The Thursday of Newmarket’s July Meeting will live long in the memory as one of the happiest days on a racecourse thanks to Shalaa’s impressive victory in the Group 2 Arqana July Stakes.
I loved him as a foal when I first saw him in Castlefarm Stud’s draft for the 2013 December Sale at Tattersalls to the extent that we went to 100,000gns to buy him. Youngsters by Invincible Spirit are always popular but this colt had something really special about him – a great walk and plenty of substance. Basically, he looked like an athlete even in those early days. Jenny’s yearling prep skills are well renowned in this industry and once again she did a fantastic job preparing this colt. We took five yearlings to October Book 1 last year and Shalaa shared top billing with another Invincible Spirit – this one a filly out of Chirkova – when they each fetched 170,000gns.
We didn’t have to wait too long to see our opinion of the colt fully vindicated. Charlie Gordon-Watson bought Shalaa from us for Al Shaqab Racing and his smile was as big as mine as we admired the handsome colt in the winner’s enclosure after the second win of his career, and an all-important two-year-old Group victory for a colt with the potential to be a stallion when his racing days draw to a close.
Making the day extra special was the fact that Shalaa’s breeders Aisling Kinane and Mark Gittins had come over from Ireland to see him run and, needless to say, the celebrations continued long into the night.
John Gosden has done a terrific job with him in what is becoming a banner season for the trainer with three Classic wins to his name already this year courtesy of Golden Horn, Jack Hobbs and Star Of Seville. Is it too much to hope that Shalaa can add to the Clarehaven Classic roll of honour next year?
We've been delighted with the good results from our pinhooks of late, with victories for Musaaid and Betty The Thief giving us a 100% winners-to-runners strike rate for all foals bought between 2011 and 2013.
July Week in Newmarket is a busy one, and we were in action throughout at Tattersalls. Jenny and I sold a mare on Wednesday and then William and I bought horses for two regular clients, Jane Keir of Elkington Stud and Geoff Price, who manages the Happy Valley Racing Syndicate. Jane was pleased to be able to buy a Pivotal filly named Romp from a terrific family that includes Whitewater Affair and Victoire Pisa, while three-year-olds Flying Fantasy and Under Siege will be joining Stuart Williams and David Simcock respectively for Geoff’s syndicate. A yearling we bought for Geoff last year, Able Jack, is soon to make his debut for the team and we wish them all the very best of luck with him.