Robin the champ on day four at Tatts Ireland

Lot-889: Robin Des Champs colt fetched €70,000 from Ian Ferguson

Robin the champ on day four at Tatts Ireland
By Aisling Crowe at Fairyhouse 7:58PM 9 NOV 2016

THE WORLD woke up to the shock news that Donald Trump would be the next president of the US on Wednesday morning, but at Fairyhouse on day four of the November National Hunt Sale the mood was buoyed by a cracking day of trade.

The son of Robin Des Champs who was knocked down to Ian Ferguson for €70,000 won the popular vote but down the ballot there were plenty of other big numbers. Five foals made €60,000 or more and a dozen reached at least €40,000.

Fireworks were ignited in the ring when two sons of the Rathbarry and Glenview Stud kingpin Robin Des Champs sold within ten minutes of each other and two rival sets of bidders did battle on both lots.


Ferguson and Norman Williamson, the latter stood with Brendan Bashford, went toe to toe for the colts and in the end Ferguson was the last man standing for the Hillview Stud-consigned colt out of Milogan, a half-sister to Tullymurry Toff and Kilcash Castle, whose dam is a half-sister to Marlborough.

"You only get one chance to buy horses like this because they don't come on the market again," Ferguson explained of his €70,000 purchase. "Robin Des Champs is a proven sire who has done it again and again, the dam comes from a good family and I thought the foal looked a real athlete. He's unlikely to come back here for resale."

Instead he is likely to follow in the footprints of horses such as triple Grade 1 winner Yorkhill, bought at this sale like Wednesday's session-topper for Wilson Dennison by Ferguson, before being aimed at Irish point-to-points.

Yellowford go for gold

Ferguson lost out to Williamson on the other son of Robin Des Champs, giving best at €60,000 for the first foal of the Hurricane Run mare Through The Lens, a half-sister to champion hurdler Binocular.

Williamson was thrilled to land the striking bay, saying: "I thought he was the standout individual here today and he has an excellent pedigree so I was very pleased to get him. Hopefully he will be back in this ring for resale someday."

The sale came amid a flurry of excellent results for Yellowford Farm who were responsible for three big sales with consecutive lots.

First came a son of Presenting out of a half-sister to Blackstairmountain, winner of Grade 1s over hurdles and fences and Japan's Nakayama Grand Chase, who was bought by Ferguson for €34,000.

Paul Motherway barely had time to register his delight at the success of the previous lot when his son of Pour Moi, the only foal by the Derby winner in the entire catalogue, sold for €45,000 to Glenvale Stud.

"It was a shot in the dark sending Nerissa to Pour Moi but I thought he was a convincing Derby winner and that if we got a strong National Hunt horse out of him, there would be a rarity value to him," Motherway said. "The others are by the right sires so that helps. We use stallions such as Robin Des Champs and Presenting because they're so good so it is a kind of insurance policy to use them, they get good sales."

Motherway has changed his approach to selling too and he is now retaining a couple of the farm's best-bred fillies every year.

"We have around 40 foals every year so we have to sell them before the next year's foals are born. However we keep our best fillies and lease them. We now have seven fillies in training and it allows us to control their racing careers and the trainers they go to so it enhances their breeding careers."

Currently Yellowford has a filly with Willie Mullins, another with Alan King, Henry de Bromhead trains two more for them, as do Nicky Richards and Sam Thomas.

Murphy's must-have Martaline

A unique offering set the packed ring ablaze late in the evening, with a bidding war starting over the first foal out of Fleur D'Ainay, a Grade 1-winning chaser in France and a half-sister World Hurdle third Crystal D'Ainay, and by the top-class sire Martaline.

Agent Aiden Murphy and Michael Murphy of Longways Stables went all guns blazing for the beautiful bay and it was the latter who delivered the knockout blow of €65,000.

"He's a lovely colt with a beautiful pedigree and foals by Martaline are on everyone's shopping list this week. We've bought him for a client but he will come back to Longways," Murphy said.

Walker catches some luck

Len Walker came to Fairyhouse to add a foal by Kayf Tara to the seven young horses he owns in partnership but was thwarted at every turn, particularly by Richard Frisby. When Walker saw the Flemensfirth colt out of a half-sister to the brilliant Master Minded, he told Frisby he was going to buy him no matter what.

Walker, who bought Captain Chris as a foal at this sale, leapt into action, immediately bidding €40,000 for the colt consigned by Ballincurrig House Stud, which stunned the auctioneer and crowd for a second, but the ploy eventually paid dividends as Walker purchased the son of Flemensfirth for €60,000.

"I couldn't buy a Kayf Tara to save my life so I decided to shock them because I really wanted this foal. I buy foals and sell them on as three year-olds, Captain Chris was wonderful, as I don't have luck with racehorses. If I sell them on before they race, it's better as other people have luck with them and I can enjoy seeing them race," he explained.

The foal will be returning to Ballincurrig House where Walker keeps all his young horses because any thoroughbreds that come to his farm near Aylesbury are commandeered by his daughters, who are eventer riders.

Walker and his partners will be hoping they can emulate their success at this year's Derby Sale, where they sold another son of Flemensfirth from a classy French family for €155,000.

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