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Silver lining for Whitsbury Manor

IT is often quoted that horses are sent to try us, which is exactly how Chris Harper of Whitsbury Manor Stud must have felt when a Dansili yearling he owns in partnership with Mike and Heather Slade cracked a pedal bone just hours before she was due to travel to Newmarket to sell.

With the filly now enduring three months box rest, there is no chance of her taking up her engagement as lot 430 on Wednesday at the Tattersalls October Sale. Yet Harper's misfortune could turn out to be for the best as the filly is now a half-sister to Saturday's Tattersalls Timeform Million winner Oasis Dancer.

"She was due to leave Whitsbury for Newmarket at midday on Friday, but on Thursday night, she kicked the wall and fractured her pedal bone," explains Harper. "She is a very impressive yearling - really correct and strong - so you can imagine how disappointed I was. It doesn't seem so bad now though!"

Trained by Whitsbury incumbent Ralph Beckett, Oasis Dancer is the fourth winner from as many runners out of Good Enough, a Group 1-placed daughter of Mukaddamah who Harper purchased in 1999.

"She didn't sell in the US but she was a highly-rated mare - she ran third in the Prix Saint-Alary - and came from the Cafe Du Lait family, which I've had a bit of luck with, so I bought her privately. Heather and Mike Slade were looking to buy into a mare so I sold a half share to them."

Good Enough went on to produce the Listed-winning miler Smart Enough to Cadeaux Genereux, and as a result, the stud were hopeful that Oasis Dancer would provoke his share of interest at the October Sale last year. That, however, changed when the grey reached the sales grounds.

"Oasis Dancer was a very nervous yearling and when we got him up here, he started to weave, which killed the sale. I don't have colts in training so when he went through, Mike bought me out - Willie Muir was the underbidder. He went to Ralphs and hasn't weaved since."

Although the colt lined up in the Million as a maiden, connections hadn't lost faith after a promising run behind Workforce at Goodwood, and following his head win over Kona Coast, sights are now firmly set on a Guineas trial next spring.

Remarkably, a half-length back in third on Saturday was another Whitsbury homebred in Take Ten, who, at 210,000gns, went through for significantly more than Oasis Dance did at 52,000gns.

"We consigned seven yearlings to this sale last year," said Harper. "So it was unbelievable to see them finish so close."




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