For anyone who has never been to the sales, put it on the to do list. While the Tattersalls Ascot Sales last week lacked the buzz of the bigger days with no huge money purchases, there is still something special about the atmosphere. Any day spent in the company of horses is always one well spent, but add the patter of the auctioneer, the speed of the money changing hands and the depth of knowledge in the room, the sales are a special place to spend a day.
A wide mix of horses on show, from yearlings and unraced juveniles all the way through to point to point horses and broodmares, there was something for every budget. While the ring wasn’t packed with buyers, trade was still brisk with the ‘right names’ buying the more interesting of the lots as they walked the ring. Sales came thick and fast, the horses parading outside, with potential buyers keenly eyeing up the equines on show before they headed indoors to the ring for the main action. Our guide to the best of the day is below.
The Top Lots
Born To Size £35,000 – Winner of a beginners chase at Thurles in October when owned by Ann & Alan Potts, he poses the scope to progress well over the bigger obstacles. He was only rated 107 over hurdles but treated them with scant respect, jumping far better when faced with fences. One of just two purchases on the day by bloodstock agent extraordinaire Tom Malone, he will be one to watch this season once granted a stiffer test.
Gibralfaro £28,000 – Ninth in the 2016 Triumph Hurdle and rated north of 140, it was slightly surprising that the six time winner only commanded £28,000. Sold to go America, we may not get a chance to see the five-year-old very often on our screens in the U.K now, but he should make a big impression on the relatively weak jumping game in North America.
Wedding Photo (see above) £25,000 – Backwards three-year-old filly, she didn’t make her debut until this September. She was very green under pressure there, shaping better than the finishing position suggests. It wasn’t enough to stop Godolphin cutting their losses on the $230,000 purchase, but Peter Fahey may just have picked up a bargain.
Streets Of Milan £21,000 – Half brother to once 145 rated three mile chaser That’s Rhythm, this son of Milan was a wide margin point winner in October. That was the first time that he encountered cut in the ground, producing his best performance. We won’t see the best of him for another year or two, but connections should have plenty of fun with him in staying chases. Very much one for the notebook
Other Notable Sales
Thomas Shelby £18,000 – Like Gibralfaro, he is ex Alan King. He has shown ability over hurdles, a close second at Towcester last November arguably his best effort. Purchased by Alice Vaughan-Jones who has horses with Caroline Bailey, that yard do well with this type so should finally get his head in front.
Gowanauthat £16,000 – Always have a penchant for bold front runners, Charlie Mann worked wonders with this horse, rattling off a five timer in 2016. Rising ten, he has not been in the same form this season but is creeping down to a workable mark if a change of scenery reignites him.
Champion Chase £8,000 – Unable to get his head in front for Kim Bailey, the five-year-old has looked a bit of a weak baby so far. Beaten less than a length by the now 133 rated Solighoster in a point to point in March 2016, new connections have purchased him with a current rating of just 99. Joining Martin Bosley, he could prove one of the bargains of the day.
Felix Mendelssohn (see above) £6,500 – Listed placed and rated as high as 104 on the flat, he has proved to be a bit of a disappointment. He has joined Stuart Coltherd so he will be seen plenty on the northern circuit with his usual raiding parties. He is another who could prove to be very cheap if he can be coaxed back to anything like his peak.
Dice Game (see above) £6,000 – Really caught the eye on pedigree before the sales and in the ring during, it was an effort to sit with arms firmly folded while she went for just £6,000. Purchased by Federico Barberini (who purchased Trip To Paris among others) she is an unraced juvenile by Shamardal out of Cesarewitch winner Scatter Dice. With such a stout pedigree, it’s not a surprise that she hasn’t made the track as a juvenile. She could turn into a lovely dual purpose type given time to mature.
Dream Baie £4,000 – Showed a little ability in a bumper and a maiden hurdle for Joseph O’Brien this year. A little surprising that connections are giving up on him after just two starts, snaffled up by Marie Martin. He has joined the yard of Mike Roberts so will be of interest in small southern handicap at the likes of Plumpton and Fontwell in time.