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John Lanni’s bidding arm was busy at the Brightwells’ elite show jumping sale. Buying for himself and Arena UK’s new properietors, Norman Oley and his daughter, Lauren Humphries, John secured five lots, including the highest-priced horse of the evening.

Valentaire O, a three-year-old by Voltaire — the stallion with the most offspring competing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics — out of the Damiro mare Halita, also attracted the attention of Sue Ricketts, who bid against John until he secured the gelding for £17,000.

The Dutch Warmblood will be produced for next year’s style and performance classes by John’s daughter, Sarah Watson, and Lauren Humphries.

“He has a lovely temperament,” said Sarah. “He’s a real ladies’ horse, with a proper jump.”

The connection between Voltaire’s former owner, Dutch vet and breeder Jan Greve, and John Lanni did not stop there. John secured a second lot for Norman and Lauren in Jan’s Warandasj, a two-year-old gelding by Karandasj out of a Frisbee Kerellec mare, for £5,800.

“We’ll start from the beginning before producing him for four-year-old classes in 2007,” said Sarah. “He’ll be a versatile horse who is going to do everything, not just be a show jumper.”

John snapped up another two-year-old, the Karendasj-Mytens gelding Wesko, for his son Matthew at £6,000. But geldings weren’t all John was interested in and the hammer fell in his favour for the Heartbreaker-Voltaire stallion Wady-Lady (£8,000) and the Calvados-Zeolite stallion Villeroy (£6,500).

“We’ve bought the two stallions with a view to starting a stud,” said Matthew Lanni, who is now based near Peterborough. “The value for money of these bloodlines is exceptional.”

Tom Restorick — who is in his last season of pony jumping — gained a new ride through the second highest-priced lot (£13,500), the Westphalian four-year-old Pilot Pur Of Kenia-Libero H gelding Pilot’s Pleasure, courtesy of new West Country owner Minster Tippers.

Former competitor Mark Pearce, of Minster Tippers, said: “Tom rode the horse and it went nicely for him. It also has good breeding. We’ve watched Tom all the way through ponies and we are hoping he’ll do some age classes next season with Pilot’s Pleasure.”

The bidding on the three-year-old Oklund stallion Verdi reached £29,000 but, unfortunately, this was just under the reserve. However, Verdi’s two-year-old full-brother Wessel was sold later in the day for £9,000.

  • This report was first published in Horse & Hound (8 December,’05)

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