Four horses owned by John Dance sell for 130,000gns on day one of Tattersalls July Sale at Newmarket

John Dance founded Vertem in 2010
John Dance: under investigation by the Financial Conduct AuthorityCredit: John Grossick (

Four horses belonging to John Dance, the owner at the centre of a fraud and money laundering probe by the City regulator, sold for a combined 130,000gns (£136,500) at the Tattersalls July Sale in Newmarket on Tuesday.

Dance’s racing empire was thrown into disarray in April when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) shut down his business, WealthTek LLP, and placed a £40 million freezing order on his assets after discovering "serious regulatory and operational issues".

Subsequent investigations by special administrators brought in to assess WealthTek LLP discovered a black hole of £81.4m in the organisation’s books, while creditors are forecast to receive just 21p for every £1 owed to them.

Initially, horses owned in full by Dance and his wife, Jess, or in partnership with others, were not permitted to race by the BHA as a result of the high court freezing order. The block resulted in Bravemansgame being sold to co-owner Bryan Drew to enable him to compete in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Last month, an agreement was reached between the FCA and the BHA to enable horses owned by Dance to run under the banner of Coverdale Stud, with any earnings generated by the horses frozen. Horses owned by Titanium Racing, of which Dance was president and to which he provided financial support, were also given permission to resume racing.

Alongside allowing the horses to race, the agreement permitted Dance to continue operating other parts of his equine businesses which included selling horses, with the FCA stating the freezing order did not "preclude [Dance] from claiming reasonable living expenses or from continuing to operate his horse business". As with any funds generated from racing, sales proceeds will be frozen by the FCA.

The main attraction among Dance’s horses for sale on Tuesday was Simmie, a Listed-winning two-year-old who was sold in foal to Churchill, the sire of this year’s dual Classic winner Blue Rose Cen.

Consigned by the National Stud, Simmie was sold for 100,000gns (£105,000) to bloodstock agent Mark McStay. Sense Of Motion (8,000gns; £8,400), Robotique Danseur (10,000gns; £10,500) and Continental (12,000gns; £12,600) were also sold.

A further four horses owned by Dance – Crossfader, Dreamfeeder, Groove Nation and Mass Consumption – are set to go under the hammer in Newmarket on Wednesday.

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Peter ScargillDeputy industry editor