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Horse Racing: Eclectic mix as Doncaster gets European auction season under way; The four-day DBS January Sale, the opening European thoroughbred auction of the year, begins on Monday and features the ever-popular stallion parade. Nancy Sexton previews the action.

Byline: Nancy Sexton

THE European sales season comes out of hibernation next week when Doncaster stages its annual January Sale. Held from Monday to Thursday, the sale is split into three sections, offering something for every sector of the industry.

The first two days are devoted to unraced jumping stock, with more than 300 horses catalogued. Proceedings kick off with the TBA Kenneth Oliver Memorial Foal Show at 11am on Monday, to be judged by Gerry Griffin, Mark Pitman and David Redvers. The trio have the unenviable task of selecting a jumps-bred colt and filly from the catalogue who they believe is most likely to gain success on the racecourse.

Once the sale begins, Thisthatandtoher's half-sister Ancora (lot 36) is a likely star of the show. Also of interest is Pairtree (35), a half-sister to Our Ben, and Tiger Paws (89), a half-sister to Nearly A Moose. The Listed winner Funny Times (62) also catches the eye.

Two daughters of the Grade 1 Mumm Melling Chase heroine Opera Hat will follow each other through the ring as lots 24 and 25, while the fourth foal out of the top-class Lady Rebecca is catalogued as lot 15.

There is abundant quality during Tuesday's foal section, including a Definite Article half-brother to Diamond Sal (179) and an Oscar half-brother to Oulart (190).

Generous is the sire of a daughter of the Listed-placed Glenmoss Tara (184), as well as close relatives to Best Mate (212) and Viking Flagship (214).

Wednesday afternoon features Flat breeding stock, with foals by the likes of Bertolini, Invincible Spirit, Monsieur Bond and Where Or When. Particularly notable is a Monsieur Bond half-sister to the smart sprinter Fantasy Believer (392).

Girsonfield Stud offers Radiant (345), the dam of Grade 2-placed Proxenia, and Takes Two To Tango (346), a half-sister to La Cucaracha. From Saighton Hall Stables comes Karashino (393), from the immediate family of Dutch Art.

Among the horses in training scheduled for Thursday's session is last year's Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes third Nina Blini (548), while Stall Lambada sends several smart horses from Sweden, headed by the 2004 Scandinavian champion three-year-old colt Zenato (543). Immediately preceding him is Siberion (542), winner of the 2004 Slovenske Derby.

The multiple winner and Group 3-placed Kew Green (540) will attract interest, as should Ursis (561), a Listed-placed winner who has since transferred his ability to the jumps.

Wednesday's session will follow the always-popular stallion parade at 11am, which this year features 26 stallions.

Bertolini

b 96 Danzig-Aquilegia (Alydar)

Bertolini returns to Britain this year having spent last season at Kildangan Stud in Ireland. He retired to Overbury Stud in 2002, from where he had an excellent start to his new career when siring the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Donna Blini in his first crop. He was also responsible for the smart two-year-olds Tabaret and Bow Bridge, as well as New Zealand Group 3 winner Solvini.

A precocious two-year-old in his own right, Bertolini won the Group 3 July Stakes before finishing second in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and Group 2 Prix Robert Papin. He returned at three to score in the Listed Free Handicap and went on to acquit himself well in the major sprinting events, finishing placed in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Haydock Sprint Cup.

Out of a Grade 2-winning sister to the top-class Althea, he is from the immediate family of Arch and Green Desert.

Stands at Dalham Hall Stud: fee pounds 8,000

Danbird

b 00 Danehill-Fitting (Marscay)

The only reverse shuttler in the line-up, Danbird returns for his second season in Britain. A multiple sprint winner, he won the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes as a two-year-old and was a Listed winner at four. A tough and durable competitor, Danbird won or was placed in more than half of his 29 starts.

He is a brother to Group 1 winner Catbird, now a successful sire in Australia, out of Fitting, a Group 1-placed sister to Group 2 winner Maizcay. His family has strong Australian roots, featuring 12 Group performers under the first three dams. Danbird has his first northern hemisphere foals this year.

Beechwood Grange Stud: pounds 3,000

Deportivo

b 00 Night Shift-Valencia (Kenmare) A precocious sprinter, Deportivo won six of ten starts, three of them as a two-year-old. After winning on his debut over 5f in June, he stepped up to register successes in a conditions event and the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury, beating subsequent Group 2 winner Checkit in the latter. The following year, he put up an impressive performance to win the Balmoral Handicap at Royal Ascot under top weight, which set him up for another crack at Pattern company. He obliged with a win in the Group 2 Flying Five Stakes.

