I sold BERKHAMSTED at the Doncaster sale today. He went for 12,000 Guineas, bought by Evan Williams who will now take him jumping. He may turn out to be a decent hurdler – he has enough size and he stays. I made a small profit on him but with training costs I am out of pocket – no regrets though.
At the same sale I tried to buy a horse called PIRES. He was trained by Mick Channon as a 2yo and ran in seven races in quick succession last year, ending on a mark of 99 – Mick Stone, my racing manager, brought him to my attention. The owners had apparently fallen out over the campaign to be run with the horse, with one wanting him to be put away for the NH and the other wanting to carry on on the flat. I had two trainers go down to Channon’s yard and had a full vet’s report – they were fairly unanimous in their assessment. This was quite possibly a very special horse, but built to be a chaser and still physically very immature. Nick Gifford said that in three years of attending the HIT sales he had never come across a horse of such fine confirmation and physicality.
The vet’s report threw up a lot of small problems, a product presumably of his rather intense 2yo campaign which was mostly on G/F or firm going. None looked long term issues. I made a tentative approach to the owners to see if the horse could be bought before the sale, putting in a low bid which they turned down. I instructed Tom Dascombe to bid at the auction for me, thinking the horse might go for somewhere between £100k and £150k. As it was he went for 300,000 Guineas knocked down to Tony Martin – I was in the wrong ball park.
It was a thought provoking and learning experience. I’m annoyed that I didn’t try harder to get the horse out of the auction beforehand – no-one had any idea what he was going to go for and the owners may have accepted a bid of £150k, and perhaps I was a bit gutless. Auction prices continue to be sky high, which is a worry and also makes me want to be looking for young horses to buy as trades. I don’t believe the horse should have run at all as a 2yo, let alone seven times on firmish ground.
At Gary Moore’s MON MICHEL split a foot across the frog and has been on anti-biotics, and KING’S HEAD had a bad attack of colic but is now ok. Both will be fine but it’s a little more time lost. Nick Gifford has found what he believes to have been the problem with CONSERVATION – he appears to have sprained his front suspensory ligaments. This should be treatable (we are waiting on a scan) but it will be time off for him and may be the end of his jumps season for this year – we may take this rest opportunity to have him gelded. BETTER TOGETHER runs tomorrow at Chepstow – he’s a slow burner and won’t really come into himself for another year or two. I couldn’t rule a win out but he’ll be an outsider.