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Spencer's Hill top lot
at DBS Spring Sale

comparative figures: day one DBS SPRING hit SALE
2009 244 176 137 79 1,989,250 14,520 7,750
2008 276 189 143 75 2,293,325 16,736 9,000

A DUEL between agent Mags O'Toole and trainer Nicky Richards saw thesmart Irish bumper performer Spencer's Hill, a son of Darnay, change hands for £105,000 at Doncaster yesterday when topping the opening day of the 2009 Spring Sale.

It was O'Toole who secured the five-year-old, who made a winning debut at Downpatrick in April for trainer John Nicholson and went on to be placed twice in decent contests at Fairyhouse and the Curragh.

"He's for a new client and going into training in Ireland but I'm not sure where," said O'Toole. "He's got some very good current form."

Czech-bred Apartman fetches six figures
There was a large crowd at yesterday's sale, helping produce a decent clearance rate, although there was just one other six-figure lot - the Czech-bred Apartman, winner of a novice hurdle at Ayr on Scottish National day for George Charlton.

Highflyer Bloodstock's Anthony Bromley bid £100,000 for the rangy four-year-old - a four-time Flat winner in the Czech Republic and Slovakia - and he will now join Paul Nicholls.

"Some people didn't rate the form at Ayr but I'm happy with it. He posted a very fast time and beat our Million In Mind horse Giorgio Quercus, who sells on Wednesday and is decent, while the third-placed Saticon had been placed in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham," said Bromley. "Apartman is a gorgeous scopey horse and the Charltons are sellers, they sold Tidal Bay here. He's for an existing owner with Paul, who wasn't here today."

Hales goes Forlovenormoney
Another of Bromley's clients, owner John Hales, was with him as he successfully saw off first his Highflyer Bloodstock colleague David Minton, standing with trainer Nicky Henderson, and finally Mark Pitman to get Forlovenormoney for £85,000.

The five-year-old made just £800 at Doncaster in December but - after aneasy point-to-point win for trainer Pat Doyle at Dawstown earlier this month - he had considerably more appeal five months on.

"He's going to Paul Nicholls and was highly recommended to me by Pat Doyle, from whom I've bought some decent horses including Tataniano, who could be Paul's Arkle horse next year," said Bromley.

McCain on a mission
Five-year-old Cool Mission, who has been placed in both his bumper outings for Alan Swinbank, was another to make £85,0000 when sold by owner Richard Haggas through Goldford Stud to Donald McCain.

The Definite Article gelding was beaten just half a length by the highly-regarded Peveril at Haydock last month and McCain hopes there could be more improvement to come.

"He was second to a very nice horse of Mr Hemmings' in the Haydock bumper and he looks every inch a chaser," said the Cheshire trainer. "We'll loose him off now for a bit before he goes novice hurdling but he's going to jump a fence in time. He's for Tim Leslie, who has a few with me including Thumbs Up."

O'Toole beats Henderson for bumper winner Benleigh
Benleigh, who won a Ludlow bumper in trainer Henry Daly's colours on his only start last month, was the early standout and he was another bought by O'Toole after she came off best in duel for the four-year-old with Nicky Henderson with a bid of £62,000.

"He's for an existing client and will go into training in Ireland," said O'Toole. "Funnily enough his dam Lucy Walters was one of the few horses I've had in training. My great friend Di Haine saddled her to win a Folkestone bumper in 1998 with a then claimer called Robert Thornton in the saddle so it's a small world."

Don't Stop Me Now heads to Ireland
County Carlow handler Shark Hanlon has enjoyed a good season and he signed for the pick of a draft from Howard Johnson's stable, the filly Don't Stop Me Now, who has won her last two starts and realised £60,000.

The Spring Horses In Training Sale concludes today with a session starting at 10am and includes the annual Million In Mind dispersal that features Cheltenham Festival winner Tricky Trickster.





King's Theatre £966,447
Presenting £915,592
Oscar £772,014
Beneficial £760,303
Milan £717,591
Westerner £562,617
Flemensfirth £517,208
Kayf Tara £484,372
Stowaway £410,997
Midnight Legend £396,669