Grand National runners Don Poli and Outlander fetched a combined total of £335,000 as they were sold at auction less than 48 hours ahead of the big race.
The top chasers, who have won six Grade Ones between them, went under the hammer at Goffs Aintree sale after racing on the first day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival yesterday (4 April).
Both were owned by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud and trained by Gordon Elliott and the pair were sold with entries to the 2019 Grand National (6 April, 5.15pm).
Don Poli was the first of the 28 lots on sale, selling for £170,000 to trainer Philip Kirby. This will be the North Yorkshire-based trainer’s sole Grand National runner, following the withdrawal of Blacklion, and was on behalf of Blacklion’s owner Darren Yates.
Don Poli will carry 11st 3lb and top amateur Patrick Mullins has been booked to ride. The 10-year-old, by Poliglote, boasts an impressive CV with Cheltenham Festival wins in the 2014 conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle and the Grade One RSA Chase the following year.
His other Grade One victories came in the 2014 Topaz Novice Chase at Leopardstown and the 2015 Lexus Chase at the same course.
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Outlander was knocked down to JD Moore for £165,000 on behalf of the Gowing’s Eleven syndicate, which operates under the banner of Rebel Racing Ltd. The 11-year-old, who will carry 11st 4lb, will be ridden by James Bowen in the National, taking over from Keith Donoghue, and trained by Richard Spencer.
“Our hopes for the Grand National are simply to have a good day out and some fun and for the horse to come back safe and sound,” Richard said. “If he does do well, it will all be down to Gordon [Elliott’s] magic and nothing to do with me.”
The horse has won 10 of his 35 starts under Rules, including Grade One victories in the 2017 Champion Chase at Down Royal and Leopardstown’s Flogas Novice Chase and Lexus Chase both in 2016.
The top lot at the 2019 Goffs Aintree sale was four-year-old Irish point-to-point winner Papa Tango Charly, who won on his only start between the flags at Liscarroll.
Sold by Colin Bowe’s Milestone Stables, the French-bred gelding, by No Risk At All, set a new record for the sale when he was knocked down to Aiden Kennedy and Jonjo O’Neill for £440,000.
Don’t miss our Grand National preview in the current (4 April) edition of Horse & Hound