Stars of the Future Sale
a success at Cheltenham
HOWARD JOHNSON dominated Brightwells' new sale at Cheltenham on Friday night when buying three horsesfor Graham Wylie for a total of £430,000.
Although only 21 lots were offered (from 32 catalogued) at the boutique sale, 13 of them found new homes at an impressive average price of £66,992.
Johnson's most expensive purchase was the seven-year-old Abbeybraney who £200,000. He had placed in two Grade 1 novice chases at Leopardstown last season for trainer John Berry.
The County Durham handler also went to £135,000 to see off Paul Nicholls's assistant Dan Skelton for the four-year-old Bunglasha Jake, winner of a point-to-point earlier this month for trainer Liam Burke.
Johnson had earlier spent £95,000 on TheKnoxes, an impressive winner of a five-year-old point-to-point at Milltown on Sunday. Gerry Hogan tried hard for the Close Conflict gelding, but the underbidder was owner Richard Kelvin Hughes, whose colours had been carried to victory earlier in the dayby Andytown.
"Abbeybraney is fit now because he ran the other day and we'll keep him going in novice chases," said Johnson. "I've bought a lot of good horses off Padge Berry, who is John Berry's uncle, and I hope this is another nice one. I know he was disappointed to be selling the horse.
"The Knoxes looked a lovely tough horse and he'll go novice hurdling while I hope Bunglasha Jake is going to be a real good bumper horse this season. I thought this sale was good and it showed that nice horses are still selling well, as we've seen with the decent foals at Fairyhouse this week."
Another with recent form was Like Minded, who - having won a point-to-point in February -won a bumper on the all-weather at Lingfield on Tuesday for trainer Don Cantillon.
The four-year-old will join Paul Nicholls after being bought for £100,000 in a private sale by Anthony Bromley of Highflyer Bloodstock.
"He's for an existing owner with Paul and will probably go novice hurdling after Christmas. He looked a lovely chasing type," said Bromley.
Aiden Murphy saw off trainer Henrietta Knight, sat with former British Horseracing Board chairman Martin Broughton, for Ballyoliver, a four-year-old who scored between the flags at Castletown-Geoghegan last month. He fetched £85,000.
"He's been bought for a new owner with Kim Bailey. He won his point-to-point well and Derek O'Connor who rode him recommended him," said Murphy, who also spent £60,000 on bumper performer Soft Spoken Guy to join Philip Hobbs.