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The Northern Hemisphere yearling sales have become an increasingly important shopping destination for investors from Australia and New Zealand, and Arqana’s sales in France have been no exception, with the current restrictions around international travel failing to dull the desire to buy.

Gabbedy, who operates Belmont Bloodstock (FBAA) in Australia, said the level of interest ahead of this year’s Sale, which takes place from August 14 to 16, has reflected the confidence in the strength of the 355-lot catalogue.

“It’s definitely the best catalogue they have ever produced and I think part of the reason is because of the strength and the depth of the stallions represented,” Gabbedy told TDN AusNZ.

“The other reason is that the French have been very aggressive in the last few years in buying mares. I’ve noticed this year there are a lot of younger mares with yearlings. It’s a great sign.”

The diversity of the stallion offering is something by which Gabbedy also expects will lure buyers from this part of the world, with many familiar names in the catalogue.

“If you look at the stallions’ index, you will see that there is a big representation of 18 from Almanzor, there are eight Camelots, seven Dubawis, eight Frankels, four Galileos and 17 Kingmans,” he said.

“Then you have got horses by Kodiac, Le Havre, Lope De Vega, Sea The Stars and the two French stallions, Siyouni, who is a Champion sire and who has 22, and Wootton Bassett with 18.”

The popularity of the progeny of Wootton Bassett (GB) will be closely monitored by those in the Australian industry, with the former Haras d’Etreham resident and now Coolmore stallion shuttling to Australia for the first time in 2021.

His impact is already being felt in this part of the world through his son Almanzor (Fr), who shuttles to Cambridge Stud in New Zealand and who proved the leading first-season sire on sales averages across several Australasian yearling sales earlier this year.

Wootton Bassett also had his first Australian winner this week, when Rapid Achiever (Fr), an Arqana graduate, broke her maiden in emphatic fashion at Donald for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

Wootton Bassett (GB) | Standing at Coolmore


Zoustar launches with six yearlings

But the stallion whose progeny in the August Sale will be most keenly followed from a local perspective will be Zoustar. The six representatives are from the first Northern Hemisphere crop of the Widden Stud stallion, who shuttles to Tweenhills in the UK.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for the boys at Widden for Zoustar to really cement himself as a successful dual-hemisphere stallion, much in the way that the likes of Exceed And Excel have done,” Gabbedy said.

“With the support of David Redvers and his team at Tweenhills, he has got some fantastic mares in his first crop over there.”

Zoustar will be represented by three fillies (Lots 134, 162 and 269) in the catalogue as well as three colts (Lot 105, 181 and 224).

“What is really interesting is when you look through his six representatives in this catalogue, you could be forgiven for thinking you are at Magic Millions or at an Inglis Easter Sale,” Gabbedy said.

“Lot 105 is a Zoustar colt out of a Fastnet Rock mare and then Lot 269 is a Zoustar filly out of an Exceed And Excel mare.

“Overall, they should be really well-received. He has been given great support and great promotion over there. Zoustar really stamps his progeny, they are great walkers and they are good looking, so they are going to present well.”

Crabtree’s colt

Respected Australian breeder Robert Crabtree offers a Kitten’s Joy (USA) colt he bred at the Arqana August Sale as well. Lot 149 is a colt out of Blue Grass Music (USA) (Bluegrass Cat {USA}) who Crabtree’s Dorrington Farm paid US$250,000 (AU$337,280) for at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

The colt she was carrying, a brother to G1 Belmont Derby winner Henley’s Joy (USA), is being sold by Crabtree through the Deauville sales ring as part of the Coulonces consignment.

“It’s quite interesting to have such a prominent Australian breeder selling a yearling in France,” Gabbedy said.

Lot 149 – Kitten’s Joy (USA) x Blue Grass Music (USA) (colt)


Gabbedy also pointed to Lot 133, the half-sister to Group 1 winner and Widden Stud stallion National Defense (GB), as another lot of interest for Australian buyers, along with Lot 151, a No Nay Never (USA) half-sister to dual Australian Cup winner Harlem (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}).

“That’s a good pedigree with great residual value,” he said.

Lot 152 also carries substantial Australian interest, being a colt by Siyouni (Fr) out of Cercle De La Vie (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), the sister to Group 1 winners Cape Of Good Hope (Ire) and Highland Reel (Ire) and daughter of Australian-bred Group 1 placegetter Hveger (Danehill {USA}), from the family of Elvstroem and Haradasun.

Lot 152 – Siyouni (Fr) x Cercle De La Vie (Ire) (colt)


Buyer interest strong

While travel restrictions have meant that the usual travellers to Deauville, such as Gabbedy, won’t be there for a second straight year, the level of comfort with bidding from afar has grown markedly in the COVID-19 era.

“With the world getting smaller and the levels of information you can access through the internet, there should be strong activity from Australian and New Zealand buyers,” he said.

“We saw Matthew Sandblom from Kingstar, he bought a filly online in the August Sale last year, and it’s called Sunday Best and it won at Chantilly the other day very impressively.”

Gabbedy has had strong interest from his own clients, while he expects other agents like John Foote to be busy, as well as a host of Australian trainers.

“A lot of the local trainers are looking to these European sales to buy their staying progeny for the future,” he said.

While investing in Europe is expected to become more desirable with the growth in the Australian yearling market, Gabbedy is also expecting strong competition from the local buying bench at the August Sale.

“The bloodstock industry is an incredible industry and everything we feared might happen through the pandemic, it seems the exact opposite has happened,” he said.

“The European market last year was strong and it is going to be stronger this year because there is great demand for quality bloodstock.”


Article thanks to Bren O’Brien, courtesy of TDN Aus/NZ