With the European sales season getting under way, Italy’s yearling sales might risk being overshadowed by the bigger auctions in Britain, Ireland and France. But the SGA’s ‘Asta Selezionata’, which takes place this year on September 15th in Milan, has thrown up the occasional world-class horse over the years.
In 2007, for example, a colt by Galileo out of the Stravinsky mare Looking Back, a listed-placed dual winner in Italy, was sold to the Coolmore partners for €170,000. Named Rip Van Winkle, he went on to win the Sussex Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Juddmonte International for Aidan O’Brien. Rip Van Winkle has a daughter in this year’s sale (lot 38) out of the G3 Premio Carlo Chiesa winner Kykuit.
A more recent graduate to have gone on to enjoy a top-class career is the Hong Kong-trained gelding Beauty Only, by Holy Roman Emperor. Sold for €72,000 in 2011 and originally named Gentleman Only in Italy where he was a Group 3 winner at two, he gained his biggest win in the Hong Kong Mile last December. There’s a close relative (lot 42) to Beauty Only in this year’s catalogue, a filly by Holy Roman Emperor out of his half-sister. Beauty Only’s dam Goldendale has also produced the 2016 Derby Italiano runner-up Dee Dee D’Or.
In all, 97 lots are catalogued. Two sires who now stand in Italy stand out with the most lots, Desert Prince with nine yearlings and Sakhee’s Secret with thirteen. Desert Prince’s batch include a half-sister (lot 25) to the G3 Premio Guido Berardelli winner Never Say Never, a filly (lot 73) out of a sister to Never Say Never, a colt (lot 46) out of a half-sister to the Lancashire Oaks winner Anna Pavlova, and a grandson (lot 91) of the G2 Premio Lydia Tesio winner Lara’s Idea. Sakhee’s Secret’s large group include a half-sister (lot 59) to Aethos, the most recent Guido Berardelli winner, and a granddaughter (lot 76) of the Pretty Polly Stakes winner Polaire.
Besides the daughter of Kykuit (who also has a granddaughter by the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner George Vancouver, lot 86), four other lots are out of pattern-race winning mares; lot 19 is a son of the G3 Prix Miesque winner Contemporary from the first crop of 2013 Derby winner Ruler of The World, lot 29 is a daughter of Paco Boy and the G3 Premio Mario Incisa della Rocchetta winner Faciascura, lot 40 is a son of Harbour Watch and the Premio Carlo Chiesa winner L’Indiscreta, and lot 53 is a son of Excelebration and the Premio Carlo Chiesa/Premio Omenoni winner Noble Hachy.
Several more lots are siblings of pattern-race winners, including lot 1 who could get the sale off to a lively start. She’s by Sea The Stars and a half-sister to seven winners, including the Prix Robert Papin winner Lui Rey and the Balanchine Stakes winner in Dubai My Central.
Others of note are lot 8, a Lilbourne Lad half-brother to the G2 German 1000 Guineas winner Full Rose, lot 11, a New Approach half-sister to the G3 Premio Regina Elena (Italian 1000 Guineas) winner Vague Nouvelle, lot 12, a Henrythenavigator half-sister to the G2 Premio Carlo Vittadini winner Principe Adepto, lot 13, a sister to the G2 Gran Premio di Milano/Premio Federico Tesio winner Full Drago, lot 17, a Rock of Gibraltar half-brother to the G3 Premio del Giubileo/Premio Ribot winner Greg Pass, and lot 28, a Zebedee half-brother to last year’s Derby Italiano winner Saent.
The speedily-bred lot 54 should draw some interest as she’s from the first crop of the Norfolk Stakes and Prix Morny winner No Nay Never, a son of the late Scat Daddy who has enjoyed such a good year. Out of the two-year-old listed winner Noble Hero, this filly is a half-sister to the aforementioned Noble Hachy (who won nine races in all), as well as to this year’s Premio Parioli (Italian 2000 Guineas) runner-up Patriot Hero.
Members of Frankel’s family are rare offerings at auction, but lot 2, a filly by Intikhab, shares her great grandam with Sir Henry Cecil’s champion. She’s out of an eleven-time winner by Bahamian Bounty whose five foals to have raced have all won.
Other lots who catch the eye are lot 16, a filly from the first crop of Goldikova’s brother Anodin, lot 27, a daughter of Pour Moi, sire of this year’s Derby winner Wings of Eagles, from the family of Dewhurst Stakes winner Dashing Blade, lot 36, a colt by Footstepsinthesand out of a half-sister to the prolific Italian miler (now in Britain with Jane Chapple-Hyam) Kaspersky, who is by the same sire, and lot 43, a filly by Myboycharlie from the family of this year’s Jersey Stakes winner and Poule d’Essai des Poulains runner-up Le Brivido.