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Network on right wavelength in robust stores market

Sire's sole offering tops NH August bill at €50,000

This Network gelding topped the opening day at €50,000
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Demand for store horses has not slackened during the summer months as evidenced by the strong set of opening day results posted by the Tattersalls Ireland August National Hunt Sale on Wednesday.

Both the average and median figures leaped by over a third from the equivalent day last year, the former up to €10,562 and the latter to €7,000; while turnover, from 191 sold (up from 174) at a clearance rate of 71 per cent (up from 63 per cent) increased by a remarkable 49 per cent to €2,017,520.

The sole offspring of leading French sire Network catalogued over the two days was the honeypot buyers found irresistible.

Already named Song Of The Hunter, the steel grey gelding stood out among his peers as he walked round the covered ring, awaiting his turn under the hammer. Consigned by John Kennedy, the gelding from the family of Group 1 winner Ange Gabriel sparked strong early competition in the morning proceedings. Rathbarry Stud's Paul Cashman, standing beside bloodstock agent Tom Malone, emerged victorious, purchasing the imposing gelding for €50,000.

"We will get him home and decide what to do," Cashman said. "But we will probably go down the point-to-point road with him in the spring. He is by a top sire in France whose progeny are proven year in, year out. We are hoping he will be a nice horse, he is a good, athletic type with a bit of size and scope about him."

Three stores by Network, sire of the wonderful Sprinter Sacre, were sold for an average of €66,000 at the Derby sale here in June and Song Of The Hunter's sale continued strong demand for the Haras d'Enki resident.

Malone himself signed for the next highest priced lot of the day, a gelding from the first crop of Irish St Leger winner Sans Frontieres. Consigned by Matthew O'Connor’s Graigue Farm, he is a half-brother to three winners from three siblings to race.

His French-bred dam Line Jade is a half-sister to the Grade 1-placed mare Line As, from the immediate family of the multiple Grade 1-placed chaser Escartefigue.

"I bought him for Richard Gilbert, who has horses in training in England," Malone said. "Richard likes to win a bumper with his horses and sell them on so I imagine that is what the plan will be for this horse."

Sans Frontieres stands at Coolmore's Beeches Stud and his first representatives have been well received at this summer's National Hunt sales. This gelding is the most expensive store horse to date by the son of Galileo sold at public auction.

"He is the first horse by Sans Frontieres I have bought but I have seen quite a bit of his stock and like what I have seen so far," Malone added.

Simmonstown Stud's chestnut gelding by Shantou also made €40,000 when agent Kevin Ross signed for the second foal out of an unraced half-sister to the 2016 Thyestes Chase winner My Murphy. Adding to the pedigree's lustre is dual Cheltenham Festival winner Simonsig under the third dam.

"He is for a client who has horses in training with a few different trainers, so I'm not sure with whom he will be going into training," said Ross. "Shantou is a good sire, we have been lucky with him before and this horse is nice and correct."

Five lots later David Minton of Highflyer Bloodstock paid €40,000 for a gelding by Malinas. The chestnut was purchased on behalf of trainer Alan King, who is well acquainted with the family having trained Grade 2-winning chaser Valdez, a Doyen half-brother to this horse and triple Grade 1 winner Walkon, who appears under their third dam.

"He is a chestnut and Alan likes chestnuts, he loved Valdez and he was a flashy chestnut," confided Minton. "We saw him at the Land Rover sale but he suffered an overreach and wasn't sold so we're happy to be able to get him today."

Limerick trainer Eric McNamara signed for a Vinnie Roe gelding consigned by Ballinacurrig House Stud in County Cork for €33,000. A three-year-old out of the Old Vic mare Miss Murtle, he is a half-brother to two winners and his second dam, Miss Betsy, is a half-sister to the dam of Kerry National winner White Star Line and multiple Grade 1-placed Kildare. It is also the family of one of 2016's leading novice hurdlers Duke Of Lucca.

He is a good, athletic type with a bit of size and scope about him
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