Whilst most of us are thinking of Christmas and how we are going to buy all those presents and a turkey the size of an ostrich the big guns of the thoroughbred racing world have been flexing their muscles, and considerable wallets, at Tattersalls.
Marsha became the highest-priced horse sold at a European auction when making six million guineas at Tattersalls December Mare Sale. The Prix de l'Abbaye and Nunthorpe winner, trained by Sir Mark Prescott, was bought by MV Magnier, son of Coolmore Stud's John Magnier, for a new partnership. Magnier had the final nod for the four-year-old after a head-to-battle with John Gosden, who was bidding for Godolphin. "She really is something special," said Magnier. "Sir Mark has done a great job with her, she was very fast and the lads were very keen to have her. She is the best sprinter of the year and she will go to Galileo."
For Dan Downie, racing manager of owners Elite Racing Club, it was the end of long day. He said: "I feel exhausted, but, no, it is exciting, and it is wonderful for Elite. We did have a price at which we would have taken her home, but we did think it was going to be unlikely. She has been wonderful and always takes everything in her stride. The funds will help with ongoing and long-term running of the Club, but we will, of course, take a look at our nomination plans, in particular for Marsha's dam, Marlinka."
Godolphin managed to secure Grade One winner Zhukova for 3.7 million guineas. The Man O'War Stakes victor, who was trained in Ireland by Dermot Weld, was bought for Sheikh Mohammed's operation by Anthony Stroud. The underbidder was John O'Connor, of Ballylinch Stud. "She is a Grade One winner and out of a Group One winner," said Stroud. "She is a very nice filly and is logical fit for Dubawi."
Tom Goff, of Blandford Bloodstock, went to 2.1 million guineas to buy Commonwealth Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup winner Quiet Reflection on behalf of MV Magnier. "She was a brilliant racehorse and wonderful three-year-old, she was very speedy and is very special," said Goff. "She was very well selected and trained by Karl Burke. It is my assumption that she will not continue racing and is ready to become a mum."