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On the road (again)

It’s hard to believe we already have the Arqana August, Donny and Baden-Baden yearlings sales behind us but there are plenty more to come this season and no sooner have I unpacked my suitcase from Germany than I’m packing again for Osarus September.

That’s the nature of the bloodstock world at this time of the year, I guess, and it’s made easier when you get some good results, both from horses we’ve sold and those we’ve bought for clients. As well as currently trying to buy yearlings, we have our pinhooked horses to prepare for the forthcoming October Sale at Tattersalls and Jenny, Rachael, Lise and I have been walking miles and miles of the farm in order to have our youngsters in tiptop condition come sales time.

Many farms these days prefer to use horsewalkers – and we do have a walker and a lunge pit to aid us in our prep – but we still like to do things the traditional way, as walking the yearlings in hand not only helps to get them fit but teaches them plenty about how they will need to behave once they get to the sales ground.

At the recent BBAG sale, held just outside the beautiful town of Baden-Baden, I was delighted to see one of my new clients, Dan Tunmore, get a good result with a pinhook I had bought for him last December in France. The first-crop son of Jukebox Jury (pictured right) was a real looker and was well prepared by Lucie and Gwen of La Motteraye, who handed over to leading German consignor Philipp Stauffenberg to present him at the sale. Bought as a foal for €16,000, it was great to see him sell for €30,000, returning a decent profit for Dan from his first pinhooking venture.

We looked at just about every horse in the sale, including plenty by Jukebox Jury, who looks to be a good middle-distance sire to follow for the future. Emma Berry travelled with me to report on the sale for the TDN and she was naturally interested in a Compton Place half-sister to Ethics Girl, a mare her husband John trained to win seven races and whom they still own as a broodmare. After some discussion, Emma and Dan decided to go into partnership and I was delighted to buy the filly on their behalf. She looks a racey sort and I hope to see her continuing the good run of her family.

Our own recent pinhooks have of course been headed by the mighty Shalaa, who has now won a Group 1 and two Group 2s this season. However, it’s always good to hear news of other horses who have been through our hands so it was great to receive the following link for Exceed Limit’s recent victory in Japan, where, as you can see via this link, she made all to win in impressive fashion. A daughter of Exceed And Excel, we bought her as a foal for 75,000gns and sold her as a yearling to Katsumi Yoshida for 160,000gns.

Her dam Welsh Diva was sold while carrying Exceed Limit but the mare is a product of Kevin Mercer’s successful Usk Valley Stud from whom we bought current two-year-old Able Jack as a foal in 2013. Now in training with Andrew Balding, Able Jack posted an eye-catching performance on his second start last week when fourth in a good Newmarket maiden, and I’m very hopeful he will also soon be joining our list of winners.

On Saturday, we start the long drive south again for the Osarus September Yearling Sale in La Teste du Buch, Bordeaux (pictured left). It’s a sale William and I love and we have been covering for some time but it sounds like its popularity is growing and more British agents and trainers are heading there this year.

For once we won’t be taking William’s red Tonka toy truck as Emma has offered to take her car and she even claims she will be cleaning it before we leave. I’ll believe it when I see it. Instead, we can look forward to William snoring for eight hours in the back but at least the French roads are pretty good and we should be able to find somewhere decent for lunch en route.

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