Second Group 1-winning purchase for Norris/Huntingdon
Shalaa consolidated his position as Europe's leading two-year-old with yet another easy victory on Sunday, this time in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville to add to his two Group 2 wins earlier in the season.
We've had a great strike-rate with our pinhooks over the last few years - every single one is a winner bar juvenile Able Jack who looks certain to grace the winner's enclosure before too long - but Shalaa is way out in front as the best of the bunch.
Leaupartie gave us our first Group victory from our pinhooks back in 2012 when winning the G3 Prix de Psyche but Shalaa is the first of our pinhooked foals to win a Group 1. He is of course our second Group 1-winning purchase after Dancing Rain, whom we bought as a yearling and who went on to win the Oaks, German Oaks and British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
Whether Shalaa goes on to become our second Classic winner remains to be seen with connections citing the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot as his first major three-year-old target instead of the 2,000 Guineas.
Either way, it's incredibly exciting to have been involved with a colt with so much talent who Frankie Dettori described on Sunday as the best two-year-old he's ever ridden. Shalaa's trainer John Gosden is already comparing his speed to the July Cup winner Oasis Dream and there's surely more excitement ahead for his owners Al Shaqab Racing.
Jenny and I would like to wish all his connections the very best of luck for his continued career and to congratulate his breeders Aisling Kinane and Mark Gittins on having produced such a fine colt.
We were also pretty pleased with a decent result for one of our homebreds last week when Villabella's son El Campeon notched his third victory of the year at Lingfield for Simon Dow. Villabella's first three foals are all winners – in fact they have all won this year, with Vallila scoring in France, El Campeon in the UK and two-year-old Prince Alay in Spain, when making all to win on debut at San Sebastian. His next run looks like it will be in Listed company at La Teste in Bordeaux which is really exciting.
With the yearling sales season now in full swing we have plenty going on at the farm as we head towards Tattersalls' October Sale with our draft of six. I'm missing the DBS Sales this week to help Jenny with the horses but will be heading over to Baden-Baden for the BBAG Sale next week and then on to Osarus for the sale on 15 and 16 September. We bought three yearlings at the Osarus September Sale last year and it's a great place to find variety and value with all yearlings being eligible for the very valuable French premiums.
I'll be seeing every horse in both sales in France and Germany so if I can be of any help in advising or buying for any owners or trainers out there, please do get in touch.