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By Kelsey Riley

The Inglis Easter Yearling Sale opened at Riverside Stables in Sydney in fervent fashion on Monday, with five of the seven millionaires coming within the first 30 horses through the ring. When the dust settled at the end of four hours of trade during the abbreviated session, it was Arrowfield Stud and its reigning champion sire Snitzel (Aus) that dominated the top end the market; Arrowfield consigned five of the seven-figure lots and Snitzel sired three of the millionaires, including the two top prices: Arrowfield’s A$1.3-million filly out of Azmiyna (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) bought by Guy Mulcaster and trainer Chris Waller for A$1.3-million, and Bhima Thoroughbreds’s colt out of Asscher (NZ) (Stravinsky) bought by the trio of Gai Waterhouse, Blue Sky Bloodstock and Kerri Radcliffe, who was acting on behalf of George Bolton.

With 30 fewer horses catalogued for the opening session than last year, and 26 fewer offered, figures largely showed improvement. Eighty-six total were sold for A$32,155,000. The average was up 11% to A$373,895, while the median remained the same as day one last year at A$300,000. The clearance rate pointed to some selectivity in the market, however, down to 77% from 85% last year.

More of the Same for Arrowfield…

Arrowfield had closed out the 2017 Easter sale with a blockbuster five millionaires during the final session, and thus it picked up exactly where it left off on Monday.

“We brought some really nice horses to the sale and I’m gratified the market has appreciated them and accepted them,” said Arrowfield’s John Messara. “I’m not overly surprised; I thought if the buyers were here, that’s what would happen. We have a few more to present in the next couple days; we’re not finished yet.”

Arrowfield has developed successful partnerships with fellow leading global breeders the Aga Khan Studs and Northern Farm, and those joint ventures both featured on Monday, with the top lot being jointly bred with the Aga Khan Studs, and a A$1.05-million Snitzel filly bought by Jadeskye Racing being apart of the Northern Farm joint venture. The latter venture featured recently when one of its 2017 graduates, TDN Rising Star Estijaab (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), won the G1 Golden Slipper.

Snitzel Streak…

Guy Mulcaster, best known as the buyer of Winx (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}) as a yearling, added two quality fillies to the stable of champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller early in the session on Monday when in short succession signing for lot 11, a daughter of Deep Impact (Jpn), and lot 32, the session-topping Snitzel filly, for A$1.1-million and A$1.3-million, respectively. Lot 32 is out of Azmiyna (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), herself an unraced half-sister to European champion Azamour (Ire) (Night Shift).

Snitzel, in fact, enjoyed a tear of success within 10 lots, with three selling for seven figures. Those also included Arrowfield’s filly out of Asterix (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}) (lot 25), which made A$1.05-million from Damion Flower of Jadeskye Racing, who campaigned Snitzel himself; and Bhima’s colt out of Asscher (NZ) (Stravinsky) (lot 23). The latter was bought by Gai Waterhouse, Blue Sky Bloodstock and Kerri Radcliffe, who was acting on behalf of George Bolton, for A$1.2-million.

The Asterix filly will look to follow in the footsteps of Estijaab (Aus), who was a seven-figure daughter of Snitzel sold at this sale last year by the Arrowfield/Northern Farm joint venture and who won the G1 Golden Slipper just weeks ago.

Making An Impact Down Under…

Deep Impact is well known as Japan’s perennial champion sire, but the son of Sunday Silence in fact has a standout record in Australia from limited opportunities: from four runners Down Under, he can lay claim to two Group 1 winners, Tosen Stardom (Jpn) and Real Impact (Jpn), as well as the recent Group 1-placed Ambitious (Jpn). Arrowfield Stud’s filly out of Alverta (Aus) (Flying Spur {Aus}) (lot 11), the Group 1-winning champion female sprinter who was also third in Britain’s G1 July Cup, will have every chance to add her name to that list as she heads into the stable of champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller, with his agent Guy Mulcaster signing the ticket at A$1.1-million. Alverta has produced three foals of racing age, all winners.

“She has a lovely pedigree and we know how well Deep Impact is doing around the world,” said Mulcaster, who had the opportunity to see plenty by the sire while visiting the JRHA’s July Select Sale last year. “He has some lovely horses not only in Japan but also in Europe, and we’re expecting them to do well in Australia as well.”

“The types the sire leaves outdo himself,” Mulcaster added. “They’re just magnificent horses and they have form everywhere they go, so we’re delighted to get her.”

Arrowfield has three Deep Impact fillies to offer at Easter, and another of them, a daughter of Charming Estelle (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) lot 70, made A$1-million from trainer Tony McEvoy on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum midway through the afternoon. That pair campaigns this season’s G1 Blue Diamond, G1 Golden Slipper and G1 Sires’ Produce S.-placed Oohood (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}), and they certainly have another quality filly on their hands, with lot 70 being a great granddaughter of Estelle Collection (NZ) (Stravinsky), the dam of champion sprinter Lankan Rupee (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}).

