Alan Hill: My secrets to sale ring success *H&H VIP*

  • Although the running of horses slows down at this time of year, it’s still busy because trainers will be studying sales catalogues.

    Sales such as Doncaster offer a variety of racehorses including store horses, Irish pointers, and exposed National Hunt and Flat horses. I’m usually buying for an owner, so I look to buy a horse that has run three or four times (it shows he is trainable), that has some form, and I prefer maidens so that we can progress up the ladder.

    I look for horses aged five and six because, by then, they have usually run, which means they have all their flu jabs, registrations, microchip and passport sorted, and had all its “youngster” issues done and dusted such as teeth out, and curbs and splints will have come and gone.

    By this stage, the horse has learnt how to be trained and how to be in a racing environment.

    At a sale the first thing to do is study conformation. I like an honest head, big ears and wide eyes (my father said it means they have a brain), a good neck and shoulder, and plenty of heart room.

    Front legs are crucial as, in my experience, they cause 90% of training issues. I prefer a short cannon bone, a strong knee and good length of pastern. I then trot them up and check for soundness. You want them to inspire you.

    Buying horses for owners is a challenge, but fun and a great adrenalin rush — especially when you get it right.

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 26 May 2016