THE DBS Premier Sale has long held an excellent reputation as a source of sharp, successful two-year-olds and this season has already proven to be no exception thanks to the likes of Queen Mary and Duchess of Cambridge Stakes winner Illuminate (sold by Croom House Stud for £95,000 to Peter and Ross Doyle) and Molecomb Stakes winner Kachy (sold by Denniff Farms for £52,000 to SackvilleDonald) alongside Listed winners Tasleet, Argentero and Delizia.
Meanwhile, older graduates such as Toormore, New Providence, Limato, Markaz and Kool Kompany continue to do the sale proud.
Led by a £230,000 son of Starspangledbanner, last year’s sale was a solid renewal, with 418 horses changing hands for a total of £15,545,000. The average rose 14 per cent to to £37,101 while the median increased by eight per cent to £27,000.
Judging by the traffic on the sales grounds, this year’s edition promises to be again competitive. Potential buyers were already scouting the grounds on Saturday and yesterday, plenty of people remarked that the yards were the busiest they could remember. All the big players are here - including members of the Qatar Racing, Coolmore, Darley and Shadwell teams - as are a healthy number of trainers, among them William Haggas, Marco Botti, Roger Varian and Richard Hannon.
Today’s session also features one of only two six-figure pinhooks on offer in Lot 63, a Casamento colt who cost today’s vendor Yeomanstown Stud €105,000 at last year’s Goffs November Sale.
One of 20 by the sire in the sale, he is a half-brother to a winner and out of Three Times, a Bahamian Bounty half-brother to Listed winner Trinity Joy.
"Big fans of the Maysons - they're all good walkers with good tops. The Requintos all look like runners and there are few nice Sir Prancealots here. The Dragon Pulse's are all the same - powerful with big walks."
Today’s standouts include two lots with very good updates.
Lot 48 is a Zebedee half-brother to Shadow Hunter, who broke her maiden in Saturday’s Roses Stakes at York. A €20,000 Goffs November pinhook and sold today by Egmont Stud, he is from the family of good two-year-old Daggers Drawn.
Lot 130, meanwhile, is a Born To Sea colt out of Alkhawarah, an Intidab half-sister to the dam of Sunday’s brilliant Prix Morny winner Shalaa.
Like Shalaa, Lot 130 is offered as a homebred from Castlefarm Stud, who paid 26,000gns for his dam at the 2011 Tattersalls July Sale. This colt was bought back for 68,000gns as a foal last year, a move which could look fortuitous following the emergence of Shalaa.
Here is a rare offering - one of only three registered foals from the first, and only, crop of the sub-fertile Caspar Netscher.
Offered by Chasemore Farm on behalf of breeder Earl Ecurie du Grand Chene as Lot 81, she is the first foal out of Twin Love, an unraced Astronomer Royal half-sister to Tagula.
Caspar Netscher retired to Morristown Lattin Stud for the 2013 season. He was hugely popular among breeders but unfortunately severe fertility problems forced his return to training. Not all those that come back from stud return to the same level of form but Caspar Netscher has been a credit to David Simcock, winning last year’s Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine.
"We bought her as a foal and she's done everything right - she's always been a lovely filly," said Barry shortly after the sale. "She's a lovely, sharp sort who was ideal for this sale, plus she's out of a Danehill mare. The stallion is also getting some lovely stock."She was very popular throughout here and we're thrilled. We wish the Hannons the very best of luck with her."
"Mayson has some eye-catching foals who have lovely outlooks. His 2015 foals are once again impressing, which has been reflected in him covering his largest book of mares since retiring to stud in 2013."Like Mayson, his yearlings look progressive; we will have some nice colts on offer at the sales this year, including a half brother to Group winners Penitent and Supplicant, as well as a three-parts brother to the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes winner, Hooray."
"He's been a lovely horse from day one," said Dwyer. "He's good all the way through prep and showed himself consistently well since her got here. From the first show to the last show, he's been the same."We've had a few Tagulas through our hands before, but never one as good as him."Willie Browne added: "He's always had a great action on him - a good stamp of a horse."
"I've liked the Nathaniels I've seen and I think he's an exciting horse," said Gold. "He's class with stamina, which is exactly what we need."This is a lovely horse out of a Danehill mare who is from a good family further back. I thought he showed himself very well. I imagine he'll go to John Gosden."Gold added: "My gut feeling on first looks is that tomorrow has a stronger group of horses. This is a remarkable sale that just continues to churn out the winners. Tasleet is a real Donny horse - he's small but very tough and can run. And the same goes for Mubtaghaa."
"It's not usual for us to buy yearlings by first-crop sires but Casamento is a son of Shamardal, the sire of Able Friend, and he's very solid in Hong Kong, as he is everywhere else," said Mark Richards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. "To me, he looked a typical Shamardal type so we were willing to take a chance."There's lots of black-type on the page and he's a cracking individual. He's a real Hong Kong type of horse - he has a big wide backside and a big walk."What we're doing is trying to cherry pick the quality. This sale is renowned for producing winners and has produced a few horses that are doing well in Hong Kong at the moment - Peniaphobia springs to mind. And that's what we want - we're not after stallion pedigrees but runners."
"She was a lot like Caspar Netscher, and one of only three by the sire so we decided to take a chance on her - let's hope she's as classy as her father," said Malone."The price was around what we knew they wanted - she's eligible for the French premiums so we had to pay what we had to pay."
"We're keen on Casamento but just loved the individual," said Ed Player of Whatton Manor. "We've always wanted to buy from Jockey Hall but had never been able to afford it, so we were very pleased when we got this colt last year - Jackie does a great job."I've loved this horse from day one - he's never turned a hair. He was very popular from the moment he got here and we thought he might make £50,000 but never dreamed he could go that far. And it's great he's gone to such a good place - he has a real chance of being a good racehorse. We wish the Hannons the best of luck."
"I’m delighted, we brought a very strong draft to the sale," said Carolyn Warren of Highclere Stud. "The yearling was bred by the Keswicks who have Rockcliffe Stud and owned Sky Lantern.The colt was always a gorgeous horse and I said he would do well at Doncaster. I was very confident he would go for a lot and thought he was a perfect yearling for the sale. Its been a very good day, I'm thrilled."
"He's a lovely colt by a wonderful stallion," said Houldsworth. "He's going to Charlie Hills. The owners are very enthusiastic, knowledgeable people and we're very pleased to have bought them such a lovely horse."Houldsworth added: "It's a very strong market for the good colts."
"She's a lovely, racy filly by one of the best stallions in Europe," said Doyle. "We've been lucky with Dark Angel from day one. She's come from a very good farm."She's for Al Shaqab and Richard [Hannon] was mad about her."This has been a very lucky sale for us in the past and we've managed to get a good few today."