The annual Million In Mind dispersal during the Doncaster Summer Sale always proves to be a big draw and it was the case again on Wednesday, when Gordon Elliott and Mouse O’Ryan went to £400,000 for promising hurdler Grand Roi.

Previously in the care of Nicky Henderson, the four-year-old son of Spanish Moon had recorded two wins on the bounce in January and February. Cumulatively, those successes had seen him win by 20 lengths and marked him down as a smart prospect for the future.

Those exploits had not gone unnoticed by the buyers present at the Goffs UK sales complex and while bloodstock agent Tom Malone was an early participant along with an internet bidder, the bidding stepped up a gear when Charlie Swan entered the fray.

A protracted duel ensued between Swan, who was stood next to Sir Anthony McCoy, and Gordon Elliott, who registered his interest around the £200,000 mark. Ultimately, it was the latter who had the final say with a bid of £400,000 to secure the gelding.

O’Ryan, who signed the docket with Elliott, said: “He looks a very good horse, he looks a Graded winner in all but name. You need these horses if you want to compete at the top. You have to pay for those horses though and that’s the type of money they’re making.

“The Million In Mind syndicate have sold loads of good horses before; David Minton and Anthony Bromley are very transparent about the whole thing and couldn’t be more helpful.

“You know you’re going to have to pay big money for them. You have to set a value in your head, and you have to value the client’s money too, you can’t just go rounding figures up, that’d be ridiculous and just an abuse of power really. You’re trying to get the horse as cheaply as you can for the owner.

“He’s for an existing owner who already has a few horses in the yard. I’d imagine he’ll stay over hurdles for the time being as there’s a very good hurdle programme for four-year-olds in Ireland. We’ll see how we get on but hopefully he’s going right to the top.”

Grand Roi was one of six horses offered without reserve in the Million In Mind dispersal and altogether, the six sold for a combined total of £555,500.

Manduro gelding heads August Store session

Also on Wednesday, the Summer Sale featured the August Store session, topped by Elms Stud’s Manduro gelding, snapped up by Mel Smith for £22,000.

Smith said: “He’s for a new client of mine and he’s going to go to Richard Hawker. He’s got some nice horses and is expanding his yard and I’m delighted to have secured this horse for him.

“Of course, with losing Manduro we won’t be seeing very many more of his progeny coming through. The dam was a decent mare too and, of course, he’s got that mixture of Flat and jumping in his pedigree, so hopefully he’ll make a lovely dual-purpose horse.”

Only 56 stores were offered but with 37 sold, the clearance rate stood at 70 per cent and the aggregate posted a figure of £348,000, down 29 per cent on last year’s edition.

The average fell nine per cent to £6,360 while the median increased 62 per cent to £5,000.

Duo head Summer Store Sale

A bumper offering of 192 stores were offered at Doncaster on Tuesday for the Summer Store Sale and while the catalogue was 34 per cent fewer than last year, there were positives for all present to take given the current climate.

In total, 145 stores sold for a clearance rate of 76 per cent and an aggregate of £3,535,000, a figure which was down 25 per cent on last year. The average fell eight per cent to £24,379 while the median suffered a five per cent drop to £20,000.

Topping this part of the auction were geldings by Diamond Boy and Soldier Of Fortune, both of whom made £80,000.

It was Willy Twiston-Davies, under the Twiston-Davies Equine banner, who secured the Diamond Boy gelding while it was Shaun Brookhouse who had the final say for the Soldier Of Fortune gelding, who is out of a Flemensfirth half-sister to the dam of Grade 1 winner Black Op.

Goffs UK Managing Director Tim Kent said: “Selling NH stores at the end of July was not something that we would have predicted when we were inspecting the horses for the sale, and the widely publicised events that have led to this week’s sale schedule have been a challenge for all attendees, but the wait has been worthwhile and we are delighted with today’s [Tuesday] trade.

“Monday’s session was the perfect way to start the store sales season and set the tone, which has returned as vibrant a trade as we could have hoped for at the start of the week.

“We are grateful to all participants for their patience and understanding in the build-up to this sale and we wish all buyers the best of luck with their new purchases. But the real praise is reserved for the vendors, who have worked with us to ensure that this revised schedule has delivered results that are more than acceptable given the delays that everyone had to endure.”

Son of Getaway hits the heights

The three-day Summer Sale began at Doncaster on Monday with an afternoon session that saw stores who had been rerouted from the Goffs Land Rover, Tattersalls Ireland Derby and May Sales.

It was a son of Getaway who topped proceedings when bought by Michael Moore of Ballincurrig House Stud for £175,000.

Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby said: “Today was about more than just holding a sale, it was about trying to help in a very difficult situation.

“When things went wrong for our competitor’s sale, I chatted to [Tattersalls Chairman] Edmond Mahony and said we should try and work together to help, that’s why there was joint marketing and an acknowledgement that some of the lots were Tattersalls Ireland’s horses.”