The fillies are the first by their sire to be offered as yearlings at a Southern Hemisphere sale. A Deep Impact filly was offered at Keeneland September last year but was bought back at $285,000. Arrowfield’s third Deep Impact filly goes through the ring on the final day of the sale as lot 442.

“They did well, but you have to keep in mind it’s very expensive to send mares to Japan, and bring them back, the service fee is big; it’s a pretty expensive exercise,” Messara said. “However, I was pleased they’ve gone to good buyers and they’ll get their opportunity. We have the dams so we’ll benefit from any racing that comes.”

Northern Farm Reinvesting…

Northern Farm, as has become customary, had a presence at Easter on Monday, buying a Frankel (GB) colt from Cressfield Stud (lot 6) for A$500,000. That colt is a grandson of Rafha (GB) (Kris {GB}), best known as the dam of Invincible Spirit (Ire) and Kodiac (GB), and it is also the immediate family of dual Australian Group 1 winner and young sire Pride of Dubai (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}).

While Frankel is yet to have a stakes winner in Australia, he has done well in Japan, his flagbearer being last year’s G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) winner Soul Stirring (Jpn)

“We love Frankel,” said Tomonori Tsuda, head vet of Northern Farm. “Here in Australia, Frankel’s value is not as high as in Japan, where they’re doing very well. If you think about the price of the Tapits or the Frankels here, they’re good value compared to what they would cost in Japan.”

Tsuda confirmed the colt would be sent to Japan to race, and said there are currently “seven or eight” Frankels in the Northern Farm system.

Tsuda said he was also pleased to see Deep Impact well received on the opening day of the sale. He said there has been plenty of interest from breeders to use the champion sire Southern Hemisphere times, and that Arrowfield is part of his limited book because of a strong, 30-year relationship with the farm.

“Many people are interested in breeding to Deep Impact Southern Hemisphere time, but at a moment we have a shortage of spots,” he said. “Because we have had a great relationship for 30 years with Arrowfield, that’s the reason we’re trading with them. Today’s results were about what we expected, so we’re happy. I think there is real potential for Deep Impact covering Australian mares. Deep Impact does well with speed mares, so I think his pedigree will suit the Australian mares very well.”

Part of the Arrowfield/Northern Farm joint venture includes the shuttling of three young Shadai sires–Mikki Isle (Jpn), Real Impact (Jpn) and Maurice (Jpn)–to Arrowfield, and Tsuda said Northern Farm is increasing the number of mares it brings to Australia to support those young sires. Tsuda said that the 20 first crop foals of Mikki Isle that Northern Farm currently has in Japan have been impressing him particularly.

“Also, the Japanese mares’ market is not mature, the prices are not proper in Japan, so we want to keep some mares here at Arrowfield,” he added.

Frankel had two catalogued for this sale and they both went through the ring within the first hour. The other was Arrowfield’s colt out of Aqua Bella (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) (lot 21), whose second dam of the triple French Group 1 winner Aquarelliste (GB) (Danehill). That one was scooped up by Chinese entity Domeland for A$1.1-million.

Aqua Bella was bought by Badgers Bloodstock for €230,000 from Arqana’s December Breeding Stock Sale in 2014. She was covered by Frankel Southern Hemisphere time the following year and expatriated to Australia.

Invincible Leaves It Late…

I Am Invincible (Aus), currently third behind Snitzel on the leading sires’ table, had thus far outshone his elder rival at the top of the price lists at Australia’s other major yearlings sales this season, and the Yarraman Park resident didn’t disappoint on Monday. Late in the session, he notched a seven-figure sale when co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, along with Julian Blaxland’s Blue Sky Bloodstock, signed at A$1.05-million for lot 120, a half-brother to G1 Golden Slipper winner Mossfun (Aus) (Mossman {Aus}).

I Am Invincible and Snitzel each had 10 sold on the day, with Snitzel coming out on top by average at A$561,500 compared to I Am Invincible’s A$535,500. Fastnet Rock (Aus) came out third by average of sires with three or more sold, his six sold yielding an average of A$490,833.

Dissident (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}) was the standout among first-season sires on day one. While he had just two sold, one of those fetched A$800,000: lot 22, the second foal out of the 2-year-old stakes winner Assail (Aus) (Charge Forward {Aus}). The Newgate Farm offering had given connections a scare when kicking a rail in the back ring and was as a result returned to his barn and offered as the last lot of the evening, but he appeared none worse for the wear, with China Horse Club and WinStar Farm the new owners. It could have also helped that he is out of a mare by Charge Forward, whose daughters have produced the last two winners of the Golden Slipper.

The Easter sale continues on Tuesday at 11 a.m. local time.

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