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Roger Varian snares Derby entrant Willie John for whopping 1.9m gns

Some of racing's biggest names vied to take home the talented colt

Willie John: set to reappear in the second-half of the season
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Following a dramatic round of bidding, dual Derby entrant Willie John was knocked down for a whopping 1.9 million guineas to Roger Varian on the second day of the Tattersalls February Sale.

Introduced by auctioneer and Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony as "something a bit special", the bidding opened at 200,000gns for the son of Dansili and Izzi Top, owned in partnership by beleaguered South African business tycoon Markus Jooste.

Oliver St Lawrence, Ed Dunlop, Ed Sackville, Godolphin, Julian Dollar and Chris Richardson all got in on the act, with Mahony continuing in 100,000gns increments once the bidding had surpassed the seven-figure mark.

Roger Varian, though, came in late to secure the colt, a Yarmouth novice stakes winner on his sole start to date in October.

"Obviously he won well on his only start and the owner [Sheikh Obaid] already has an interest in the family," said Varian. "He bought the Dubawi colt out of the mare in the autumn and identified this colt as a horse he'd like to have and we're very lucky to have been able to do the steering for him. I'm looking forward to getting to know the horse a little better now. 

"He's a promising horse and he's got a great pedigree. Those autumn maidens at Yarmouth are often pretty strong. I don't think we need to worry about where he's going to debut for us but I'm just looking forward to getting him in the yard."

The colt, bred by Meon Valley Stud from its famous Reprocolor family, holds early entries in the Derby and Irish Derby in June.

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For more live updates from the February Sale, head to Nancy Sexton's live blog for all the latest news at Park Paddocks 

He's a promising horse and he's got a great pedigree. Those autumn maidens at Yarmouth are often pretty strong
E.W. Terms