Our Racing Club has it’s first horse!


Along with Nick McKenna from Cleeve Racing, I enjoyed an excellent day at the Doncaster Sales last Wednesday.

My original shortlist included three horses that had a question mark attached and a main list of five which included a horse that was bound to be out of our range. That horse was Grand Roi who sold to Gordon Elliott for £400,000 and was the most expensive purchase of the day! After Micky Hammond and Gemma Hogg had spent time examining the physicality of the eight horses on our approved shortlist was shortened down to three and Micky was keen to bid for all of them.

Our first attempt was for LOT 315 Archie Brown who was with the Paul Nicholls yard last season. I felt around £22k was as much as I would like to go on behalf of our Racing Club. The horse sold to Rebecca Curtis for £44k which was rather more than the value I attached to this 119 rated hurdler, It will be interesting to see how he does for new connections.

Our second try was for LOT 366 Elysees from the Alan King yard. I felt he offered an excellent opportunity for us both over hurdles and on the flat. Micky stopped bidding at £30k before Elysees was finally sold for £33k.

The last horse on our shortlist was LOT 387 Kayf Adventure from the Philip Hobbs yard. I knew his reserve was going to be £15k and felt that £15-20k was about right for him. Micky’s was the final and successful bid at £20k so we managed to buy our first horse for the new club. The underbidder was the excellent amateur jockey, Irishman Derek O’Conn0r who was bidding on behalf of Donald McCain.

Kayf Adventure is a nine-year-old and my interest in him is partly due to the fact that he will qualify for the Veterans Chase Series from January onwards. We will have more than 20 races to choose from in this series over the two years the club will race him. Last year each race in the series was worth a minimum of £18k to the winner and close to £6k to the runner up. Prize money goes down to the horse finishing in sixth position. The final of the series offers £100k to the winning connections.

Prior to competing as a veteran, we will aim Kayf Adventure at one or two good quality chases in the North. The Bobby Renton Chase in October and the Listed Chase at the Charlie Hall meeting (both at Wetherby) spring to mind. He finished a close third at Ascot in a race worth more than 40k to the winner back in November. I hope he will be very competitive in the north prior to his next birthday. He will be best suited to testing ground so we should enjoy plenty of fun with him over the winter months.

Statistically, ten-year-olds hold a big advantage in veteran chases so we have good reason to believe that Kayf Adventure can earn plenty of prize money for us in the next two years. He stays two and a half miles plus well and should have no trouble staying three miles on good to soft ground. Time will tell whether or not he lasts home over three miles on a testing surface. Either way, there are more than enough viable races for him over the next two years.

Although he will be an 11-year-old when we come to sell him he may still have some resale value if he has proved himself suited to the lucrative Veteran Chase Series. Of course, we do not know if the winner of each race will earn as much as £18k for connections post-Corona. Nonetheless, any reduction in prize money is likely to be felt right across the board so there is little point worrying about that. Whatever prize money cuts we witness next season the fact that club members will not be paying for any training fees means that Kayf Adventure will need to achieve relatively little over the next two years to be viewed as a successful purchase.


Now we have a soft ground winter horse in our team it would be perfect if we can compliment him with one that requires less testing conditions. The next horses in training sales falls in the middle of September and I will be working hard to prepare another shortlist prior to then. Those September sales usually incorporate the Gigginstown dispersal sales so hopefully, this will be the case again in 2020. We hope to find at least two more decent sorts before the doors close for The Cheltenham Trail and Cleeve Racing Club in late September.

Andy Gibson
The Cheltenham Trail