Europe yearling auction circuit has begun with a bang with the Arqana August Yearling Sale, when a pair of colts by Galileo topped a solid session.
The most in-demand offering was the Galileo colt out of Steip Amach offered by Haras d'Etreham. UAE based Phoenix Thoroughbreds' Tom Ludt and Dermot Farrington delivered a winning bid of €800,000 (US$887,280) from the back of the packed gangway.
Despite being the frontrunner in a marketplace in which six-figure bids came thick and fast, Ludt said he felt the colt was a steal at that price.
Steip Amach was bred by Jim Bolger from his own stallion Vocalised and was originally trained by the master of Coolcullen for wife Jackie. The mare won the Killavullan Stakes (Gr.3) at 2 and the Amethyst Stakes (Gr.3) at 4 before being sold to Haras d'Etreham and Riviera Equine and being transferred to David Smaga, for whom she ran third in the Prix Rothschild (Gr.1) and Darley Prix Jean Romanet (Gr.1).
Phoenix Thoroughbreds has been a notable presence at recent editions of the August sale. In 2017, it landed the top lot, the €1.55 million ($1,823,110) Dubawi colt Al Battar. That purchase was sent into training with Ed Vaughan, but Ludt said no decision had been made regarding the future of the operation's latest acquisition.