A half-brother to Listed winner Irish Vale and the smart Cantabria, Deportivo comes from an excellent Juddmonte family. His dam, Valencia, is a half-sister to the top-class US filly Wandesta, while further back this is the family of Quiet Fling and Continent. His first crop are yearlings.

National Stud: pounds 3,000

Desideratum

b 02 Darshaan-Desired (Rainbow Quest)

Desideratum had the subsequent Group 1 winner Laverock behind him when placed on his only start at two, and he improved on that the following season when routing the opposition by four lengths on his seasonal debut. A fourth to Ruwi in the Group 2 Prix Noailles proved only a blip, as he then racked up a sequence of impressive victories culminating in a win in the Group 3 Prix du Lys. He improved again when second to Scorpion in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris.

Given his late-maturing profile, it is unfortunate that Desideratum did not get the chance to race again. His dam, Desired, traces to the outstanding mare Fall Aspen and is a half-sister to the top-class pair Charnwood Forest and Medaaly, both useful sires. This is also the family of Dubai Millennium, Elnadim and Mehthaaf. Desideratum will stand his first season this year.

Beechwood Grange Stud: pounds 1,750

Diktat

br 95 Warning-Arvola (Sadler's Wells)

Diktat is a welcome return to the British stallion ranks, having stood last season at Haras du Logis in France. The Darley stallion enjoyed his best season last year courtesy of the top-class fillies Rajeem and Short Skirt, while his other progeny include the smart juvenile Dixie Belle and the Classic-placed Vista Bella. This season he has the Cambridgeshire winner Formal Degree and Shorthand, a sister to Short Skirt, in the wings.

Rated the champion older sprinter in Europe, Diktat won seven races over 6-7f. Having won his first two starts as a three-year-old, he proceeded to take the Group 3 Jersey Stakes. At four, he was virtually unbeatable, taking the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and the Haydock Sprint Cup. However, he failed to return to that form at five, his best placing being a third in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin.

Dalham Hall Stud: pounds 9,000

Doyen

b 00 Sadler's Wells-Moon Cactus (Kris)

The champion older horse in Europe in 2004, Doyen retired to stud in 2006 the winner of five starts and more than pounds 700,000 in prize-money. Initially trained by Andre Fabre, he was a progressive three-year-old, winning three races in succession, including the Group 3 Prix du Lys. After a break, he came back to run Dalakhani to a length and a half in the Group 2 Prix Niel, although that margin was increased when the pair met again in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, where Doyen finished fourth. He returned as a four-year-old to register a resounding success in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, having previously broken the 21-year-old Ascot record in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes. He was also second in the Group 1 Coronation Cup.

Out of the top two-year-old Moon Cactus, Doyen is a brother to Oaks winner Moonshell. His first foals will be born this year.

Dalham Hall Stud: pounds 9,000

Ferrule

b 98 Danehill-Gorgeoso (Damascus)

Ferrule raced only in Hong Kong, where he was a hardy performer, winning five times from 6f-1m. He was also placed seven times and proved equally adept on turf and dirt.

His dam, Gorgeoso, was placed twice in a short career in the US, but she is out of a half-sister to the outstanding racemare Al Bahathri, dam of 2,000 Guineas winner Haafhd and the promising young French sire Munir. Ferrule himself is a brother to the dam of Group 3 Craven Stakes winner Democratic Deficit. He enters stud this year.

Girsonfield Stud: pounds 1,500

First Trump

ch 91 Primo Dominie-Valika (Valiyar)

First Trump offers smaller breeders a chance to use a proven sire under both codes. He has sired numerous winners, headed by the Group 2 Flying Childers scorer Mrs P as well as the stakes winners Media Mogul, Two Clubs - the dam of 2006 Group 2 Diadem Stakes winner Red Clubs - and Torosay Spring. He was also the sire of a Cheltenham Festival winner last year - Reveillez, who won the Jewson Novices' Handicap Chase.

First Trump is best remembered for his exploits as a two-year-old when winning the Group 1 Middle Park and Group 2 Richmond Stakes. Although he failed to hit that level of form at three, he was still a useful sprinter and finished second in the Group 3 Prix de Meautry.

He offers a total outcross for most mares, as Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector are absent from his pedigree.

Walton Fields Stud: pounds 2,000

Goodricke

b 02 Bahamian Bounty-Star

(Most Welcome)

A smart two-year-old, Goodricke won two of his first three starts before taking a crack at the Coventry Stakes. He found the task beyond him, but returned at three to dead-heat with subsequent dual stakes winner Resplendent Glory in a handicap at Salisbury. After two unsuccessful runs, Goodricke returned to the winner's enclosure with a comfortable success in a conditions race at Newbury, and was second in a valuable handicap at the same course before finishing second to Whipper in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest. That set him up for the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup, which he won, beating La Cucaracha and Proclamation.

