Racing: New careers beckon for second-hand bargains

Low mileage, one careful owner. Nice little runner. Suit you very well, sir. Wife doesn't like the colour? I expect we can find you one in chestnut. The patter may not be entirely accurate, but the gist is there. The Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training sale, the largest, most cosmopolitan used-horse mart in the world, is in full swing in Newmarket.

Low mileage, one careful owner. Nice little runner. Suit you very well, sir. Wife doesn't like the colour? I expect we can find you one in chestnut. The patter may not be entirely accurate, but the gist is there. The Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training sale, the largest, most cosmopolitan used-horse mart in the world, is in full swing in Newmarket.

More than a thousand second-hand horses, some names we know well, others sad unknowns, will have been offered before close of business tomorrow. The auction marks the end of some hopes and dreams, the beginning of others. This is the sale at which stables large and small offload horses which are surplus to requirements for various reasons: some are simply no good, some have untapped potential but impatient owners, others are being cashed in at the height of their powers.

Some £12m in a dozen currencies will change hands, for the market is global. Time was when Britain's jump trainers would flock here to buy the big, backward colts who would soon become geldings. But the development of racing in the Middle East and the thriving demand from America, the Far East and Australasia has proved a thorn in the National Hunt side. Those prospecting for a Cheltenham star unearthed two recent Champion Hurdle winners, Alderbrook and Collier Bay, but such nuggets are becoming rarer.

The winter game's great and good were at ringside yesterday, trying to sift fact from fiction. The exploits of the horses are there on the catalogue page, but the trick is reading between the lines. "Above all you want a sound horse," said Philip Hobbs. "You try to find out what you can from the yard but sometimes that is the truth but not the whole truth. You look at the form book but often it comes down to gut feeling."

As haruspex, Hobbs has been more than prescient, with Amlah, Moody Man, Greenback, Village King, Dance In Tune, Runway Romance, Sadler's Realm and Spectrometer among captures. "None of them cost big money," he added, "Greenback, who won us eight juvenile hurdles, was just 8,000gns, and Runway Romance, who was second at Aintree, 12,000gns, and we sold him for eight times that to go jumping in America."

Yesterday Hobbs added two three-year-olds to his team, Barry Hills's Pontefract 10-furlong winner Night Driver at 20,000gns and the maiden Code Sign, a cast-off from Manton, for 22,000gns. Two generations ago the latter's family was producing a horse of the calibre of US Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. "Buying Flat-breds with form tends to give you a quicker result and return," he said. "Perhaps with jump-bred stores you'll ultimately get a longer-lasting chaser more often, but then Village King has won eight times over fences and is still with us."

The cover boys on this year's two-and-a-half-inch thick catalogue are Flat stars. Nuclear Debate made the transfer from the European arena to the States last year at a cost of 180,000gns and subsequently won a Grade Two sprint for Darrell Vienna; and Dandy Nicholls found July Cup and Prix de l'Abbaye winner Continent in the high-domed arena two years ago for 40,000gns. The record price at the fixture came last year, when Godolphin head-hunted Mill Reef Stakes winner Firebreak for 525,000gns.

Watch out for the Nicholls touch next year with 2000 Gimcrack Stakes winner Bannister, bought for a song on Monday, and with sometimes unenthusiastic-looking Chapter House, 57,000gns yesterday. "A Group One winner for 1,700gns," predicted the master of Tall Trees about Bannister, "no problem".

Vienna, from California, has been coming to Tattersalls for 15 years. "From an American standpoint, I think you get more mileage for your dollar," he said. "For sure, a horse who has been running in Europe may not adapt to the different environment and methods. But by buying a horse who has already raced and has shown it is sound, you're reducing the uncertainty. But the market this week is strong. I've usually bought 10 by now, but I've only taken one, Hannibal Lad, so far."

The horsetrading works from all standpoints. Take minor winner Iron Lad. The two-year-old cost 24,000gns last year, has been well placed by his small-scale trainer Noel Quinlan to win £25,000 this year and was sold to race in the States for 62,000gns. "The owners have had fun, and we've made it pay," said Quinlan, "cheques in are better than cheques out." The auctioneers' spiel from the rostrum kept going non-stop for 12 hours yesterday as horse after horse after horse circumnavigated the ring, plodding round incuriously and unknowingly with their fate decided by human whims. Lads and lasses say a sad goodbye to their charges, but that is part of the job, and there are the new yearlings to look forward to.

Yesterday the Irish Cambridgeshire winner Masani made 250,000gns, the second-best price ever at this sale, and is off to Saudi Arabia. He will be running there against Dune (180,000gns); Bakewell Tart (95,000gns) and Choir Master (70,000gns) head for the States and American Gothic (140,000gns) is off to Australia. Xtra (120,000gns) and Lowlander (125,000gns) are to go jumping. And the more improbable destinations are increasing; the maiden Woodman colt Cape Wind (15,000gns) leaves Barry Hills for Kazakhstan.

Strings arrived at this great exchange by air and sea from France, by horsebox from Lambourn and Middleham, and on foot in Indian file through the dark, wet Newmarket streets. Whatever their next job in new yard or unfamiliar land, we wish them well.

BHB hits back on funding

Rancour between racing's governing body, the British Horseracing Board, and the Racecourse Association continued yesterday with the BHB responding to the RCA's complaint to the Office of Fair Trading regarding the decision to raise minimum race values for next year by £18m. The RCA announced on Monday that it had made the complaint as, in deciding to raise the values, the BHB had "ignored the views of the RCA representatives on that board, its own executive and its expert committee, the Race Planning Committee".

Yesterday, the BHB's communications manager, Alan Delmonte, hit back, saying: "In May, the RCA cancelled an agreement which had been voluntarily entered into by all sectors of the industry and which divided the industry's incremental income fairly between racecourses, prize-money and central expenditure."

News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA/BA - Agile

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

PPA Supply Teachers

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prima...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per annum: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prim...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?