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(From L to R): Paul Nicholls, Maggie Findlay, Sam Thomas, Denman, Harry Findlay

Paul Nicholls (left) and Harry Findlay (second right) with Denman

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker / 

Nicholls and Findlay show closes at Doncaster

HARRY FINDLAY attended Doncaster sales on Tuesday to watch the remaining jumpers his mother Maggie owned in partnership with Paul Barber go under the hammer and end his nine-year tenure as an owner with Paul Nicholls.

Barber had already bought out the share in Denman owned by Findlay - who successfully appealed against a six-month disqualification imposed by the BHA for laying his own horses - while his other horses with Nicholls had moved to Ferdy Murphy and Tim Vaughan.

But, despite the partingof ways, Nicholls, Barber and Findlay watched proceedings amicably yesterday with the champion trainer signing for five of the seven offerings although he was underbidder at £110,000 on the dearest lot - smart novice chasing prospect Alfie Sherrin - who was bought by Jonjo O'Neill.

Aiteenthirtythree went back to Nicholls after making £90,000 with Barber keeping his half share, and a new owner sought for the remaining 50 per cent, while Barber and Wincanton racecourse chairman Mark Woodhouse will share Meanus Dandy, who realised £40,000 and could head to the Badger Ales Chase.

Nicholls is looking to sell on Qozak, who made £50,000, while Barber now owns That'll Do, who realised £30,000.

Findlay bought Nevada Royale himself for £10,000 to be trained by Tim Pitt while agent Aiden Murphy, acting for Kim Bailey, paid £75,000 for the remaining lot, Tobeluckyenough, who was trained by Liam Burke for Findlay and Barber to win a point-to-point in March.

"I was happy with the prices, I thought that was fair enough for Alfie Sherrin given the problems he has had and I will be cheering him on," said Findlay, who had lunch with Barber and Nicholls after the horses had been through, "I would have gone higher for Meanus Dandy, because he is named after one of my favourite dogs, but Paul (Nicholls) said that Mark Woodhouse wanted him and he's a good guy.

"There's no fallout between either myself, my mother or Paul Nicholls. For a long time other people have tried to make our position untenable and they have succeeded. But the laughs, jokes and good times we even enjoyed today show that it will all be sorely missed."

Nicholls said that he would welcome Findlay back to his yard in the future and added: "It's run its course but we're all friends and that's the main thing. We had a good run and the best thing was to bring the horses here because it's hard to put a price on them otherwise. I guess the one disappointment was to lose Alfie Sherrin, but we put a value on him and he has been a hard horse to train."

The seven-year-old, who went off favourite for the Pertemps Final in March, is set to race for an existing owner with O'Neill, who was not at the sale and bid by telephone through Doncaster auctioneer Michael White.

"He looks the part and I'd imagine he'll be going over fences," O'Neill later said. "I'd say his price was a sign of the times, it's plenty of money but a bit more realistic than the prices they made in the past."

Meanwhile Findlay reported that he is far from finished with racing and will be back at Doncaster sales - where he first teamed up with Barber and Nicholls in 2001 when Garruth was offered for sale - later this month.

"I bought back Nevada Royale today and he's going to Tim Pitt, with whom I also have a two-year-old," added Findlay. "Ned Sangster or one of his family will have a share and the aim is to find the worst race possible for him to try and win. I couldn't let him go for that after all the money we'd spent on him.

"The Sangster family have been brilliant to me through all of this and Guy Sangster has taken a leg in Beshabar who will run in his colours. I'll be back investing in yearlings at Doncasterat the end of this month with them and in the meantime we're looking forward to running Titus Mills in the Solario Stakes. He's a serious horse."




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