Lot 1097: HARLEM
New top lot as Alastair Donald outbids Tom Malone, standing with Joe Tizzard, at 520,000gns for this high-class stayer. Donald was signing in conjunction with Louis le Metayer's Astute Bloodstock.
A career in Australia with David Hayes now beckons.
The four-year-old Champs Elysees colt won the Listed Prix Frederic de Lagrange last year and returned this season to run placed in the Prix d'Hedouville and Grand Prix de Chantilly for Andre Fabre. He was also beaten less than four lengths in the Grand Prix de Paris.
"He is for a Hong Kong-based client, who is determined to win the Sydney Cup," said Donald. "I bought Spillway for the client and he won the Australia Cup for David Hayes."
Le Metayer added: "He is a beautiful horse who is lightly raced. His form also ties in with Grey Lion, who was second in the Geelong Cup, so that's strong."
He is the sole winner to date out of Casual, a winning Nayef relation to Trade Fair and Silver Touch.
Meanwhile, Willie Mullins has gained another high-profile recruit in Epicuris, the winner of the 2014 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.
The son of Rail Link was widely fancied for the Derby following that performance and did indeed head to Epsom the following June - but only after French officials denied Criquette Head-Maarek's request for equine behaviourist Nicolas Blondeau to assist with loading the quirky gelding in the Prix du Jockey Club (he had previously refused to load for the Prix Greffulhe). In the event, Epicuris ran creditably in fifth behind Golden Horn.
Epicuris has run three times since and was Listed-placed earlier this season.
"He'll go jumping but could head back on the Flat after that," said Kirk. "Sometimes jumping can sweeten up those horses and he's got the talent to one day become a Melbourne Cup horse. He's a classy horse and if we can get him to click, he'll be grand. He's a gorgeous horse too."