Sheikh snaps up gems as Sangster era closes

As one era ended here, the hopes and dreams of a clutch of new ones flickered into life. At 5.56 yesterday evening, the beech gavel of auctioneer Edmond Mahony fell as Lot 2242, the heavily pregnant six-year-old Angara, waddled sedately from the Tattersalls auction ring to mark the break-up of the broodmare band collected by the late Robert Sangster over three decades. As is customary with significant dispersals of breeding stock, the great and the good of the bloodstock world stood shoulder to shoulder in homage.

Sangster's influence on this business cannot be overstated. His vision, shared with trainer Vincent O'Brien during the Seventies, changed the face of racing in Europe as they introduced a smug domestic industry, so certain about the superiority of its horses, to faster US bloodlines.

Sangster's greatest legacy has been Sadler's Wells, who carried his colours to three Group One victories before attaining legendary status the 26-year-old patriarch has been champion sire a record 14 times at Coolmore Stud.

But the genetic excellence built up among the females under his Swettenham Stud banner is a highly desirable commodity, and last night 10 mares commanded a total of 8.5 million guineas and are now bound for nurseries all over the world.

Chief among them was Ocean Silk, acquired by Sheikh Mohammed for 3.2m guineas. The beautiful brown seven-year-old ran second in the Yorkshire Oaks four years ago, is out of a sister to top-class Divine Proportions, and is expecting a Pivotal foal in February. The Sheikh also acquired Playful Act, the star of the Sangster consignment at a Kentucky sale last month, for a world broodmare record of $10.5m.

Last night his racing manager, John Ferguson, who outbid the rival Coolmore camp after a prolonged battle, doffed his cap on behalf of the Sheikh to Sangster. "Robert was an amazing contributor to the industry as a whole and the Sheikh had the highest respect for him both as a man, and a lover of our sport."

In the past two months, the Sangster family have been selling mares, yearlings and foals, reducing 200 head of horses worldwide to a number small enough to suit those who want to carry on their father's work. Among the remaining nucleus, of course, is Classic prospect City Leader.

Angara, whose relatives include Cape Verdi, Arcangues and Aquarelliste, is due to Montjeu next month and will foal at the Roths childs' stud in Buckinghamshire after changing hands for 3m guineas.

"My father would have loved all this," said Sangster's son Ben. "He was at heart a horse trader and would have enjoyed this situation very much."

For a few years now elite fillies and mares have been regarded as a blue-chip commodity not only by the major established private and commercial breeding operations but by newcomers, businessmen and City boys with disposable income. "If anything is recession-proof," said leading agent Charlie Gordon-Watson, "then a top-class pedigree is. And the real A-list pedigrees don't come on the market that often."

Buying to breed and sell may have more investment appeal than buying to race ("Who can blame anyone," said London-based Gordon-Watson, "when the sums involved in keeping a horse in training are so imbalanced.") but this week has produced notable examples of runners being traded back for frightening profit.

The European auction record for a filly fell twice within an hour, firstly when Sander Camillo, who failed to train on at three this year but was a top-class juvenile, made 3.2m guineas and then when Group One winner Satwa Queen realised 3.4m, both bought by Sheikh Mohammed as broodmare prospects; after all, he has a portfolio of new stallions, including Authorized and Manduro, to support.

But the good times cannot roll forever in a volatile, high-risk business and this autumn life has been difficult down the food chain. With record foal crops in Britain and Ireland for the past four years, more than 17,000 each time, supply is outstripping demand. More horses means more bad horses and breeders are now reaping the whirlwind of the folly of reckless, indiscriminate production.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform