Champion mare sets ring alight

4 min read

Courtesy of TDN America

Eclipse champion Abel Tasman (USA) (Quality Road {USA}) enjoyed an outstanding racing career and she was the star of the show on the opening day of the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale in Lexington.

The multiple Group 1 winner was the subject of frenzied bidding before she was knocked down to Coolmore for US$5 million.

“We are very proud and pleased to be able to offer Abel Tasman and to get that result,” Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “We thank the Cleary brothers and the China Horse Club for the opportunity to market her.”

Abel Tasman sold for US$5 million

During Monday’s session, 223 horses sold for US$21,052,200. The average was US$94,404 and the median was US$39,000 . With 93 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 29.43 per cent.

“She had everything and would be anybody’s dream filly to own.” - Dermot Ryan.

“She’s a queen, though, isn’t she” Ashford Stud manager Dermot Ryan said after buying Abel Tasman on behalf of Coolmore. “They are very rare when they come across like that. She had everything and would be anybody’s dream filly to own.”

Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency on behalf of Clearsky Farms and the China Horse Club, Abel Tasman is a six-time Grade I winner.

Abel Tasman at the Keeneland sale

“Quality Road is one of your premier young sires at the moment,” Ryan said. “Being by Quality Road, it leaves her open to all the Coolmore stallions. We have American Pharoah, Justify, Uncle Mo, Galileo (Ire) – all of those directions. M.V. [Magnier] will talk to his dad and partners and they’ll decide and let us know.”

Abel Tasman’s $5-million price tag tied the Keeneland January record set in 2000 when Britton House Stud purchased Mackie (USA) (Summer Squall {USA}) in foal to Mr. Prospector (USA).

“Going on the previous market that we saw in November, I definitely think you’d have to think she was up around that level.” - Dermot Ryan.

“Going on the previous market that we saw in November, I definitely think you’d have to think she was up around that level,” Ryan said of the filly’s record-tying price. “Hopefully she’ll go on and produce herself with one of our own sires. It’s very possible. We’re very, very pleased to have her. She’s a collector’s item.”

The sale was a good result for both sides, according to Mark Taylor of Taylor Made, who consigned Abel Tasman.

Dermot Ryan described Abel Tasman as a collectors item

“She could be a mare that makes you $300 or $400 million,” Taylor said. “It’s a lot of money, but she’s worth a lot of money. She has tons of potential down the road.”

Bidding on the star filly began dramatically in the packed pavilion, with an opening salvo of US$3 million instantly hushing the expectant crowd.

“I think it was interesting that someone opened her up at $3 million.” - Mark Taylor.

“I think it was interesting that someone opened her up at $3 million,” Taylor said. “I think that is indicative of the fact that you don’t have a huge pool of people willing to play at that level.

Abel Tasman was bred by Bernard and Eamonn Cleary’s Clearsky and the China Horse Club, which were also co-owners of Triple Crown winner Justify (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}), bought into Abel Tasman prior to her 3-year-old campaign.

It was a tough decision for China Horse Club Founder and Chairman Teo Ah Khing to part with champion Abel Tasman, but ultimately he and his partners Clearsky Farm, who bred the superstar mare, decided it was the best business move.

“We wish the best of luck to the buyer.” - Teo Ah Khing.

“We wish the best of luck to the buyer,” said Teo, who watched the bidding with his wife Ivy. “We enjoyed the journey with her from 2-year-old to 3-year-old to 4-year-old. She is such a great horse and has done so much in her career, especially for the China Horse Club. She brought China Horse Club into American Grade I territory. She is our ambassador.”

Australian bloodstock agent James Harron was also in on the action at Lexington and went to US$235,000 to secure Celestial Insight (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}) on behalf of Donna Love and Fergus Doyle.

“She looks an ideal sort for Australian breeding and by a speed sensation,” he said.

Out of the multiple winner and Group 2 performer Bai And Bai (USA) (Falstaff {USA}), Celestial Insight won four races and was placed in the G3 Old Forester Mint Julip H.