Following record-breaking rainfall levels in December, leading to the abandonment of race meetings and persistently heavy ground which affected trainers’ plans for running horses, the original date of Saturday, January 30 was postponed. Yesterday’s rescheduled event took place in brilliant sunshine, a fillip after so much bad weather, and purchasers from both sides of the Irish Sea made their presence felt.
Of the 32 horses who came to the ring yesterday, 23 (72%) changed hands creating an aggregate of £1,230,000 at an average price of £53,478 (-8%). The median realised £40,000 (+2.5%).
Sale Topper bought by Trainer Evan Williams
Evan Williams, who trains at Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, was the day’s leading buyer, securing two of the event’s six-figure lots, including sale topper Cesar Collonges, a four-year-old winning Irish point-to-pointer.
Williams, who was joined at the ring by his leading patron, William Rucker – the two men have put together a remarkable sequence by having horses finish in the first four in the past seven Grand Nationals, signed for Cesar Collonges, who won a four-year-old maiden point-to-point on Sunday for County Antrim trainer and joint-owner Warren Ewing, who shared the horse with Paula Geraghty, the wife of jockey Barry. Cheltenham is proving a happy auction ring for the pair for they sold Reigning Supreme at the first Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Sale in November for £130,000 – that horse had been a Tattersalls Ireland November Foal sale graduate.
Cesar Collonges, a son of Fair Mix, was foaled by a half-sister to Grand National winner Neptune Collonges, and Ewing said: “I’m not surprised he sold well. He’s a gorgeous horse and the pedigree counts if you’re hoping to sell a horse for good money.”
Williams echoed that comment when he said: “The horse showed himself well, his form is in the book and he has a great pedigree.”
Bumper winner Billy Bronco bought for £110,000
Welsh trainers were involved in the sale of Billy Bronco (Lot 7) for £110,000 – the buyer was Williams, the vendors Paul and Debbie Hamer from Carmarthenshire. They saddled the five-year-old son of Central Park to win a Towcester bumper last month, and the form was given a boost when the runner-up went on to success in the same type of race at Chepstow.
The Hamers had purchased Billy Bronco just six months ago from Mickley Stud’s Richard Kent, and Debbie admitted: “He’s a lovely horse and I wanted to take him home, but he was too valuable to keep.”
Williams also purchased another bumper winner, Gayebury (Lot 33) for £40,000 from Ross-on-Wye-based Tom Symonds. Bred by Scarlett and Robin Knipe, Gayebury came from their famous Artiste Gaye family that resulted in such stars as Gaye Chance, Gaye Brief and Simon.
Four-Year-Old Burren Life heads to trainer Gordon Elliott
Burren Life (Lot 16) was another four-year-old Irish pointer who came to the ring with recent form, although in his case it involved a fall at Belharbour. However, he was in front and looked set to score before the novicey mistake at the last fence, and it took a bid of £135,000 by trainer Gordon Elliott to ensure he left with the horse.
The son of Pelder was offered by trainer Norman Lee from County Galway, who said: “That’s the best price we’ve gained in the ring – now I want to see him back here at Cheltenham, but not in the sales ring.”
Dingo makes top Dollar
Dingo Dollar (Lot 37), who took advantage of Burren Life’s fall to land that Belharbour maiden for Martin Hassett’s stable, was also put through the ring yesterday, and made £50,000 to a bid from agent Anthony Bromley, who was acting for a client of trainer Alan King. The same horse had been bought as a store by Deirdre Hassett for €9,000 at Tattersalls Ireland’s August Sale last year.
The same Hassett stable had earlier gained £61,000 for four-year-old Mulcahys Hill (Lot 23), a recent Tallow winner who was acquired by Highflyer Bloodstock and trainer Warren Greatrex.
Bromley and King keen on Reality Bites
Bromley and King also teamed up to buy Reality Bites (Lot 29) with a bid of £100,000. The son of Mahler – from the family of top performers Rhinestone Cowboy and Wichita Lineman – also scored on the Belharbour card, but for Robert Tyner’s stable. Bromley said: “We liked what we saw when he won, and there’s a bit of speed in the female family. We were underbidders on Burren Life, but this horse was always one we were keen on.”
Fitzgerald adds a Steal My Thunder to his Racing Club
Mick Fitzgerald’s Racing Club, which has syndicated horses in training with Philip Hobbs, gained a fourth member of its team when former jockey Fitzgerald signed for Steal My Thunder (Lot 9) with a bid of £72,000. The five-year-old had finished second on debut in a point-to-point at Ballinaboola last month for Andrew Latta’s stable.
Rewarding result for Hurricane Dylan at Cheltenham
Hurricane Dylan’s £66,000 sale to J Stimpson was the third time the son of Brian Boru had been through a Tattersalls Ireland sales ring. A €3,000 November Foal sale graduate, he made €18,000 at the Derby Sale in 2014 when bought by Shane Donohoe, who saddled him to finish placed in two point-to-points before he was offered at Cheltenham, with a very rewarding result.
At the conclusion of the sale, Richard Pugh, the Tattersalls Ireland Director of Horses-in-Training Sales said;
“We are delighted to have consolidated the recent results achieved at the January Sale, despite the need to change the date – it has been a challenging time for many of our customers in finding suitable races for their horses. In a normal winter a date in January is fine.
“We have achieved a top price lot of £200,000, improved the median, and the average figure is very satisfactory and we now look forward to next month’s Festival Sale, which has become an important event in the jumps sales calendar.”
Tattersalls Ireland next sale at Cheltenham is the Festival Sale on Thursday March 17th after racing.