Spring Sale

      The week of the annual Spring Sale in Doncaster - and I was NOT going to buy a horse - I WAS hoping to sell a few horseboxes - and I DID expect to have a lot of fun! 

        Before heading up the road - there was penty of office work to get through. Another share sold in one of our young horses - there is now very limited availability in both Old Blue Eyes and our two year old gelding by The Grey Gatsby. Old Blue Eyes has already shown us what he is capable of and his home work has been very good indeed. He has really caught the eye of the team at Bankhouse - which led to Donald's assistant trainer, Adrian Lane sugggesting that I should retain the remaining shares until he had made his debut in a bumper as they would be worth an awful lot more! I say it every week - he is a horse not to be missed, so get in touch if you would like to grab the final shares in him. The two year old by The Grey Gatsby is also a lovely horse, and Jason Maguire has just started to break him in. Obviously he has not been taken to the levels that Old Blue Eyes has, but from what we have seen of him thus far he is a lovely horse, with a great mind. He has size, scope and plenty of substance - since Jason started to work with him, he has taken everything in his stride, and looks the ideal candidate for junior bumpers and juvenile hurdles from October next year. It is no secret how much I like his sire, The Grey Gatsby - we were one of the first to run one of his progeny over hurdles in the UK, a plan that worked out perfectly when Greyval won a Listed Hurdle in Doncaster. This lad shows all of her attributes and we are delighted to have him on the team - he falls into the 'could be anything' bracket, and we are all excited about him. 

Two yr old The Grey Gatsby yearling - such a good mind on him for a baby! 

There was an update on the Red Sash Racing Club Website to get done as well - Ridin Solo enjoying his holiday at Peel Hall with Will Kinsey - he has 'let himself down' nicely - and that doesn't mean he has embarrased himself in the local pub on Saturday night - it means that he has made the transition from fit racehorse to a relaxed, chilled out 'field' horse. As ever horses are all individuals, and although it sounds lovely to be free and out in a large field with plenty of grass and the company of lots of friends, there are horses that actually prefer to be back in their stables. Ridin Solo isn't one of those - he likes the sun on his back and a belly full of grass! Talking to Will later in the afternoon when I got to Doncaster - catching him and returning him to hs stable may be easier said than done! 

Ridin Solo on his holiday

     I also had a race report to write before I headed north - Auditoria had come out of her race the day before in good order. We were all very happy with her run - she simply didn't stay the extended trip, and she will be lots of fun for her syndicate through the summer months. 

With all the office work done - it was time to pack a bag and head up to Doncaster. We arrived in the early afternoon and set up the stand, which once again was situated very close to the bar! So close in fact - I think the bonnet of the horsebox may have actually been in the marquee - something that would prove to be very handy on Wednesday. As the afternoon went on I turned down two seperate invitations to the TBA awards dinner that was being held in the hotel that evening - that just goes to show how long an evening that can be - in fairness, as one ,man pointed out - I should really go, as one of the horses that we had been involved in was up for an award - Romeo Coolio - it was still not enough to convince me to go!!  With all the work done at the sales complex, we settled in for a couple of pints with clients, and the evening went on from there - although an error by the hotel led to two of us sharing a room - me on the camp bed Monday night - thankfully they found me a room for the rest of the week. 

      Tuesday was the first day of the sale, and it was going to be a long one - over 250 national hunt three year olds catalogued to sell - but it was forecast to be dry, and it would be interesting to see what strength there was to the trade. On the way up I had forecast the average to be between 12 and 18% below the figures achieved last year - it would be the first barometer reading of how trade would be. I was defintely not going to be buying one - I did look at a few, some for a client, but there was nothing that really excited us, and if it did, it went way over budget. Having said that - although I didn't buy one - I have the chance of adding one to the team. Alan King was selling a chesnut filly by Lindas Lad thatbhenhad bred. She is out of a 2x winning mare that bred 6 winners on the track, and a point to point winner from her 8 foals. Two of those runners went on to be black type performers, with the best one reaching a rating of over 150. She is a lovely sweet filly, that although not the biggest, is very atheltic. Alan thinks that she is ideal for junior bumpers and national hunt juvenile hurdles in the autumn - and she qualifies for the £20,000 bonus available to her syndicate should she win one - these bonuses are not restricted to one win, and she could win them in bumpers and hurdles, making each race she runs in worth well over £20k to her connections (including the prizemoney), so she could rack up quite a bit of cash next season should she get her head in front a couple of times.Alan has offered this lovely filly, with a very nice pedigree to us on a free lease basis - her syndicate will be made up of 25 people, and the cost will be £30/week per person which will include all costs. A great way to get involved, and have the chance to win lots of prize money bonuses in the process! The filly has gone to Jamie Magee's breaking and pre training yard to continue her education - she will have a very short break, and then be trained for a debut in early October - there will be no training/keep fees to pay until July 1st - get in touch to add yourself to her syndicate - I put the word around a few Whatsapp groups yesterday - and there has been a really good take up of shares already! 

Parade ring

£30/wk all inc - 1/2 sister to 2 black type horses - and qualifies for lots of £20,000 bonuses - get involved! 

