RACEHORSE owners Alan and Ann Potts set a record on Thursday when paying £480,000 for Irish point-to-point winner Flemenshill.
The sale took place at the rescheduled Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham January Sale and it is the highest price ever paid at public auction for a point-to-pointer. A winner at Oldtown in Co Meath on February 5th, Flemenshill was trained up to today in Northern Ireland by Colin McKeever for owner Wilson Dennison.
Colin Tizzard is set to train the gelding, who was bred by amateur rider Jane Mangan. Tizzard only began training for the Potts family this season and has enjoyed immediate success, most notably with Finian's Oscar, a £250,000 purchase at the Cheltenham Sale in November and already a Grade 1 winner.
The Potts' silks were also carried to big-race success at Leopardstown last Sunday when the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John won the Irish Gold Cup.
At today's sale bidding opened at £250,000 and a dual commenced between Kieran McManus, representing his father J.P., and agent Tom Malone, standing with trainer Colin Tizzard and his son Joe. When the hammer fell on a final bid of £480,000 the gelding was knocked down to Malone and Tizzard.
Malone, who bought Finian's Oscar for the same connections, said: "We are delighted to have got him. He is a big, raw horse that was extremely impressive on his debut and ticked every box. It was very hard not to like him."
The sale produced a total spend of £2.5 million, up 110% on last year. The average price was £77,636 (+46%) and the median price jumped 25% to £50,000. The clearance rate was 79%.
There was also plenty interest for Paul Cashman's Stowaway gelding On The Blindside. Winner of a Kilfeacle maiden in January, he was bought by Tessa Greatrex of Highflyer Bloodstock for £205,000.
James Doyle, selling under Monbeg Stables, had saddled the Gold Well gelding Bitingthebullet to win the four-year-old maiden at Punchestown. Today he was handsomely rewarded when trainer Evan Williams purchased the debut winner for £170,000.
Warren Ewing's Bernice Stables was responsible for the next top lot, Getareason. He finished second on his debut at a Punchestown point-to-point and was bought today by Harold Kirk and Willie Mullins for £140,000.
The Kirk-Mullins combination struck again when spending £130,000 on Kirkistown maiden winner Sending Love, another from the Warren Ewing yard.
Planet Nine made a big impression when winning his bumper at Thurles last week in the colours of Timmy Hyde. The Flemensfirth gelding was snapped up today by Gerry Hogan Bloodstock for £135,000.
Recent Punchestown bumper winner Oakley Hall was sold for £120,000 to Matt Coleman of Stroud Coleman Bloodstock.
Full details will be carried in The Irish Field this weekend.
RUBY WALSH INTERVIEW AND GORDON ELLIOTT STABLE TOUR IN THE IRISH FIELD THIS WEEKEND