he cold snap of weather traditionally arrived just in time for the annual renewal of the Tattersalls December Sales. This year seemed a quicker turnaround than ever from yearlings to the mares and foals heading to the December sales, due to the coronavirus restrictions. Tattersalls did a brilliant job to ensure the that the sale still went ahead after the announcement of lockdown 2.0 and to still attract a number of strong international purchasers with the additional option of online bidding.

The December sales were full of highlights, none the less it was a bittersweet time as our Irish farm, Kiltinan Castle Stud had the honour of consigning the Floors Stud Part Dispersal draft. Seven foals were offered at the sale including an Invincible Spirit filly who hails from a family sprinkled in group glory. She is out of the Danehill Dancer mare, Prance; herself a half-sister to G3 heroine Cabaret who has produced two top level performers including dual G1 winner and young Coolmore sire Magna Grecia. This attractive filly sold to Blandford Bloodstock for 155,000gns.

Included in the foal draft was the son of the Galileo mare, Hibiscus. The black type mare is an own sister to G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf victor, Line Of Duty. This cracking colt is by Ballylinch’s top sire, Lope De Vega and he sold to Yeomanstown Stud for 220,000gns.

The Floors draft continued to set the ring alight with another strong draft of seven quality mares. The draft included eight-year-old mare, Twitch; a consistent performer at Listed and G3 level. She was sold in foal to the exciting sire Magna Grecia with a March cover to Cormac McCormack for 240,000gns.

The following lot, a Street Sense mare, Merry Jaunt benefited from a notable update just before the sale when her two-year-old Royal Pleasure won on debut. She was offered in foal to the popular sire Night Of Thunder and sold to Tally-Ho Stud for 230,000gns.

Stroud Coleman Bloodstock went to 425,000gns for the Redoute’s Choice mare, Deep Inside. This mare is a half-sister to the dual G3 winning filly Chrysanthemum and G3 Classic Trial winning, Cunco. There is hopefully plenty to look forward to with this mare, being only six years old. She has a lovely Kingman colt foal and is believed to be in foal to sire sensation Lope De Vega.

The final lot to enter the ring as part of the Floors Stud dispersal draft was Hibiscus. The Galileo mare has been covered by the brilliant Siyouni, already proving to be a successful cross. Her progeny has sold well in the ring recently, with the Lope De Vega colt foal selling for 220,000gns and her Fastnet Rock filly yearling made 200,000gns at this years’ Tattersalls October Book 1 sale, selling to Stroud Coleman Bloodstock. Hibiscus was purchased by Hugo Merry Bloodstock for 325,000gns.

The dispersal sale was an emotional time for all involved but we are confident that the mares and foals have found lovely homes that will continue the hard work and legacy that The Duke of Roxburge left behind. We are delighted to be welcoming a number of the retained mares to board at Watership Down Stud and we very much look forward to many more highlights on the track and in the ring.

Simon Marsh added, ‘I would like to thank all the staff at Floors Stud, who prepared the mares and foals so well and wish all those who purchased the mares and foals all the luck in the future. I would also like to thank all the staff at both studs for all their hard work and dedication they have shown during this very difficult year, without them nothing would happen.’

Kiltinan Castle Stud also consigned the beautifully bred filly Contemptuous on behalf of owner breeder, Bjorn Nielsen. The unraced four-year-old filly is a half-sister to outstanding multiple G1 heroine Lillie Langtry, the dam of the European Champion two and three-year-old Minding. She proved understandably popular at the sale, but the winning bid was held by Margaret O’Toole at 360,000gns.

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of our sales staff, the staff at home and the new owners of each and every horse we’ve sold this year. We look forward to another successful sales season next year, but that’s a wrap for 2020.

We have enjoyed lots of international success on the racecourse as well as in the sales ring during November. The beginning of the month kicked off with a win in Spain for the three-year-old colt Dansili colt, Lordofthehorizon bred by Robin Geffen. Back in the UK, Speightstown three-year-old filly, Animarix won the Bombadier handicap at Wolverhampton, by a comfortable couple of lengths for trainer Ed Walker.

Stonethorn Stud Farm’s bred Boerhan (Sea The Stars/Greenisland) won the Al Dhafra conditions race in Abu Dhabi for owner Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum and the following day saw Watership Down homebred, Total Commitment (Exceed And Excel/ Crysdal) win well in the 0-90+ Handicap at Kempton for owner Simon Hodgson.

Two winners at Chelmsford! We saw Lordship Stud’s bred Ghalyoon (Invincible Spirit/ Swiss Lake) win for Shadwell and Marcus Tregoning. The next day, three-year-old filly Trinity Girl (Teofilo/ Micaela’s Moon) won gamely in the CCR Handicap. The filly was bred by Jon Shack.

The consistent Gino Severini (Fastnet Rock/ Green Castle) won the valuable G3 Eagle technology stakes in Auckland, New Zealand for owners Able International Ltd. The six-year-old gelding added further prize money at the beginning of the month in the Carbine Club Trophy when running third, taking his tally of prize money past $200,000.

We’re very much looking forward to welcoming home Too Darn Hot from his stint down under. He will be heading back to Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud to standing his second European season at a fee of £45,000. We are excited to see his first crop of foals in the New Year.

We wish all of our followers a wonderful festive period, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the whole team at Watership Down Stud.

Photo courtesy of  Tattersalls