World record set as five-year-old sells for £620,000

A five-year-old racehorse who sold for £620,000 has set a world record as the highest-priced National Hunt horse in training sold at auction.

Interconnected, who was sold as part of the Grech & Parkin dispersal at Goffs UK Spring Sale (21 to 23 May) at Doncaster, was knocked down to Darren Yates and joins Philip Kirby’s yard.

“It’s not really a record I enjoy holding, but I’m very happy with the horse,” joked Darren, who also bought Don Poli 48 hours ahead of his 2019 Grand National run.

“For me he has [Cheltenham] Gold Cup written all over him — it’s a long way off, but we will see.”

He added he thought the horse’s run over hurdles was “amazing” and hopes he will “progress massively now”.

Philip said Interconnected is a “proper horse”.

“He is the one we really wanted,” he said. “I didn’t expect him to make that, but we wanted the best we could buy and that’s what we think he is.”

The son of Network, who also sired the great Sprinter Sacre, started his career with the Laceys. After falling on his pointing debut, he swiftly went on to win his second start between the flags at Larkhill in February 2018 by a convincing 20 lengths under jockey Tommie O’Brien.

He was then sold at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival sale for £220,000 — a record price for a British pointer — and joined Nicky Henderson’s yard, from where he finished second on his first and so far only start under Rules, in a hurdle race at Newbury on 1 March.

Stuart Parkin paid tribute to the team at Goffs UK and all those who have worked with the Grech & Parkin horses over the years, until the ownership team made the decision to split this year.

“The horses were presented fantastically and the market was honest. This is one of those fine examples where the young stock went for really good value and I wish the new connections of those the best of luck with them and I’m sure they will be back here with them very soon, probably with a point-to-point win in Ireland under their belt.

“I’ll probably be putting my hand up buying them in a few weeks time thinking ‘that wasn’t good business!’

“Well done to the team [with Interconnected], I think Phil Kirby has a world-class horse and I wish him the best of luck with him.

“This is the end of an era, it’s the end of the Grech & Parkin chapter, subject to the two-year-olds who go to the August sales with Goffs. We now re-group, [my wife] Shelly and I will go and have a look, buy some more horses, reload and go again. On the one hand it is sad because it is the end of a chapter, on the other it is the start of a new beginning.

“Thank you to all the trainers and the teams behind the scenes for putting today on and making sure the horses were presented as well as they were, especially the team at home who have travelled and looked after these horses and who have done all the work back at home with them.”

A total of 13 horses made six-figure sums from the two days of the horses in training/point-to-point sales (22 to 23 May), plus four store horses on the first day (21 May).

Blossoming Forth

Blossoming Forth

More records broken

Another record was also set on the second day of the sale. Four-year-old winning point-to-pointer Blossoming Forth, sold by champion point-to-point trainer Philip Rowley, set the new bar for a mare or filly from a British pointing field sold at auction.

The daughter of Flemensfirth, who won by 11 lengths under 2017/18 men’s point-to-point champion jockey Alex Edwards at her sole start at Eyton on 6 May, went for £130,000 to bloodstock agent Bobby O’Ryan and joins trainer Ruth Jefferson’s yard.

Reflecting on the week, Goffs UK managing director Tony Williams wished all buyers “the very best” with their new purchases.

“Today [Thursday, 23 May] has been an historic day for Goffs UK and it’s wonderful we have been able to achieve our highest price in the company’s history, and the highest ever price for a National Hunt horse at public auction, at the Spring Sale which first launched Doncaster Bloodstock Sales in 1962,” he said.

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“£620,000 for any horse is a big price but to achieve that for a National Hunt horse-in-training is a special result and one we will remember for a long time.

“Yesterday’s [22 May] point-to-point session was a great success and continued what has been a fantastic year for Goffs NH sales.

“We are in debt to our vendors, and in particular Mike Grech and Stuart Parkin, who have supported us with some outstanding horses which has led to the sale grounds being among the busiest they have ever been for the last three days.”