Hope Jumps to Harry as February Sale Concludes

NEWMARKET, UK–As is to be expected of a sale of this nature, the next steps in the careers of the day’s leading lots will be in a variety of different avenues and countries, from jump racing to Saudi Arabia and merely a switch of stables within Newmarket. Over the two days, buyers from more than 20 nations signed for broodmare prospects and horses in training.

Harry Derham is already off the mark in the early days of his training career and he added a promising new recruit to his burgeoning National Hunt stable in the shape of the day’s top lot, Brentford Hope (GB) (Camelot {GB}), who was bought for 90,000gns with agent Ed Bailey. The 6-year-old has been a smart dual-purpose performer for Richard Hughes, for whom he won three times on the Flat, achieving a rating of 102, and he has recently run second three times over hurdles.

“He’s a nice, scopey horse and Harry saw him yesterday,” said Bailey of lot 427. “Brentford Hope has been a high-class performer on the Flat and has run well over hurdles so far, bumping into some decent performers and the form is looking good. He should progress over hurdles and he is for sale.”

Kuwaiti-born owner and trainer Abdullah Salman Alsabah, who is now based in Saudi Arabia with his small string, went to 80,000gns to secure the 3-year-old Mohatu (GB) from the consignment of Jamie Railton, who sold the son of Roaring Lion on behalf of Qatar Racing. The colt, previously trained by William Haggas, won twice in January over a mile.

“He’s improving and I will own him and train him,” said Alsabah, who has a team of seven horses. “The racing programme is expanding in Saudi and it is thriving. They are leading the races now and doing very well. There are some good opportunities there and that’s why we left our country to go to Riyadh.”

Riotous applause greeted the hammer falling in favour of Jon Thompson and his band of merry men who had clearly had a good lunch before deciding to buy Tenjin (GB) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) for 75,000gns. 

Now three, Tenjin won over sux furlongs last October and has subsequently been regularly placed on the all-weather for Marco Botti to earn a rating of 85. He was signed for by Jamie Piggott and will remain in Newmarket to be trained by John Ryan.

One of the horse’s new owners, Jon Thompson, said: “He wants bit of time, and he is going to race for a syndicate in association with the new wine bar in the town, Gee Gee’s. I think there are about 17 of us involved in this horse now.”

A the curtain fell on the first sale of the year at Tattersalls, Chairman Edmond Mahony said, “The individual highlight of the 2023 Tattersalls February Sale was without doubt the 250,000 guineas BBA Ireland purchase of the very well-bred broodmare Now Or Never, who is the third-highest-priced broodmare ever sold at the Tattersalls February Sale and the highest price at the sale since 2018, but the real feature of the past two days has been the international participation.”

The clearance rate remained strong at 84% but the aggregate dropped by 29% from last year at 4,141,800gns, albeit from 30 fewer horses sold. All told, 298 changed hands at an average of 13,899gns (-22%) and median of 7,000gns (-30%).

He continued, “Diverse overseas demand has always been the hallmark of the Tattersalls February Sale and other Tattersalls sales of this nature and the consignors have confidence that Newmarket’s unique appeal consistently produces an unrivalled marketplace. Even the relatively small February Sale consistently attracts an abundance of buyers from all over the world and we have sold horses to more than 20 different countries over the past two days. Widespread participation from throughout Europe has been matched by the customary strong contingent from throughout the Gulf region and buyers from India and North Africa have also made significant contributions to a solid renewal of the annual curtain-raiser at Park Paddocks. While the figures have not matched last year’s impressive returns, the turnover was the fourth highest in the sale’s history, the clearance rate has again exceeded 80% and the sustained demand for British and Irish bloodstock at all levels of the market has yet again very much been in evidence at the Tattersalls February Sale.”

Action returns to the ring at Park Paddocks in mid-April for the Craven Sale, which kicks off the breeze-up season in Europe.

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