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Impressive Western Diego excites former jockey Mark Scallan

Saturday's auction is set to feature 40 lots after racing

Weveallbeencaught comes with a good recommendation from Michael Kennedy
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Mark Scallan, who ended a successful riding career in point-to-points in order to focus on training in Wexford, offers the type of horse he would like to have partnered himself in Saturday's Tattersalls Cheltenham January Sale.

Western Diego is one of 38 lots from a wide cross-section of British and Irish trainers at the event, which begins after Festival Trials Day at 5pm, having quickened away to take a maiden at Carrigarostig by a wide margin on January 16.

The son of Westerner is out of Ask Me Sister, a point winner owned and bred by Sean Osborne who was also black type-placed under rules and has shown promise with her early progeny.

"I gave up riding to kind of concentrate on this side of it more, these are the horses that you'd be wanting to ride and also to get into your hands," said Scallan, who currently has a stable of 15.

"We think he's a very good horse and did kind of expect him to do that in a way [at Carrigarostig]. We'd said it would take a very good horse to beat him, he was doing everything right at home."

Another who has taken more of an interest in training horses for this potentially lucrative resale market is Michael Kennedy, who has also saddled a handful of winners under rules over the last few seasons from his base in Innishannon, County Cork.

After the reasonable £85,000 sale of Hurlerontheditch to Aiden Murphy and Kim Bailey at a similar auction last March, he returns with Weveallbeencaught, who showed tenacity to score at Dromahane in late December.

The Getaway gelding, who is from the smart family of Ottawa and Calling Brave, was bred by Conor Murphy out of his useful jumping mare Curvacious.

Kennedy said: "He was ready to run earlier in the autumn but the ground was a bit dry. Although he's a very good-moving horse, we were just waiting for a bit of softer ground.

"His mother wasn't a bad mare, she won only twice but she was rated in the 120s without probably reaching her potential. He's got a nice way about him, when he needs to switch on, he does. He's 17.1 hands but he's got the strength to go with it."

Elaborating on a slight change of direction, he said: "I sold one last year at the March sale at Newmarket but I've gone down that route only recently. I train a few but it's so competitive in Ireland, it's hard to make it pay from just the training fees, so the last two seasons we just said we'd aim a couple at point-to-points and try to sell them.

"I'd be small in comparison to the lads from Wexford, but I'd like to get a bit more into it."

Some of the more powerful operations that Kennedy referred to are likely to play a big part once again. 

Sean Doyle's Great Name That, an easy winner at Turtulla, is an obvious starting point, as is the Donal Hassett-trained Twinjets, a son of Jet Away who clocked a brisk time at Dromahane. 

Queens Vic has a similar background to the very smart Queens Brook

Queens Vic, who won the same maiden at the latter course as very smart bumper and hurdle performer Queens Brook did for Aidan Fitzgerald two years ago, is another well-related Shirocco mare with potential.

Former jockey Mark Grant, now a familiar name on the breeze-up circuit, has another string to his bow as one of the British-based point-to-point trainers in the catalogue. His Maid Of The Night won at Larkhill last weekend, while the likes of Tom and Gina Ellis and Chris Barber offer recent winners apiece.

Enda Bolger, a fixture in the Cheltenham winner's enclosure after cross-country races, turns vendor with Are U Wise To That, a sibling of the useful Didtheyleaveuoutto from the family of the great Denman, while Nick Williams presents Iliade Allen, who was second in a Listed bumper at the course on New Year's Day.

Last year's January Sale was one of those lost due to the pandemic but this event follows a strong renewal of the December Sale as post-race Cheltenham auctions have returned home.

This particular auction was introduced to the calendar only in 2020, when subsequent Bective Stud and Gordon Elliott winners Clondaw Secret and Folcano led the way at £135,000 and £110,000 respectively.

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Good Morning Bloodstock is our latest email newsletter. Leading bloodstock journalist Martin Stevens provides his take and insight on the biggest stories every morning from Monday to Friday 

I'd be small in comparison to the lads from Wexford, but I'd like to get a bit more into it
E.W. Terms