Frankel and Trêve feature at Deauville yearling sales
The Arqana yearling sales are one of the star attractions of the Deauville August racing festival, writes Nigel Howard. Scheduled for 15-17 August, neatly slotted around the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le Buffard - Jacques Le Marois on Sunday 16 August, this year's sale is again brimming with quality and brings together 374 blueblood colts and fillies.
In what is now a familiar format, the sales are conducted in two distinct instalments. The first takes place between Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 August (after the day’s race meeting is over, of course) with each session proposing 94 quality lots aimed unashamedly at wealthy international buyers. The second round takes place on Monday 17 August and includes 186 lots of high quality stock but generally more accessible to the domestic market.
The yearling sales have been an integral part of the August festival since 1887; however Arqana was formed as recently as 2006 through the merger of auctioneers L’Agence Française de Vente du Pur-sang and Goffs France. It was the Aga Khan who initiated the merger and indeed he retains the majority shareholding in the operation. Eric Hoyeau, CEO of Arqana, explains the appeal of the August sales to buyers around the world, "the reputation of the August sales continues to grow worldwide thanks to the unique cocktail that is offered: yearlings of the finest quality, a festive and convivial atmosphere and an ideal positioning around one of the most prestigious race meetings of the year".
There is little doubt that the Prix Jacques Le Marois provides the perfect side show to this event with the sales ring just over the road from the Hippodrome. Furthermore, chronologically, these sales are the first in the European calendar to offer selected yearlings. As a result, investors are itching to get their hands on the star lots and hence potential classic winners of the future.
This year's event sees the first progeny of Prince Khalid Abdullah's invincible Frankel. By Galileo out of the speedy Abdullah-owned Kind, trained by Rodger Charlton, Frankel boasted fourteen victories in as many outings of which ten were Group 1 events. Six of his first crop are due to enter the ring, most notably lot 159, a half-sister to Stacelita, herself winner of six Group 1 events including the Prix Diane and Prix Vermeille, presented by the Haras des Capucines. Also lot 165, entered by the Haras du Mézeray, a half-brother of Naaqoos, winner of the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (Group 1).
Other highlights include the first French progeny of champion Australian sire and multiple Group 1 winner, Redoute's Choice. A son of the phenomenal international sire Danehill, he was shipped to France in 2013 where he stood at the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval. Over the year he covered the likes of unbeaten 2008 European Horse of the Year, Zarkava, and Born Gold, dam of the mighty Goldikova. Sixteen of his progeny are up for grabs, including lot 182, a colt out of the Aga Khan’s Vadawina, a daughter of Unfuwain and winner of the Prix Saint-Alary (Group 1) and placed in the Prix Diane.
However, top billing will surely be reserved for lot 176, registered for Sunday's sale and entered by the Haras de Quesnay. A filly by Motivator out of Trévise means she is a full sister to dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Trêve. The Haras de Quesnay, owned and managed by Alec Head and family, also have some classy lots from first season sires Excelebration, winner of the Prix Jacques le Marois in 2012; Nathaniel, a son of Galileo and winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in the same year; and, ex-Australian champion So You Think, a son of the now deceased Derby hero High Chaparral. He was famously purchased by the Coolmore machine back in 2011 for a reported 25 million Australian dollars. Campaigned in Europe at the age of four and five, he went on to prove himself a true champion by winning the Coral Eclipse Stakes in 2011 and the Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot the following year.
With this year’s catalogue awash with progeny from the likes of Danehill Dancer, Dubawi, Galileo, Invincible Spirit, Oasis Dream and Pivotal, as well as popular French sires Siyouni, Kendargent and Le Havre also represented, the sales are sure to prove as popular as ever. Moreover, if Trêve, who herself passed through the Deauville October sales back in 2011, goes on to lift her third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the reputation of the Arqana sales will only be further enhanced across the globe.