Arqana has an advantage over its counterparts in Britain and Ireland in so far as the company is able to stage a live sale in Deauville this week, with some encouraging returns posted from the first of two sessions of the February Sale on Monday.
Two six-figure lots were at the head of the action, and trade was fairly lively throughout, with the average being boosted by 22% to €13,669, while turnover was also up, by 23%, at €1,654,000 thanks to a much improved clearance rate of 77.5%. From a smaller offering of 156 for the day, 121 horses were sold at a median price of €6,500, up from €5,000 last year.
The colours of British National Hunt owner Robert Waley-Cohen have been carried with great success by some notable French-breds in recent years, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run (Fr) (Cadoudal Fr) and Topham Chase victrix Liberthine (Fr) (Chamberlin Fr). The latest acquisition by the owner of Warwickshire’s Upton Viva Stud was the leading light of day one, the AQPS gelding Hardi Du Mesnil (Fr) (Masterstroke). At €250,000, the 4-year-old half-brother to Gaillard Du Mesnil (Fr) (Saint Des Saints Fr), recent winner of a Grade 1 novices’ hurdle during the Dublin Racing Festival, had several pursuers, but it was David Powell who lasted longest on Waley-Cohen’s behalf.
He said, “He is a horse who deserves a bit of a battle. We are going to let him have a break for a while to strengthen up.”
Hardi Du Mesnil (lot 60) has to date won once on the Flat and, most recently, over hurdles at Pau in January for trainer Matthieu Palussiere.
The 7-year-old race mare Lady Paname (Fr) (Soldier Of Fortune Ire) was the day’s other six-figure lot, fetching a bid of €120,000 from Sebastien Desmontils of Chauvigny Global Equine standing alongside Pierric Rouxel of Haras de Maulepaire.
Having started her racing career in France under the care of Elie Lellouche, for whom she won and was placed in the G2 Qatar Prix Chaudenay and G3 Prix de Royaumont, Lady Paname was sold to race in America, where she won Grade 3 contests at Belmont and Aqueduct. Sold as lot 160 by La Motteraye Consignment, she is out of the dual winner Business Class (GB) (Aussie Rules GB). Her future will now be as a National Hunt broodmare, with Haras de Montaigu’s popular young stallion No Risk At All (Fr) slated to be her first partner.
“We bought her for a partnership between Ecurie Drost and Ecurie Tygaly,” explained Rouxel. “We’re delighted; she’s a mare we’ve been coveting for a while, and we love her very much. She’s going to be a broodmare and we will definitely be sending her to No Risk At All.”
A relatively new name on the breeding front, Austrian-based Sage Stud, made a well-credentialed signing through Chris Richner. The agent went to €85,000 for listed winner Oh Beautiful (Ire), a daughter of Galileo (Ire) in foal to Shalaa (Ire).
The 12-year-old mare (lot 148) has produced two winners from her three foals to race and is out of a half-sister to the storied race mare and producer Cassandra Go (Ire) (Indian Ridge Ire), whose talented dynasty includes the Group 1 winners Halfway To Heaven (Ire) (Pivotal GB) and Magical (Ire) (Galileo Ire).
“The owners have been in the business for over 30 years and recently bought Sage Stud and completely renovated it,” said Richner. “This is the third year that they have come to Arqana Sales to find quality mares.”
The progressive young steeplechaser Laskalin (Fr) (Martaline GB) was only added to the sale as a wildcard last week as lot 70 and he too found favour with a British-based owner, having being bought through agent Guy Petit for €77,000.
“After a rest, he will head to England to join the stable of Venetia Williams,” explained the agent. “He is no longer a novice but he has the ideal profile to deal with big handicaps. We are very pleased to have bought him.”
The 6-year-old, a full-brother to fellow black-type-winning jumper Laskaline (Fr), recently won the listed Prix Bernard de Dufau over fences at Pau for trainer Mikaël Mescam.
The final session of Arqana’s February Sale begins on Tuesday at 10am.