The Markus Jooste and China Horse Club owned 2,000 Guineas and Derby prospect Willie John became the highest priced colt in training ever sold in Europe at public auction when knocked down to Roger Varian for 1,900,000 guineas on the second day of the Tattersalls February Sale on Friday.
The result pushed turnover for the sale into record territory for the fourth year in succession, with the 299 lots sold realising a total of 8,037,150 guineas, up 40% on last year. The average of 26,880 guineas was also a record whilst the median came in at 7,000 guineas.
Willie John had impressed many with his victory on debut at Yarmouth and with a pedigree to drool over and Classic dreams very alive, it was no surprise to see the Tattersalls ring swell with potential suitors. Oliver St Lawrence kicked off the bidding at 200,000 guineas and with trainer Ed Dunlop, the pair traded blows, taking the price towards seven figures. Newsells Park Stud’s Julian Dollar soon joined the fray along with agents Anthony Stroud, Hugo Lascelles and Ed Sackville as the price raced past 1,000,000 guineas. Cheveley Park Stud’s Chris Richardson soon joined in the battle to secure the colt as did trainer Roger Varian with the latter proving successful at 1,900,000 guineas.
“He is for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid,” said Varian. “He already has a Dubawi from the family and he identified this colt as one that he would like – we were very happy to do the steering.
“Willie John was an impressive winner of his maiden at Yarmouth and those autumn maidens at the track can be very strong races.
“It is not often you get the chance to buy a horse such as this, it is unusual circumstances, but we look forward to getting him home and getting to know him – he is a very promising horse with a great pedigree.”
Willie John is by Dansili out of the dual Gr1 winner Izzi Top and from the Meon Valley family of Zee Zee Top, Kayf Tara , Opera House and Necklace. He was purchased at Book 1 of the 2016 October Yearling Sale for 325,000 guineas and raced for the China Horse Club and Markus Jooste. He was consigned to the February Sale by William Haggas’ Somerville Lodge.
The colt from the family already in Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s ownership is the two-year-old Dubawi half-brother to Willie John, bought by Varian at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale for 2.6 million guineas.
Fillies from Juddmonte Farms are always highly sought after and it was no surprise to see the draft from the historic nursery fill three of the next four spots in the top prices list on the second day.
Headlining those was the Dansili three-year-old Relent who was knocked down to Cathy Grassick for 220,000 guineas after she saw off Cheveley Park Stud’s Chris Richardson. The half-sister to the Grade 2 winner Projected also features last year’s Champion European filly Enable in her pedigree and was purchased by Grassick on behalf of Yvonne Jacques.
The next sale at Tattersalls is the Craven Breeze Up Sale that takes place from April 16 – 18.