Aintree Leading Sires

While this year’s Grand National winner Tiger Roll, the little bay gelding who has entered legendary NH status after his back-to-back National wins, the first horse to achieve such a feat since Red Rum 45 years ago, has not taken his sire to the top of the NH stallion table, the race has still had its usual important impact on the NH sire charts.

Tiger Roll’s sire Authorized, now standing as a dual-purpose stallion for Darley at Haras du Logis in France, has not had enough representatives through the winter (68 runners) to give him enough clout to threaten the top of the jumps’ table, even with the addition of the £500,000 earned by his star performer at Aintree.

It is, however, a different matter for Coolmore-based sire Flemensfirth. His daughter Magic Of Light, a 66/1 Grand National chance, belied her odds putting in a wonderful round of jumping (all bar The Chair where she overjumped and managed to bloody her jockey Paddy Kennedy’s lip) to finish a fine second, running on at the line to earn prize-money of £200,000.

The efforts by the Jessica Harrington-trained eight-year-old lifted her sire over the £2 million barrier in progeny earnings, the first NH stallion to achieve the feat this season, and putting him on course to win back-to-back championships after his first title success last year.

In a repeat of last year, the title is once again proving a hard-fought battle and is far from decided. Last season, Flemensfirth finished just £69,000 ahead of King’s Theatre. Currently, he is just £24,000 ahead of fellow Coolmore sire Oscar, while there is a split of just £140,000 between the top five – Milan, Presenting and King’s Theatre.

Interestingly, a record number of 14 stallions have already hit six-figure progeny earnings this season and by the end of the campaign that should increase by at least two with Yeats and Authorized, the Grand National-winning sire, hovering with earnings in the high £980,000s.

It is perhaps a reflection of the wide base of NH sire power in Ireland – of those top 14 names, 11 stand or stood in Ireland, two are from the UK – Kayf Tara and Midnight Legend – with one from France, the deceased Haras du Cercy sire, Voix du Nord. He has had 20 winners in England or Ireland this season from just 36 runners – a strike-rate of 56 per cent. Kemboy, the Grade 1 Betfair Bowl Chase winner, flew his flag at Aintree.

There is all to play for as we race through the remaining few weeks of the 2018-19 NH season.

Both of the recent Festival NH sales – the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Sale and the GoffsUK Aintree Sale – saw records broken.

The GoffsUK Aintree Sale top price of £440,000 was a record-breaker and was given by Aiden Kennedy for the Liscarroll debut-winning point-to-pointer Papa Tango Charly (Lot 12), winner of the GoffsUK Aintree Sale 4yo maiden. His price was £105,000 above Samcro’s previous sale record of £335,000 given by trainer Gordon Elliott in 2016.

Papa Tango Charly, a four-year-old by No Risk At All, was one of 13 six-figure horses sold at the sale and one of four to make £200,000 or more – strong figures that ensured a record average price £127,920 for 28 horses offered of which 25 sold.

The Cheltenham Festival top price was, usually, achieved by a mare, the winning point-to-pointer My Whirlwind bought by Nicky Henderson for £400,000 from Kingsfield Stud. She is by the late Stowaway, currently in the top ten sires’ leading list, and is the second foal out of Garranlea Maree (Presenting) from the extended family of Aintree Hurdle (G1) winner Mister Morose and Albertas Run, who was successful in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase (G1).

My Whirlwind won a mares’ maiden on her race debut at Ballycahane having been purchased by Patrick Turley for €42,000 from Peter Nolan Bloodstock at last June’s Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale.

JW Bloodstock bought her as a foal from Railstown Stud at the Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale 2015 for €7,000.

Both sales were dominated by Irish and French-based stallions, reflecting the racecourse results at both spring Festival meetings.

Four GB-bred horses were sold at Cheltenham headed by the Kayf Tara-winning debut pointer Hold That Taught. He was sold by Ballyboy Stables to Stroud Coleman/ Kate Brezier for £220,000, while the Great Pretender gelding named Giants Table made £160,000. A winner at Ballycahane, he was purchased by Jamie Codd from Colin Bowe’s Milestone Stables.

It was the gelding’s third sale ring appearance having initially been bought by foal pinhooker Richard Frisby at the 2016 GoffsUK Doncaster January Sale for £20,000 from Goldford Stud, before being purchased by the Bowe family at the Derby Sale last June for €60,000.

Codd also bought the British-bred four-year-old mare Madame Deluxe (Malinas). She finished second to My Whirlwind at Ballycahane and cost her new connections £90,000.

At Aintree the top-priced GB-bred horse, a gelding named Big Bresil, by Blue Bresil and sold by Moneg Stables to Roger Brookhouse, fetched £170,000. He had finished a good second to Papa Tango Charly at Liscarroll.

The British Charlton Horethorne point-to-point winner Get Prepared, by Black Sam Bellamy, was sold by Michelle Offen to Highflyer Bloodstock for £60,000. His second dam is the top-class staying hurdler Shuil Ar Aghaidh, who won the Cheltenham Festival Stayers’ Hurdle.

Entries close for the main Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham April Sale catalogue on April 15, the sale being scheduled for April 26 (wild cards accepted to sale date), while the catalogue has been published for the GoffsUK Store Sale, due to be held on May 21.

That one-day sale is followed as usual by the GoffsUK two-day Spring HIT/P2P Sale on May 22 and May 23 (entries close April 24), while the Goffs Punchestown Sale is due to take place after racing on May 2.

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