(CNN) — Buying the world’s greatest racehorses doesn’t come cheap, but even the industry’s most knowledgeable experts were “blown away” by the 3.6 million guineas (about $4,356,000) spent on this year’s most expensive yearling colt.
The young horse, the subject of a fierce bidding war, was eventually bought by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who visited Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in Newmarket, England Tuesday to ensure he secured the sport’s next potential superstar.
Much is now expected of the half-brother to Group One winner Barney Roy, and he certainly comes from an impressive bloodline — he is sired by prolific stallion Dubawi out of the mare Alina, whose father is the great Galileo.
“He is a really athletic horse, a really good mover,” the Sheikh’s representative Anthony Stroud told Tattersalls.
“Sheikh Mohammed picked him out. He was his favorite of today.
“He cost more than we thought, but you need to go so far to get these sort of horses.”
Sheikh Mohammed is the driving force behind Godolphin, one of the biggest racing operations in the sport, and owns the Darley Stud breeding outfit.
But he was he pushed all the way at the auction by rival dynasty Coolmore, which was also interested in the yearling colt.
The scenario of two of the industry’s powerhouses battling it out was perfect for Hazelwood Bloodstock agent Adrian O’Brien.
“I’m blown away. He is a beautiful horse and never missed a beat. It is an unbelievable figure to sell for and I am over the moon. I am so grateful to my clients for this quality of stock,” he told Tattersalls after the sale.
“It is ideal, what you dream of, and what you hope for. We knew we had an awful lot of interest in him, everyone who saw him liked him.”
The big beasts of Godolphin and Coolmore locked horns again on day two of the sales, with Stroud winning the battle for Lot 288. He splashed out 3.1 million guineas ($4.1 million) on a son of champion stallion Frankel and a half-brother to Golden Horn, which won the Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2015.
Among the other big-money sales was 1 million guineas (about $1.3 million) for a colt from the Watership Down Stud of musical impresario and composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber.
It was bought by David Redvers of Qatar Racing for Sheikh Fahad.
“Racehorse ownership is all about dreams, and he will give Sheikh Fahad and his brothers plenty to dream about over the next two years,” Redvers told Tattersalls.
Tattersalls’ premier yearling sale – known as Book 1 — is an annual battle of the deepest pockets where the most enticing one-year-old prospects go under the hammer.
This year, 164 lots were sold for more than 35.4 million guineas (about $45 million).
“It is great theater,” Jimmy George, the marketing manager of Tattersalls, told CNN last month.
“There are times when it is so extraordinarily compelling in the ring and you can’t help but watch it all unfold. That’s the beauty of Tattersalls and this sale. It’s a little bit special.”