Pete So High tops the bill to join Elliott for hurdling career
Strong market for horses in training at Doncaster
At a time when yearling sales are igniting dreams around the world, the arrival of horses already in training but seeking a new home inevitably lent a rather more prosaic flavour to proceedings in Doncaster yesterday.
Nonetheless the 225-lot Goffs UK September catalogue drew a sizeable and diverse range of buyers to South Yorkshire – and if prices could hardly match those reached during a bumper renewal of the Premier Yearling Sale, in the same ring just a few days earlier, trade remained robust throughout.
By the time the final horse exited the ring 144 lots had sold for turnover of £1,617,400 – up 46 per cent year-on-year, for an average of £11,230 (a 29 per cent climb) and median of £8,000 (up from £5,500). The clearance rate stood at a healthy 85 per cent.
Leading syndicate Middleham Park Racing brought a draft that looked capable of hogging the limelight, and one of their offerings duly topped the session, with the progressive middle-distance performer Pete So High going the way of agent Aidan O'Ryan and Gordon Elliott for £66,000.
The German-bred son of High Chaparral brought a two-pronged update to the table, having won handicaps at Lingfield and Brighton since the catalogue's publication.
"He's on an upward curve," said O'Ryan, who secured the three-year-old on behalf of an existing owner of Elliott's. "He'll have a break for a month as he's been busy, and then he'll be prepared for a juvenile hurdling campaign. He's a lovely-looking horse, hopefully he'll be lucky."
Bred by Gestut Fahrhof – for whom he realised €130,000 at the 2015 BBAG Yearling Sale to Peter and Ross Doyle – Pete So High changed hands having won four of his 14 starts for Richard Hannon, having in the process achieved a peak Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 83.
The much-missed High Chaparral has a growing reputation as a source of jumping talent, a point best advertised by the top-class Altior, who is ably supported by the likes of Different Gravey, Hadrian's Approach and Hawk High.
The Middleham Park draft also contained a pair of talented two-year-olds that looked to hold significant appeal, namely the Listed-winning De Bruyne Horse and the Listed-placed Simmy's Copshop. However, both returned unsold after the bidding for the former reached £145,000 and the latter £80,000.
O'Ryan raises a Yug
The familiar figure of Bobby O'Ryan landed the first noteworthy blow of the day when going to £56,000 for twice-raced Motivator gelding Yug from John Oxx's Currabeg Stables.
"He's been bought to go to James Nash on the Curragh," explained O'Ryan, who had to repel a spirited underbidder – his own son Aidan – before bringing the hammer down. "Hopefully he'll make into a nice dual purpose horse, he's certainly got the right profile."
The three-year-old Yug, a 24,000gns Book 2 buy by BBA Ireland, finished third on his most recent outing, beaten eight lengths by Abyssinian over 1m5f at Leopardstown for an RPR of 79.
Bred by Haras D'Etreham, the gelding is out of the Giant's Causeway mare Another Name, and hails from the renowned family of Jude, which includes Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Yesterday; champion two-year-old and dual Oaks runner-up Quarter Moon; and her Pretty Polly Stakes-winning daughter Diamondsandrubies.
The annual dispersal of horses from Gigginstown Stud drew its customary band of admirers, and this year's offerings were headed by Marinero, who went the way of David Christie for £54,000.
The son of Presenting has won five of his 30 starts under Rules, including three over hurdles – a sphere in which he has a peak RPR of 142, and one over fences (RPR 143). The eight-year-old has kept exalted company of late, having clashed with the likes of Might Bite and Balko Des Flos, but now looks set for a drop in grade.
"He qualifies for all the good hunter chases in Ireland and those are the races we'll concentrate on first, then we'll see where we go," said Christie, who sourced Marinero on behalf of an existing client. "It's very difficult to get a relatively young horse that's rated as high as he is. He has some very good form behind Thistlecrack. He's lost his way a little bit since, but we'll freshen him up and then take a view about where we go."
All 24 Gigginstown-consigned lots, including the Grade 1-winning Dedigout – who went the way of Micky Hammond for £16,000 – changed hands to record an aggregate price of £329,000, a sum that put Michael O'Leary's operation at the top of the leading vendors' list.
Greatrex's spending tells a tale
Highflyer Bloodstock's Tessa Greatrex was among the session's most active buyers, as she snapped up four lots for a total spend of £95,000. The priciest of the quartet was Spin A Yarn, consigned by Joseph O'Brien's Carriganog Racing, at £42,000.
The four-year-old son of Flemensfirth got off the mark at the third attempt when scoring in a Ballinrobe maiden hurdle back in July, and has since finished a close second in a Tramore novice event.
"He looks an exciting prospect, and if he was an Irish pointer he'd have probably cost a lot more," said Greatrex, who added the smart Dicosimo to her haul at £28,000 just a few lots later.
"He's a Saturday horse, and they're hard to come by," Greatrex said of the son of Laveron, a Listed winner over hurdles earlier in his career for Willie Mullins (and who also has a peak RPR of 150 over fences). "They're both great to go straight to war with, and both will go to Warren [Greatrex]."
Blake Broadway dreaming
The lightly-raced Broadway Dreams is set to continue his career in Staverton in Wiltshire, after dual purpose trainer Michael Blake went to £40,000 to secure the three-year-old, who was offered by Marjorie Fife on behalf of owner Craig Buckingham.
"He's been bought for The Moonlighters syndicate, who already have horses with me," said Blake. "He'll go over hurdles, though we'll give him a bit of time to grow into himself first. The long-term plan is to try and get him into the Fred Winter if he's good enough. He's a nice type of horse and we know he stays we well enough."
A son of Oasis Dream, Broadway Dreams first went through the sales ring when bought by John Ferguson for 100,000gns at the Tattersalls December Foals Sale in 2014, but failed to make the track for Godolphin and was picked up by Buckingham for just £8,000 at Tattersalls Ireland Ascot back in March.
The gelding ran four times for Fife, twice finishing runner-up, including on handicap debut over 1m2f on his latest start, where he ran to an RPR of 80. He is the first foal out of the Listed winner and Italian Oaks third Rosa Eglanteria, a daughter of Nayef whose family traces back to the likes of the Grade 2 winner Whilly and Group 2 winner Decorated Hero.