There has already been plenty of money changing hands in Newmarket over the past couple of weeks after the annual yearling sales took place at Tattersalls in town. The amount of money exchanged is phenomenal as the world's top owners happily pay six-figure prices for some of the bluest blue bloods around. One thing that we can all share with some of the sport's biggest players is 'the dream'. They are spending massive amounts of money to try and fulfill their dreams of winning the biggest races in the world. Whilst our ambitions (and budgets) are a bit more modest, we too head to the sales trying to buy 'the dream'.
This week sees the older horses take their turn to enter the sales ring as the Horses In Training Sale kicks off on Monday for four days. I have been living with my head buried in the catalogue for the past fortnight and my shortlist has been gradually whittled down since then. Competition will be tough as foreign buyers will be benefiting from a weak pound but I will be trying my hardest to get the best value and find more winners.
Luckily I have amassed numerous contacts in many different yards over the years so it is easy enough to find out about horses. Firstly, you want to know if they are sound of limb so you know they can stand more training. Secondly, you ideally want to buy one who could still have some more improvement left to come or one which could be perked up by a change of scenery. Then, finally, it has to sell for the right price!
Candesta was one such bargain I picked up for 4,000gns from Juddmonte a couple of years ago. He notched his third career win at Kempton last Tuesday and has really thrived from his summer holiday. He likes the all-weather so should be winning again this winter.
Hopefully I'll have got everything I wanted on my shopping list by Wednesday as we're off to the races with a couple of runners.
At Nottingham, Duke Of Diamonds steps down to 1m6f after running over a marathon trip at Pontefract last time. He ran well there to finish 4th and he has come out of it in good heart so I hope there is still a bit more improvement to come from him.
Also on Wednesday is Star Of The Stage at Kempton. His last run can be ignored as he fluffed the start so I would expect a much better showing as long as he can ping the gates and get to the front as he likes to.
I was planning on running Dakota City at Doncaster last week but the ground there went pretty tacky and he wouldn't have enjoyed it. He goes well on the all-weather and there's a nice race for him at Kempton on November 1st. He's had a little break so will improve for the run but it's a good place for him to begin his winter campaign.
We're not in action again until Saturday when we have a couple of horses heading up the road to Newmarket.
Best Example made his comeback after 9 months off the track at Kempton last week. Unsurprisingly, he needed the race physically and mentally and I expect him to just need this extra race too. He has some good all-weather form to his name and I expect him to do well this winter.
Also at Newmarket is Our Cilla. She made her debut at the track last week and took it all in her stride, despite finding some well-bred youngsters too good. She needs a bit more education and is one to look out for in the future.
Another entered at the weekend is Hodgkins Trust at Chelmsford. He really struggled going right-handed at Kempton last time so the change in direction should suit him better. He is a new horse to the yard and we are still learning about him.
Secret Strategy is the Kodiac two-year old I bought from Godolphin last month and he is taking his work very well, doing his first easy gallop yesterday. He is very laid back and is a pleasure to train. Hopefully he is only 4-5 weeks off a run now and he is one I'm looking forward to seeing in action. There are just a few shares left in him now, full details are on the OWNERSHIP page.
THREE TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Ross Birkett 71
Jean Allen 68
Annette Hall 67
Jonathan Kinge 66
Liam Doran 63
Gary Wardle 63
Michael Buckley 62
Barbara Walton 57
Maureen Case 57
Anthea Telford 57