Thai Billionaire Dominates Goffs London Sale On Eve Of Royal Ascot Meet

Thai billionaire businessman and Leicester City Football Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha proved the center of attention at the fifth Goffs London Sale in London Monday evening in the grounds of Kensington Palace when buying five of the most expensive lots to sell, including five potential Royal Ascot runners to add to his team of eight already earmarked for this week’s meeting.

Srivaddhanaprabha, who attended the sale along with his family, was represented in the bidding by agents Alastair Donald and Ed Sackville.

With 13 lots sold for a total of nearly £4 million ($5.27 million) at the fifth renewal of the boutique sale, sponsored by QIPCO, the most expensive sale came when Sackville paid £720,000 ($950,000) for broodmare Belle Josephine and a Pivotal foal colt at foot.

But with Ascot looming on the horizon, much of the talk at the unique sale was centred around those horses sold on the night and ready to run at the Royal meeting.

Most expensive of those was the Karl Burke-trained Shine So Bright, who will carry Srivaddhanaprabha’s blue-and-white King Power racing colours runs in the Coventry Stakes on the opening day of the meeting after being sold for £375,000.

A winner at Nottingham on his only start earlier this month, Donald said: “I’ve just been speaking with Karl and I know he thinks an awful lot of him – in fact I believe Karl was the underbidder.

“On pedigree, you’d have thought he would be a miler, and hopefully he has a got a good future however he gets on. Fast ground doesn’t seem to be an issue for him either.

“As with all of the five horses we have bought, he will remain with his current trainer for Royal Ascot and then, we will decide what we want to do.”

On behalf of his client, Donald also paid £300,000 for Hampton Court Stakes-bound Main Street, the same for the completely-unexposed French-trained dual winner Junius Brutus and £280,000 for Norfolk Stakes contender Vintage Brut, the winner of the National Stakes at Sandown on his latest start.

Vintage Brut’s former owner Michael O’Brien and wife Deborah who run under the banner of Lovely Bubbly Racing, were among those watching on as the hammer fell.

“It was the idea of Tim Easterby’s son, Will, to come here. He said ‘If he wins the National Stakes, we’ll have to go to Goffs and sell him – here we are and that’s just what we’ve done,” said O’Brien.

“I put a reserve on him and he’s made that, so I’m happy. I’ll be heading to Ascot on Thursday to watch him and I genuinely hope he wins for his new owners. We’ve got a yearling Firebreak filly and an Equiano foal from the same dam to look forward to now.”

Reflecting on his purchases, Donald said: “Two or three of them will go to Royal Ascot with leading chances and they have all got bright futures after Ascot too, so hopefully it’s a better selection of horses for the owner to enjoy.

“Vintage Brut will go to the Norfolk Stakes as second-favourite and for the price he made, you could spend a lot of money on a lot of yearlings and not end up with much, so he made a lot of sense.

“Junius Brutus was very impressive in both of his races in France and although it’s quite hard to assess what he beat and where he fits, he’s a good-looking horse who is bred to go beyond five and he also has form on fast ground which a lot of French horses don’t. Hopefully he can run a nice race.

“Main Street can definitely do a job for us in the future. He’s a nice middle-distance horse with low mileage. The Australians, I think, were underbidders, and hopefully he can have a nice future. He runs in the Hampton Court.”

One horse sold who will not be going to Ascot is Marathon Man, sold to Kiwi bloodstock agent Peter Moroney for £380,000. Reflecting the international nature of the sale, the colt instead heads to Newmarket to join Ed Vaughan, where he will be conditioned to run “off the plane” in a Group One over a mile on the Victoria Derby card at Flemington in November.

“What has impressed me about his two wins in France is that he’s done them off a relatively slow gallop, as can often be the case there,” said Moroney. “I think over a stoutly-run mile, he could be something else.”

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