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Sunny Donny succumbed to a soaking during the Premier Yearling Sale

  PICTURE: Sarah Farnsworth/DBS  

My Week: breeder and consignor Ed Player

Whatton Manor Stud's Ed Player recounts seven days that took in serious business - but also lighter moments - at the DBS Premier Yearling Sale and maintaining a busy breeding operation

Very early start with a 4.30am wake-up call. Whatton Manor Stud is only an hour from Doncaster so I can stay at home during the sales. I had a good run up with Glen and Billy from the stud and when we got to the sales ground I was very pleased to see we were surrounded by some friendly vendors in the shape of Charlie Oakshott, Ross Moorhead and David and Trish Brown.

Everybody seemed in high spirits and optimistic about the forthcoming sales season. We had five colts to sell so we had a fairly busy day and most of the horses behaved quite well.

Unfortunately one seemed to think he was already a stallion and took a shine to a couple of the Furnace Mill fillies. We were lucky as yet again the weather was kind to ‘Sunny Donny' and the temperatures were more like the south of France.

My wife Katherine had taken our three boys to Northumberland for the weekend so I got a dinner invitation from my parents. My sister and brother-in-law Alice and Nick Nugent, and their daughters Lucy and Lara, were staying so we had an amusing dinner, especially when Lucy told my father that she is thinking about having her nose pierced!

A very busy day at the sales and our Casamento colt seemed to be very popular. He was bought from Jockey Hall Stud and I gave Jackie Norris a call to let her know how things were going.

In one of the quieter moments I had a small wager with John McEnery of Rossenarra Stud over whose Casamento colt would make more.

Enjoyed a great day at the sales as the Casamento colt made £80,000 (winning my wager in the process) and was sold to Ross Doyle. We had always liked the colt but it is always a big relief when the first yearling of the year sells well and I'm delighted he will be trained by Richard Hannon.

Later in the day it was good to see a Dark Angel filly out of Bun Penny make £180,000. A few years ago my parents and I bought Bun Penny for £800 but unfortunately this is where the skill ended, as we very generously gave her away soon afterwards.

Arrived at a very wet Doncaster to find a lot of water in certain parts of the complex until the DBS team got to work.

There was a small lagoon in front of the Yeomanstown Stud boxes - but with the way their stallion Dark Angel is performing and their yearlings are selling I would not have been surprised if they could have walked on water.

Our morning was made more amusing by Sarah Dempsey, who was working with us this week. She was busy discussing the merits - personal rather than professional - of various bloodstock agents. Much to Ed Sackville's surprise and disappointment he was not the winner. That accolade went to a busy Irish agent.

We had a solid day selling three colts to good trainers in Eric Alston, George Baker and Paul Cole. Despite Nick Nugent being a late replacement auctioneer when Tim Kent's laryngitis got the better of his voice, we did not sell our Dutch Art colt. We had plenty of interest afterwards but we're very taken with him so decided to aim him at a breeze-up sale next year.

On Wednesday evening Flying Hammer, sold on the stud's behalf last year by Norman Williamson, won again for William Haggas. William is having a great year with Whatton Manor graduates, headed by Besharah whose win in the Lowther Stakes at York followed the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot.

It was an early start to check all the horses on the stud. The team had done a great job while we were at Doncaster and all seemed well.

We had a busy morning exercising all our Tattersalls yearlings and they seem to be progressing well. For once, one of the bigger worries was not actually equine - one of the pedigree Longhorn cattle had an infected joint.

Like always at this time of year it was another busy day with the yearlings. We had our blacksmiths shoeing yearlings all morning.

We also had a visit from Graham and Di Robinson, longstanding clients of ours, who have bred some very good horses over the years including Overdose. They seemed pleased with what they saw - they have some lovely stock, including a very nice Bated Breath yearling and a Havana Gold foal.

Unfortunately they witnessed my eldest son Freddie having his first fall from his pony. I was very relieved that he is in one piece and managed to get straight back on board with a big smile on his face.

The morning jobs were finished quickly as the team have the yard running like clockwork. I was looking forward to spending some time playing cricket with my three boys, followed by watching some racing in the afternoon, but my wife had other ideas. We have recently moved house and the rest of my day was spent unpacking boxes.




Galileo £3,385,206
Dubawi £3,267,059
Cape Cross £2,537,900
Dark Angel £1,923,211
Invincible Spirit £1,896,690
Teofilo £1,743,790
Oasis Dream £1,735,196
Shamardal £1,703,708
Kodiac £1,495,865
Danehill Dancer £1,485,807