IAN Ferguson started 2018 off with a bang, being responsible for selecting two of the big races winners at Cheltenham as young horses at the sales. Wholestone and Ballyhill were both selected by the Cullybackey-based trainer, the former as a foal and the latter as a yearling. On both occasions they were purchased at a Tattersalls Ireland November Sale.

Simon Munir and Isaac Souede own Wholestone, a seven-year-old son of Craigsteel (Suave Dancer) who was recently put down at Gortnamona Stud. News of his demise saddened me as I had played a role in getting the horse a place at stud back in 2003. Craigsteel was a Group 2 winner and he came close to landing a big one when runner-up in the Grade 1 Turf Classic Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park, racing at the time for Catherine Wills. While he sired plenty of winners, his best performer Wholestone emerged in the latter stages of his stud career.