Above: Night Of Thunder (Ire) | Standing at Darley Europe

A rare opportunity for Southern Hemisphere breeders will be on offer at next week’s Tattersalls December Mares Sale, with a mare in foal to former shuttler Night Of Thunder (Ire), who was covered on Southern Hemisphere time, set to go through the ring.

The Tattersalls December Mares Sale in Newmarket has long been a happy hunting ground for Southern Hemisphere breeders and next week’s Sale will see a mare go through the ring that has been specifically entered to target the Australian market.

Lot 1747 – a 5-year-old daughter of Invincible Spirit (Ire) named Tashaarok (Ire) – will be offered by Ireland-based Tinnakill House and has been covered by former Darley shuttler Night Of Thunder on Southern Hemisphere time.

Having observed the success Night Of Thunder was having Down Under at the beginning of the year, Jack Cantillon went out and sourced a mare specifically to have covered by the stallion with the intention of selling her to Australia.

With the son of Dubawi (Ire) only shuttling to Australia for one season and covering a small book of just 96 mares, Cantillon believes his mare presents a rare opportunity for the Australian breeding industry.

“We had lockdown here in Ireland and lockdown prompted a bit more watching of Australian racing than we normally would, even though we’re big fans,” Cantillon told TDN AusNZ. “And one of the things we noticed was how well Night Of Thunder had done with 13 per cent stakes winners to runners with his first crop and he’d done something similar in Europe.

“We had lockdown here in Ireland and lockdown prompted a bit more watching of Australian racing than we normally would, even though we’re big fans.” – Jack Cantillon

“We were very keen to find a mare for him to cover on Southern Hemisphere time. We’ve done it before, we sold a mare in foal to Invincible Spirit on Southern Hemisphere time and we were keen to do it again.”

Selected from Cyprus

Purchased as a yearling by Shadwell Stud for 135,000 gns (AU$257,985), Tashaarok then went to the 2018 December Mares Sale where she was purchased by Elias Kritikos to continue her career in the Middle East before being sourced by Cantillon.

“A good friend of mine Mike Kelly is a great man to find a mare in an unusual place and working together we bought Tashaarok in Cyprus.

“It wouldn’t be a conventional place to buy a mare but she was an expensive yearling who was bought by very smart people in Shadwell so that gave me confidence that she was good looking and the videos backed that up,” Cantillon said.

“In the intervening period, her half-sister Lady Penelope, who is also by Night Of Thunder, was a very talented Listed-winning sprinter for Joseph O’Brien.

“After that, she ticked all the boxes for me as the perfect mare for Night Of Thunder.

“She’s by Invincible Spirit and that’s already a proven cross with Under The Stars who is one of the best 2-year-olds for Night Of Thunder, she is also out of an Invincible Spirit mare.”

Under The Stars (Ire) became the first stakes winner for her sire when taking out the G3 Princess Margaret S. at Ascot, then followed it up with a Listed win at Haydock as a 3-year-old after finishing sixth in the G1 1000 Guineas.

But it was Night Of Thunder’s Australian success that appealed to Cantillon.

“I had John Burke from the Godolphin Flying Start join me and he had actually done his project at the end of the Flying Start on how well Night Of Thunder was doing in Australia and he wanted to do the exact same thing, so he ended up taking a leg of the mare. Then I have the rest of her with my father Dermot so we’re very excited to sell her.

“It’s something a bit different and it’s a bit of a challenge but we’re looking forward to it next week.”

A rare gem

Night Of Thunder has sired 16 winners with his three stakes winners headed by Group 2 winner Cherry Tortoni, from 24 runners out of 53 foals, in his one and only crop in Australia. Cantillon believes it’s a great chance to offer something to Australia that is out of the ordinary.

“What drives price more than anything is value and there are only 30 mares covered to him on Southern Hemisphere time, of which this is the only one at public auction in Europe in 2020. I think that is compelling and something exciting for people to get involved with,” he said.

“What drives price more than anything is value and there are only 30 mares covered to him on Southern Hemisphere time, of which this is the only one at public auction in Europe in 2020.” – Jack Cantillon

Despite no Australian or New Zealand buyers being able to make their way to the European sales this year, we have still seen plenty of Southern Hemisphere action through the use of online platforms and agents on the ground.

However, Cantillon had his mare covered in September, before any of the major sales took place, making it a risky move but he said it was a risk he was willing to take.

“The internet is an amazing thing and I think if you get the word out there, people understand value and nowadays you look at a mare online and you buy it,” he said. “I’ve done it myself and I’m sure there will be Australian buyers doing it there this week.

“We’ve had lots of interest already. Lots of people have been very curious and have asked lots of questions and asked for photos so we are happily obliging and doing that. It’s been very positive so far.”

Article courtesy of Georgie Dennis TDN