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From the Sales Ring: Scented shares top honours at lively Ascot Sale.

Byline: Edward Prosser

A BUMPER crowd descended on Ascot Sales yesterday for one of the liveliest recent auctions at the Berkshire venue with Warwickshire trainer and studman Julian Czerpak, bidding from home by telephone, sharing top honours after paying pounds 9,000 for Scented Air, a six-year-old who has won over hurdles and on the all-weather for Peter Hiatt this winter.

The Lion Cavern mare is a grand-daughter of the Lowther Stakes winner Prickle and will continue racing before she retires to the paddocks. "She is for a new owner and will carry on racing in this country," said Czerpak. "It's a really nice pedigree."

A filly with an even choicer family was offered just before the close of proceedings by one the of most successful commercial British nurseries of recent years - Meon Valley Stud in Hampshire.

Present Warning is a Cadeaux Genereux filly whose ancestry is rich in black-type, being a daughter of Warning Belle - a half-sister to Stagecraft and Balalaika, who shares her celebrated grand- dam Reprocolor with Opera House and Kayf Tara.

The family have made huge sums. Warning Belle's Machiavellian half-brother was sold to Coolmore for 525,000gns at last year's Houghton Sale and her half-sister Panache Arabelle realised 680,000gns at the 2001 December Sale, when bought by breeder Tom Wilson.

Additionally, Present Warning's half-brother Desert Warning was a 300,000gns Houghton yearling when bought by John Ferguson, but had to be put down after breaking a leg earlier this year in Dubai.

But, despite her fabulous family, Present Warning - who is still unbroken - was never going to make such huge amounts with a pair of unusually conformed front legs.

She was eventually sold for pounds 5,800 to Cambridgeshire-based John Ford, who is best known as the owner-breeder of the inaugural Doncaster St Leger Sales race winner Boomerang Blade.

"It is just a wonderful pedigree and it would look even better if she could win, so we may try to race her," said Ford, who boards half a dozen mares at Manor House Farm Stud near Tring in Hertfordshire.

A point-to-pointing career looks to be on the cards for the sole entry from Henrietta Knight's stable, the handsome maiden Gray Knight, who finished fifth in a Huntingdon bumper on his debut in March 2001 and most recently was well beaten at the same course in a novices' handicap hurdle in January.

The six-year-old shared top honours after a cash buyer signed for him at pounds 9,000. Shemardi, who finished second in a Fontwell handicap hurdle last month, will also be going pointing after fetching pounds 4,600 from Herefordshire- based Crawford Gibbons, who was buying for his mother Barbara. The six- year-old will be trained by Steve Isaacs.

While the likes of Dubai World Cup hero Moon Ballad, a 350,000gns yearling, have excelled for Godolphin, inevitably not all the youngsters bought by the Maktoum family can perform to quite the same standard.

One such animal, Felidae, a three-year-old Storm Cat colt out of the multiple Graded-stakes winner Colcon was purchased for $900,000 (pounds 580,000) from the Lane's End draft at the 2001 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

IN THE less lavish surroundings at Ascot yesterday, the Kentucky-bred youngster, who has failed to reach a racecourse, realised the more modest sum of pounds 4,800 when bought by a telephone bidder acting for Greek owner Chris Imirziadis.

"We will stand him at Statepark Stables in Greece where he will join Chromite, a 17-year-old own-brother to Woodman that we stand," said Imirziadis.

A three-lot draft offered by owner Sylvia Blakeley from Jim Turner's North Yorkshire stable were all signed for by Bob Woodhouse. They included the useful staying chaser Inn At The Top, who has not run since pulling up in last year's Scottish National and realised pounds 2,600, as well as Hopeful Chance, a winner over hurdles at Musselburgh in January 2002, who has also had a 12-month break and made pounds 7,000.

"They will both head back up north and go into training, possibly with me," said Woodhouse. "Inn At The Top is such a good horse that we'd take it gradually with him."

Andrew Elliott, bloodstock manager at Brightwells, was thrilled with the proceedings and said: "We were delighted with the day, the bottom of the market was very strong and I would say it was the best sale since Brightwells have been in operation at Ascot."

Ascot's next sale is scheduled for May 7, although it may be cancelled if there are insufficient entries and merged with the flagship Derby Sale on June 3.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2003
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