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Murphy secures £165k top lot at Brightwells

IRISH point-to-point winner Mac's Return starred at Cheltenham on Friday night when making £165,000 to top Brightwells' December Sale.

Aiden Murphy, stood with Paul Nicholls and John Hales, struck the winning bid after seeing off fierce competition from Welsh trainer Evan Williams, who was stood with leading owner William Rucker.

The five-year-old son of Flemensfirth, who won his only start at Lingstown last month by eight lengths, was offered from Barry Murphy and Liz Doyle's County Wexford-based Saunderscourt Stud, a nursery that has already produced the Grade 1 winners Al Ferof and Cheltenian.

"He has been bought for a client of Paul Nicholls," said Murphy. "I saw his point-to-point win and, visually, out of all the horses at the sale tonight he was the most impressive. We bought Al Ferof from the same people, so we're hoping it's second time lucky."

Agent Charlie Liverton signed at £150,000 for the Irish bumper winner Pay The King on behalf of leading owner Robin Geffen, who will be represented by the strongly fancied Cristal Bonus in Saturday's Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup.

Previously trained by John Hassett, the gelding is bred on the same cross as the high-class chaser Cue Card - by King's Theatre out of a King's Ride mare and he is from a family full of high-class chasers including Ad Hoc and Jessies Dream.

"He has been bought to go to Paul Nicholls," said Liverton. "He's a lovely-looking, strong individual, who looks a real chaser in the making. We're delighted to have got him.

"Paul put us on to him at the last sale, but he was withdrawn, and we were keen to get him this time around. Mr Geffen is building a nice string of jumpers."

Roger Brookhouse, who was to the fore at the November Sale when parting with £750,000 for five horses, was back for more parting with £230,000 for two lots.

Western Warhorse, an impressive six-length winner of a point-to-point at Affane last month for trainer Colin Bowe, was the dearest costing £130,000.

The Westerner four-year-old is out of a half-sister to the Grade 3-winning chaser Mr Baxter Basics and is closely related to the top-class chaser Somersby.

Five lots later, Brookhouse hit the six-figure mark again when parting with £100,000 for the Heron Island four-year-old The Ould Lad, who looked hugely impressive when landing a Ballydarragh point-to-point on Sunday.

"I'm very happy with the pair I've bought, they were the two I wanted," said Brookhouse. "I went through the catalogue and sorted them all out and these were the two I had my eye on - they're both very nice horses.

"We'll get them home and keep them ticking over over for two or three weeks before we decide where they'll go into training."

Golantilla, who came to the sale with a big reputation having won a point-to-point by ten lengths at Avaune on Sunday, was led out unsold at £190,000.




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