Sales Review

The Oscars delivered in December with success on the track and in the sales ring with a four-year-old son topping the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham December Sale achieving the second-best ever price given at public auction for a point-to-pointer.

The record is held by the ill-fated Flemenshill, who was sold last spring at the Cheltenham February Sale for £480,000, but the Colin Bowe-trained Trevelyn’s Corn, who won his point-to-point by 7l just five days ahead of this year’s December Sale on December 10 at Borris House, fetched the staggering sum of £400,000, bought by Tom Malone and Paul Nicholls.

Although many aspects are involved in the purchase of a horse, the commercial importance of crossing the line in front was duly revealed – On Call, by Flemensfirth and out of the Oscar mare Oscar’s Repreive and runner-up to Trevelyn’s Corn at Borris House, was led out unsold at Cheltenham for £35,000.

Both had been store horse purchases at the 2016 Derby Sale for €45,000 and €40,000.

In all, 12 horses sold at Cheltenham for €100,000 or more, the majority with point-to-point form, a couple boasting bumper / hurdles experience, while Lot 60 was the most expensive unraced breeze-up graduate. He is a Getaway gelding from the family of Supreme Prince and Supreme Serenade, bought by Neil Mulholland for £115,000 from Meadowview Stables.

And all bar the French-produced El Merano (a son of Saddex purchased by Harold Kirk / Willie Mullins from trainer Alain Couetil for £120,000), and the second top lot Downtown Getaway (Getaway), who cost £350,000, bought by Highflyer and Nicky Henderson and going through a sale ring for the first time, are graduates of either the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale or the same firm’s November NH Sale.

Bowe sold three horses in excess of £100,000 – Straight Red (Westerner) for £300,000 and Blackjack Kennedy for £100,000 (Oscar) – with the highest price for a British-produced horse was £80,000 given for the Tom Lacey-sold Thistle Do Nicely, the debutant winner of a junior bumper at Towcester at the end of November. He was another Tom Malone purchase and is an Arcadio half-brother to Croco Bay, third in the 2015 Grade 3 Grand Annual.

It has been a prolific autumn on the track for retired Coolmore sire Oscar, whose last fee was advertised at €7,500 in 2015 and who has only once finished out of the top five leading British and Irish stallions since 2006-2007.

He is, of course, sire of the highly regarded Finian’s Oscar, a £250,000 Tattersall Ireland Cheltenham November Sale purchased by Malone in 2016. He finished third in this autumn’s Sandown’s 2m Henry VIII Novices Chase, looking then as though he wants further than the minimum trip.

Beer Goggles, trained by Richard Woollacott for the Bradley Partnership, was the surprise winner of the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, the Oscar gelding gaining his first graded race victory, a feat matched by the six-year-old Colin Tizzard-trained Kilbricken Storm. He took the Grade 2 Albert Barlett Novices Hurdle, and is now a 25-1 shot for the sponsors’ main event at The Festival.

Post-race Tizzard reported: “We wanted to find out if Kilbricken Storm was a three-miler. Had he got beat we would have dropped back. He’s not bad for 21 grand. I wish we could find a few more like him. He’s surprised us from day one. All roads lead to Cheltenham, but that’s three months away still.”

The winner of that Henry VIII Novice Chase was Sceau Royal, successful by 11l, and since trainer Alan King swapped the son of Doctor Dino to fences this autumn after a sixth in the Champion Hurdle last spring he is looking a very exciting prospect. King has been reported as saying that from the very beginning the horse has been “electric” over fences, and the five-year-old is already on an official mark of 161, ahead of his best-ever hurdles rating.

Sceau Royal ran once at two in France, then reappeared at three over hurdles and after winning his second start was purchased privately by owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

Sire Doctor Dino, a son of Muhtathir, was a tough running international racehorse who collected two wins in the Hong Kong Vase (G1) and one victory in the Man O’War Stakes (G1). He has been standing at Haras du Mesnil since 2010, mainly at €3,000, but was given a price increase to €4,500 for 2016 and 2017.

His best on the Flat has been Golden Legend, winner of the 1m2f Group 3 Prix de Liancourt and the Group 1 Prix de Diane runner-up Physiocate. Both are out of Kaldounevees mares.

Sceau Royal is the best in England by him so far, but Warren Greatrex trains La Bague Au Roi, a dual Listed-winning hurdle mare and a 20-1 chance for The Festival’s Grade 1 mares’ hurdle.

It is in France where the stallion has gained his biggest success so far – the Munir, Souede and D Allard-owned and Guillaume Macaire-trained Master Dino taking Auteuil’s big November three-year-old hurdle, the Grade 1 Prix Cambaceres.

Henri Devin, owner of Haras de Mesni, said to Course Et Elevage after Master Dino’s success: “Doctor Dino was a stallion that wasn’t supported very much in his early years, and three-quarters of the mares he covered belonged to us. For the last two years, he has covered over 100 mares. He is nearly full for next year. He’s a proven sire, on the flat and over jumps, with colts and fillies.”

The stallion also had a Listed winner at Auteuil this autumn trained by Louise Carberry.

The final NH foal sale of the year was conducted at Goffs where foals by Getaway and Walk In The Park continued to be in demand, the trend maintained from the Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale.

The top-priced foal was by the Coolmore-based Walk In The Park sold by Ballincurrig House Stud for €72,000 to Philip Kirby. The colt is a second foal out of the dual Grade 1-winning mare Glens Melody (King’s Theatre).

He was tracked by a €50,000 Presenting colt (out of a winning Oscar half-sister to Feathard Lady) from Brownstone Stud and two colts by Getaway, who fetched €50,000 and €47,000. They were sold by Grange Hill and Limekiln Studs – the first being out of a half-sister to the Grade 1 hurdler and chaser Oscar Whisky purchased by Martin Lynch, while Richard Frisby bought the colt out of the Grade 2-placed Celtic Callin (Beneficial).

The best-priced filly was a Milan half-sister to Grand National winner Many Clouds and to the Grade 1 horse The Tullow Tank. She was bought by Gerry Hogan Bloodstock for €46,000.

Coolmara Stables spent €100,000 on the top-priced mare Tocororo (Teofilo), winner of the Ballybrit Novice Chase (G3). She is carrying to Walk In The Park on an April cover.

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