A record price for a mare from the point-to-point field was set at Cheltenham last night, when 21 horses were sold for £3 million.
Maire Banrigh, a five-year-old daughter of King's Theatre, only made her racing debut on Sunday, but four days later, at Tattersalls Ireland's Cheltenham Festival Sale, she was knocked down for £320,000. The successful bidder was jockey Ryan Mahon, who has been fashioning a new career as a bloodstock agent, and who was acting for leading racehorse owner John Hales.
Moments later, Mahon added to Hales' band of racehorses when buying four-year-old The Dellercheckout (Lot 26) for £260,000. The buyer said Dan Skelton would train one horse, and Paul Nicholls the other, although who gains which horse had to be decided.
Maire Banrigh, who won a 13-runner mares' maiden at Lingstown just ahead of her ring appearance, was bought for £40,000 at Goffs UK's Spring Sale 12 months ago by County Wexford-based point-to-point trainer Richard Black. The Dellercheckout, who had won his sole start, a four-year-old maiden at Lismore, was offered by Cormac Doyle of Monbeg Stables.
On a tremendous night of trade, turnover soared 107% compared to the same sale 12 months ago, while the average price for each horse, £142,857, was a 38% increase.
J P McManus, who has seen his colours carried to victory at The Festival this week by Buveur D'Air (Stan James Champion Hurdle) and Cause Of Causes (Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase) was among the throng in the bidders' area, and looked on as his son, Kieran, offered £310,000 to secure four-year-old Palmers Hill. The gelding had finished third on debut in a point at Oldtown - the winner, Flemenshill, made a record £480,000 for a pointer at a sale held at Cheltenham last month - and then won at Tyrella.
Dual Derby-winning jockey Joseph O'Brien, who is now making strides as a trainer, also got on the buyers' list when bidding £220,000 for Speak Easy, also from the Monbeg Stables' consignment, but trained by Sean Doyle.
Colin Tizzard will train Slate House, a five-year-old who won at point in November, and who was bought by jockey-turned-agent Tom Malone for £260,000, while two British pointers also made a splash.
Santini, who won at Didmarton in Gloucestershire on his sole start last month, was offered by his breeders, Richard and Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes, the sponsors of yesterday's Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle. Their mare, Dusky Legend, who was third in the contest, is a half-sister to Santini, who was knocked down for £150,000 to Dan Skelton.
Sky Pirate, a four-year-old who won at Larkhill in Wiltshire last month for Sophie Lacey's Herefordshire stable, also found a new home when he was sold for £150,000 to Jonjo O'Neill.