10/26/2010 12:08PM

Tattersalls session-topper headed to Qatar

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Italian Group 1 winner Hearts of Fire will head for Qatar after being sold Monday for nearly $1 million to top the opening session of the Tattersalls autumn horses in training sale in Newmarket, England.

Qatari trainer Ibrahim al-Malki cast a single bid, the winning one of about $918,225 for the 3-year-old Firebreak colt. He signed the ticket on behalf of Hassan Ali abdul Malik of Qatar.

Trainer Pat Eddery’s Pat Eddery Racing sold the colt. Hearts of Fire won Italy’s Group 1 Gran Criterium and a German Group 3 last year, earning highweight honors in both countries. He was winless this year in three starts but finished third in the St. James’s Palace Stakes.

Al-Malki said Hearts of Fire could run in the Dubai International Racing Carnival in January before returning to Europe for the rest of his 4-year-old campaign, but he added that “his trainer in Europe is undecided at the moment.”

California-based trainer Jim Cassidy also was active at the auction’s opening session Monday, picking up Group 3-placed juvenile Surrey Star for about $333,900. A Dubawi colt, he could point for Hollywood Park’s Grade 3 Generous Stakes on Nov. 27 for his new owner, Class Racing’s Tom Arndt.

The four-day auction’s opening session sold 224 horses in training for about $7,390,376, for an average price of about $32,992. Compared year-to-year in the auction currency of guineas, gross receipts and the average price were up 19 percent and 23 percent. The median price, about $14,608, was down 13 percent.