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Keeneland Sales: Highest-priced yearling since 1985.

MEMORIES of the bidding wars of the 1980s were revived yesterday when Sheikh Mohammed and

Coolmore Stud locked horns in

an amazing duel which saw a yearling knocked down for $6.8 million (pounds 5 million)-the highest price

for 15 years.

In the end it was Demi O'Byrne, acting for Coolmore, who outbid Sheikh Mohammed's adviser John Ferguson for the yearling-a colt by Storm Cat, one of the world's most prized stallions-on day two of Keeneland's September Yearling Sale in Kentucky.

"We would have gone higher," O'Byrne told a throng of waiting reporters after a round of applause had circulated the sale-ring.

The yearling is by the sire of Giant's Causeway, the winner of five consecutive Group 1 races this year, and is a half-brother to a champion US two-year-old filly, Storm Song. His price is the highest since Seattle Dancer was sold for $13.1 million in 1985.

The colt could follow the same route as many of the Coolmore purchases in Kentucky, and be put into training with Aidan O'Brien at

Ballydoyle.

Ferguson said: "Obviously, he's a very nice horse and they rated him more highly than we did. We wish the best of luck to Demi and the rest of his group."

O'Byrne had ended up on the wrong end of a similar duel for the previous Keeneland

September record-holder, a $3.9 million Kris S colt bought by Sheikh Mohammed last year and subsequently named Dubai To Dubai.

Consigned by Kentucky's Lane's End Farm, as agent, the $6.8 million Storm Cat colt is out of the 11-year-old mare Hum Along, by Fappiano.

Will Farish, owner of Lane's End, said: "The price was definitely a shock. We thought he was going to do well, but we had no idea he would go that high."

Lane's End had been criticised in the summer for not sending its usual consignment to the more prestigious Keeneland July Sale, but

Farish said that yesterday's price was vindication of his

decision to wait until September.

"This colt is a perfect example. He never could have been ready for the July Sale," Farish said.

Of the bidding itself, he added: "There seemed to be four or five people bidding through $2 million, then at about $3 miilion it was only Demi and Sheikh Mohammed. Those two didn't want to let go."

Another big price was achieved early yesterday when a partnership of Satish Sanan's Padua Stables, Olin Gentry and John Gaines went to $3.6 million for another colt by Storm Cat, this time out of Grade 3 winner Lily Capote and consigned by Hartwell Farm.

Gentry, who said that the partnership will continue to

remain active at the sale, indicated that the colt will be sent to trainer Wayne Lukas.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Sparkman, John; Smurthwaite, Tony
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 13, 2000
Words:460
Previous Article:Drivers anxious but supportive.
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