Tattersalls Jockey Club Sales graduates head mid-season prize-money list in Britain and Ireland
People often say that NH racing is not about the money, but when the prize-money winnings are transferred to the Weatherbys account it can be a very satisfying addition to the bottom line of an owner’s training account.
With winter closing in and as we head to the mid-point of the 2023-24 National Hunt season, the leading horses in Ireland and in UK by earnings won so far are both Tattersalls Jockey Club Sales graduates
In Ireland, the Gordon Elliott-trained Galway Plate and November Grade 2 chase winner Ash Tree Meadow has collected over £170,000 and is the current leading earner across both nations – he was bought at the Cheltenham April Sale 2021 from Monbeg Stable’s Donnacha Doyle for £135,000.
In the UK, the country’s leading earner is the Harry Fry’s exciting and progressive chaser Boothill.
The son of Presenting was purchased for £125,000 by Kevin Ross Bloodstock at the 2019 Tattersalls Cheltenham November Sale from Colin McKeever’s Loughnanmore Stables, at that point the four-year-old gelding a dual runner-up in Irish point-to-points.
Now BHA rated 158 over fences, the eight-year-old has won over £121,000 this autumn and has taken his career earnings to £283,000.
Boothill made this season’s debut in early November’s Byrne Group Premier Handicap Chase (previously a Grade 3 and now converted to a premier handicap) at Ascot, a race he won by four lengths from First Flow, and he returned to the Berkshire track just 21 days later to win the Hurst Park Handicap Chase worth £65,000.
And although the Brian and Sandy Lambert-owned gelding benefited then from the last fence fall of Saint Segal, the Racing Post reported that Boothill is “a really progressive handicapper”. He has won three chases from three starts at Ascot taking his career-winning record to seven wins, and five placings from 15 starts under Rules.
“The last fence fall last time was disappointing for connections of Saint Segal,” says Harry Fry magnanimously, “but, from our point of view, we were lucky enough to win the race last year and it's been a case of building on that, and he has really achieved a career-high this year winning such a competitive race carrying 12st.”
The two wins this autumn have really opened options for the Fry team and there are now plans afoot for Boothill to take on some of the country’s best two-mile chasers.
“He was a Grade 2-winning novice chaser last year, but now we're looking forward to stepping him up to open graded company,” outlined the traine. “The Tingle Creek might come too soon, but he is in the Clarence House in January, which will sort of feel like home match given his record round Ascot, that race is probably the primary the plan now.”
The Noel James-bred gelding is out of the Accordion mare Oyster Pulpit and Fry recalls: “We bought him with Kevin Ross, who buys all our horses. Brian and Sandy had a few horses with us by that stage and we are always on the lookout for a horse of his calibre.
“We had bought a horse off the Flat for them, as well as stores, and this was trying to add another string to the bow for him – he had been a runner-up in two point-to-points.
“He promised an awful lot right from the start and won his first start for us in a bumper. We then we had a bit of a frustrating run – we had to be patient with him as he had a few niggles and only ran twice for us in the first two seasons. We gave him time and, hopefully, we are reaping the rewards of that now.”
And although he was placed in points over 3m, the gelding has always looked more of a speedster.
“We have run him once over 3m, but he has always shown us this sort of pace for two miles and a lot of class at home,” smiles Fry.
The next Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale is after racing at The Cheltenham Christmas meeting on December 15.