The opening session of the six-day Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale 2017 got off to a good start with trade showing improved figures compared with the first session in 2016 - the aggregate of €1,340,000 was an increase of 10 per cent, the average also rose by 7 per cent to €13,673, the median was €9,250 and the clearance rate of 66 per cent was an increase on last year.
The sale of yearlings made up the bulk of the day's offerings, and stock by Martaline dominated proceedings - the top two lots are both by the Haras de Montaigu-based sire and were headed by the Ballyreddin Stud-consigned gelding out of the Fantastic Light mare Fantastic Cuix (Lot 166).He was bought by the former trainer Henrietta Knight for €75,000, the best price given for a yearling at this sale since 2013.
"I couldn't resist him, he is a magnificent individual and I am very fond of Martaline," said Knight, the first time since 2004 that the three-time Gold Cup-winning trainer has signed for a purchase at Fairyhouse.
"He will most likely race, and will probably start off in Ireland. He is a lovely horse and whatever he does, he will go places."
Underbidder was trainer Ian Ferguson, who spent €44,000 on a Kapgarde gelding named Torngat (Lot 165). He was also part of the strong Ballyreddin draft, and one of five purchases on day one for Ferguson, the day's leading buyer.The second-top priced lot, also by the French sire, was the already-named The Crow (Lot 127). He was bought by pin-hooker Richard Frisby for €46,000.
He is out of My Darling Rose, a Cadoudal own-sister to The Nightingale, winner of five races, including the Pendil Novice Chase (G2) and the Skymass Chase (G2).
"I am delighted to get him," said Frisby of the Charel Park Stud-consigned April-born gelding. "He is a very good-looking horse by a good sire and from a good pedigree. I look forward to bringing him back as a three-year-old."
Looking to the future, Frisby said: "I have a nice Martaline four-year-old called Good Man Jim who won his point to point two weeks' ago and is for sale at Cheltenham on Friday."My Darling Rose's three-year-old by Astrabad was sold at this year's Derby Sale. Already named Snowpiercer, he was bought for €40,000.
Frisby also spent €44,000 on Lot 207. Named Blade Runner, the Great Pretender gelding is out of Cutting Edge, a mare by Kapgarde and winner of a Listed hurdle race at Auteuil
The foal section of the November NH Sale begins tomorrow with selling starting at 10am.