Yearling Sales REVIEW

Resilience on the rebound

The yearling market’s ability to not only withstand the challenges created by the ongoing global pandemic but to actively bounce back from last year’s blows is staggering

 Words: Aisling Crowe of the Racing Post


Arqana returned to its usual August date after the Covid-induced delay of 2020 and it was back to business as usual for the sale which had morphed into the September Select Sale for 2020. Only two yearlings sold for seven-figure prices, but they were typical of the blue-blooded pedigrees one easily finds by the sea in Deauville.

Top of the results sheet was the Dubawi filly from a famous Niarchos family pedigree. Lot 108 was consigned by Haras d’Etreham and is a half-sister to the 2021 Group 2 Prix de Malleret winner Babylone, the first foal of their dam Typique, a Galileo half-sister to the dam of Group 1 Prix de Diane winner Senga out of the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac winner Denebola by Storm Cat. Her dam, the dual Group 1-winning juvenile Coup De Genie, is a full sister to the great Machiavellian and the family is that of Maxios, Bago and Emollient.

Bred on the Dubawi–Galileo cross that has produced Darley’s excellent young sire Night Of Thunder and the champion Ghaiyyath, along with seven other black-type winners at a stakes winners-to-runners rate of 14.29 per cent, she was bought for €2.4m by Charlie Gordon Watson and will be trained by the master Andre Fabre.

The other yearling to break the six-figure barrier at Arqana was a colt by Siyouni whose two-year-old half-brother Angel Bleu was a Group 2 winner at the time of the sale but subsequently won the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère and the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint Cloud for Ralph Beckett, Frankie Dettori and Marc Chan.

Offered by Ecurie des Monceaux, the colt is the second foal out of Cercle de la Vie who is a Galileo full sister to the globetrotting seven times Group 1 winner Highland Reel, Cape Of Good Hope, who won the Group 1 Caulfield Cup and the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes winner Idaho, who was also placed in the Derby, Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Agent Oliver St Lawrence bought the colt for €1.5m on behalf of Fawzi Nass.

Second dam Hveger was third in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks and is a Danehill full sister to five-time Group 1 winner Elvstroem and a half-sister to the Group 1 winner Haradasun, a Group 1 winner in Europe and Australia. 

The results were satisfactory and bore a resemblance to the years before Covid, with turnover exceeding €40m for the fourth time in six renewals of the sale. The top price was the second highest in the sale’s history and the clearance rate remained steady at 75.08 per cent, compared to 75 percent in 2019.

Both the average and median declined in comparison with those recorded in 2019 with the average dropping 13 points to €162,638 and the median experiencing a steeper drop, down 20 per cent to €100,000.

Dubawi was the sire with the highest average with six sold at an average of €860,000 while progeny of Coolmore’s first-season sires Saxon Warrior and U S Navy Flag were in demand. Saxon Warrior led the way for first-crop sires with more than one sold, five yearlings achieving an average of €155,000, which is slightly more than five times his 2019 covering fee of €30,000. U S Navy Flag stood for €5,000 less in 2019 and his Arqana average was €127,500, which again was a little above five times his covering fee. 


The Doncaster sale had suffered the double-whammy of Covid and lack of Shadwell action, and with the sad passing of the late Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum this year, his absence would be keenly felt in more ways than one.

However the Premier Sale, with a catalogue that had been pruned to emphasise the quality on offer, offered a glimpse of what was to come, rebounding from 2020 to post strong gains on the figures posted the previous year.

With just 327 yearlings sold, turnover came to €13,340,000 which was 15.71 per cent higher than in 2020 from 12 fewer horses sold. The average grew by almost 20 per cent on 2020’s figure, coming in at £40,795 and the median rose from £27,000 to £32,000. The clearance rate of 89 per cent demonstrated how strong the appetite was for the yearlings on offer at Doncaster and would be repeated throughout the yearling sales season. 

In total, 13 yearlings achieved six-figure prices and they were headed by a colt from the first crop of Darley’s Group 1 July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup winner Harry Angel. The sale-topper will be trained by Clive Cox, the man who masterminded Harry Angel’s ascent to the top rungs of the sprinting ladder. Agent Alex Elliott bought the colt who was consigned by Houghton Bloodstock on behalf of breeders Cheveley Park Stud.