Goodricke is a brother to July Cup winner Pastoral Pursuits. His dam, Star, was a winner at two and is a half-sister to the Grade 3 winner Superstrike. He enters stud this year. Overbury Stud: pounds 4,000

Grape Tree Road

b 93 Caerleon-One Way Street (Habitat)

Grape Tree Road is in his third season under the dual-purpose banner, and has already proved capable of siring a top-class Flat performer in the shape of Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes heroine Gorella, who was conceived during his time in France. He also sired Group 3 winner Dobby Road and the Listed winner Baldellia. Over jumps, he has French Listed winner Melbo to his credit.

The winner of his first start as a two-year-old, Grape Tree Road progressed to become a leading middle-distance colt at three, taking the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris from Glory Of Dancer. He is out of the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes winner One Way Street, and is a half-brother to the Group 3 Queen's Vase winner Windsor Castle - now a jumps sire - and to the dam of high-class hurdler Stretarez.

Shade Oak Stud: pounds 2,500

Ishiguru

b 98 Danzig-Strategic Maneuver (Cryptoclearance)

Ishiguru made a strong start to his stud career last year with eight individual winners, including the potentially top-class Hellvelyn. The colt won his first three races including the Group 2 Coventry Stakes and was second in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes. His other offspring include Ferneley, third in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes, and Ishi Diva, who was second in the competitive Weatherbys Super Sprint.

On the racecourse, Ishiguru looked a potential star when winning a maiden at Naas by 11 lengths as a two-year-old. Kept to sprinting at three, he ended his second and final season with two wins, including in the Group 3 Flying Five Stakes. A $1.15 million yearling, he boasts an illustrious pedigree as the son of the dual Grade 1 winner Strategic Maneuver. Further back, this is the family of high-class Canadian filly Halo Reply as well as young sire Van Nistelrooy.

Tweenhills Farm and Stud: pounds 4,500

Lucky Story

br 01 Kris S-Spring Flight (Miswaki)

This brother to top-class miler and promising

sire Dr Fong was the joint top rated two-year-old colt in Britain in 2003 after winning four races, including a pair of Group 2s. Having run fourth on his debut, Lucky Story stepped up to win two minor events in striking fashion before his first Pattern victory in the Vintage Stakes. He signed off his year with a gutsy effort to deny Auditorium in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster despite carrying a 4lb penalty. Sadly, injury limited his three-year-old season, but once back on track, he finished second to Rakti in a high-class renewal of the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

He is one of just a few sons of Kris S at stud in Europe to help carry on the Roberto line. His first crop are now yearlings.

Tweenhills Farm and Stud: pounds 4,000

Norse Dancer

b 00 Halling-River Patrol (Rousillon)

A consistent performer of the highest class over five seasons, Norse Dancer was unlucky not to win a Group 1 race. He won his first two starts at two before stepping into Group company, and began his three-year-old season with a close third to Refuse To Bend at odds of 100-1 in the 2,000 Guineas. He then made up a huge amount of ground to finish fourth in the Derby, and was also third in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes.

Paradoxically, he was always most admirable in defeat. As a four-year-old, he was a close second to Sulamani in the Juddmonte International and to Azamour in the Irish Champion Stakes, and he was also inches away from taking the 2004 Lockinge Stakes. However, he did win the Sovereign and Earl of Sefton Stakes, both Group 3 races.

The product of a celebrated Dick Hollingsworth family, Norse Dancer traces to Ripeck and numbers Bireme and Dry Dock among his close relatives. He enters stud this year.

Littleton Stud: pounds 4,000

Passing Glance

br 99 Polar Falcon-Spurned(Robellino)

A tough miler who raced 30 times, Passing Glance enjoyed his finest hour with victory in the Group 2 Oettingen-Rennen at Baden-Baden in 2003. Before that, he was a steady improver, winning once as a two-year-old and twice as a three-year-old. He hit his stride at four years of age, winning the Listed Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury before a narrow defeat in the Group 2 Celebration Mile. He was also successful in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes the following season.

By the same sire as Pivotal, Passing Glance is a half-brother to five stakes performers including the Listed Free Handicap winner Hidden Meadow. His first crop are yearlings.

Walton Fields Stud: pounds 2,000

Pastoral Pursuits

01 b Bahamian Bounty-Star(Most Welcome)

Pastoral Pursuits looked destined to be top-class after winning the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes as a two-year-old, but, unfortunately, he chipped a bone in his knee and had to sit out the Classics

CAPTION(S):

Dalham Hall resident Diktat, here with groom Alan Bolton, had his best season last year' Group 1 July Cup winner Pastoral Pursuits stands alongside his sire at the National Stud
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 23, 2007
Words:2585
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