      As we added a chesnut filly to the team on Tuseday, we sadly said goodbye to one. Fortune Forevers injury that she sustained last time out in Plumpton turned out to be a lot worse that we had originally thought, in fact it proved to be career ending. Such a shame as we only got to run her over her optimum trip the one time - and we had definitely not seen the best of her. She has been on box rest with Connor Brace, and later in the week when I caught up with him at the sales we did a deal whereby we gifted Fortune Forever to him, and he would take on her rehabilitation and turn out. He isn't sure what he will do with her as yet - as her racing days are over, a non racing agreement will be put in place, and she will either be retrained for another discipline, or he may even breed from her. Time will tell, but she has a lovely home, and we will stay in touch with her! 

    The day - as expected was a long one - trade did slip, but just by 12% so on the better side of my estimation - and in fairness, judged by the quality of the stock on offer - this was far from being a terrible result. It augers well for the store sales over in Ireland in June where the quality of the stock will be a lot better. As the sale went on quite late - there was no time to get back to the hotel, shower, change and get out for supper - so we hopped over the road to Whitbys for a fish and chip supper - and then onto the hotel bar to end the evening. It had been a good day - but one trainer was slightly miffed at the end of it - he had paid slightly more for one of the many horses he purchased than he had reckoned to. Having been with his stable jockey for most of the day - it was the short time that he let him out of his sight that caught him out - little did he know that just on the other side of a pillar, and unbeknown to him - it was his stable jockey that was bidding on the same horse! Pushing the price higher than necessary!  We get to hear everyhthing when we are at the sales, and said trainer looked shocked when on Wednesday morning I advised him to check behind every pillar - he hadn't told a soul about it!! You can't keep anything from us!! 

   Wednesday the forescast rain arrived - we had escaped it all day Tuesday - but it certainly arrived Wednesday. With the stores all dealt with on Tuesday, it was now two days of point to pointers and horses in training. A day that would prove to be even longer than the day before with over 100 supplementary lots swelling the catalogue to huge proportions! So it was a long and very wet day - good job we were by the bar - unlike two trainers who were seen to start at 11.30am, I did hold out until 4.00pm - but seemed to make up for lost time - while crowded under cover we had a really fun afternoon, with one man - a brother of a well known presenter on a racing channel in particularly good form. He ended up buying a horse, for way more than he intended, and then included his brother on the buyers list - which when said brother spied it on the sales website pushed him into a rage that was not typical of him! As trainers and consignors alike decided to gather out of the rain, and have a few drinks, their attention was grabbed by the horsebox parked very close by, and I have reason to believe that we have picked up at least 3 new clients by just standing out of the rain and drinking beer - some job! Again - another very late end to the sale - and we just had time to get to Whitbys again before it closed. 

   Thursday - the last day of the sale - a day of horses in training - another good crowd, but not the fireworks of Tuesday. It was good to get a couple of videos from Jason - Cloud Dancer, Dino Bellagio and Tintagel Queen all enjoying a sunnier day in the field at Ivy Lodge Farm. Not only is Maguire a top class horseman, he is also A1 with his communication - he sends through regular videos of the horses he has at Ivy Lodge Farm, which is a great help, and keep all of their owners up to date with how their horses are doing. He is also a very willing host, and all syndicate members are welcome to drop by if they are ever in the area - we are lucky to have him on the team! After the sale ended we headed for home - it had been a long week - but a fun week - plenty of laughs - plenty of business done - and another horse to syndicate. Luckily I could go home to my bed - not so for Andy, who was booked on the euro tunnel later that night and heading over to France, and a couple of days at the factory celebrating Theault's 100 year anniversary. Good luck! 

    Friday - catch up day - plenty to do that should have been done while we were away - including a 'far to technical for me' switch over of a land line - which went amazingly well for a Ludite! 

    Saturday - Cheryl's Birthday! She was 21 - again!  We had a lovely day - which ended with a first visit to Eileens in Ampthill with Mat and Sarah - fine dining - very nice - and of all the conicidences we ran into Dave and Jo - Dave I used to work with - and his wife shares a birthday with Cheryl - spooky that we all ended up in the same restaurant!  We had the 5 course taster menu - and the non drivers paired it with the flight of wine - excellent food - a lovely atmosphere, and worth a visit for a special occasion - they change their menu every month. 

   All the horses apart from Auditoria and Mamoon Star are on their holidays. Auditoria is fine after her run and will be out again over a slightly shorter trip in a couple of weeks. Mamoon Star is scheduled to run again in the middle of June, and when I saw Ferg this week he reported him to be in fine form. Barry our three yr old Blue Bresil homebred is coming to the end of his secondary school - we had hoped to have him home by now but he has been held up with a cold. When he has been to Tom Georges gallop and done a swinging piece of work he will return home and the two 2 yr olds by Falco will head down to be broken in. Old Bue Eyes is now in the field with his mates at Bankhouse, and will return to work on July 1st. At Warren Chase - Itchy Feet is out with his mates, and at The Elms Rockola is enjoying her summer holiday too. Greyval is turned out at Fergal and Sallys stud, and Maria's Flame is coming to the end of her spell on the walker at Connor Braces yard - when the vet has scanned her and made sure she is OK she too will head out to the field - and is likely to have her holiday at Connors. Intrepide Sud is out in the field at Ravenswell. 

   The Spring Sale in Doncaster is always a fun week - and this one was no exception! The sales circus now heads over to Ireland - time to book some flights! 



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