Lot 296 is the third foal out of the Listed Valiant Stakes winner Red Box by Exceed And Excel and she has already produced a winner with her first foal, the Le Havre gelding Secret Box. Red Box is a daughter of Cheveley Park’s Group 1 Prix de Diane winner Confidential Lady. The sale helped Harry Angel become the leading first-season sire by average with five sold for an average of £92,000.

Only one other yearling from the 13 who broke through the six-figure barrier sold for more than £200,000. That was Tally-Ho Stud’s Kodiac colt out of the Pivotal mare Stunner, so bred on the cross that has produced three stakes winners from 27 runners headed by the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes and Group 1 Flying Five Stakes winner Fairyland. 

Lot 359 was bought by Blandford Bloodstock on behalf of Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum to go into training with Richard Fahey. He is the first foal of his dam who is an unraced daughter of the Listed Blue Wind Stakes winner Adonesque, a Sadler’s Wells’ half-sister to the Group 1 winner and champion sire Danehill Dancer. 

The Silver Sale drew a much smaller group of horses but recorded improved average and median prices from 2020. The former increased slightly, up nine points to £8,848 with the median jumping 36 per cent to £7,500. From 69 horses offered, 46 were sold with the clearance rate coming in at 67 per cent. Turnover reached £407,000.

Sarah Fanning sold the highest-priced yearling of the 46; a son of Darley Australia’s former shuttler stallion Brazen Beau who made £30,000 to Scuderia Semoso. 


Tattersalls Ireland made the decision early in the summer to switch venues once more to Newmarket due to the uncertainty created by the Irish government’s last minute intervention in the Derby Sale. The move proved no hindrance to the sale which reached new heights recording ITS highest ever turnover, average and median.

For 402 yearlings sold across the two sessions, the total sales figure was €12,779,580, a whopping 59.56 per cent higher than in 2020. The sale average grew by almost one third to €31,790 and the median increased by a similar margin, to €23,496 from €17,582 in 2020. Again the trend for a high clearance rate continued with the September Yearling Sale reaching 90 per cent.

There were half a dozen yearlings who made six-figure sums and in total 62 horses sold for at least £50,000. Top lot honours went to the Exceed And Excel half-sister to 2021’s Group 2 Lowther Stakes and Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes winner Zain Claudette. Consigned by Castlehyde Stud, she was bought for a sales record price for a filly of £200,000 by her half-sister’s trainer and owner Ismail Mohammed and Saeed H Al Tayer.

Smooth Daddy, a Grade 3 winner by the late, lamented Scat Daddy, achieved the highest price for a member of his first crop with the £120,000 purchase of a colt from Kildallan Farm by Charlie Johnston, son of trainer Mark. Lot 293 has the stars and stripes hardwired into his DNA; he is the first foal out of Silesie, an American-bred daughter of the Irish 2000 Guineas and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician. The colt is closely related to stakes winner Surfside Tiara, a Scat Daddy half-sister to Silesie.

Part Two of the sale also returned to health with turnover increasing by 97 per cent to £575,897. Both the average and median showed substantial improvement also with the average increasing by 60 per cent to £8,227 and the median up by 63 per cent to £6,100. 


Goffs’ flagship yearling sale suffered severely in 2020 but came roaring back to life in 2021. The introduction of the Goffs Million, which will be Europe’s richest two-year-old race in 2022, and the efforts of the Goffs team, notably agent Jacob West, in attracting American buyers to Kildare were rewarded handsomely.

Ben McElroy, who purchased Breeders’ Cup winner Twilight Gleaming at the 2020 Orby Sale which was held at Goffs’ UK complex in Doncaster, was amongst a host of US buyers who descended on Kildare Paddocks. West himself, along with White Birch Farm, DJ Stable, My Racehorse and Kenny McPeek were on the buyers’ sheet. 

Fillies by Galileo have always sold strongly here and this year was no exception with top lot honours going to a daughter of the late, great champion. Lot 152 is the first foal of Grade 1 Frizette Stakes winner Nickname, by Scat Daddy, a stallion whose premature death remains a keenly felt loss. She was knocked down to MV Magnier and is the first Orby sale-topper sold by David and Tamso Cox’s Baroda Stud. 

