12/04/2012 5:15PM

Tattersalls sale session topped by $2.5 million Banimpire

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Banimpire’s new owner will send her to Coolmore stallion Galileo.

Banimpire, a five-time group stakes winner, brought about $2.5 million Tuesday as the day’s most expensive horse at the Tattersalls December breeding stock sale in Newmarket, England.

Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales agency made the winning bid of 1.5 million guineas for the 4-year-old Holy Roman Emperor filly but did not disclose his client’s identity. Her sale was the highlight on a day that saw mixed results overall.

Tuesday’s session, the second of four for the December sale’s breeding stock portion, sold 184 horses for about $40,221,221, posting an average price of $218,593 and a $111,573 median. Compared year-to-year in the local auction currency of guineas, total sales declined 6 percent from last year’s second-day total for 160 horses. The average price dropped 18 percent, but the median price gained 20 percent compared with last year’s figure.

The buy-back rate was 19 percent, down from 26 percent at last year’s equivalent session.

Banimpire was not in foal, having just left the racetrack this year after finishing fifth for owner Martin Schwartz in Belmont’s Grade 2 New York Stakes on June 30. In addition to six stakes wins, Banimpire was second in last year’s Irish Oaks and third in the Prix de l’Opera.

Banimpire’s new owner will send her to Coolmore stallion Galileo, McDonald said, adding, “We are keen to buy European pedigrees to bring in more versatility, stamina, and strength to our U.S. pedigrees.”

Elaborating on the choice of Galileo for Banimpire, McDonald said: “He is the preeminent stallion in the world, and we want to get ahead of the curve by using him. She might spend a couple of years in Europe. We’ll see.”

According to Tattersalls, other bidders for Banimpire included Andreas Putsch and KI Farm. KI is a Japanese entity owned by Tomoyuki Nakamura that also was an upper-level bidder at the November sales in Kentucky. European Sales Management consigned Banimpire.

McDonald also bought Thai Haku, a stakes-winning and Group 2-placed Oasis Dream mare carrying a Dansili foal, for about $1 million.

Another American buyer, Mt. Brilliant Farm owner Greg Goodman, was active Tuesday when he paid just less than $1.5 million for Desert Classic, dam of 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Wrote. The 10-year-old mare is by the coveted broodmare sire Green Desert and sold carrying a High Chaparral foal, which will be a full sibling to Wrote. Highclere Stud was the consignor.

There was one other seven-figure lot in guineas at Tuesday’s second session: Blue Symphony, dam of Grade/Group 3 winners Fantasia and Pink Symphony, was purchased by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for about $1.7 million. A 12-year-old Darshaan mare, Blue Symphony is carrying a Dubawi foal. Sara and Luca Cumani’s Fittocks Stud consigned Blue Symphony. Like Banimpire, Blue Symphony will be bred to Galileo in 2013, Magnier said.

Secret Garden, whose most prominent foal to date is Irish 2000 Guineas winner Roderic O’Connor, also is booked to Galileo, agent Hugo Lascelles said after spending about $1.5 million to acquire the 13-year-old stakes-winning daughter of Danehill for an unidentified English owner and breeder. Galileo is Roderic O’Connor’s sire, and Secret Garden sold carrying another by him. England’s National Stud sold Secret Garden.

Mandore International Agency, which bought the sale-leading $2.8 million mare Twyla Tharp at Tattersalls on Monday, picked up a $1.6 million mare in Seeharn. The French agency’s principal, Nicolas de Watrigant, did not identify his client, but Mandore has been representing Qatari royal interests at high-level auctions this fall. Seeharn is a 4-year-old Pivotal stakes winner now in foal to Dubawi.

The Tattersalls December breeding stock sale continues through Thursday, with sessions beginning at 9:30 a.m. local time. The auction streams live at www.tattersalls.com.