Jump Trainer Lands Tattersalls Autumn Sale Topper

Jumping trainer Howard Johnson and his big-spending new owner Graham Wylie showed no sign of slowing up their spending spree at Tattersalls Wednesday when paying 190,000 guineas for the top lot at the Autumn Horses In Training Sale, Juddmonte Farms' Astronomic (GB).

Johnson outbid U.S. trainer Wally Dollase for the 3-year-old by Zafonic, who was Listed place in France earlier this month for trainer Andre Fabre.

"The horses I've got this week, which are not all for Graham, have been bought for hurdling and I think they will be cut – I like to have them castrated to go jumping," said Johnson.

Dollase had more luck with Salcombe (GB) (Elmaamul), a maiden winner for Juddmonte and trainer Barry Hills last year, who heads to California after making 170,000gns.

"I got thinking that I was not going to get a horse," said a relieved Dollase. "The dollar is devalued against the pound this year, I'd guess it's about 20% lower, so it has been much harder. You've got to get lucky as we saw on Saturday when I really thought Ten Most Wanted (in the Breeders' Cup Classic) would win. but he got clobbered on the first turn."

The 40 lots in Juddmonte's draft yielded 1.477 million gns.

With Thursday's sale still to go, last year's record turnover of just over 12 million gns has already been passed.

Yesterday's 4.63 million gns aggregate was up 9% on 2002, the 21,839gns average was up 24% and the 12,250gns median was up 11%.

Thursday's final session begins at 10 a.m.

COMPARATIVE FIGURES

YR/CAT/OFF/SOLD/AGG/AVG/MED

2003/326/243/212/4,630,000/21,839/12,500

2002/367/280/242/4,247,600/17,552/11,000

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