£380,000 top lot brings wow factor to the November Sale
James Thomas reports on a vibrant renewal of the Cheltenham auction
A huge crowd piled into the Tattersalls Ireland sales pavilion after racing on Friday and they were duly treated to some high octane auction action as 14 lots fetched six-figure prices.
The sale-topper is destined to continue his racing career under the care of David Pipe after the Master of Pond House went to £380,000 to secure the winning pointer Know The Score.
An opening bid of £300,000 was enough to draw gasps from even the more seasoned sales attendees, but Pipe looked unphased by the king bid attempt and set about returning fire. The bidding crept up in £5,000 increments, leading auctioneer Alastair Pim to declare "my flight isn't until the morning so we can be here all night if we need to", but when the £380,000 mark was hit the gavel came down and Pim pointed in Pipe's direction.
"He's a lovely son of Flemensfirth who quickened up well to win his point. I think the form of that race looks strong," said Pipe, who added that the horse had been acquired on behalf of the Angove family. "The market's pretty high at the moment but there's no point shying away."
Know The Score was offered by Sean Doyle's Monbeg Stables, after the outfit had picked up the son of Flemensfirth for €55,000 at last year's Tattersalls Ireland Derby National Hunt Sale.
The four-year-old was a deeply impressive six-length winner of a maiden at Ballinaboola earlier this month, and is a half-brother to the Grade 2-winning chaser Cailin Annamh and from the family of Colin Tizzard's upwardly mobile hurdler Pingshou.
"He is by far the best horse I've ever put a saddle on," said Doyle. "He has size, scope, pedigree and, above all else, a great attitude."
Good Man Goff
The first lot to break the £300,000 barrier was Good Man Jim, who went the way of Roger Brookhouse after a winning bid of £360,000.
Anthony Bromley and Charlie Swan helped drive the price up from an opening bid of £100,000, but every effort was instantly responded to with a slight but determined nod of the head from Brookhouse, who was hidden away by the entrance way.
The sale represented a huge return on the £14,000 Richard Frisby forked out for the son of Martaline at the 2014 Doncaster January Sale, and more than vindicated the decision to retain the horse at €45,000 at the 2016 Tattersalls Ireland Derby National Hunt Sale.
Michael Goff of Moate Stables in County Wexford was responsible for overseeing the horse's pointing career, which included a 14-length success at Dowth Hall on his second outing.
"That was fantastic," said Goff. "I've sold a few horses to Mr Brookhouse and I'm delighted he's bought this guy. All the horses at home were sick when this horse made his debut, but what he did in Dowth was something special.
"Not many horses can do what he does, he's got such a high cruising speed, he's got the pace to win over a mile and he has enough stamina to stay three miles. Dick Frisby who owned this horse is as sharp they come."
Despite the drama the huge outlay provided, Brookhouse seemed unmoved by his acquisition, simply saying: "I liked the horse very much and he'll be coming home with me. I've bought two or three off Michael and he knows his job."
Highflyer Bloodstock's Anthony Bromley was active throughout the session and his purchases including Gallahers Cross at £260,000 and Lust For Glory at £240,000.
Both horses are heading to Nicky Henderson's yard and will carry the increasingly familiar colours of Mike Grech and Stuart Parkin, whose River Wylde is declared in Sunday's Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase.
"That was a wow sale!" said Bromley at the close of trade. "They never drew breath. I knew yesterday when I was looking at the horse that it was going to be a good sale. It's the first proper sale of proven jumpers that we've had since May and it attracts a lot of different faces, it was a very vibrant market. To get the horse you wanted was difficult.
"Lust For Glory is just drop dead gorgeous," Bromley added of the daughter of Getaway who landed a four-year-old mares maiden at Lisronagh in late October. "She was coveted by everyone here. Harold Kirk was underbidder to me and he's a good judge!"
Bromley's other purchase, Gallahers Cross, is unbeaten in two starts having recorded wide-margin victories in a Punchestown maiden point and a Galway bumper for trainer Peter Fahey.
"It will be up to Nicky [Henderson] whether Gallahers Cross stays in bumpers this season or if he goes novice hurdling. He'll make they decision before Christmas," the Highflyer man added.
The second lot to break the six-figure barrier provided Aidan Fitzgerald with a phenomenal profit as Queens Cave, who he picked up for just €8,000, went the way of David Pipe for £175,000.
The four-year-old daughter of Court Cave had advertised her credentials with a facile ten-length debut success in a competitive Dromahane maiden just five days before journeying to Cheltenham.
"Maybe Court Cave wasn't going so well at the time but he's a stallion I love, I bought four of them at the same sale," a shellshocked Fitzgerald said when asked how he had acquired such a valuable commodity for such chickenfeed money. "I loved the way this filly walked and I'm delighted she's going to David Pipe's," he added, before going on to explain that Queens Cave had been owned in partnership with Enda McDonagh.
"Absolutely amazing!" added McDonagh, a major player in the plastic business. "I've been in racing for 20 years but this is just the second year me and Aidan have been working together.
"I fell out of love with racing and wanted something to help me fall back in love with it and that was bringing up young horses. We made a profit in the first year so reinvested a bit heavier and five of the six we bought then have won," continued McDonagh, who went on to heap praise on Fitzgerald.
"This is more about Aidan than me though, he's done the hard work, I've just invested the money. He's probably the best horseman in Ireland currently, especially when it comes to mares, as he just understands how to deal with them. We expected to do well today but we didn't think we'd do that well."
This was the third time that the filly had been through the sales ring, having brought just €1,000 from Jamestown House Stud as a foal at the Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale back in 2013.
Leading French trainer Emmanuel Clayeux brought two lots all the way from his Moulins yard, and was rewarded when the first of those, Unexpected, fetched £200,000 from Charlie Swan.
The three-year-old, from the final crop of Anzillero, ran a promising third on debut, and is backed up by a high-class pedigree being a half-brother to the wide-margin Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase winner Great Field.
"Usually I sell my horses in France but I wanted a change as I like Cheltenham and I like the atmosphere at English sales," said Clayeux, whose Vicomte Du Seuil and Urgent De Gregaine finished second and third respectively in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase earlier in the day.
Clayeux did not enjoy quite the same fortune with his other offering, Eh Georges, as the trainer retained the son of Coastal Path - who is declared in the Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle on Saturday - at £125,000.
The searing level of trade brought an impressive set of returns, as the 41 lots sold generated turnover of £3,712,000 - up a whopping 82 per cent year-on-year, an average of £90,537 - up 37 per cent, and a median of £60,000 - up from £50,000 in 2016.