Tuesday 12 December 2017

Keeping a firm grip on sales fever vital

Crius, with Richard Hughes up (right), goes on to win the Somerville Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket yesterday
Crius, with Richard Hughes up (right), goes on to win the Somerville Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket yesterday

This is the time of the year when all the yearling sales are held, so we are in the midst of a very important few weeks. Once the festival at Listowel finishes, things get much quieter on the racing front, but the sales then take over.

My schedule over the next month will consist mainly of studying catalogues, looking at horses and trying to make the right decisions.

You have to put in the work in advance. If you don't, then you are likely to suffer for a couple of seasons -- your yearlings are next year's juveniles and your juveniles are the following year's three-year-olds, so it's vital to try and get it right from the start.

You have to systematically go through the books, identify which pedigrees you are interested in, and then view what you have highlighted. Inevitably, there are times when you will come home and wonder: 'Why did I buy that?' but the idea is to look at them enough at the sales to ensure that this doesn't happen.

The sales season got under way at Keeneland last week. I picked up a few there, before moving on to Tattersalls at Fairyhouse on Tuesday, where I bought a lovely Choisir colt for an existing client.

That Tattersalls sale has been a lucky one for me. It was where I sourced Indesatchel a number of years ago, a horse that went on to be a brilliant campaigner for us.

I also picked up The Four Masters there for just a couple of grand in 2009; he finished second in the valuable sales race at Fairyhouse last year after winning his maiden.

Only time will tell if our new Choisir representative justifies his purchase, but I certainly couldn't be happier with him. It's always nice to come away with the one that you were keen to get, and he was the only horse that I bid on.

We move on to Goffs next week and then Newmarket the following week, so it's a hectic period. Because they all come together, the catalogues have to be studied well in advance, and the aim is to have assembled a nice team by the time it's all over.

Alkazim, one that came from the Newmarket sale in 2010, returned there for a £200,000 sales race last Saturday. Having just arrived back from Keeneland, I wasn't able to make the journey myself, but he ran an excellent race to be second.

He is still a maiden, but is a solid horse that will make a lovely three-year-old. There is a £500,000 version back at Newmarket tomorrow week, so that's the next stop.

We may as well chase the money with him while the opportunity is there. He picked up £50,000 for second at the weekend and we have paid the entry fees for these sales races all along, so there's no point in trying to win a €10,000 maiden instead.

At this stage of the year, the majority of the horses that we have left to run are two-year-olds. Wayne Lordan came down to sit on a number of them for me during the week and one that he threw his leg over for a spin was Requinto.

When Requinto was beaten in the Nunthorpe, I think the main issue was the slow ground. On better ground at Doncaster last time, he returned to his best to win a Group Two, and I'm keen to have another go against the older horses in the Abbaye at Longchamp on Arc weekend, so long as the ground is right.

Although I opted against declaring Fire Lily for tomorrow's Cheveley Park Stakes, she also remains in training, and we have a couple of options still to choose from for her. With many of the others, it will be just a case of getting runs into them to sort out what's what before making further plans.

At Dundalk tonight, I run Limetree Lady in the nursery. She has a high rating, having easily won a Cork maiden, but she is a nice filly so, hopefully, she will be thereabouts.

I have two more then in the maiden. Like most of mine, Tannery will probably need the run on her debut, but Aloof finished third at Leopardstown on her last start, so I'm hoping she can step forward from that and show up well.

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie

Irish Independent

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