International and jumps-orientated interests clashed yesterday on the lightly-raced gelding Ethical Diamond, who lit up the second session of the Tattersalls July Sale in Newmarket when sold for 320,000gns.
Backers would have taken short odds that the horse’s future lay in Australia as the action unfolded in the ring but with a single nod of the head at 320,000gns, it was agent Harold Kirk who ultimately sealed the deal to hand trainer Willie Mullins yet another quality dual-purpose prospect.
Bred and raced by William and Emma Kennedy, Ethical Diamond was placed on each of his first two starts in good maiden company for Michael O’Meara before a deserved maiden success in an extended 1m4f maiden at Limerick late last month.
“He was the one I came for and I can go home now!” he said. “He is going to Willie Mullins for an existing client to be a dual-purpose horse. He will run over hurdles and then head back on the Flat and be a good stayer.
“He is a ‘new’ horse, he has improved every run, he stays well and won very well last time. I knew we’d have big opposition from Australia – they can’t get them all, and Willie likes taking horses to Australia!”
“Hopefully, he will make up into a Cup horse on the Flat – take us one day to Royal Ascot and one day to Cheltenham!”
He added: “We are trying to build up a string of Melbourne Cup horses as well as jumpers. Even though we had the Royal Ascot winner this year, for a couple of years in Covid we missed buying a dual-purpose type of horse, and there has been a bit of a gap for that sort of horse at Willie’s.”
Two-time winner Maasai Mara is also set for a hurdling campaign following his sale to Keith Bell/Elton Racing for 170,000gns.
John O’Shea will take charge of the Roaring Lion gelding, who won over 1m3f on his handicap debut at Kempton in March before striking in stronger company at Ascot for John and Thady Gosden.
“He’ll go jumping,” said O’Shea. “Keith has been our landlord for 27 years. He enjoys his jumping, and he’s been very patient – he waited 12 months to find something that we really liked and we came here just to look at that horse.
“He ticked a lot of boxes. He gets a decent trip, he goes in soft ground and he’s a nice-looking horse. We won’t run him again on the Flat, we’ll wait now and get him schooled for a jumping campaign.”
Philip Kirby, meanwhile, will take charge of the recent Listed Jebel Ali Racecourse & Stables Dash Stakes runner-up Anthem National, who was sold for 210,000gns to continue his career in the colours of James and Susan Cookson. The Cooksons and Kirby had the misfortune to lose their classy handicapper Farhan in the run-up to Royal Ascot.
“James wanted to replace Farhan with a horse capable of getting to the nice days,” said Kirby. “Hopefully this horse will give them some good days out.
“He was recommended by Joseph [O’Brien], and he looks as though he can run over 5f, 6f and 7f, which gives us plenty of options. He only ran a few weeks ago so we will get him home, give him a couple of weeks break and then get him out again.”
Buyers with an eye on the various winter opportunities available in the Middle East were also busy stocking up, notably leading Qatari owner Abdulatif Hussain Al-Emadi, who successfully bid 150,000gns for this year’s Listed Heron Stakes winner Captain Winters out of Kevin Ryan’s yard through Tattersalls representative Bobby Jackson. His price was also matched by the recent Railway Stakes fourth I Am Invictus, who will join Doug Watson in Dubai after being knocked down to agent Khaled Salami.
The sale continues today from 9.30am.