Malone signs for another top lot as Winter warms up Ascot
Median up 29 per cent as 121 lots change hands
Torrential rain on Tuesday morning may have delayed the start of the Tattersalls Ireland Ascot June Sale by 30 minutes as many struggled to navigate the nearby motorways, but it ultimately failed to keep the buyers away from the Ascot sales ring.
The sale was boosted by the addition of 43 wildcard entries, and they made up seven of the top ten lots, with the most expensive of those going the way of Tom Malone, who was stood alongside Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer Jamie Snowden when going to £30,000 for Winter Time.
The five-year-old Golan gelding, who was offered by Denis Hogan's Boherna Stables, has placed twice in bumpers in Ireland, and has the likes of Thyestes Chase winner Homer Wells and Badger Ales Trophy scorer Standing Ovation in his further family.
"He's put in two solid runs," said Malone. "That form should translate to him being favourite for a bumper. He likes good ground, so we're going to kick on with him."
Tom Dunn of West Buckland Bloodstock signed for the second top lot, going to £28,000 for Sandro Botticelli.
The five-year-old Galileo gelding - a brother to the Dee Stakes winner and Derby third Astrology - won the 2016 Listed Esher Stakes at Sandown on the Flat for trainer John Ryan, and also finished second behind Dartmouth in the Group 3 John Porter Stakes last year.
"We had Gang Wangfare, who finished a place behind Sandro Botticelli at Wolverhampton in January, and he caught my eye then," said Dunn, who purchased the five-year-old to go into training with his wife, Alexandra Dunn.
"He should make a nice hurdler, and we'll race him, or else we will find an owner," he added.
John Ryan's five-strong draft proved popular, with all five lots selling for a total of £75,500 and an average of £15,100. Another Galileo gelding from the Newmarket handler, this time the four-year-old Lord Napier, realised a bid of £24,000 from Mickey Bowen, who attended the sales with his mother Karen.
"He's a good hurdling prospect and has form on soft ground," said Karen Bowen. "He'll go into training with Peter [Bowen], who may decide to give him a break for the winter."
The four-year-old is out of the King Charlemagne mare Jacqueline, a champion in India who struck up a partnership with jockey Richard Hughes, who is in turn is out of a daughter of Temple Music, a Listed winner in Germany from the family of champion three-year-old Tiger Hill.
Bowen's purchase received an almost instant pedigree update after being knocked down, as his year-younger brother, the John Gosden-trained Zenon, broke his maiden in a 1m4f maiden at Chepstow at 4.30pm.
Battle Of Marathon was another lot consigned by Ryan, and it was Peter Harper who struck the winning bid of £20,000 for the five-year-old gelding, who was runner-up in the Listed Paradise Stakes at Ascot and third in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster during the 2016 campaign.
The son of War Front hails from the family of Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes scorer and Sprint Cup third Magical Memory.
A day after the conclusion of the Irish point-to-point season, two of the three leading handlers Colin Bowe and Denis Murphy were present to oversee their respective Ascot drafts.
The Bowe-trained Inaminna, a winner at Lisronagh in April, was leading when he fell in a point-to-point at Ballingarry on Saturday, and he joins the yard of Neil Mulholland after the trainer went to £22,000 to secure the six-year-old Oscar gelding.
Inaminna is the first foal out of the bumper winner and Listed-placed hurdler Amber Trix, who is from the family of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander.
"I bought him on spec - he was nearly going to win when he fell on Saturday," Mulholland explained. "He has very consistent form in the book, will make a good fun horse and we'll give him a bit of grass and see where we go from there."
It was not the first time Mulholland has gone to the well at the Ascot sales ring, as Hennessy Gold Cup runner-up Carole's Destrier was bought from the Brightwells Ascot July Sale for £10,500 from Larkinglass Farm by Liz Harrington back in 2010.
"Carole's Destrier was part of a dispersal here. There are plenty of winners coming out of this sale," said Mulholland.
Boom time for O'Brien
Fergal O'Brien, accompanied by owners Wally and Paula Miznouk, went to £21,000 for Herecomestheboom from Murphy's Ballyboy Stables. The son of Darsi was runner-up by two lengths in a five-year-old geldings maiden at Inchydoney recently.
"We'll bring him back and give him a break, and he will be brought back for a winter campaign," said O'Brien. "He has a good point-to-point rating and his close second at Inchydoney was a good run."
Wally Miznouk is a part-owner of the O'Brien-trained Wizard's Sliabh, who wasn't disgraced when seventh in the Grade 2 Mares' Novices' Hurdle Finale at Newbury in March.
"Wizard's Sliabh was consistent without winning another hurdle race," added O'Brien. "And she was unlucky not to be a bit closer in the Mares' Finale."
Back to reality for Codd
Jamie Codd, who narrowly missed out on the Irish point-to-point jockeys' title, going down by 66-65 to Barry O'Neill, was present in his role as Irish representative for the Cheltenham and Ascot sales houses.
"I had a good year and have come out of it in one piece. It couldn't have gone any better really," he said.
When asked about which sires have impressed him this year Codd said: "Ask could be one that will come through in time, and you have your regulars then at the top of the sires' table. Court Cave had a good year. He's also a good, solid sire and could be one to follow."
The sale concluded with turnover of £715,100 - a 17 per cent drop from a seven per cent smaller catalogue compared to 2016, an average of £5,910 - a nine per cent drop, and a median of £4,000 - a 29 per cent increase. The clearance rate was 82 per cent, with 121 of the 147 offered lots changing hands.