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Alcohol Free to continue career in Australia after bumper sale

Tue 29 Nov 2022

Alcohol Free is set to continue her racing career in Australia after the multiple Group One scorer changed hands for 5.4million guineas at Tattersalls on Tuesday.

Trained by Andrew Balding for owner Jeff Smith, the daughter of No Nay Never was a top-level winner in each of the last three seasons, winning the Cheveley Park Stakes as a juvenile, both the Coronation and Sussex Stakes at three and then successfully dropping back to six furlongs to win this season’s July Cup as a four-year-old.

Bidding started at 1m guineas and quickly spiralled upwards, with BBA Ireland eventually having the final say on the bay filly, who was bought for €40,000 as a foal.

Watch how Alcohol Free changed hands

BBA Ireland’s Michael Donohue said: "She is for partnership to race in Australia. She vetted extremely well and clean for a filly with some miles on the clock. My vet was super happy with her. She is for a partnership who have horses in training and breed as well. There is a lot of money to win in Australia - I think 87 races this year are worth a million plus so we hope to recoup a lot of what we paid for her, and add a bit more too.

"She is a filly with speed for six furlongs but stayed a mile, so there will be a lot of options for her. Andrew Balding and the team did a great job, she looked very fresh. I went to see her last week at Kingsclere. She will make a lovely broodmare in time, she has the physique and the pedigree. It is a family I know well as I bought the dam for Yulong Investments last year, and she has a lovely Lope de Vega foal at foot and is in-foal to Lucky Vega."

He added: "She will probably race for a season and then be covered, and we will probably send her to Frankel. So we will decide whether we cover on northern or southern hemisphere time, but obviously Frankel is an exceptional sire and is doing it in both hemispheres."

Of bidding to over five million guineas, Donohoe laughed and said: "It was pretty cool! But to be honest I was born in an auction ring at Goresbridge and am used to all the theatre. Those blue hen fillies who come off the track, they are collectors' items. They don't come on the market, like a Picasso, and if they do come on the market, you just have to value them and we had a figure in our head. I suppose I was bidding pretty strongly so I guess it indicated there was a bit more petrol in the tank."

David Bowe, who bought Alcohol Free as a foal, is the stud manager of Jeff Smith’s Littleton Stud and said: "We are delighted, it is the end of a wonderful, wonderful journey we have been on, a wonderful dream. To end up here at Tattersalls, it is magnificent. Ollie Fowlston did a brilliant job from the rostrum and we could not have been better treated, and everyone was here to look at her.

"She walked in and looked beautiful. If it had been five years earlier with Jeff we might not have brought her to the sale ring, but she will make a beautiful mare in time. We have enough broodmares, she was not bred by us, but it is really to do with the timescale. It is time for someone else.

"We have had so much luck... everyone involved with her, the team at home on the farm, the Caffneys whom we bought from, all her jockeys. I can't thank everyone enough, and for everyone who put their hands up in the ring - it was lovely. Everyone has had a massive part, I am just the one who happens to be here talking to you.

"It has been emotional, I can't believe, it just shows that whatever sales ground you are at, we are all trying to do the same thing and it has happened to the likes of us! It is extraordinary. it just goes to show if you keep plugging away it can happen.

"Jeff was not here tonight, but it is all down to him. He let us buy her, let us all get involved in the whole dream. I am absolutely delighted, it is a beautiful end to our chapter, and we wish the new connections all the luck. We don't buy an awful lot of horses, but we have been lucky with the ones we have, and I hope you are here talking to me again some time!"

Saffron Beach sold for 3.6m guineas

The second day of the Sceptre Sessions produced a series of big-money results, not least the sale of dual Group One winner Saffron Beach for 3.6m guineas.

The daughter of New Bay has won six of her 13 starts for Jane Chapple-Hyam, including the 2021 Sun Chariot and this year’s Prix Rothschild.

Knocked down to Najd Stud, Saffron Beach will stay with Chapple-Hyam to be trained for next year’s Saudi Cup.

The trainer said: “I am thrilled and very excited. It is a big honour, we have got a good winter to look forward. I think going around the ring she was waiting for the saddle, she was giving a few bops with her backend!

“She is in good order, she is tough, I believe she will get the nine furlongs in Saudi, (you) never know about the surface but we will give it a go.”

Saffron Beach is entered at the upcoming Hong Kong International meeting, but Chapple-Hyam added: “I think we will have a little rest and then build her up and get her ready.

“I will have to do a very good racecourse gallop with her. When I sent her to Dubai World Cup meeting, I felt that, although we ran fourth and went well, the ones who finished in front and had had a run, I am aware of that.”

Prix de l’Abbaye winner The Platinum Queen was a wildcard entry for the sale and she sold for 1.2m guineas to Northern Farms.

A 57,000 guineas purchase in April, the Cotai Glory filly won four of her eight starts for owners Middleham Park Racing and trainer Richard Fahey, although she disappointed on her final start of the year at the Breeders’ Cup.

Popular stayer Princess Zoe, an eight times winner including the 2020 Prix du Cadran, was unsold at 300,000 guineas.

Desert Berry, the dam of this year’s Derby hero Desert Crown, was sold to MV Magnier for 1.9m guineas carrying a Nathaniel full sibling to the Classic victor, while Prix Marcel Boussac second Gan Teorainn was the first lot to reach a seven-figure sum when selling for 1m guineas.

Dual Group Three winner Tranquil Lady went for 2.7m guineas to Godolphin, who also purchased Love Is You, who is in foal to St Mark’s Basilica, for 1.4m.

Group Three winner Ville De Grace was another to command a chunky price, selling for 2m guineas to Lordship Stud.

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