We’ve known for quite some time that Michael O’Leary had plans to wind down his Gigginstown operation. At the time it came as quite a shock. However, O’Leary decided that as much as he loved racing, he loved his family more and wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.

Joining him in scaling back his horse racing interests is Trevor Hemmings. The super-owner, and three-time Grand National winner, has decided that poor health has forced his hand. Much to his dismay he no longer has the ability to travel as extensively and as such thought it best to reduce the number of racehorses that he owns.

With both reducing their numbers, the racing managers headed to the Doncaster sales this week.

Gigginstown Horses

The biggest name to go under the hammer for Gigginstown was Petit Mouchoir. The grey 9-year-old has been trained by Henry De Bromhead and despite earning over £425K through his career, has been short on the wins. In fact, from 29 starts he has only ever won five races.

He was snapped up by bloodstock agent Mouse O’Ryan for £70,000. He has confirmed that he has been bought for an existing owner at Gordon Elliott’s yard and will now move there.

O’Ryan also bought the Gigginstown trio of Cuneo (£7,000), Or Jaune De Somoza (£24,000) and Fierami (£11,500), with all three moving to Elliott’s yard from Henry De Bromhead’s.

11-year-old Sub Lieutenant was bought by David Phelan on behalf of an unnamed client for £50,000. Also, a Henry De Bromhead trained horse, he was bought with a view to him running in the Grand Sefton at Aintree. From there he will possibly end up in the Grand National next year.

In total, 17 Gigginstown lots sold for £429,200.

Trevor Hemmings Horses

Gigginstown had their fair share of horses at the Doncaster sales. However, an even bigger team of 56 horses went for Trevor Hemmings. At £140,000, his classy hurdler, Stoney Mountain, went to Tom Malone. He was purchased for an owner at Jamie Snowden’s yard and will now be trained there.

Hemmings’ racing manager Michael Meagher was at the sales to oversee the dispersal. He was clearly emotional as one by one, the horses were sold.

He said: “I’ve known most of these horses since they were babies so it’s been a bit strange. But it’s the times we’re living in.

“The horses sold well and there are some lovely horses among them. Hopefully, they’ll go on and prove that for their new owners.

“There are a lot of nice horses there and I think that’s borne out by so many of the trainers buying the horses that were with them back.”

The sale saw Hemmings reduce his horses-in-training numbers by around two-thirds. He still has 25 horses in training so we will see his famous silks at the courses for some time to come.

The Trevor Hemmings horses Hemmings generated receipts totalling £1,136,200. That was 42% of the turnover at the sales.

Final Tally From The Auction

Though horses from Gigginstown and Trevor Hemmings made up a significant amount of the turnover, there were plenty of other horses in the mix. In total 221 of 243 lots sold. For those that are working out the figures, that’s a 91% clearance rate.

£2,731,200 was turned over in sales. The Hemmings dispersal lots contributed 42% and the Gigginstown dispersal receipts accounted for 16%.

So what did we learn? The demand for great racehorses is as high as ever, which is great. And also that Gordon Elliott has a plan for his yard to counterbalance the winding down of Gigginstown. He just seems to be buying them all up!

So will we see any of them at the Grand National in 2021? Sub Lieutenant seems to be heading in that direction. He’s no stranger to the course and was second in the Topham in 2019. But he will be 12-years-old by the time the race rolls around and that’s a big ask for any horse!