Auctioneers Tattersalls are headed for a High Court showdown after accusing a bidder of failing to pay for a horse.

The hammer fell on Owen O’Brien’s successful bid for a horse at Tattersalls December sales, but he has allegedly failed to pay for his purchase, according to a High Court writ.

Now Tattersalls, the historic auction house dating back to 1766, is suing Mr O’Brien, of 3 Warwick Drive, Ealing, for £88,285.50, as well as interest amounting to £43.54, and continuing interest of £43.54 a day.

Tattersalls offers more than 5,000 thoroughbreds for sale at Park Paddocks in Newmarket each year in nine different sales.

Last December, 1,399 lots out of 1,780 forward were sold, fetching a total of more than £56 million guineas, at an average price of £40,674 guineas.

Mr O’Brien bid 73,000 guineas for lot 168 in the yearling section, for a colt by Sadler’s Wells (USA) out of Red Bloom, sent to the sale by Cheveley Park Stud.

But he has failed to pay for the bay colt whose grandsire was Northern Dancer, the writ says.