Sales Round Up 2022
Overseas buyers are making their presence felt as trade continued to be strong in 2022
Words: John Berry • Photos: Peter Mooney / David Betts
TATTERSALLS FEBRUARY SALE
In recent years, Tattersalls’ February Sale has provided a solid start to the bloodstock year and in 2022 it again gave a clear indication that strong trade was going to be a theme of the year. It should be noted that the 2018 sale was an aberration as the catalogue included a dispersal of Markus Jooste’s bloodstock after the South African entrepreneur had run into financial difficulties and the top lot (Willie John, whom he owned in partnership with the China Horse Club, who was sold out of William Haggas’ stable as seemingly a promising Classic prospect, notwithstanding that more recently he ended the 2022 season with a BHA rating of 62 and on a losing run of 18) single-handedly distorted the figures by fetching 1,900,000 guineas. That aside, the sale has been on a more or less constant upward trajectory (with only a slight Covid-induced blip in 2021). Even by the standards of that positive trend, the 2022 February Sale posted remarkably strong results, with aggregate, average and median figures all showing a great leap forward. Starts to a year don’t come much more promising than that.
The implication that 2022 was going to see strong trade was re-enforced at the principal breeze-up sales in the spring, with the two in Newmarket (at the Craven and the Guineas meetings) doing most to paint a buoyant picture. Breeze-up sales in general, and Tattersalls’ Craven Sale in particular, had been given the perfect endorsement the previous autumn when Native Trail, a graduate at that auction at which he was bought by Godolphin for 210,000 guineas, was crowned Europe’s champion two-year-old. Purchasers, both domestic and international, were out in force the following spring in the quest to find another Native Trail, with both of Tattersalls’ breeze-up sales posting significant advances in all the figures.
Native Trail, incidentally, provided an interesting snapshot of the modern bloodstock world, in which ‘trading’ is a much bigger factor than ever before, in that he had changed hands no fewer than three times – as a weanling, yearling and two-year-old - before he made his debut in a two-year-old maiden race at Sandown in June 2021.
Just as Tattersalls’ February Sale provides a guide to what might happen in the coming year, its July Sale can be seen as providing an informative half-term report. In 2022 this report was at least as positive as the message delivered in February. With the difficulties of moving both people and horses during the summer of 2020 because of Covid, Tattersalls had created a new August Sale to cater for horses which hadn’t been able to make it to Park Paddocks in July. The has remained in place and continued to grow without doing anything to detract from demand in July. The July Sale took a great leap forward in 2022, further emphasising the current strength of trade at bloodstock sales and, in particular, sales which have a strong international clientele present.
When the autumn’s round of yearling sales arrived, the market maintained its buoyancy, although one observation should be made: the two sales which boast a six-figure median (i.e. Tattersalls’ October Sale and Arqana’s August Sale) showed much more notable increases than the others. It is clear that the bulk of the impetus, at the top level anyway, comes from overseas buyers, who are ubiquitous at any Tattersalls auction nowadays.
One interesting aspect at Tattersalls was that the influence of the overseas buyers meant that the controversial and generally discredited theory of ‘trickle-down economics’ does sometimes work. Book Four tends to be low-key and of domestic interest only, but this year it showed huge percentage gains, after many purchasers had been unable to fill their orders from the 2,012 lots of Books One, Two and Three.
Leaving aside the bare figures, an interesting illustration of the strength of the market at Tattersalls was that there were no fewer than 16 yearlings (nearly all by either Frankel or Dubawi) who fetched a seven-figure sum, compared to five in 2021, nine in 2020 and 10 in 2019. By contrast, Goffs’ Orby Sale contained only one seven-figure lot, a No Nay Never half-sister to Blackbeard (who had just recorded his second Group 1 triumph by taking the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket the previous weekend) who was sold by Glenvale Stud for €2,600,000. Her price was a long way ahead of the sale’s second top lot, a Galileo filly sold by Newton Anner Stud for €750,000. This column has made the point previously and will make it again: it is hard to know what more Goffs, who do a great job in publicising their sale and getting buyers to it, can be expected to do to entice more Irish vendors to sell their best prospects ‘at home’ rather than in Newmarket.
TATTERSALLS HORSES IN TRAINING SALE
While there will have been plenty of people who offered lower-grade stock who found that their horses were worth a lot less than they had paid for them a year or two previously, the message from the horses-in-training sales in the autumn, particularly at Tattersalls’ Autumn Sale, was that any (reasonably) sound horse whose form gives him/her some international appeal is a valuable item at present.
NATIONAL HUNT SALES
By contrast with the trade for flat horses, national hunt racing is a purely domestic concern, apart from the occasional good horse being recruited from Ireland or Britain to run in America. What is particularly encouraging is that, while on the flat it is international demand which underpins the strength of the market, both Goffs and Tattersalls Ireland posted extremely healthy returns at their principal sales of NH prospects. Long may such a healthy situation persist!