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Horse Racing: Marathon auction looking to build on last year's record gains; BLOODSTOCK DESK.

Byline: Amy Bennett

THE market for jumps horses has been incredibly strong all year, boding well for the two-week marathon that is the Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale, which gets under way in County Meath on Tuesday, writes Amy Bennett.

The sales company enjoyed a spectacular renewal of the sale last year, with record gains in aggregate, average and median. The sale also set British and Irish records in two important areas, when John O'Byrne went to EUR140,000 to secure a Milan colt foal half-brother to Black Jack Ketchum - himself a graduate of this sale - just days after Emerald Bloodstock's Brendan Gallagher had broken the record for the highest-priced yearling when paying EUR180,000 for a daughter of Lahib.

Last year's aggregate of EUR19,264,100 for 1,519 lots sold was a rise of more than 21 per cent on the 2004 figure, while the average of EUR12,682 and median of EUR9,000 represented gains of 17 and 18 per cent.

At the end of the sale, Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said: "We've seen a remarkable 11 days of trading. The sale is a testament to the love of National Hunt racing and also to the success of our graduates."

Graduates of the sale include some of the stars of last season, plenty of whom were bought for bargain prices at the November auction. The Champion Hurdle hero Brave Inca cost only Ir1,600gns as a foal, while the Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition was bought for a mere Ir2,000gns. King George winner Kicking King was a Ir21,000gns yearling purchase, while the Grade 1 Melling Chase winner Hi Cloy was bought for Ir14,000gns on his second trip to the Fairyhouse sales ring.

With 3,070 lots due to come under the hammer over 12 days of selling, this year's catalogue lives up to the company's slogan as the world's largest sale of National Hunt horses.

The bumper catalogues are, as ever, divided into three sections, with Part 1, the first four days, dedicated to more than 1,000 horses in training, yearlings and young stock. Part 2 features four days of foal sales, while the first two days of Part 3 are also given over to foals, and the final two days are the mare sessions. In all, 1,680 foals are catalogued, along with more than 380 mares.

With catalogues of this size, the number of progeny from certain sires is necessarily large. Once again, members of Coolmore's jumps division are responsible for the largest numbers, led by Oscar with 95 foals, 37 yearlings and ten mares in foal. The 2001 St Leger hero Milan is close behind with 97 foals, 32 yearlings and

12 mares in foal, while Flemensfirth has 80 foals, 29 yearlings and 13 mares in foal.

Other sires with bumper numbers catalogued include Old Vic (71 foals,

13 yearlings and 12 mares in foal), and Presenting (50 foals, 29 yearlings and eight mares in foal).

The two-day sale of mares gives buyers one of the first opportunities to pick up mares carrying to first-crop sires, such as Coolmore's new recruits Westerner (ten mares) and Vinnie Roe (16), as well as Sunnyhill Stud's Gamut (ten) and the 2000 St Leger winner Millenary, now standing at Knockhouse Stud (five).

Among the mares are daughters of Accordion, Anshan, Glacial Storm, Kris, Old Vic, Phardante, Seymour Hicks, Supreme Leader and Un Desperado, while the list of sires with progeny of racing age and unbroken stock makes equally impressive reading, featuring lots by Accordion, Beneficial, Bob's Return, Flemensfirth, Moscow Society, Old Vic, Presenting, Saddlers' Hall and Supreme Leader.

The sale runs daily from Tuesday to Sunday, November 12, with sessions beginning at 10.30am - noon on Sunday, November 5. There is no sale on Saturday, November 4.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2006
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