The second session of the sale was headlined by the Camelot full brother to Luxembourg, ante-post favourite for next year’s Derby, making €1.2m to MV Magnier, a record price for a yearling by the 2000 Guineas and Derby winner.

Bred by Ben and Lucy Sangster from Danehill Dancer mare Attire, the colt (pictured above) was offered through the Castlebridge Consignment, and his full brother had just won the Group 2 Beresford Stakes days before the sale. Luxembourg would then go on to enhance his reputation with victory in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity, a race won by Camelot himself ten years previously.

They were the two yearlings who fetched seven-figure sums with a total of eight making at least €500,000. There were 28 lots who sold for a minimum of €250,000 and in total 138 of the 371 yearlings achieved a six- or seven-figure price.

The Orby Sale posted a striking clearance rate of 91 per cent and turnover grew by 74 per cent to €40,581,800 from €23,299,245 in 2020. The average price returned to six figures, growing by 46 per cent on 2020 to reach €109,990 in 2021. The median also grew substantially from €52,000 in 2020 to €74,000, an increase of 44 per cent. 


The high clearance rates that were seen at the Irish and British yearling sales continued to Goffs Sportsmans Sale, which now offers purchasers the opportunity to run in the Sportmans’ Challenge for two-year-olds at Naas next season and saw 91 per cent of the yearlings on offer change hands.

A trio of six-figure yearlings topped the sale, driving strong increases in all the key indices and they were headed by a filly from the Shadwell gene pool. Lot 475, a daughter of Dark Angel, was bred by Shadwell and consigned through Lumville Farm, and is the first foal out of the Listed Prix La Camargo third Ghazawaat by Siyouni. She brought €140,000 from agent Cathy Grassick.

Siyouni also featured in the pedigree of the most expensive colt in the sale; this time as sire of Lot 577. Offered by the Castlebridge Consignment, he was bought by Tom Whitehead’s Powerstown Stud for €105,000 and is the first foal out of Miss Aiglonne, a Dawn Approach half-sister to Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan winner Mekhtaal.

The US interest remained influential during the Sportsmans Sale and the yearling that topped the second session headed Stateside. The colt by one of 2020’s leading first-season sires, the Group 1 Dewhurst and Lockinge Stakes winner Belardo, was sold by breeder Denis McDonnell to Ben McElroy and Alex Elliott on behalf of trainer Wesley Ward for €100,000.

Overall trade was vibrant throughout the two days and turnover increased by an incredible 156 per cent to €6,962,500 from €2,714,646 a year previously. The average jumped 41 points to €20,722 from €14,674 and the median improved by a similar margin, up 45 per cent from €11,000 to €16,000. 


For the first time ever, Sea The Stars provided the most expensive yearling of Book 1 with his daughter out of Group 2 Queen Mary and Lowther Stakes winner Best Terms selling for 1.5m guineas to Anthony Stroud on behalf of Godolphin.

Consigned by Newsells Park Stud on behalf of breeders Robert and Ann Barnett, she is a full sister to the Listed winner and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac third Star Terms and a half-sister to the Listed winner Fresh Terms by New Approach.

The regally-bred Sea The Stars colt out of So Mi Dar earned the title of most expensive colt at the sale, making 1.2m guineas to Charlie Gordon Watson and Woodford Racing. He was sold by his breeders Lord Andrew and Lady Madeline Lloyd Webber’s Watership Down Stud and is the second foal out of their homebred Group 3 Musidora Stakes winner and Group 1 Prix de l’Opera third So Mi Dar, who is a Dubawi full sister to European champion two-year-old colt and European champion three-year-old miler Too Darn Hot and the Group 2 Galtres Stakes winner and Group 1 St Leger, Yorkshire Oaks and British Champions’ Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes-placed Lah Ti Dar. They are out of the couple’s homebred triple Group 1 winner Dar Re Mi by Singspiel and out of Darara.

The Dubawi half-sister to Arc hero and Ballylinch Stud young sire Waldgeist was one of a quintet of yearlings who broke the 1m guineas barrier at the 2021 Book 1 Sale. Consigned by Newsells Park Stud, co-breeders of the filly with Gestuet Ammerland, she was bought by Baroda Stud’s David Cox on behalf of Al’Shiraa Farms. The operation, which encompasses a wide range of equine activity, was founded by Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and its thoroughbred base of operations is Meadow Court Stud in County Kildare.

