It’s the racehorse auction like no other. Goffs London Sale offers the chance to buy a horse on the eve of Royal Ascot, and then watch it race in front of The Queen.
Around 24 Thoroughbreds – each of them ready to run at the Royal meeting - will go under the hammer in the grounds of Kensington Palace on Monday in front of 1,200 invited guests from around the world.
In the first four years of the Goffs London Sale, sponsored by QIPCO, over £20 million has changed hands as investors and racing aficionados from all over the globe, including China, Australia, Qatar, Japan and Thailand, have competed there in pursuit their ambition to own a Royal Ascot winner.
The closest to realising that dream to date was Cappella Sansevero, bought for £1.3 million by Qatar Racing in 2014, who finished second in the G2 Coventry Stakes less than 24 hours later. Café Society, bought by Australian racing fans, was third in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot the same year.
Other sale graduates include Australian G1 winner Pornichet, St Leger winner Harbour Law, Irish 1000 Guineas winner Jet Setting, and Saudi G1 winner Smoking Sun, as well as stakes winners such as Realtra, Madam Dancealot and Mirage.
Twelve months ago, the owner of Leicester City Football Club, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, laid out £2 million to purchase no fewer than seven horses during the curtain raiser for the great meeting, and four of them ran the very same week at the Royal meeting.
So, will 2018 be the year when a horse from the Goffs London Sale wins at Royal Ascot?
That’s what Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby, who was part of the team that created the sale, is hoping for. “In horse racing terms, the Goffs London Sale is like being able to buy a Ferrari on the spot, be given the keys and drive it away; that’s not something that can usually be done with a racehorse,” he says.
“This horse sale is one at which, uniquely in the world, you can buy a horse on a Monday and then watch it race the same week in your own name and in your own silks at the most prestigious flat racing meeting of all and in front of Her Majesty.
“It’s not only the excitement of Royal Ascot for which Goffs London Sale sets the scene as the perfect curtain raiser, since its inception in 2014 the event has grown in popularity and has attracted significant new investment into the British and Irish bloodstock industry, and the sale itself has boasted the highest horse-in-training price for each.”
Some of the horses to look out for this year as the bidding begins includes the undefeated 2-year-old Vintage Brut, and Pocket Dynamo, a winner in France last month.
Guests will not only watch the thrilling spectacle of the bidding wars in the grounds of Kensington Palace, they can also enjoy afternoon tea and fine wines from Goffs’ official partners, Selfridges and Château Léoube. Other partners at the glamorous event include JetSmarter, Select Mobile Network and Rosemary Water.
This year sees a change of venue, albeit the same address, on the greenfield Perks Field site adjacent to Kensington Palace while renovations take place at Orangery, where it has previously been held.
- Frankel fever lit up the inaugural London Sale in 2014 as a mare in foal to Frankel sold for £1,150,000
- 2014 sale saw top price of £1,300,000 for Cappella Sansevero, who finished a close second in the Coventry Stakes the following day for Qatar Racing
- Australians buy French Guineas-placed Pornichet (and subsequent G1 winner) for £425,000
- A Gai Waterhouse syndicate buys Café Society for £330,000. Placed later that week at Royal Ascot before placing at G2 and 3 level in Australia.
- Irish filly Majestic Queen makes £825,000
- Japanese owner Yasushi Kubota bids £290,000 for Realtra who goes on to win five Group and listed races in England, Ireland and France
- Just £30,000 secures a 2-year-old Lawman colt in the Breeze-Up section; named Harbour Law he wins the oldest classic, the St Leger, in 2016
- Irish 1000 Guineas winner Jet Setting is Europe’s highest-priced horse in training when making £1,300,000 to China Horse Club
- Middleham Park Racing sell Chester listed winner Virens Army for £700,000
- A mare in foal to Golden Horn is bought by Ballylinch Stud for £360,000
- Chinese newcomers the Hurun Report buy Dainty Dandy for £200,000. Subsequently placed in Ascot’s G3 Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes
- Lockheed heads to Hong Kong after Chris McAnulty’s winning bid of £900,000
- King Power Racing owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha secures seven lots, including the £400,000 Tisbutadream, subsequently winner or placed in five Group and listed starts
- Yulong Warrior is Dubai-bound after selling to Satish Seemar for £360,000. He goes on to win a listed race at Meydan
- Filly Whitefountainfairy, a €3,000 yearling, is sold by Zhang Yuesheng for £300,000 and is subsequently Group-placed at Goodwood
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