Grade Three Orchid Stakes winner La Luna de Miel (Monsun) and German Listed winner La Salvita (Big Shuffle) from the further family of the Champion German Two Year-Old Filly in 1983 La Colorada, the dam of three-time Group One winner and sire Lomitas.

First season sire Lope de Vega was responsible for the second top lot, a colt out of the Group Three Prestige Stakes and Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup third Elshamms (Zafonic), who was again bought by Redvers on behalf of Sheikh Fahad, this time for £260,000. Elshamms is the dam of nine winners to date, a number that includes the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint winner Taqseem (Fantastic Light) and the 2012 Group Two Rockfel Stakes third Desert Blossom (Shamardal).

Richard Knight and father-son John and Sean Quinn teamed up on four occasions at the breeze up to spend a total of £607,000, with the trio’s most expensive acquisition being a Henrythenavigator colt out of the U.S. Listed Jockey Club Oaks winner Victorica (Exbourne). Purchased for £230,000, the colt is a half-brother to the three winners including the Listed Rochestown Stakes winner King Hesperus (Kingmambo) and the U.S. Listed-placed Lady Clara (Hard Spun).

Chris Hill

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

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