The outfit, under the guidance of Kieran Lawlor, was busy purchasing well-related fillies to race and later breed from at the European yearling sales in 2021. At Goffs Orby, Al Shira’aa Farms also bought the half-sisters to this year’s 1000 and 2000 Guineas winners Mother Earth and Poetic Flare.

Overall 30 yearlings achieved at least 500,000gns during the three days of trade with 119 making at least 250,000gns and 292 achieving six-figure sales. A total of 375 yearlings were sold for 86,369,000gns for an average of 230,317gns, which was a small gain of three per cent on 2020. What was most telling was the median which improved by 23 per cent to 160,000gns. 


If Book 1 was all about consolidation, then the following Book 2 was about growth as turnover broke 50m guineas for the first time, representing extraordinary progress in a decade. In 2011 the sale’s turnover was 25,284,500gns and in 2021, it was more than double that at 54,512,000gns.

Along with record-breaking turnover the sale also recorded record-breaking average and median figures with the average hitting the 80,000gns mark for the first time and the median going above 60,000gns, also a first for the sale. In fact the average of 83,865gns was 10 per cent higher than the average of a remarkably resilient Book 2 sale in 2020 while the median leapt 24 per cent to 62,500gns.

The unprecedented growth was headed by a Kingman colt out of Reem who made 525,000gns to his sire’s owner and breeder Juddmonte Farms. Offered by Adrian O’Brien’s Hazelwood Bloodstock, he is out of the Meydan Listed winner Reem by Galileo and is a full brother to the multiple winner King Leonidas.

He was one of 182 yearlings from the 650 that were sold during the sale to make at least 100,000gns with 45 selling for a minimum of 200,000gns, down slightly from the 48 who achieved that price in 2020. All this was achieved, like in every other sale, without the purchasing power of Shadwell. 


Book 3 picked up the baton from Book 2 and continued the record-breaking run for Tattersalls’ October Yearling Sales. Again, all the key indicators posted record returns with the robustness of the European yearling sales market highlighted once more by the voracious appetite of buyers.

The aggregate of 10,593,150gns was the first time the sale had recorded turnover in excess of 10m guineas. It was a similar story for the sale’s average which went above 20,000gns for the first time, achieving a high of 22,491gns, which was 40 per cent higher than in 2020. The median climbed even more significantly, the 2021 figure of 18,000gns 64 per cent higher than that of last year.

Seven yearlings sold for a minimum of 50,000gns compared to one during the Book 3 sessions in 2020.

The leading British-based first-season sire Time Test was responsible for the two highest-priced yearlings on offer, with Time Test’s colt out of the Shamardal mare Purest almost reaching six figures. Consigned by Whatton Manor Stud on behalf of breeder Nicky Welby, he was knocked down to Montgomery Motto, the former Florida trainer who relocated to Europe in recent years, for 95,000gns.


Decimated by Covid in 2020 and forced to morph into an online sale, Goffs’ Autumn Yearling Sale rose from the ashes like a phoenix reborn in early November, smashing records and posting astonishing growth figures.

Demand pushed the clearance rate to 92 per cent, with 431 of the 471 yearlings offered for sale changing hands. The aggregate improved by an amazing 456 per cent from the previous year, which had dropped 35 points on 2019, coming in at €6,080,400. The average and median in 2020 had in fact increased by ten per cent on the previous year but in 2021 the level of growth achieved was stunning. The average improved by 119 per cent to €14,108 while the median jumped 105 per cent to €9,000.

The growth was fed in part by the large draft of yearlings offered as part of the massive restructuring of Shadwell Estates, which was responsible for the four highest-priced yearlings, all of which were sold for figures in excess of €100,000.

However if the Shadwell horses were removed from the equation, the sale would still have recorded impressive growth: the turnover would have grown by a massive 320 per cent and the average would have leaped 76 per cent, demonstrating just how remarkable the European yearling sales season has been in 2021.

