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Williams digs deep to secure Plunkett at Ascot

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  187  152  112  74  231,880  2,070  1,000
 2008  191  141  117  83  410,500  3,509  1,800

A DUEL between two of Wales brightest young training talents, Tim Vaughan and Evan Williams, saw the promising six-year-old Plunkett make £32,000 to top the opening day of Brightwells' Derby Sale at Ascot yesterday.

It was Williams who had the upper hand as he fought off Vaughan's bloodstock advisor Johnny Phillips for the Fourstars Allstar gelding, who had been placed both over hurdles and in a point-to-point for trainer Michael Hourigan.

"We've done quite a bit of business with Michael in the past and he thinks this is a nice horse," said Williams. "He's got a bit of form in the book and we might give him a break then he should have no trouble winning a maiden hurdle.

"He's run in point-to-points so you'd think he'd go over fences as well but the most important thing is that I don't have an owner for him at the moment!"

County Carlow trainer Shark Hanlon - bidding via transporter Mick Scanlon - struck to get the progressive four-year-old point-to-pointer Babblon Brooke for £16,500. The Bob Back gelding got his head in front on his third start for trainer Colin Bowe at Inchydoney 10 days ago when winning by five lengths in the colours of owner Richard Frisby.

"I saw him win his point-to-point and then went and saw him at home before he travelled over," said Hanlon by telephone, en route to Listowel last night. "He's been bought for Barry Connell to ride in bumpers and we'll keep him going over the summer and should be outin about six weeks' time.

"I've had the licence for about two and a half years now and we've had around 50 winners and now have roughly 50 horses in training so it's going well."

Another of Bowe's draft, five-year-old Irish Rebel, boasted the most current form in the catalogue having scored at Kinsale on Saturday and, having initially been led out unsold at £7,000, was subsequently sold privately to Hertfordshire-based Rosemary Hobson for £7,500.

The best British point-to-pointer on offer was Massini Man, who scored in restricted company for trainer Lucy Gardner at Cothelstone in March and will race in the colours of Steven Astaire next season after selling for £8,000.

Astaire, whose claim to fame as a rider was winning aboard Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Yahoo, is now chairman of the Point-To-Point Secretaries Association and will send his new purchase new Chris Loggin's stable.

Trade failed to keep apace with last year's figures withthe £2,070 average dropping by 41 per cent and the £1,000 median falling by 44 per cent. The Derby Sale finishes today with a session starting at 10.30am.




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