Willie John sets new European record at Tattersalls’ February Sale

Willie John, Lot 379, at Tattersall's February Sale.

Willie John, Lot 379, at Tattersall's February Sale. - Credit: Archant

Willie John, a prospect for the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby, has been sold at Tattersalls in Newmarket for 1.9m guineas – the highest price ever paid for a colt in training at any public auction in Europe.

The colt, by Dansili out of dual Group 1 winner Izzi Top, was knocked down to Roger Varian acting on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid on day two of Tattersalls’ February Sale.

The result pushed turnover for the sale into record territory for the fourth year in succession, with the 299 lots sold realising a total of 8,037,150 guineas, up 40% on last year. The average of 26,880 guineas was also a record while the median came in at 7,000 guineas.

Willie John, consigned by William Haggas’ Somerville Lodge stables in Newmarket, was previously sold at the 2016 October Yearling Sale for 325,000 guineas and raced for the China Horse Club and Markus Jooste, winning on his maiden outing at Yarmouth.

Roger Varian, who is based at the Carlburg Stables in Newmarket, said the sheikh had identified the colt as one that he would like, adding “we were very happy to do the steering”.


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“Willie John was an impressive winner of his maiden at Yarmouth and those autumn maidens at the track can be very strong races,” said Mr Varian.

“It is not often you get the chance to buy a horse such as this, it is unusual circumstances, but we look forward to getting him home and getting to know him - he is a very promising horse with a great pedigree.”

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