Year Cat'd Offrd Sold Aggregate Average  Median (Gns)
2017 502 442 349 102,290,000 293,095 165,000
2018 519 456 392 106,503,000 271,691 167,500
2019 446 552 397 102,429,000 258,008 150,000
2020 548 446 369 82,385,000 223,266 130,000
2021  502 453 375 86,369,000 230,317 160,000
Year CAT'D OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (Gns)
2017 805 743 613 48,022,000 78,339 55,000
2018 804 736 631 48,458,500 76,796 55,000
2019 791 730 620 48,499,000 78,224 55,500
2020 816 747 637 48,362,500 75,922 50,000
2021 808 735 650 54,512,000 83,865 62,000
Year CAT'D OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (GNS)
2017 662 596 473 7,839,450 16,574 11,000
2018 652 587 472 7,590,800 16,082 10,000
2019 605 545 434 7,007,900 16,147 10,000
2020 602 538 459 7,367,200 16,051 11,000
2021 612 547 471 10,593,150 22,491 18,000
Year CAT'D OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (GNS)
48 38 26 96,900 3,727 3,250
2018 123 103 57 179,100 3,142 2,000
2019 137 95 51 219,700 4,308 2,200
2020 83 65 42 153,500 3,655 2,500
2021 98 74 46 184,200 4,004 3,000
Year Offrd Sold Aggregate Average  Median (€)
2017 433 373 40,702,500 109,122 65,000
2018 369 328 43,497,000 132,613 80,000
2019 429 364 42,927,500 117,933 65,000
*2020 (£) 389 311 23,382,160 75,184 51,980
2021 409 371 40,561,500 109,330 75,000

* Held in Doncaster, figures converted to euros (€)

Year OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (€)
2017 274 232 4,834,500 20,838 16,000
2018 268 228 4,325,500 18,971 15,000
2019 360 283 4,854,900 17,155 13,000
*2020 (£) 273 185 2,730,499 14,759 11,059
2021 368 337 6,967,300 20,674 16,000

* Held in Doncaster, figures converted to euros (€)

Year Cat'd Offrd Sold Aggregate Average  Median (€)
487 448 401 11,451,000 28,556 23,000
2018 560 526 411 10,488,000 25,518 20,000
2019 480 451 388 9,415,500 24,267 20,000
*2020 447 396 333 8,009,140 24,051 17,582
2021 489 448 402 12,779,580 31,790 23,496

* Held in Newmarket, figures converted to euros (€)

Year OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (£)
2017 443 391 19,822,750 50,698 37,000
2018 473 420 19,066,500 45,396 35,000
2019 448 397 18,468,000 46,519 35,000
2020 403 339 11,528,500 34,007 27,000
2021  366 327 13,340,000 40,795 32,000
Year OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (£)
2017 137 120 1,411,500 11,763 10,000
2018 166 136 1,385,400 10,187 8,250
2019 160 104 841,800 8,094 5,500
*2020 229 160 786,400 4,915 3,000
2021 69 47 415,000 8,830 8,000

 * Sale merged with Goffs UK’s Autumn Sale in October

Year OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (€)
2017 305 231 38,250,500 165,587 110,000
2018 316 230 36,786,000 159,939 107,500
2019 304 228 42,829,000 187,846 125,000
*2020 416 308 37,457,500 121,615 70,000
2021 325 244 39,912,000 163,574 100,000

* Held in September as Vente de Selection, including some of the Part 2 yearlings

Year OFFRD SOLD AGGREGATE Average  Median (€)
2017 130 107 4,196,500 39,220 30,000
2018 132 107 3,534,000 33,028 27,000
2019 139 110 4,080,000 37,091 31,000
2020 reduced version of sale incorporated into Vente de Selection
2021 129 96 2,912,500 30,339 24,500
Year OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (€)
606 491 20,562,500 41,879 27,000
2018 571 452 18,236,000 40,345 26,000
2019 563 417  17,181,000 41,201 25,000
*2020 710 578 18,062,000 31,249 20,000
2021 694 582 26,548,000 45,616 27,500

* incorporating Osarus’ La Teste September Yearling Sale 

Year OFFRD Sold Aggregate Average  Median (€)
2017 256 201 4,001,000 21,674 16,000
2018 258 212 4,457,500 22,946 17,000
2019 258 201 4,097,000 21,011 17,000
*2020 merged with Arqana’s October Yearling Sale
2021 261 164 1,732,000 11,633 9,000

*Held in Newmarket, figures converted to euros