Racing: Sadler's Wells leads the way in tsunami aid

The notion of worrying about which one of a group of horses can run faster than the others was rather put into perspective by the events in South-East Asia on Boxing Day. But racing has done its bit in the fund-raising stakes and no operation was quicker out of the stalls to help those affected by the tsunami than Coolmore Stud, whose 12-day auction of stallion services ended yesterday with more than £1m in the coffers for the Red Cross.

The notion of worrying about which one of a group of horses can run faster than the others was rather put into perspective by the events in South-East Asia on Boxing Day. But racing has done its bit in the fund-raising stakes and no operation was quicker out of the stalls to help those affected by the tsunami than Coolmore Stud, whose 12-day auction of stallion services ended yesterday with more than £1m in the coffers for the Red Cross.

John Magnier's empire stands 50 stallions worldwide - 30 in Ireland, 18 in North America, one in Italy, one in Australia - and donated a nomination to each for this season. With the Kentucky January sales in full swing, bids from some of the game's leading players were still coming as the final deadline approached late last night. "People are hanging on until the last minute," said the Coolmore spokesman, Richard Henry, "and we reckon the total will be something like $2m [£1.7m]. The generosity shown has been staggering, especially as many of the individuals concerned had already made private donations as well. We simply did not expect anything like it."

Although Coolmore is oft-criticised for its policy of large, seemingly unlimited, books for many of its stallions, without exception the bids were either equal to or more than the advertised stud fee. But the charity initiative represented a genuinely rare chance for breeders to get to some of the higher-profile horses, whose matings are restricted. The rising star at Coolmore America, Ashford Stud in Kentucky, for instance, is Fusaichi Pegasus, who won the Kentucky Derby five years ago and made an immediate impact with his first-crop juveniles last season. He is advertised at $150,000; the price was $170,000 and rising last night.

But the pick of the limited editions is, of course, Sadler's Wells, who last year won a record 14th sires' championship, beating the 206-year-old tally of 18th century star Highflyer. The son of Northern Dancer, king of Coolmore Ireland in Co Tipperary, is now 24-years-old, his fee is not advertised and the number and quality of his books is, in deference to his venerable age, monitored. At the last count top of the list for a place at his court this spring was Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, whose offer of €250,000 (£175,000) capped the bid of Alec Wildenstein.

Breeding is always a gamble; in this case particularly so. Normal practice demands payment for services if the mare is confirmed still pregnant in October, but the urgency of the current situation means that the winning bidders must fork out next week, on a non-returnable basis. In the event of barrenness, there is the right of return to the same horse for another go next year. But let's be honest, with an old boy like Sadler's Wells, there is no guarantee that he will still be sexually active or even alive this time next year.

Second choice among the Co Tipperary horses was Rock Of Gibraltar, a sensational racehorse but an unproven sire. His first foals were born last year; Sir Robert Ogden, whose bid of €70,000 (£50,000) was 78 per cent over the odds, has made sure he has the chance of one next year.

Much of the fund-raising in the racing community is being co-ordinated under a Racing To Help banner, and will be an ongoing effort. Pat Eddery has pledged £50 per length of the winning margins for every winner his Pat Eddery Racing syndicate has this year, with a minimum of £50 per victory. "It is at times like this," said the former champion jockey, "when racing, great sport that it is, seems slightly irrelevant. We want to make a contribution to a relief effort that is going to need billions in the long term."

* No sooner had the 40 entries for the Cheltenham Gold Cup been announced, than one of them dropped out. The Noel Meade-trained Harbour Pilot, third behind Best Mate and Sir Rembrandt last year, has picked up a minor injury to a foreleg and will not run again this season. But another recent placee is on course for another tilt; Trucker's Tavern, second in 2003 but badly out of form since, came in from the wilderness at Wetherby on Boxing Day and is to continue his rehabilitation at Haydock on Saturday week in the Peter Marsh Chase, a race he won before his Cheltenham effort.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent