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Two for the price of one as Tattersalls hosts Craven and Ascot Breeze-Up Sales

Combined auctions begin at 11am at Park Paddocks on Thursday

Jimmy George: "There's been a huge spirit of co-operation throughout the industry"
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Tattersalls offers two for the price of one on Thursday - not on lots, obviously, but with Park Paddocks playing host to the combined Craven and Tattersalls Ascot Breeze-Up Sales from 11am. 

Both auctions, which would usually take place well in advance of Royal Ascot, needed to be pushed back in the calendar because of restrictions brought in to slow the spread of Covid-19.

While the health of the market remains to be seen, the overriding feeling among industry professionals is one of relief that the breeze-up sales are being held at all.

"It's a huge relief for all concerned," said Tattersalls marketing director Jimmy George. "Everybody's been very patient despite a certain amount of concern about how we'd be able to get the show back on the road.

"But it looks like we're very nearly there and I think everybody's very pleased to be here now that we've got the horses and the buyers on site."

Star Bloodstock's American Pharoah colt breezes up the Rowley Mile ahead of the Tattersalls Craven Sale
Among the potential standout lots on offer are the likes of the Night Of Thunder filly out of Blanche Neige, offered by Church Farm and Horse Park Stud (Lot 19); the American Pharoah colt out of Harlan's Honor (51), consigned by Star Bloodstock; Grove Stud's Kodiac colt out of Honeymead (53); and the Kingman half-brother to Poet's Word, consigned by Malcolm Bastard (142).

View full Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale catalogue

View full Tattersalls Ascot Breeze-Up Sale catalogue

George acknowledged the difficulties the Tattersalls team had faced in getting the sales on, but said he was only too aware that the company's problems all but paled into insignificance during a global health crisis.

He said: "A lot of hard work had to go into rearranging the sales and adjusting the format, but we're acutely aware that every walk of life has been massively affected by the pandemic.

"Yes, there's been a lot of work involved, but that's what we're here for and it's our responsibility to try and react as best as we possibly can on behalf of the consignors.

"Amalgamating the two sales was a pretty straightforward decision. Obviously we had to adjust the dates on more than one occasion in response to events outside our control, but there's been a huge spirit of cooperation throughout the industry and in the wider world to try to make the best of the cards we've been dealt."

Strict social distancing and biosecurity measures have been implemented to allow the two auctions to take place, and Tattersalls has also ramped up its online capabilities, with live online bidding to be in effect during the Craven and Ascot Breeze-Up Sales.

"We've had a fair number of people register for the live internet bidding, which is encouraging," said George. "It was hugely important that we as a sales company explored as many options as possible to allow people to participate, not just at the Craven and Ascot sales but at sales at Tattersalls in the future."

Both catalogues have a significant number of withdrawals, with around 65 of 154 entries in the Craven Sale taken out, and close to 40 of the 96 in the Tattersalls Ascot Sale skipping their date with the auctioneer.

Nonetheless, George said he expected the quality of stock on offer to be up to scratch, even if the quantity was down on previous years.

"It's very hard to assess the precise state of the market at the moment but we were encouraged by the number of people at the breeze and the footfall on the sales ground since, and we have some quality two-year-olds here for people to get stuck into," he said.

Tattersalls Craven and Ascot Breeze-Up Sales factfile

Where Tattersalls Park Paddocks, Newmarket

When Selling begins on Thursday at 11am

Last year's stats

Craven From 109 offered, 85 sold (78 per cent) for turnover of 10,343,000gns (down 22 per cent year-on-year); an average of 121,680gns (down 14 per cent) and a median of 85,000gns (up 13 per cent)

Ascot From 78 offered, 67 sold (86 per cent) for turnover of £1,377,000 (down three per cent); an average of £20,550 (down 14 per cent); and a median of £13,000 (down 19 per cent)

Notable graduates

Craven Donjuan Triumphant (sold by Lynn Lodge Stud, bought by Middleham Park Racing for 30,000gns); La Pelosa (Tally-Ho Stud, Godolphin, 280,000gns); Brando (Church Farm Stables, Stephen Hillen and Kevin Ryan for 115,000gns)

Ascot Sands Of Mali (Bansha House Stables, Cool Silk Partnership and Stroud Coleman Bloodstock, £75,000); Summer Sands (Aguiar Bloodstock, Cool Silk Partnership and Stroud Coleman Bloodstock, £85,000); Flaming Princess (Dunsany Stables, Cool Silk Partnership and Stroud Coleman Bloodstock, £60,000)

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A lot of hard work had to go into rearranging the sales, but we're acutely aware that every walk of life has been massively affected
E.W. Terms