Established and Younger Names on the Early Season Tattersalls Cheltenham Black-Type Roll Call

After the excellent performances in early November's Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase which saw a one-two for the Tattersalls Jockey Club Sales graduates Gentlemansgame and Bravemansgame, and then the same two positions filled by Gerri Colombe and Envoi Allen in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, the first Grade 1 of the National Hunt season, the older Tattersalls Jockey Club Sales graduates have certainly started the season on a roll.

But some of the younger, and more recently purchased Cheltenham sales horses, have been making names for themselves in black-type races over jumps, too.

On November 16, the mare Galia Des Liteaux, bought for £70,000 by Ryan Mahon at the Cheltenham November Sale in 2021 from Monbeg Stables, picked up a Listed mares' chase at Market Rasen for trainer Dan Skelton, while at the Cheltenham November meeting two horses returned to their 2023 spring sale ring venue to gallop home in triumph up the famous Prestbury Park hill.

The February-bought Brechin Castle gave young Newmarket-based trainer Ben Brookhouse his second Listed bumper winner as a trainer with victory in the meeting's concluding Listed Turners Open NH Flat race, while, on the Friday card, Evan William’s Minella Missile scooted up the inner under Adam Wedge to win the Grade 2 Trustatrader Novice Hurdle for owner Janet Davies on the gelding's second start under Rules.

The five-year-old was bought at last May’s Cheltenham Sale for £37,000 from regular consignor John Nallen’s Minella Racing having won his maiden point-to-point at Stowlin on a second pointing start.

Minella Missile, a son of Beat Hollow, won on hurdles debut for Williams at Chepstow at the end of October before the trainer stepped him up quickly to the graded race challenge at Cheltenham.


Minella Blueway with John Nallen's neighbours James and Thomas Kennedy helping out on sale day

“I would never normally run one back so quickly but he came on a fair bit from that outing at Chepstow,” said Williams. “He has plenty of ability and we have plenty of options for him now – as he has had two quick runs I won’t be in a hurry to get back to the track. I also won’t be stepping up in trip for now as he has shown plenty of pace.”

And that Cheltenham May Sale proved to be something of a love-in for Williams and Nallen as the trainer also signed for Minella Missile’s stablemate and fellow point-to-point winner Minella Blueway (Champs Elysees), also bought on behalf of Davies. The five-year-old put in a promising first-time-out performance when third in a maiden hurdle at Chepstow on November 8, the Racing Post race comment reporting that he was an “eyecatcher”.

“They both came from John and he has an enviable record of selling nice horses,” said Williams. “I like to try and buy a horse at most sales and it was just how the cards fell that day.”

And Williams’ eye for a value sales horse has already stretched a generation – at the last Cheltenham April Sale his daughter and conditional jockey Isabel signed her name for the Belclare point-to-point winner Followango, who was sold by William Murphy’s Ballycurragh Stables for just £8,000. 

In November the five-year-old Ocovango filly made her Rules debut in a bumper at Ffos Las, appropriately ridden by Isabel, and the pair duly won by the extended distance of 19 lengths.

“Isabel did all the background work on the mare and liked her – she gave me a nudge at the sales and was the one that led the way on her,” admitted Williams.