12/03/2012 5:07PM

Tattersalls: Twyla Tharp, dam of The Fugue, sells for $2.8 million

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Twyla Tharp, dam of reigning European champion filly The Fugue, became the first horse at this year’s Tattersalls December breeding stock sale to bring seven figures when she sold for more than $2.8 million Monday in Newmarket, England.

Mandore International Agency outgunned American agent David Ingordo for the 10-year-old Sadler’s Wells mare, who sold in foal to Oasis Dream and brought a hammer price of 1.7 million guineas, or $2,873,850.

Monday’s first of four sessions sold 186 horses for $19,220,140, posting a $74,451 average and a $50,715 median. Compared year to year in the auction currency of guineas, total sales rose 7 percent from last year’s aggregate for 168 horses. Average and median declined by 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Buybacks improved, falling from last year’s 27 percent to 19 percent.

Ingordo, who has been representing Paul Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds at Tattersalls this year, dueled Japanese bidders early in the bidding for session-topper Twyla Tharp but then clashed with Mandore, which entered the market at 1.4 million guineas.

Mandore was the Keeneland November breeding stock sale’s leading buyer after spending more than $10.2 million for five horses. The French-based agency has been representing Qatari royal Joaan al-Thani lately, but principal Nicolas de Watrigant declined to identify his client Monday.

Twyla Tharp “is a beautiful mare, the dam of a champion, and with the best pedigree in this catalog,” declared de Watrigant. “Her Oasis Dream foal will be retained – my client likes his racing. We have not yet thought about the next stallion [to breed to]. You have to get them bought first.”

Twyla Tharp is a half-sister to Group 1 winners Summoner and Compton Admiral. Her daughter The Fugue, by Dansili, won this year’s Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York. Like her dam, The Fugue also finished second in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes; she also finished second in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks and third in the Group 1 Epsom Oaks. Most recently, The Fugue was third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf won by Zagora.

Ireland’s Kiltinan Castle Stud, the Irish division of Watership Down Stud, consigned Twyla Tharp, the only seven-figure lot at Monday’s session.

The day’s second-highest-priced mare was Sapphire Pendant, from the family of 2007 Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour. Alain and Gerard Wertheimer paid consignor Bugley Stud $811,440 for Sapphire Pendant, who is in foal to Sea the Stars.

“We’ve been trying for a long time to get into this family, but there have not been many opportunities to do so,” said the Wertheimers’ farm manager, Pierre-Yves Bureau.

Other high-priced mares sold Monday were Rochitta and Nessina, who each went for $507,150. Rory Matthews’s Mattock Equine sprang for Rochitta, partly for her pedigree’s commercial versatility, according to Matthews.

“There are stallions all the way down the page, and she has a commercial family for both Europe and the U.S.,” Matthews said. “She is by Arch, a very good broodmare sire in America. She also is in foal to Hat Trick, who has had a Group 1 winner in Europe and in the U.S.”

Tony Nerses bought Nessina, an unraced Hennessy half-sister to Group 1 producer Tantina; the 4-year-old is in foal to Invincible Spirit. Nerses is the racing and bloodstock manager for Kuwaitis Saleh al-Homaizi and Imad al-Sagar, who campaigned Authorized to Epsom Derby glory in 2007.

Authorized’s immediate family, which is having a golden year in 2012, provided one of the more notable American purchases. Early in Monday’s session, celebrity chef Bobby Flay went to $405,720 for Authorized’s half-sister American Spirit, a 5-year-old Rock of Gibraltar mare out of Funsie, by Saumarez. Currently in foal to Makfi, American Spirit will be bred to Nathaniel in 2013.

“He is building up a nice broodmare band, but [American Spirit] will be his first to stay here,” agent James Delahooke said of Flay. “Bobby has bought a share in Nathaniel.”

In October, Funsie’s Galileo colt named Hydrogen topped the Tattersalls October Book 1 yearling auction on a 2.5 million-guinea bid – about $4.2 million at the current exchange rate – from another Qatari royal, Fahad al-Thani. Funsie’s extended family also includes 2012 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Solemia.

In other American activity, Three Chimneys Sales consigned nine horses to Monday’s session, selling eight for a total of $1,347,329. The most expensive was $312,743 Laurelei, an Oratorio half-sister to 2011 North American turf champion Cape Blanco and to graded stakes winner Mr. O’Brien. David Redvers Bloodstock bought Laurelei, who sold in foal to British Group 2 winner Acclamation.

The Tattersalls December breeding stock sale continues through Dec. 6, with sessions beginning at 9:30 a.m. local time. The auction streams live at www.tattersalls.com.