Encouraging Early Feedback On The Gurkha’s First Crop
As the return of the European turf season edges ever closer, positive feedback on The Gurkha’s first juveniles continues to grow.
The dual Group 1 winner’s first crop proved popular at the 2019 yearling sales, where they sold for up to €525,000, from a 2017 covering fee of €25,000. That aforementioned top price was paid by MV Magnier for a colt out of Larceny and the bay is currently in training with Aidan O’Brien, as is the €260,000 colt out of Euphrasia, the €250,000 filly out of Pearl Grey and a homebred colt out of Blue Cloud.
O’Brien is evidently impressed by what he sees, having booked ten mares into The Gurkha this season and said, “We really like ours. They’re all precocious, forward-going horses who won’t take a long time. They are good movers, very clear-winded and have great attitudes. But for suffering a colic, The Gurkha himself would have been one of our earliest 2YOs and these are no different.”
O’Brien trained The Gurkha to win the French 2,000 Guineas by five lengths and later justified favouritism in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes. He comes from a family of talented two-year-olds, with three of his full siblings having won at two, while his dam Chintz (Danehill Dancer) captured the Group 3 CL Weld Park Stakes during her juvenile campaign.
Mark Johnston is another pleased with the early progress of his charges, a filly out of Missisipi Star and a colt out of Celtic Filly. On them, he commented, “Both have been very straightforward and are well forward in terms of their work, cantering upsides at the moment.”
Jamie Osborne is another entrusted with a pair by The Gurkha and gave encouraging feedback on their work to date, saying, “Both are extremely athletic and have a great attitude towards their work. If my two are representative of his first crop, then he will have a major chance of leading the freshman sires table.”
Joseph O’Brien, meanwhile, has been entrusted with a colt out of Kastania, which fetched 180,000gns at Tattersalls in October. On him, he commented, “He’s a lovely straight forward and good moving colt.”
The Gurkha’s progeny will have every chance in 2020, with his first crop sent to Group 1 trainers such as Pascal Bary, Karl Burke, André Fabre, Jessica Harrington, Ger Lyons, Henri-Alex Pantall, Jean-Claude Rouget and Sir Michael Stoute, amongst others.
Another encouraging sign are the number of entries The Gurkha’s first crop have received in the early stages of 2020’s valuable sales races, as well as five entries in next year’s Epsom Derby. Breeze-up consignors are one of the first to know where first season sires stand and they often reserve their most promising types for the Tattersalls Craven Sale. The Gurkha has two catalogued for the April test, including a half-brother to Listed scorer Restorer (Mastercraftsman), which will be offered by Willie Browne's Mocklershill.