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Saddlers' Hall
gelding tops selective trade at Brightwells

Trainer Nicky Henderson was dreaming of the future after spending £80,000 on the Irish point-to-point winner Master Of The Hall, who topped the Brightwells January Sale held after racing at Cheltenham on Saturday night.

The five-year-old, from the family of Sound Man and out of Frankly Native, was offered by County Tipperary handler Pat Doyle after winning his only outing at Dromahane on New Year's Eve. He reminded his buyer of one of his stable stars by the same stallion, Saddlers' Hall.

"Watching the video of his point-to-point win, you couldn't fail to be impressed by his turn of foot," said Henderson. "He looks a smart prospect and was not unlike Barbers Shop to look at.

"I have an owner in mind for him but I'd rather not say who at the moment. I would think you'd see him in a bumper in the spring and then that would be it for this season, I doubt he'd go hurdling at the moment. He was a gorgeous horse and our pick of the sale."

Results are satisfactory
In the present economic climate, the sale held up reasonably well with a 58 per cent clearance rate for the 30 lots who sold.

Although the turnover for a smaller catalogue than last year dropped markedly, the £25,000 median fell by only 3.8 per cent and the £30,050 average was down by 20 per cent.

Highflyer busy
Master Of The Hall was bought through Highflyer Bloodstock, who accounted for a third of the lots to change hands and another knocked down to the Newmarket agency was Flaming Charlie, a five-year-old who also won a point-to-point at Dromahane.

Highflyer's Anthony Bromley paid £66,000 for the Oscar Schindler ex Flaming Charlie gelding, who is set to join Alan King.

"He's for Peter and Trish Andrews and we were very impressed with his point-to-point victory," said Bromley. "We fell in love with him and he looks one for next season because of the stamp of horse he is. He's a really nice staying chaser of the future.

"It's not been a flying trade but people are buying. A lot of the breeze-up horses are making less than their vendors paid for them but they have been trading, albeit at a lower level. It's not been doom and gloom but the recession has been biting."

Flemensfirth gelding tops Johnson and Wylie purchases
One breezer who did show a good profit was a Flemensfirth four-year-old out of Over The Grand who had cost €22,000 at Fairyhouse in June and was resold from Thomond O'Mara's Knockanglass Stables for £69,000 to Howard Johnson and owner Graham Wylie.

"He might have one run in the spring but he's really a horse for next season," said Wylie, who later paid £59,000 for the Irish point-to-point winner Dove Hill.

Johnson eyes a return to the hunting field
But I See A Star, who was partnered by his trainer J D Moore to score at Lisgoold earlier this month, will be undertaking a different career with Johnson after selling for £48,000.

"I am going to come out of retirement, get out my jodhpurs and red coat and take him hunting with my local hunt, the Braes of Derwent," said Johnson. "We'regoing to get his hunter's certificate and then hopefully go for the Foxhunters' at Aintree but someone else will be riding him there, I'm not that brave!"

Mags O'Toole, acting for an existing Irish client, paid £70,000 for an Old Vic four-year-old half-brother to Macs Joy sold by Julie Roche while Aiden Murphy spent £52,000 on three-year-old Tazzarine, a half-sister to promising Frenchchaser Chuchoteuse. She  will join Charles Egerton.

Luska Lad gets to £265,000 but is not sold
There were several highly-prized horses who failed to reach their reserves, mostnotably John Hanlon's three-time bumper winner Luska Lad who was not sold at £265,000.

At the close of trade, Brightwells' head of bloodstock Matt Mitchell commented: "Despite the ever present negative comment on the economy, there continues to be trade for horses although it doesn't take a huge amount of brains to realise the market is selective - with quality commanding a price that reflects the economic reality.

"Particularly encouraging has been the trade for breeze-up horses and although the good form horses sold well, that market was selective."




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