The way we operate when buying a horse is each to develop a shortlist and where possible bid for those that are on all the lists. It is a tried and tested formula with both Surrey Hope and Surrey Thunder coming from this Arqana sale with Joe Tuite and Steve Hillen’s support.

Unlike the previous Breeze Up sales this year, Arqana’s was very strong and the quality of horses was of a much higher calibre. Many of those on our list went for far in excess of our budget, including some for over Euro 300k. To be honest it was starting to  look as if we would miss out again and would be at the Goresbridge Sale next week. However, patience is a virtue and late yesterday afternoon we purchased a superbly bred bay colt by Lope de Vega out of a Group 2 placed mare called La Conquerante, and he will go into training with Joe.

The horse was on Steve Hillen’s shortlist as it did an impressive breeze but he didn’t make it on to our shortlist because we thought it would be too expensive! Our view seemed to be supported when the hammer came down at €90k. However, it failed to make its reserve (which we assume was €100K) and so was unsold.  We chanced our arm with a €75k bid and they accepted.

The Breeze can be seen here.

The sire Lope de Vega was a high class horse winning the French 2000 Guineas and the French Derby. He only had 9 starts, winning 4 and over £1m in prize money. He started as a sire in 2011 commanding a fee of €15k but has proved to be top class through the past 8 years producing 91 stakes performers including Belardo (Lockinge, Dewhurst winner) and Newspaperofrecord (Breeders Cup Juvenile). This has seen his stud price rise to a current €80k with the average price paid for his colts having risen every year and last year the average paid was £115k.

The mare La Conquerante, won 3 of her 7 runs earning £90k, including being placed in 2 stakes races. She was sired by Hurricane Run who won the Irish Derby (beating Scorpion into 2nd) and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2005. Incidentally, Hurricane Run (sired by Montjeu) came 2nd in the French Derby in 2004, beaten by Shamardal, the sire of Lope de Vega! Hurricane Run also won the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in 2005, part of his £2.5m prize pool.

He is certainly the best bred horse we have purchased and Joe thinks we have bought him at a very good price. Looking at his breeding it is likely he will be a middle distance horse, who will progress and perform better as a three year old than a two year old. He will need some time over the next 4-6 weeks to settle down after the rigours of the Breeze up sale. He is a big horse so Joe will go easy on him as he grows and on his return to the yard he will go straight to the paddock. Once settled and relaxed Joe may move him to Henrietta Knight’s or somewhere similar for a short while. All going well, he is likely to debut late summer, probably over a mile and run a couple of times (a similar pattern to Surrey Thunder).