West Country trainer Colin Tizzard went shopping for young horses at Tattersalls' Cheltenham Festival Sale yesterday evening and left with the top three lots.
The man who hopes to win today's G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup with Elegant Escape or Lostintranslation, joined forces with bloodstock agent Ross Doyle to bring down the hammer on £300,000 top lot Killer Kane, a half-brother to the G1 Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Go Native. In common with most of the horses in the 24-lot catalogue, five-year-old Killer Kane arrived at Cheltenham after putting up a good performance in an Irish point-to-point which advertised his prowess.
Trained by Monbeg Stables' Donnchadh Doyle (no relation of Ross Doyle) in County Wexford, the son of Oscar won a maiden race at Ballycahane on Saturday, teeing up his appearance under the hammer. Ross Doyle, who headed interest from trainers Noel Meade and Gordon Elliott in the race to buy the young talent, said: "Myself, Colin and Joe all thought he put up a special performance at the weekend. The Tizzards have done very well with the progeny of Oscar over the years. We've bought him for established clients at the yard."
Doyle, best-known as a buyer of smart yearlings for trainer Richard Hannon, formed an association with Tizzard after he sold him Lostintranslation, a horse he had bought one year earlier as an unbroken three-year-old. The agent and trainer's other buys last night were Shirocco's Dream, a five-year-old mare they bought for £260,000, and Amarillo Sky, a four-year-old gelding who made £280,000.
Tizzard had an angle on Shirocco's Dream's form, for she came second to Rose Of Arcadia on her first start in an Irish point-to-point before winning at Borris House. Rose Of Arcadia joined Tizzard's stable after that run when knocked down for £170,000 at Tattersalls' Cheltenham December Sale, and she won in good style at Taunton on Monday. Tizzard said: "Rose Of Arcadia is a beautiful mare and I think this one is equally as good. We haven't trained a lot of mares over the years, but it's about time we had more."
Amarillo Sky was offered for sale by trainer Colin Bowe, who is enjoying a wonderful run at this year's The Festival™ presented by Magners. Bowe, who buys unbroken horses, trains them to run in a point-to-point and then offers them for sale, has been responsible for the early careers of Envoi Allen, Ferny Hollow and Samcro who have all won G1 races this week. He offered several horses at yesterday's sale, including Gerri Colombe, a winning four-year-old pointer who was sold to agent Mags O'Toole and trainer Gordon Elliott for £240,000.
A posse of leading buyers took an interest in four-year-old Hollow Games, who won at Turtulla on Sunday for trainer James Doyle. The four-year-old drew bids from Evan Williams, Noel Meade and Ross Doyle before selling to agent Mouse O'Ryan and Gordon Elliott for £255,000, and the same vendor later gained £135,000 for Tag Man, who had finished second to Amarillo Sky on Sunday, and who was sold last night to well-known racehorse owner Roger Brookhouse.
Harry Whittington, who trained Simply The Betts to win yesterday's G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate, will take charge of another winner from last weekend, Docpickedme, who was sold for £75,000 to bloodstock agent J D Moore. The horses who finished second and third to Docpickedme were also offered for sale, and being bigger, scopier prospects, they achieved higher prices than the winner. Runner-up Patroclus made £150,000 to a bid from agent Anthony Bromley, acting for clients of trainer Nicky Henderson, while Herefordshire bloodstock agent Ed Bailey gave £100,000 for Gaston Phebus who will join Jonjo O'Neill.
Coronavirus fears and doubts about the immediate future of racing and sporting events was not the ideal backdrop for a sale of any product, let alone racehorses, and while there was very strong trade for the best young prospects the figures showed declines compared to the auction held 12 months' ago. Fifteen of the 24 horses offered found homes, turnover fell 36 per cent to £2,195,000, while the average price was cut by 23 per cent to £115,000.
Photo has the Boum factor for punters
Punters were left licking their wounds after bookmakers dominated day three of The Festival™ presented by Magners with just one winning favourite delivering the goods for racegoers.
A dramatic G1 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle saw 4/6 favourite Paisley Park trail to a disappointing seventh-placed finish with 50/1 shot Lisnagar Oscar landing the £400,000 event for Rebecca Curtis and Adam Wedge. He was chased home by 20/1 shot Ronald Pump and 33/1 poke Bacardys, with the Tricast paying out £28,381.06.
Simply The Betts provided punters with some relief when gamely justifying 100/30 favouritism in the G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate. However, he was a shining beacon on an otherwise frustrating day for bettors. The fourth and final day of the The Festival is today and bookmakers have reported brisk business ahead of all of the action.
Al Boum Photo is bidding to become the first multiple winner of the £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.30pm) since Kauto Star (2007 & 2009) and the first back-to-back winner since Best Mate (2003, 2004, 2005). The 2019 hero of Jump Racing's Blue Riband event is the solid 11/4 market leader with Paddy Power from 10/3. Stable companion Kemboy is the only other horse attracting support in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup this morning, constricting in price to 8/1 from 10/1 with Sky Bet.
In the opening £130,630 G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle (1.30pm), Goshen is the best backed horse of the day. Trained by Gary Moore and ridden by his son Jamie, the four-year-old is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles and is the 9/4 market leader from 10/3 with Coral. Aspire Tower has won two of his three starts over hurdles and has attracted solid each-way support at 6/1 from 7/1 with Betway.
Willie Mullins has a number of progressive types among his five runners in the £100,000 G3 Randox Health County Hurdle (2.10pm), a race he has won four times, headed by the unexposed Ciel De Neige. The five-year-old was second in the Betfair Hurdle on his latest start and is the well-supported 4/1 favourite from 11/2 with Unibet for the two-mile hurdling event. Thatsy looks to provide Gordon Elliott with a seventh winner this week and is a 10/1 chance with Sky Bet from 12/1.
Another Elliott-trained runner Fury Road has won three of his four starts over hurdles, but was disappointing when only fourth when favourite for a G1 at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown in February. He is a market mover in the £130,630 G1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (2.50pm) for owners Gigginstown House Stud at 13/2 from 8/1 with Paddy Power.
Billaway represents Willie and son Patrick Mullins in the £45,000 St James's Place Foxhunters Chase (4.10pm) and bids for back-to-back victories following a smooth success at Naas in January. He is a 7/2 chance from 4/1 with Betway.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Chosen Mate is the one for money in the £110,000 G3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (4.50pm). Victorious at Gowran Park in January, he defeated a subsequent winner on that occasion and punters have made the seven-year-old the 10/3 favourite from 5/1 with Coral.
The £70,000 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (5.30pm) is the final race of The Festival™ presented by Magners 2020 and Front View is seeking to provide Joseph O'Brien and jockey Jonjo O'Neill Jr with successive victories in the contest. The five-year-old was second in Graded company at Thurles in February and finished second to Wednesday's G1 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle winner Envoi Allen earlier this term. He is the 7/2 market leader from 5/1 with Paddy Power.