Hot on the heels of a Goffs Orby sale that saw an 11.8% increase in average, this week sees England's premier yearling auction, the Tattersalls October yearling sale. With that in mind, we thought we'd take the opportunity to review the European sires that have their first yearlings on offer in Book 1, which runs from October 8-10.
We probably won't have to wait too long to begin assessing Arcano. The son of Oasis Dream was undefeated in three starts at 2, including wins over Special Duty and Canford Cliffs (IRE) (TrueNicks) in the Prix Morny (Fr-I) and a score in the July Stakes (Eng-II). He's by a stallion who himself was a champion 2-year-old and sprinter, but who has proved a more versatile sire, getting classic types from mares with stamina in their pedigrees. Arcano's own pedigree is not a pure speed one on the dam's side—he's out of a mare by Daylami and his second dam placed in the Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I)—so it will be interesting to see if he follows suit.
Equiano made history in the 2008 King's Stand Stakes (Eng-I) become the first Spanish-trained horse to win at Royal Ascot. He endured a barren season the following year at 4, but following a wind operation rebounded in fine style to add a second King's Stand, as well as taking the Palace House Stakes (Eng-III) and Abernant Stakes. He is by the Try My Best (brother to El Gran Senor) line stallion Acclamation, a high-class sprinter who has become a leading source of speedy and precocious runners. As far as Equiano's prospects are concerned, it's encouraging that Acclamation's first son with runners, Dark Angel, is off to an excellent start.
Danehill Dancer (TrueNicks)'s son Fast Company scored his only group victory in the Acomb Stakes (Eng-III), but he earned a rating as co-second highweighted 2-year-old in Europe, just 1 lb. below European champion New Approach (TrueNicks), after being only narrowly defeated by that horse in the Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I). Out a mare by Zafonic, Fast Company's second dam is Mill Reef's daughter Candian Mill, runner-up in the Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) and also dam of Epsom (Eng-I) and Irish Oaks (Ire-I)-placed Hawajiss. The third dam, Par Excellance, was champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old filly in Canada. Given the level of his best form and his pedigree, Fast Company, who stands for €5,000, could be something of a sleeper.
A son of the Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks) horse Shamardal, Lope de Vega emulated his sire by leading throughout to captured both the French Two Thousand Guineas and French Derby (both Fr-I). Those turned out to be his only stakes victories, but he did also win two of three starts as a juvenile. Lope de Vega's dam, Lady Vettori, was also a talented runner, winning the Prix du Calvados (Fr-III) and taking third in the Prix Marcel Boussac-Royal Barriere (Fr-I), and she's also dam of group winner Bal de La Rose. Lope de Vega has a rather intriguing pedigree, as his broodmare sire, Vettori, is a son of Machiavellian, a horse who also appears as broodmare sire of Shamardal. The dam of Vettori brings in Sir Ivor (who has a similar background to Machiavellian's own broodmare sire, Halo) and Nijinsky II (who has pedigree connections to Shamardal's great-grandsire, Storm Bird). It will be interesting to see how that rather concentrated background plays out at stud.
Another classic performer from the same crop as Lope de Vega is Makfi (TrueNicks), who earned an official rating as world champion 3-year-old and miler with wins in the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard-Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I), and Prix Djebel (Fr-III). Makfi's from the first crop of Dubawi (by Seeking the Gold's magnificent son Dubai Millennium), an outstanding miler who has rapidly become something of a sire sensation. His dam, Dhelaal (by Green Desert), is a half sister to the European champion 2-year-old and group I sire Alhaarth, and the second dam, Irish Valley, is out of the great Wertheimer foundation mare Green Valley, and is a half sister to the classic winner and important sire Green Dancer.
The tough and classy miler Paco Boy was a group I winner at 3, 4, and 5, numbering the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I), Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I), and Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) among his six group victories. He is by Desert Style, a European champion sprinting son of Green Desert who has quietly been a very effective sire with 21 stakes winners, six of them group or grade I. The dam, Tappen Zee, is a half sister to Desert Style's son Cape Town, a stakes winner who also took third in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I).
The versatile Rip Van Winkle (TrueNicks) earned honors as champion 3-year-old miler in his second season, and as champion European older horse in the 9.5-10.5 furlong category the following term. His most notable victories include the Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I), both against older horses at 3, and the Juddmonte International Stakes (Eng-I) at 4, and he also took the Tyros Stakes (Ire-III) as a juvenile. Rip Van Winkle is by the all-conquering Galileo (TrueNicks), and he will be bidding to join the five Galileo sons—headed by two of Europe's brightest young stars, New Approach and Teofilo—who have already sired first crop stakes winners.
Like Arcano, Showcasing (TrueNicks) is a son of Oasis Dream. He too was a talented juvenile, becoming the fastest ever winner of the Gimcrack Stakes (Eng-II), as well as taking third in the the Middle Park Stakes (Eng-I). Showcasing is a half brother to the very useful sire Camacho, and his dam, Zafonic's stakes-winning daughter Arabesque, is a half sister to group I winner Foreteller, and out of the Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) heroine Prophecy.
The offspring of Starspangledbanner, who returned to training after suffering fertility problems in his first year at stud, are going to be in short supply, but there is one on offer here. By Danehill's crack sprinting son Choisir (TrueNicks), Starspangledbanner was an exceptional speedster in his own right. A champion of the short course in both Europe and Australia, his victories included the July Cup (Eng-I), Golden Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I), Oakleigh Plate (Aus-I), and the Caulfield Guineas (Aus-I). As the name of that last race indicates, Starspangledbanner was one of those rare horses who are fast enough to win a top-class five-furlong event past their 2-year-old career, but also can carry that speed a mile. On the distaff side of the pedigree, Starspangledbanner is from the immediate family of another Danehill horse who made his name on the international stage in Elvstroem, a champion older horse in Australia, who was also successful in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I), and who also produced some excellent efforts in Europe.
Stimulation is another son of Choisir. He earned a group victory in the Challenge Stakes (Eng-II) and also took the European Free Handicap, as well as being group II- and group III-placed. He's out of Damiana, a sister to the French listed scorer Dirca and a daughter of Thatching (a son of Thatch, which will invite mares with Nureyev, Sadler's Wells, and Fairy King, who all have Thatch's sister Special). There is obviously some affinity with this strain in Stimulation's female line, as his third dam is a half sister to Danishkada, a daughter of Thatch who took the Grand Criterium (Fr-I).
With only a listed win to his credit in Europe, Vale of York caused a major upset in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), clearly relishing the all-weather surface to defeat Lookin At Lucky (TrueNicks) and Noble's Promise (TrueNicks). Vale of York is a son of the Green Desert stallion Invincible Spirit, who is now recognized as one of Europe's leading sires with such as French Derby (Fr-I) victor Lawman (making an impressive start to his own stud career), Fleeting Spirit, Moonlight Cloud, Hooray, and Mayson to represent him. Vale of York also has a rather interesting pedigree, with the excellent brothers Kris and Diesis both in the third generation.
Another by Invincible Spirit is Zebedee. The precocious gray had strong claims to being recognized as the speediest juvenile of his crop after winning six of seven starts, including the Flying Childers Stakes (Eng-II), Molecomb Stakes (Eng-III), and Dragon Stakes. Out of the stakes-placed Cozzene mare Cozy Maria, Zebedee has an international flavor to his female line as his second dam is a half sister to Miss Alleged, champion older mare in Europe, and to Nancy's Champion, top older sprinter in Canada.