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Ferguson and Merry join forces to acquire Joyful Hope

The duo combined to secure the five-year-old Shamardal mare for $500,000

John Ferguson: "It's exciting - I'm back to the beginning"
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Making his first foray into US sales following his departure from Godolphin, John Ferguson joined with Hugo Merry at Keeneland on Wednesday to purchase the five-year-old Shamardal mare Joyful Hope for the partnership of Watership Down Stud and Andrew Rosen for $500,000.

"It's exciting - I'm back to the beginning," Ferguson said of his bloodstock work. "Nice mare."

"I'm delighted to be doing a deal in partnership with John. He's got to get going again and we said four or five months ago that we must do some business together. It just fell together on this particular deal, a coincidence," Merry said.

"Andrew keeps mares at Watership Down and he's very fond of the outfit, and [Ferguson and I] both liked the mare. And rather than take each other on, we decided to make it simple and take a half share," he added.

Tentative plans call for Joyful Hope, a stakes winner in Italy and runner-up in the 2015 Premio Oaks d'Italia, to stay in the US and be bred to War Front prior to being sent to Watership Down in Berkshire or the sister farm in Ireland, Kiltinan Castle Stud, Merry said.

Rosen bred War Front's multiple group winner War Decree and races the three-year-old colt in partnership with Coolmore. In addition, he keeps mares at Claiborne Farm, which stands War Front, "so it is a logical sort of mating," Merry said.

Joyful Hope is a half-sister to Group 1 winners Jakkalberry and Crackerjack King as well as to two other stakes winners. She most recently raced in August 2016 for Jon and Sarah Kelly and was sold in foal to Bernardini on a March 9 cover.

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Joyful Hope is a half sister to Group 1 winners Jakkalberry and Crackerjack King as well as to two other stakes winners
E.W. Terms