F.B.A. Review of 2013
The 2012 flat racing season was always going to be a tough act to follow after the excitements of Frankel but as ever, new stars appeared on the track and new owners hit the headlines.
Sheikh Joaan Al Thani of Qatar became one of racing’s new superpower owners, with four Group 1 winners. The stand out was star filly Treve (by Motivator) who stormed home to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe having been acquired privately after winning the Prix de Diane for the Head family. Others under the same ownership included Olympic Glory and Toronado.
Sky Lantern lit up the season for Richard Hannon in what was to be his final year training before handing over the reins to his son Richard Jnr. Her Group 1 wins in the 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes being a further reminder of just what a master of his craft Hannon Snr has been over so many years.
Although retired from the track, Frankel proved just as professional at stud covering a stunning first book of mares. At the time of writing in the Spring of 2014, his first foals are already hitting the ground with some really good individuals being reported.
Leading sire New Approach had a successful year for Darley, supplying two Classic winners in the 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach and the Oaks winner Talent, whilst Galileo claimed the European sires’ championship for a fourth consecutive year. It was a comeback season for Darley stallion Iffraaj, having Moyglare Stakes winner Rizzena, a Fillies Mile and a Breeders Cup win by Chriselliam and also New Zealand’s filly of the year, Fix.
Whilst new owners and breeders kept the bloodstock markets buoyant, one major player’s exit also caused some ripples in the auction ring. The effervescent Paul Makin decided to disperse his racing and breeding stock and chose Goffs as the venue. In his star studded draft, which included three Group 1 winners, the 2013 Irish Oaks winner Chicquita became the most expensive horse ever sold in Ireland when the hammer fell at €6 million.
Tattersalls also saw records smashed when Sheikh Joaan bought the Galileo sister to Oaks winner, Was, for 5,000,000gns on the second day of the October Yearling Sale Book 1, setting the world record price at auction for a yearling filly.
The Tattersalls December Mare Sale was a memorable occasion with total turnover rising from 44 million guineas in 2012 to a staggering 63 million guineas in 2013. Oaks winner Dancing Rain (in foal to Frankel) made 4,000,000gns to Sheikh Mohammed whilst dual Group 1 winner Immortal Verse sold for 4,700,000gns.
The racing and bloodstock world was greatly saddened by the death of legendary figure, Sir Henry Cecil. Crowned champion trainer on ten occasions and responsible for 25 British Classic winners, he battled cancer for several years before passing away aged 70.
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