Record set at Tattersalls for horse in training
DUKE OF EDINBURGH Stakes winner Sugar Ray set a record British price for a colt in training just before 7pm at Tattersalls last night when selling to agent Anthony Stroud for 600,000gns to race at the Dubai Carnival.
Anthony Stroud who set a record price at Tattersalls when paying 600,000gns forSugar RayPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
The four-year-old went on to finish runner-up to Sixties Icon in last month's Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot and caught the imagination of many buyers, both Flat and National Hunt, yesterday.
Mags O'Toole, who bought Sugar Ray for 290,000gns for owner Philip Newton as yearling, made a bold play to get him a second time, this time standing with Michael O'Leary's brother Eddie, while Sublimity's new trainer Robbie Hennessy came armed with a budget just of 400,000gns.
Alastair Donald offered a similar sum but Stroud's most determined opponent was Dubai-based owner Malih Al Basti, who came within 10,000gns of the selling price before auctioneer John O'Kelly's hammer came down to a round of applause.
'He's been bought to race at the Carnival on behalf of a long-established client but I won't say who,' said Stroud, who spent 14 years as racing manager to Sheikh Mohammed.
'It was a great deal of money but with what's happening with Dubai racing, you need a good horse to compete. He cost more than we expected but he fits the profile for Dubai very well."
Sugar Ray passed the previous record for a male horse in training set by J P McManus when buying Garde Champetre for 530,000gns at Doncaster in May 2004.
Johnson buys Washington Irving
But the jumping buyers made their mark yesterday with Howard Johnson paying 300,000gns for Washington Irving, who finished fifth to New Approach in the Derby, as a dual-purpose prospect.
The Montjeu colt, who belatedly broken his maiden at Navan three weeks ago after some good efforts in Group company, heads to Co Durham after Johnson, standing in the sale ring entrance alongside Graham Wylie, outbid first Mags O'Toole and finally BBA Ireland's Eamonn Reilly, who was with trainer KarlBurke.
'He's got to be good to have finished six and a half lengths behind New Approach,' said Johnson. 'We'll castrate him and then give him a rest. We'll school him over a few poles in the spring but he won't race over jumps this season, we'll run him on the Flat next year.
'We could start out in the Yorkshire Cup and then give the girls a day out at Ascot and try and beat Yeats. He'll then hopefully go jumping next season when he's four. Unfortunately Percussionist doesn't look like he'll run again so this horse is a replacement for him.'
Johnson and Wylie also paid 120,000gns for Roger Charlton's progressive handicapper King O'The Gypsies and 150,000gns for four-year-old First Stream, who has shown consistently good form in German Group 1 company for Mario Hofer.
'Both of them will be castrated and go jumping this season. We'll start off First Stream somewhere low key and then go for the valuable Triumph Hurdle trial at Musselburgh that I've won a couple of times before.
'We've got to have something to try and take on Paul Nicholls. Mind you these new horses will all have a job to beat Drever at home, he carted them all along in a racecourse gallop at Pontefract last week and will run at the Hennessy meeting."
Prolific heads East
Richmond Stakes winnerProlific is bound for Hong Kong after selling for 230,000gns to Alastair Donald of Kern Lillingston. Iran-based owner Dr Farid Bordbar was underbidder.
'He'll join John Moore, who has done well recently with European purchases Willing Storm (formerly Craggy Cat) and Kings Falcon (previously Copywriter), who is one of the best three-year-olds in Hong Kong,' said Donald. 'Prolific is a very good-looking horse and he had a troubled passage in the Middle Park Stakes."
From Santa Anita to Newmarket
All three British Breeders' Cup-winning trainers were at Park Paddocks yesterday and California-based handler Jim Cassidy and owner Deron Pearson had also hotfooted it from Santa Anita, striking early through Gordian Troeller to get Souter's Sister, winner of the Oh So Sharp Stakes earlier this month, for 150,000gns.
'Her form speaks for itself and she was a good-looking sort, a real big strong filly,' said Cassidy. 'Her pedigree is not that hot but hopefully she can make her own page. There are races for her at Hollywood later this year but she's run 10 times so we'll probably wait with her for the winter meet at Santa Anita and start her off in a Listed race in February before she goes into Graded company.
Al Basti gets recompense after missing out on Sugar Ray
Malih Al Basti, underbidder on the top lot, paid 130,000gns for Tom Dascombe's July Stakes winner Classic Blade while David Nicholls, who may be best known for his sprinters, could have a Cup prospect for next year after spending 120,000gns on Aidan O'Brien's St Leger fourth Hindu Kush on behalf of Dr Marwan Koukash, a prolific buyer at sales in recent months.
'He'll go to Dubai and then hopefully come back to Britain to run in Cup races,' said Nicholls.