- Three Grade 1 winners: Grangeclare West, Found A Fifty and Jango Baie
- A total of 24 winners over the Festive period
It was a Christmas week of plenty for Tattersalls Jockey Club Sales – in this regard the Limerick bumper winner Binge Worthy the most appropriately named victor over the seven Festive race days.
Three of the week’s victors – Grangeclare West, winner of the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase, Leopardstown’s INH Flat race winner Jalon D’Ourairies, and Master Chewy, winner of the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices Chase – are now jostling for position at the top of the current ante-post market for races at the Cheltenham Festival, namely the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices Chase, the Grade 1 Champion Bumper and the Grand Annual Premier Handicap Chase.
Jango Baie: fast track to Grade 1 success
Boxing Day produced a Grade 1 double courtesy of Found A Fifty and Jango Baie, winner of the Grade 1 William Formby Novices Hurdle (registered as the Tolworth Hurdle). The now five-year-old gelding, owned by Countrywide Park Homes and trained by Nicky Henderson, has progressed through the young horse ranks at speed with his first run under Rules coming just at the beginning of November and this impressive Grade 1 success on only his second hurdle start.
Bred by Andre Jean Belloir et Al, he was bought privately in France by the Bleahen Brothers, and sold as a store horse by Lakefield Farm at the 2022 Tattersalls Ireland May Sale to Matt Gahan for €30,000.
Gahan works with the point-to-point trainer Mick Goff, and a previous positive experience of the sire Tiger Groom led the pair to the three-year-old.
“I had a horse by Tiger Groom called Daly Tiger – he was a good horse and was Grade 2 placed,” recalls Goff. “He had also come from the Bleahen brothers, who are such good producers. That is probably what drew me to Jango Baie, as well as his conformation and his walk”.
"From day one he looked to be a very very good horse – by Christmas time he was very sharp and had all the attributes to be good.”
The gelding reappeared in public last February at Knockanard in the Coolagown and Tattersalls NH 4yo maiden. Amazingly, considering his subsequent progress, he failed to win his point finishing three-quarters of a length second to No Flies On Him, a Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale graduate, now in JP McManus’s ownership and an impressive winner of his novice hurdle on debut on Boxing Day.
Goff consigned Jango Baie at the Tattersalls Cheltenham February Sale where he caught the eye of Jerry McGrath, purchasing for Nicky Henderson. The gelding fetched £170,000, the sale’s eighth top price and one of 15 to sell for six figures.
“It is very seldom you can go to the sales and tell all those top buyers that you have something very special,” smiles Goff. "And I knew there was a lot of improvement in him, too.
"To have been pitched in so early into Grade 1 company and win, things like that don't happen that often! And for him to go Henderson's is a dream because he will get every chance.
"It's great to see him living up to what we thought he could be – you really need these horses to train on, it gives the buyers such confidence for the next time.”
Goff has a few for us all to watch out for this spring in particular a couple of nice ones by Milan and Mahler, and another French-bred, all of whom Goff hopes “will be out to play early on”.
Out of the ordinary
JALON D’OURAIRIES may not yet have collected a NH stakes race, but he is looking anything but ordinary – the five-year-old already has his name marked at the top of the betting for the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper after collecting his second INH Flat race under Harry Swan winning at Leopardstown for Gordon Elliott Racing.
The gelding was purchased at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale 2023 by Elliott for a joint top-price of £420,000 after running out an impressive winner of a Lingstown four-year-old maiden for Donnchadh Doyle’s Monbeg Stables emporium.
Now in Gigginstown House Stud ownership, the five-year-old, who was bred in France by M Cte Michel De Gigou, is by the all-conquering French sire No Risk At All and out of the Equerry mare Ukalee. He is the non-winning mare’s only successful runner from three previous foals.
He is now a 6-1 favourite for the Weatherbys-sponsored Grade 1 due, as always, to conclude the Wednesday card.
We all know much can change before we get to March, but with Grangeclare West’s and Master Chewy’s current Festival targets also scheduled for Festival Wednesday, the second day holds great promise for Tattersalls Jockey Club Sales horses.
Sir Gerhard back on the Cheltenham trail
Obviously much focus of the Tatteralls Jockey Club Sale graduate Christmas action was concentrated on the exciting up and comers, but toward the end of the week the talented three-time Grade 1 winner and dual Cheltenham Festival hero Sir Gerhard got his Cheltenham ambitions back on track.
After an aborted attempt at jumping fences, a return over hurdles for the eight-year-old Cheltenham December Sale graduate saw a clear-cut victory at Punchestown and trainer Willie Mullins is now eying the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle for the Cheveley Park-owned son of Jeremy.
Post-race Willie Mullins reported to Racing TV that he would chat with connections to consider the staying route at the Festival – judging by Cheveley Park’s enthusiastic tweet immediately after the race "A return to Cheltenham Races in March is now back on the agenda for the dual Festival winner" – the team did not take a lot of persuading!