Trainers hunt the next 'big thing' at Tattersalls Derby Sales

Gordon Elliott, Ross O'Sullivan and Peter Fahey are their 'Tatts tactics'

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Galvin wins Group 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown last year

It is the time of the year again when Irish trainers are on the hunt for the latest bargain in the Derby Sales, writes Tom Masters

The Tattersalls Derby sale takes place from June 22-23 with every trainer hoping to get their hands on the next Honeysuckle. 

We caught up with three of the Irish trainers who will be present at the sales, looking to source their very own Grade 1 winner at good value. 

Ross O’Sullivan found Call it Magic at the August version of the sale for just €5,000 in 2013 before he ran in the 2018 Irish Grand National, as well as in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. 

O’Sullivan picks out the 12-year-old as one of his biggest success stories from the sales. 

He said: “We’ve had bumper winners from from those sales and the likes of Call It Magic who went on to run in an Irish Grand National. 

“He ended up being 145 rated, he was a young horse that came through these sales and was one of the leading horses. 

And O’Sullivan is aware that it is going to be a very competitive sale, with trainers from all over Ireland looking to land the best of the best. 

“It always is a premier sale, they have the best pedigrees, the best horses and it’s the premier sale of three-year-old National Hunt horses in Ireland,” he added. 

“In our situation you definitely have to look for value, because the competition is so strong to buy these nice horses. 

“There will be plenty of good-looking, tall, fine big horses, but we’ll try and find something that just slips through the sale. 

“When there are so many nice horses at that sale, sometimes one can just slip through and there can be value there, but it takes a lot of work. 

“You need to work the sale hard, you need to be there for a couple of days before hand, work every horse, and just be there on the day and hope that one slips through. 

“We’ve had a bit of luck in the sale before and it definitely won’t be missed by us.” 

Another heading to the sale this week is one of Ireland’s leading National Hunt trainers Gordon Elliott. 

Elliott has several successful horses on his books thanks to the sale, including the likes of Fury Road and 2022 Irish Gold Cup winner Conflated. 

But perhaps his biggest success story to come from the sale is Galvin, who was bought for €34,000 in the 2017 edition of the Tattersalls Derby Sale. 

A multiple Grade 1 winner, Galvin has secured over €200,000 in prize money, winning the 2021 National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. 

This year, Elliott will once again be in search of top-quality horses, and he knows what he is looking for. 

He said: “We’re looking at horses at the moment, it’s a really exciting group and I’m really looking forward to it. 

“Obviously you’re looking at pedigree of these horses and confirmation that the horse is a good mover and we hope that every horse is the same and we see where we go from there. 

“I usually like a horse with a bit of size and a horse that can walk, that’s what we’re looking for more than anything - a horse that’s a good mover, has a good attitude and comes with a bit of size as well to be honest.” 

Peter Fahey is also heading to the sales, having acquired Royal Kahala there in 2018 for €45,000. 

Now a winner at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown, as well as racing in the Stayer’s Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, and Fahey is hoping to find a replica of the seven-year-old. 

He said: “We’re looking forward to it to be honest with you, we don’t have a huge budget, but we go through the lot of them and try to get something we find value in you know. 

“We definitely like a nice horse and a good walker, that’s very important, we have to look for a bit of value then and a horse that’s within our budget. 

“You have to have a nice-looking horse, you definitely need a good quality horse to be competitive, you can take a little hit on small things, but you definitely need a very nice individual, and then you can take a little bit of a hit in the pedigree. 

“We’ve been very lucky, we bought Royal Kahala, and she ended up being a top filly and anything we’ve got from the sales has gone on and won at some level afterwards. 

“As long as you have a nice individual, you have a chance I think.” 


They have the best pedigrees and the best horses - it’s the premier sale of three-year-old National Hunt horses in Ireland.
- Ross O'Sullivan 

This site uses unobtrusive cookies to store information on your computer, to improve performance and monitoring services.Click here for more info