Beauty pageants have fallen out of fashion but the equine equivalent will take place at the Tattersalls sales complex in Newmarket later this month with a chance to buy some of the most prized fillies and mares to have graced a racecourse expected to attract the sport’s big hitters and interest from around the globe.
Six individual Group One winners top the bill in the 68 lot, three hour session on Tuesday 29 November which has been named the ‘Sceptre Session’, a nod to Sceptre, the only mare in British racing history to win four Classics when landing the 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger in 1902.
Topping the bill is Andrew Balding-trained Alcohol Free, whose four Group One wins include the 2021 Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and 2022 Darley July Cup at Newmarket and who was last seen on a racecourse finishing third to Baaeed in this season’s Sussex Stakes.
She will be joined by Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained dual Group One winner Saffron Beach, Matron Stakes winner Pearls Galore and Pretty Polly Stakes winner La Petit Coco from the Irish stable of Paddy Twomey, and popular stayer Princess Zoe, the Tony Mullins-trained 2020 Prix du Cadran winner and 2021 Ascot Gold Cup runner-up.
The glamourous cast list also includes Tim Easterby’s 2021 Nunthorpe Stakes winner Winter Power and Richard Fahey’s 2yo filly The Platinum Queen, who was runner-up in the race this year before winning the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp on Arc day. You can also throw in Desert Berry, dam of this year’s Sir Michael Stoute-trained, Saeed Suhail-owned Derby winner Desert Crown, and 2015 St Leger winner Simple Verse, who is in foal to Too Darn Hot.
That stallion’s name could be a description of this equine ‘catwalk spectacular’ and Tattersalls marketing director Jimmy George said: “These are a group of fillies and mares who didn’t just fluke a Group One win somewhere. They are proven top level performers and are also well bred and out of the top drawer in global terms.
“In terms of the inaugural Sceptre sessions, I don’t think we could have asked for more. It is a stellar cast of fillies and mares and it is rare for a group of this calibre to come into the market. “There has already been a lot of interest from every continent in the world.”
Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation have spent big to recruit quality at this sale in the past, purchasing Dancing Rain for £4.2 million a year and a half after she won the 2011 Oaks. It proved a decent investment with her subsequent progeny including Magic Lily, who won the Group 2 Cape Verdi and Balanchine at Meydan in 2020 as well as finishing second in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta.
The record price at the sale was the £6.3 million paid by Coolmore Stud for dual Group One-winning sprinter Marsha in 2017. Given the buoyancy of the recent yearling sales at Tattersalls, that is a record that may be under threat.