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Ambition filly tops final day of difficult Festival

Day two DBS St Leger Festival Sale comparative figures

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  80  69  44  64  319,800  7,268  5,800
 2008  81  71  53  75  584,400  11,026  8,000

Total comparative figures

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  165  146  102  70  836,200  8,198  6,000
 2008  161  143  104  73  1,244,600  11,967  7,000

A CHALLENGING renewal of Doncaster's second-tier St Leger Festival Yearling Sale finished last night with a set of figures markedly down on 2008.

The £836,200 turnover fell by 32 per cent, the £8,198 average dropped by 31 per cent and £6,000 median by 40 per cent on last year while a more solid 70 per cent of those presented were officially listed as sold.

There was a healthy smattering of trainers present and fair interest for the few standout lots including a filly from the first crop of Baden Baden Group 2 winner Striking Ambition, who sold for £24,000 last night to trainer Tom Dascombe.

Bidding through agent Ed Sackville - who has bought Dascombe 15 two-year-old winners so far this year - the trainer saw off Rod Millman to get the Trickledown Stud offering to join his new venture at Andrew Black and Michael Owen's Manor House Stables in Cheshire.

"We've bought 16 yearlings so far this year but they have all been got on spec with the aim of bringing in new owners to the yard, we are not buying them for Andrew Black and Michael Owen," said Dascombe.

"I think nine have been sold on to date and we'll be heading to Fairyhouse and then on from there to all the other sales.

"I looked at a fair few of these and as a physical specimen I thought this filly was the real standout athlete here. She looks an early type and the sire has an appropriate name for our new venture!"

Agent David Redvers, who bought Dascombe's Hilary Needler Stakes winner Don't Tell Mary at this sale 12 months ago, struck for an £18,000 first-crop Iffraaj filly offered from Joe Foley's Ballyhane Stud. She showed a handy advance on the 4,600 euros she had cost as a foal.

"The vendor assures me that this filly will win and she has been boughton spec to join Ralph Beckett, who had his first ever treble on Wednesday," said Redvers. "She's a rocket and I'm a big fan of stallion sons of Zafonic as I stand Trade Fair. She'll hopefully be trying to win a Racing Post Yearling Bonus."

Another to show an increase on his foal price was an £18,000 Royal Applause colt out of a daughter of Princess Royal Stakes winner Silver Rhapsody snapped up by trainer Michael Dods.

"The Striking Ambition filly and this colt were the only two I was interested in," said Dods. "He had a good walk to him and a decent enough pedigree. We don't tend to buy early types of two-year-olds and he's one that might need some time."

The filly, who was prepared by Bumble Mitchell for Kathryn Stud, had realised 13,000gns as a foal at Tattersalls in December.

After selling finished last night DBS managing director HenrBeeby said: "Our comments of two weeksago following the St Leger Yearling Sale certainly rang true again tonight and this end of the market is where it was always going to be the hardest work in the current economic climate.

"Again the clearance rate is of some comfort but the statistics tell us that the middle market horse is the type most affected when money is scarcer. Quality will always sell and we had plenty of interest for the most popular lots but further down the scale it was tough.

"And again day one of the sale felt and was stronger than the second session which is something of a mystery as they were catalogued to be even.

"There is no denying or disguising the hard facts but we are more than confident thatthe St Leger Festival Sale will continue its excellent race track results next year and we will look back on this sale as providing real value.

"But for the time being it is very much a buyers market particularly in the sub-£20,000 division although I would continue to urge a positive and pragmatic approach as the best way to get us through these tougher times.

"It may be that we will revisit the format of this sale in due course but we will watch the remaining yearling sales this autumn with great interest before making any finite decisions."




King's Theatre £1,143,037
Presenting £1,059,143
Beneficial £986,639
Oscar £896,303
Milan £863,940
Westerner £839,346
Flemensfirth £755,621
Kayf Tara £657,982
Midnight Legend £595,809
Stowaway £503,470