Stock dispersals always prove popular, as they offer a chance to buy horses that are being moved on by necessity and not because they have been deemed surplus to requirements, and more often than not they become rich sources of high achievers on the track and at stud.
Even so, the high number of useful horses to have already emerged from the large drafts sold by Shadwell since it announced in 2021 that it would be downsizing in the wake of founder Hamdan Al Maktoum’s death has been quite extraordinary.
It has also been remarkable to see many of the more accomplished graduates come from the lower end of the spectrum of prices paid for those lots that were included in the reduction.
Al Qareem is a fine example of that. The Awtaad gelding was bought as an unraced two-year-old by Nick Bradley and Karl Burke for just 27,000gns at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale in 2021, and has gone on to win four races, including the Prix Chaudenay, along with £193,000 in prize-money.
He is far from the only bargain buy from the Shadwell dispersal to win a black-type race for their new connections, either.
Missed The Cut has been a real star for trainer George Boughey and owner Ed Babington ever since being picked out as an unraced three-year-old by Sam Haggas’s Hurworth Bloodstock at last year’s Tattersalls February Sale for 40,000gns.
The son of Quality Road and US Grade 1 fourth Beauly, a $400,000 Keeneland November foal purchase by Shadwell, has won four races including the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot and the Churchill Stakes, for just shy of £100,000 in earnings.
Rogue Millennium also stands out, having won both her first two starts for Tom Clover and the Rogues Gallery since being bought by agent Billy Jackson Stops as an unraced two-year-old at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2021 for 35,000gns.
One of those victories came in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, so she is now an invaluable breeding prospect, although as a daughter of distinguished sire Dubawi and Cumberland Lodge Stakes winner Hawaafez she was surely always worth more than that price-tag, even if she had remained unraced.
Rogue Millennium’s valuation just over a year ago is mystifying, and it was proved to be so again when her Awtaad half-sister Naomi Lapaglia, bought by RMM Bloodstock as a yearling for just 2,000gns in Newmarket that December, went on to sell for 110,000gns at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale in May and to win a Kempton novice stakes in good fashion on her sole start for Richard Spencer in November.
Torpedo Blu, by Teofilo out of an unraced daughter of Sea The Stars and Eswarah, meanwhile cost the Italian outfit New Racing Factory just €20,000 at the Goffs Sportsman’s Yearling Sale in 2021 and yet went on to win a Listed contest at San Siro last summer.
Mutasarref was a shade more expensive when bought by Gaelic Bloodstock for 95,000gns at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale in 2021, but considering the son of Dark Angel had won a Listowel maiden by clear water on only his third start for Dermot Weld in the preceding month, and has since won four races for Ger Lyons including the Platinum Stakes, it is safe to say he still represented serious value.
A good few Shadwell dispersal graduates since the summer of 2021 have also gained black type and enhanced their values.
Al Karrar (a €180,000 purchase by Adam Driver at the Goffs Autumn Yearling Sale) hosed up in a Windsor maiden and ran second in the Richmond Stakes for Tom Clover; Annaf (a 16,000gns Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale find by Mick Appleby) has scored twice and finished runner-up in the Chipchase Stakes; and Maksud (bought by Highflyer Bloodstock and Thurloe Thoroughbreds for 65,000gns two days after Annaf went through the same ring) took second in the August Stakes and ran with credit at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.
On top of that, there are no end of smart handicappers to have come out of those recent Shadwell consignments – including Ikhtiraaq (cost 220,000gns), Alrehb (120,000gns), Tabdeed (110,000gns), Moktasaab (110,000gns), Asjad (80,000gns), Post Impressionist (54,000gns) and Mashhoor (40,000gns).
And not forgetting all the exciting maiden and novice stakes winners among this cohort who could still have big wins in them, not least the aforementioned Naomi Lapaglia.
Other three-year-olds who hold considerable promise are Pinafore, a €68,000 Goffs February Sale purchase by Hurworth Bloodstock who won a Kempton novice stakes convincingly on her last start for William Haggas, and Easy, bought by Stone Farm for €48,000 at the Goffs Autumn Yearling Sale and an easy Cork maiden winner on debut for Andrew Slattery before being sold to Team Valor and running a fair sixth in the Ingabelle Stakes for Paddy Twomey.
For me, though, one of the most exciting three-year-old Shadwell dispersal discoveries hasn’t even won yet.
Fleetfoot, a Teofilo colt from the family of US Grade 1 scorers Fleet Indian and Game Winner bought by Boherguy Stud for €135,000 at the Goffs February Sale, has finished placed in hot maidens on all three starts for Jim Bolger – second to Tower Of London on debut at Leopardstown, a close third to Al Riffa at the Curragh, and second to Hiawatha back at the same track.
Recent results have shown that the Shadwell cuts were not only fertile ground for Flat winners, but for National Hunt too.
Fiercely Proud, who struck in the Listed bumper at Cheltenham for Ben Pauling on New Year’s Day, was an unraced two-year-old when picked up by Highflyer Bloodstock for a mere 21,000gns at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale in 2021.
The sourcing of the son of Iffraaj, who is from the family of Sheikh Hamdan’s top-notch half-brothers Bahri and Bahhare, represented a nice bit of business as he won a Market Rasen bumper on debut for Don Cantillon and was subsequently sold to Kilbride Equine for £125,000 at a Tattersalls Cheltenham sale in November.
Incidentally, far from disgraced in fifth behind Fiercely Proud on Sunday was another Shadwell purchase from the same sale in Newmarket, the Paul Webber-trained Crystal Mer. By Sea The Stars out of Yaazy, a Listed-winning Teofilo half-sister to stakes winners Bangkok, Matterhorn, Perotan, Tactic and The Foxes, he cost Peter and Ross Doyle and his handler 52,000gns.
Kutaiba, a Golden Horn filly out of a half-sister to Taghrooda, makes for a similar case to Fiercely Proud as she was bought by Rae Guest as an unraced two-year-old from the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2021 for only 10,000gns, and went on to win a Huntingdon bumper before making her trainer a huge profit when being resold to Jayne McGivern for £160,000 at Cheltenham last month.
Al Zaraqaan, another by Golden Horn and a half-brother to Classic winner Awtaad to boot, was another inspired purchase from Shadwell when bought by Blandford Bloodstock’s Tom Biggs for 45,000gns at Tattersalls in October 2021.
He had won four races on the trot for William Haggas earlier in his career, but had looked anchored by his handicap mark more recently, and yet Archie Watson has sent him out to win a Newcastle conditions race and to run second in the Magnolia Stakes, and to notch four victories over hurdles.
Aliomaana and Mothill, who were purchased out of Shadwell drafts in the summer of 2021 by their trainers Milton Harris and Neil Mulholland for the reasonable sums of 17,000gns and 18,000gns, have also both shown an aptitude for the winter game by winning over hurdles on multiple occasions.
However, it’s the unlikely figure of jockey Jamie Moore who might just have secured the biggest bargain in this department, in either Flat or National Hunt disciplines.
He gave 1,000gns, one offer above the minimum bid, for Madaa, a son of Le Havre descended from Eswarah, when he was offered as an unraced three-year-old at the Tattersalls July Sale in 2021.
Moore has ridden his purchase, trained by father Gary and carrying the colours of wife Lucie, to two wide-margin successes from two starts, in bumpers at Warwick and Newton Abbot.
Like so many dispersals before it, the Shadwell reduction has been a veritable treasure trove for other owners and trainers. If it weren’t for the fact that they only occur in the saddest of circumstances, usually in the aftermath of a death or an individual’s financial difficulties, I would say it was a shame that they don’t happen more often.