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Wylie snaps up top chaser.

Free-spending owner Graham Wylie has bought top chaser Valley Henry and the gelding is being switched from the Paul Nicholls yard to that of Howard Johnson in County Durham.

The move comes only days after Wylie failed in a bid to purchase Jair du Cochet after the French-trained star beat Best Mate in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon. Valley Henry finished third in that race.

Valley Henry put up a cracking performance in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup, giving Best Mate a good run for his money before fading into fourth in the closing stages.

Wylie has been on a massive spending spree this year, paying 340,000gns for bumper winner Royal Rosa at the Doncaster Spring Sale and purchasing exciting prospects like Cambridgeshire winner Chivalry, Inglis Drever, Rayshan, Beauchamp Gigi and Inching Closer.

Anthony Bromley, of Highflyer Bloodstock, said: "We tried to buy Jair du Cochet, but when that didn't happen I brokered a deal between Mr Johnson and Paul Barber (Valley Henry's owner).

"It was done over the weekend and it's very exciting to have been involved.

"Valley Henry came out of last season's Gold Cup as the second-best horse in the race even though he finished fourth, and he is only eight."

The deal is for an undisclosed sum, though it is understood to have been an offer that was too good to refuse.

The Pertemps King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day is Valley Henry's first major target for his new owner.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2003
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