Founded in 1766 by Richard Tattersall, a former stud groom, Tattersalls is the oldest bloodstock auctioneers in the world. Originally in London, their sales moved to Newmarket in 1965.
In 1986 they acquired the old Fairyhouse Stud which was converted to a new auction complex with the first sale taking place in 1988. Today the auctioneers offer around 8,500 horses each year in 18 sales at Newmarket and Fairyhouse. Tattersalls Ireland is renowned for selling top-class National Hunt horses.
The sale of Yearlings on Monday launched the much anticipated November National Hunt Sale for 2014. A total of 169 lots were sold for almost €2,500,000, with 47 yearlings making €20,000 or more.
Many high-profile bloodstock agents were in attendance, several without doubt under the instructions of wealthy owners and stables. David Minton of Highflyer Bloodstock was particularly busy. He purchased a gelding by Kayf Tara for €50,000, and later said: “I saw the horse at home and was mad about him. He’s been bought for Trevor Hemmings and will go to Trevor’s son Phillip at his Wood Farm Stud.” Minutes later Minton was purchasing a Presenting gelding for €40,000.
The top-priced yearling, a son of Flemensfirth, went for €62,000, and was purchased by John O’Byrne. He was again busy on Tuesday when the foals took centre-stage, purchasing seven lots at a total cost of €226,000. Among those bought was a full brother of the Paul Nicholls trained Simon Squirrel, a horse related to Rock On Ruby.
Aiden Murphy was also on-hand parting with the cash. He has a long and successful association with Philip Hobbs, having supplied the likes of Menorah, Captain Chris and Fingal Bay in recent years. On Monday he bought a son of Midnight Legend for €24,000. Aiden was again busy on Tuesday when he secured a Robin Des Champs colt for €62,000. Afterwards he said: “He’s a lovely foal by a great sire. He will go to England, where he will be kept to race.”
It’s noticeable that Flemensfirth, Robin Des Champs and Beneficial were the sires commanding the highest fees on the opening days.
Tattersalls Ireland graduate God’s Own had advertised the success of these sales a week ago, when landing the Grade 2 Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. He’s likely to head to Sandown in December, possibly for a tilt at the Tingle Creek.
Meanwhile attention next turns to Brightwells Bloodstock on Friday when they host their Cheltenham November sale, for horses in training along with Point to Pointers. The event starts after racing at the course, and will be an interesting insight for any racing fan, into the workings of equine auctions. Holywell was purchased through Brightwells at Cheltenham a few years back. Racehorse owner Roger Brookhouse was active at the sale last November; with Some Buckle one of the most expensive purchases at £180,000, now in training with Tom George.
Such auctions are an enthralling side to National Hunt racing, playing a part in the opening chapters in the career of a racehorse. Over the coming days, future stars of the sport will be bought and sold. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.