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.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all