Carl Hester‘s London 2012 ride Uthopia has been sold for £165,000 at public auction. The 15-year-old stallion by Metall was lot 80 in Wilsons Auctions’ unreserved prestige auction at the company’s HQ in Mallusk, Northern Ireland.
The bidding on the stallion was intense. He was the 80th lot and his auction lasted far longer than all those that went before him. Rattling through most lots at one or two a minute, the Uthopia’s sale took 13 minutes.
Early bids were sparse as the room did not appear to be full of horse people. The auction consisted mostly of luxury goods such as cars, cigars, watches, luggage, alcohol and even a plane.
Bidding in the room picked up, and reached £65,000 fairly quickly. As bidding appeared to cool, the price rose in agonisingly slow £1,000 increments.
As the hammer came up at £69,000 a new bidder in the room emerged. There followed a back-and-forth bidding duel between the new bidder, a man seated in the stands, and an anonymous bidder standing at the back, whose bids were conveyed by one of the auction’s tellers.
There was an online bid at £160,000, but the bidder in the back of the room was the ultimate victor, giving the nod at £165,000 and edging out the bidder sitting in the stands.
Uthopia was sold by Tom Keenan (Keenan Corporate Finance) and James Neill (HNH Group) to an as yet unknown buyer. Mr Keenan and Neill had held joint ownership of the horse by virtue of their respective roles as trustee in bankruptcy over two separate bankruptcy estates — Sasha Stewart and her father Derek Harrison.
Prior to the auction, Carl had said that he was hopeful that he had “arranged enough money through owners to keep Uthopia’s future secure”. However, the auction house said that it had received global interest in the sale of the dressage star.