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Sales Briefing: Arqana Breeding Stock Sale.

The lowdown Europe's final major auction of breeding stock this year begins in Deauville on Saturday and takes place over four days, featuring an assembly of mares, fillies in and out of training and foals, plus a few stallions. Sessions start at 11am local time. The catalogue features 871 horses, up from 747 last year.

Its significance Arqana's run of recessiondefying auctions extended to last year's December breeding stock sale. Although its EUR13,210,000 aggregate couldn't match the highs of 2005 and 2006, when more than EUR17m was turned over, the figure was 14 per cent up on 2008. The average and median also increased year on year, by four per cent and 40 per cent respectively. However, the Arqana bubble burst at this year's August yearling sale in Deauville, with yearly increases in average and median - achieved even in the depths of the economic crisis in 2009 - finally coming to a halt. Arqana got back on track with its Arc, October yearling and Autumn sales recording increases in average, but it might be asking a lot for this auction, with its increased numbers, to follow suit.

At least Arqana could not have hoped for a better advertisement for the sale this year than Lope De Vega, whose dam Lady Vettori topped the 2005 renewal at EUR500,000. The catalogue also contains 216 foals, most of whom are eligible for the lucrative French owners' premiums, as well as National Hunt mares and foals, who go through the ring on Tuesday and include French champion Princesse D'Anjou (lot 850).

Possible box-office lots High-class horses La Boum (121) is a dual Group 3-winning daughter of Monsun and was seventh to Sea The Stars in the Arc, while Celimene's (131) record of two Group 3 wins doesn't do her justice, as she was also fourth in the Prix de Diane and Ganay. Premio Lydia Tesio winner Lune D'Or (137) is offered in foal to Galileo; her first two foals to sell have made EUR700,000 and EUR200,000.

Proven producers Grade 1-placed Premiere Creation (22) has produced two stakes-winning fillies in Anabaa's Creation and Leo's Starlet, and is the sole mare on offer in foal to Sea The Stars; Well Spoken (199) could reward prospective buyers with invaluable catalogue updates next year, as her second foal Chrysanthemum is unbeaten in two starts including the Group 3 CL Weld Park Stakes and is a live Classic hope for 2011. The mare is in foal to Dylan Thomas.

Well-bred mares Crackovia (55) is a winning Daylami half-sister to Coquerelle, in foal to Iffraaj; Singuliere (81) is a winning Singspiel sister to Balladeuse and half-sister to Plumania; Isla Canela (115) is a winning daughter of Gone West and Islington; Propaganda (178) is a daughter of Sadler's Wells and Pearly Shells, in foal to Aqlaam; Balle De Match (297) is a Peintre Celebre half-sister to Board Meeting and Bright Sky.

Foals Gestt Wittekindshof offers the only Galileo foal in the sale, a son of German champion juvenile Nordtanzerin (165), while Haras de Saint Pair sells a Raven's Pass filly out of Prix Eclipse winner Damoiselle (58).

Catalogue curiosity Ecurie des Monceaux offers the foal half-brother to dual Sun Chariot Stakes heroine Sahpresa (220). The colt will be one of the first progeny by Summer Squall stallion Country Be Gold - who stands in Oklahoma at just $1,000 - to feature at a major European sale.

Sold last year From 674 offered, 508 (75%) were sold for a total of EUR13,210,000 (+14%), average of EUR26,004 (+4%) and median of EUR14,000 (+40%).

Martin Stevens
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2010
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