Sheikh Mohammed planning for the future

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid revitalized a flagging bloodstock market with a few purchases, including the son of Bernardini for US$1.2 million.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, injected new life into a flagging bloodstock market when he bought a son of Bernardini for US$1.2 million (Dh4.4m) at the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale at Saratoga, New York.

The yearling, who was sired by the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up, formed part of a select brigade of seven horses that were signed for by John Ferguson, the Sheikh's bloodstock adviser.

Tuesday night's haul is in addition to the $4.1m Ferguson spent on Monday night for six horses on behalf of the founder of the Godolphin racing operation.

Despite volatile markets in the US and Europe, Ferguson's spree in Saratoga totalled $8m, which was equal to 25.9 per cent of the total sale. The figure was higher than Sheikh Mohammed's purchases last year ($6.45m) but lower than the $11.85m worth of yearlings he bought in 2009.

The cornerstone of Monday's purchases was a son of the Darley stallion Medaglia D'Oro, who finished second in the 2004 Dubai World Cup.

No 56 in the catalogue, Superfection cost $1.2m and is a half-brother to Super Saver, the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner.

Flanked by Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, and Ferguson, Sheikh Mohammed was delighted at securing the Bernardini yearling.

"Sheikh Mohammed loved him because he's really athletic - he's a horse that can really move," Ferguson said of the bay.

Ferguson averaged $656,154 per horse and eight of his acquisitions made the top 10 sellers during the two-day sale. It was clear, however, that Sheikh Mohammed wanted to bolster his Darley operation, and alongside Superfection, he also bought two others by Medaglia D'Oro, six by Bernardini and two by Street Cry, the 2002 Dubai World Cup winner. All three stallions stand at Sheikh Mohammed's Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

Bloodstock prices have fallen and numbers of horses failing to meet their reserves have increased since the global economic crisis took hold. Considering only one horse went for $1.2 million in 2010 and the average price per horse went up 15.9 per cent to $319,340 on last year at Fasig-Tipton, the bloodstock industry had reason to cheer.

"Obviously, we're very pleased," Boyd Browing, the president of Fasig-Tipton, said. "It starts with quality horses and we've had quality horses on these sale grounds, and buyers responded.

"It's a very encouraging sign for us and hopefully for the thoroughbred market. I would describe it as a ... good horse sale."

Published: August 11, 2011 04:00 AM


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