THE season of sales at Tattersalls Cheltenham, primarily aimed at graduates of the point-to-point scene, ended on Thursday when 26 of the 30 lots on offer at the May Sale changed hands. The outcome fell well short of a year ago, reflecting the difficult season it has been for the sector.

Matt Prior, Tattersalls’ associate director said: “Noticeably, the market has stepped back a level, but, positively, nice horses are being sold.” The average price was down 19% on last year and the median price was back 14%. The sale clearance rate was never likely to match that of 12 months ago when only one lot in the catalogue was unsold.

Cormac, Sean and Donnchadh Doyle of Monbeg Stables sold nine horses at Thursday’s Sale for a total of £564,000. The brothers are among the biggest buyers at the store sales and have produced top-class runners, such as Bravemansgame, Monkfish and Topofthegame. Selling under the Monbeg banner, they were responsible for six of the top 10 lots, but afterwards issued a note of caution that they were unlikely to be spending as strongly at the upcoming store sales.

The day’s trade was headed by the four-year-old debut winner Sober Glory, the son of Mount Nelson fetching £110,000, and he was one of three lots bought by the session’s leading buyer Tom Malone. Out of a half-sister to the Grade 1 Challow Novice Hurdle winner Fingal’s Bay, he was sold by Cormac Doyle on behalf of the Hore’s Mount Eaton Stud, who paid €41,000 for the gelding as a foal at the Tattersalls November Sale.

Impressive winner

Sober Glory was an impressive winner on his career debut, and Doyle said: “We always liked this horse. His work was very good at home and we were very confident going to Bartlemy. We have had a lot of luck with the May Sale and sold Monkfish here.” Malone added: “I have bought him on behalf of Brocade Racing to go to Philip Hobbs [and Johnson White].”

Malone also paid £70,000 for the Donnchadh Doyle-offered Tiptoptim, another by Mount Nelson. “He was very impressive in his point-to-point and [rider] Rob James gave him a good old write-up. He was a seven-length maiden winner, and he has been bought on spec,” said Malone.

Getting about on crutches after a schooling incident seven weeks ago, Donnchadh Doyle sold American Jukebox to trainer Gordon Elliott and Eddie O’Leary for £100,000. A Jukebox Jury half-brother to the Grade 2 winner American Mike, trained by Elliott, the four-year-old gelding finished second on his debut at Stowlin at the beginning of May.

Elliott said: “This is a fine horse, he is not for any owner in particular, and we will get him home first. We have the half-brother and this horse is similar, a bit smaller maybe. As a June foal, he is young horse, not even four yet. We saw him earlier in the spring and liked him then.”

Super pinhooking

Ross Crawford, consigning with his brother trainer Stuart of Newlands Farm, made the pinhooking return of the sale after selling Marlacoo for £85,000. He purchased the gelding for just €1,250 at last year’s Tattersalls Ireland July Sale. The horse, a son of the young Coolmore National Hunt sire Wings Of Eagles, subsequently won a Down Royal bumper and was bought by Highflyer Bloodstock’s Anthony Bromley.

“That is what we are trying to do; buy cheap, produce them well and, hopefully, turn a profit. To be fair, he was very cheap on that day last July!” smiled Crawford. “He was probably a bit small as a store, but he has grown since I have had him. He was also a bit raw, green and backward, and I had a bit of luck then, too.

“He does jump well but, in those four-year-old spring point-to-points, the horses have to be on the money, and he just wasn’t streetwise enough. Even in his bumper he was probably still a bit green.”

Handsome profit

Michael Murphy’s Redbridge Stables turned a handsome profit when selling his €21,000 Derby Sale store Kiwi Rush, a four-year-old son of Mahler, to Ed Bailey and trainer Harry Derham for £85,000. Beaten a head on his debut at Loughanmore, the gelding is out of an unraced half-sister to Mahler’s Grade 2 winner Glen Forsa.

Rob James sent Moon Over America out to win at the first time of asking at Dawstown, also being in the saddle on the day, and the four-year-old son of Sea Moon was the first highlight of the day when he sold to Ian Ferguson for £80,000 for an owner with Nigel Twiston-Davies. The gelding was sourced last year at the Goffs Arkle Sale for €30,000.