06th March 2017

A day at the sales with Tom Malone Bloodstock

The day before the Cheltenham National Hunt sales, I arrived at the top stables to be greeted by Tom and Nick had already made a start on the viewing of the horses. Each horse was being presented to a variety of bloodstock agents, each with their own ritual of inspection to find out everything they need to know about that horse before they entered the ring. Each of the horses were being vetted on-site and vet reports made available to potential buyers. From previous inspection of the sales catalogue, watching back their previous races, form studying and breeding, Tom and Nick already have an idea of the horses which they like and pay specific attention to these upon viewing. The four-year-old, Oldtown maiden winner Flemenshill (Lot 20) caught everybody’s attention and was set to be the highest selling lot of the day. I learnt that you can tell a lot about a horse just from the way they stand, and the way they move in both walk and trot. Having not been to the sales before, all of this information was new to me.

On the second day, when the sales took place, the stables were twice as busy with bloodstock agents and their clients, trainers, buyers and anyone with an interest in the sales, having a last look at the horses before they entered the ring. The lads and lasses were queueing to show off their horses to potential buyers, all hoping to leave the sales ring with a smile on their faces to make their hard work worth it.

Tom and Nick took one last run through the catalogue, making sure they knew everything they needed to, which lots they would be bidding on, and who for. Once the sale commenced at 1.30pm, the horses were in and out within a matter of minutes, selling by the flick of a hand or a nod to the auctioneer, but as the sales continued, I couldn’t help but get nervous by the thought of lot 20. As Flemenshill entered the ring, attention turned to Tom on the first bid at £250,000. After a tense few minutes of bidding, the hammer fell at a record breaking £480,000, the highest price ever recorded for a point to pointer.

It was amazing to experience a day in the life of a bloodstock agent, especially on such a head turning day, I learnt a huge amount and would like to thank Tom and Nick for involving me in their busy day and taking the time to teach me about their business.