In a week when two-year-olds made 900,000gns, 800,000gns and 775,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale, it's worth noting that several of this season's pattern races have gone to horses who cost considerably less than that as yearlings, ones who would fall into the bottom end of the market.
Group 3 1000 Guineas Trial heroine Who's Steph was a €40,000 buy, Group 3 Gladness Stakes winner Psychedelic Funk made just £30,000 at that age, Group 3 Prix Sigy scorer Sands Of Mali (£75,000 breeze-up horse) was sold for €20,000, Group 3 Prix Noailles winner Pharrell cost just €15,000, and runaway Group 3 Schwarzgold-Rennen star Butzje changed hands for just €5,500.
The list of low-priced yearlings excelling on the track in 2018 also includes Forest Ranger who beat Deauville by half a length to take the Group 3 bet365 Earl of Sefton Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket yesterday. Trainer Richard Fahey picked him up for just 26,000gns from Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
This was a third win from 10 starts for the four-year-old and his first since being gelded in October. He chased home Mustashry in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes at York last year, finished third to Beat The Bank in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood, and Timeform rated him 115. His earnings now stand at over £155,000.
Forest Ranger is a son of Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club scorer Lawman (by Invincible Spirit), a notable member of the Ballylinch Stud stallion team and whose 24 stakes winners include classic stars Harbour Law and Just The Judge as well as three others who have been successful at the highest level.
Fahey also trained his older half-sister Home Cummins (by Rip Van Winkle), whose four wins came from six and a half to eight and a half furlongs, and she picked up some valuable blacktype when finishing third in the Listed Fleur de Lys Stakes over a mile on the polytrack at Lingfield as a four-year-old.
Their dam, Alava (by Anabaa), on the other hand, won a listed contest over nine and a half furlongs in France and she is out of Cerita (by Wolfhound), a triple stakes-placed half-sister to several talented horses, notably Group 3 Prix de Flore scorer Tamise (by Time For A Change).
That filly went on to become the dam of Motivado (by Motivator) and his best win came in a 12 and a half-furlong Group 3 race in Australia, but before going 'down under', he was twice a wide-margin winner over 14 furlongs in England and he was not beaten far when fourth in the Cesarewitch Handicap over two and a quarter miles at Newmarket.
His stamina is not an isolated occurrence either as Cerita's siblings also include Quirinetta (by Ardross), who won the Grade 3 Transvaal Cesarewitch in South Africa.
They also include quicker types, such as the pattern-placed stakes winner Tarzan Cry (by Anabaa), Grade 1-placed US stakes winner Luthier's Launch (by Relaunch), and My Cherie Amour (by Sham), a four-time winner who became the grandam of Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap heroine Passing Shot (by A.P. Indy).
This is a branch of the same family from which the aforementioned Pharrell comes, and while that three-year-old looks like a potentially high-class stayer in the making, Forest Ranger is quicker and appears to be best in the mile to 10-furlong range.
He does not hold any big race entries, but he looks a useful prospect for the coming summer months, and although further improvement is required to have realistic prospects of making the frame, the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes was nominated as a potential target for him after this promising return to action.