The downsizing of Trevor Hemming’s squad of National Hunt horses has continued, as the legendary trainer sold off 56 horses during the September Sales at Doncaster.
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a massive effect on the global economy, and horse racing hasn’t escaped financial damage. Stable staff from yards around the country were forced to be furloughed, while trainers like Tim Vaughan have even decided to close down their operations.
Trevor Hemmings may be a multiple Grand National-winning owner and successful businessman, but he too has felt the pinch during these difficult times. The 85-year-old announced earlier in the summer that he planned to significantly reduce the number of horses in his string, so it was no surprise to see many Trevor Hemmings-owned lots at Doncaster’s September Sales.
Hemmings managed to raise over £1.1m during the sales event, selling off 56 of his best National Hunt horses. Top lot during the session was Stoney Mountain, who was brought by Tom Malone for £140,000 and sent to Jamie Snowden’s stable.
Stoney Mountain won the lucrative Betfair Handicap Hurdle at Haydock for trainer Henry Daly last November. Results tailed off a little thereafter, but Malone still jumped at the chance to add Stoney Mountain to his ranks.
“The form is in the book,” Malone said after the sale went through.
“He’s a Grade 3-winning and Grade 2-placed runner who’s been bought to go novice chasing. He’s the right age for that game as he’s seven rising eight and he’s just a lovely horse to go Saturday racing with.”
Jimmy Moffatt wrote out a £62,000 cheque to purchase 142-rated chaser Burbank. Simon West splashed out a similar sum on Touch Kick, who will have all of the major staying handicap chases on his radar once again this season.
Kerry Lee was delighted to bring five-year-old Ballybegg to her yard. This experienced point-to-pointer only ran once under rules for Warren Greatrex last season, but Lee clearly has high hopes for her new £50,000 recruit.
“He was my pick of the sale. He’s a real quality, well-made gelding, I thought I’d have to go to a lot more to buy him actually.” Lee said.
“I stood there thinking I wasn’t going to have enough! I certainly hope he proves to be good value.”
“He’s not jumped anything under rules yet, but he’s run in his point-to-points and we’ll get him schooled up and then go novice hurdling with him. He’s been bought for an existing client in the yard.”
Trevor Hemmings still has a number of high-quality National Hunt horses on his books, and he will be looking forward to making the annual pilgrimage to Aintree and the Cheltenham Festival in the spring, permitted he’s allowed to leave his home on the Isle of Man.
This situation does go to show, though, that no-one should underestimate the influence Covid-19 has had on the sport of horse racing, and we’re sure to see feel the repercussions of this pandemic well beyond the end of this most turbulent of years.