08/22/2011 3:23PM

Australian buts session-topper at Deauville sale


Australian buyer Paul Fudge made the early running Monday at Arqana’s Deauville August yearling sale in France, where he bought the session-topper at the opening session.

Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds paid 440,000 euros, or about $633,600, for Lodge Park Stud’s Invincible Spirit colt out of three-time German champions Elle Galante, by Galileo. The bay colt’s family features the group winner Elle Shadow, a Group 1-placed runner, and to stakes-winners El Comodin and Elle Gala.

Fudge steadily has been expanding his racing and breeding program since 2009, when he sold a coal-seam gas exploration permit to the Australian utilities company Origin Energy for $466 million.

The four-day sale underwent extensive reformatting (and got a new sale ring, as well) this year as Arqana moved the sale later on the calendar and expanded its first two days to offer 113 horses each in a pair of boutique evening sessions, followed by a larger group on Wednesday and Thursday. Monday’s opener sold 102 yearlings for a combined figure, in U.S. dollars, of about $12,669,120, for an average price of $124,207. The median was about $172,800. THe figures included two private sales. The buy-back rate was 35 percent.

Those changes rendered year-to-year comparisons almost meaningless. Last year’s opening session sold 64 yearlings from 85 offered, for gross sales of about $14,739,200 at that day’s exchange rate. Average and median prices were approximately $130,300 and $192,000, respectively. The buy-back rate was 31 percent.

The 2011 sale was to continue through Thursday.

Coolmore buys breeding rights

Coolmore Stud has purchased the breeding rights to English and German group winner Excelebration.

The 3-year-old is by Darley Stud stallion Exceed and Excel, himself a son of Coolmore’s late flagbearer Danehill. Excelebration will continue to race under his owner Giuliano Manfredini’s colors for the rest of the season, according to a report in the Racing Post that said the deal put Excelebration’s total value at more than 1.5 million euros, about $2,145,000.

Bred by Owenstown Stud in Ireland, Excelebration has so far won 4 of 7 starts, including a six-length romp in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes on Aug. 13 at Newbury and a seven-length score in the German 2000 Guineas in Cologne in May. He also finished third this year in Frankel’s St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and ran second in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes, also at Newbury. Excelebration’s earnings stand at $294,024.

Excelebration is out of the Indian Ridge mare Sun Shower and is her first stakes-winner to date.