Smart hunter chaser Mr Mercurial was sold for £36,000 at Doncaster yesterday to Northern Area amateur Will Ramsey.
The 10-year-old gelding (pictured above at Doncaster), a winner for Sheila Crow's Shropshire stable at Cheltenham's evening hunters' chase meeting in May, was knocked down to Jeremy McTaggart, a member of the Goffs UK team and acting for Ramsey who is based in Berwickshire. Bloodstock agent Matt Coleman was the underbidder.
McTaggart said: "Mr Mercurial is qualified to run at Cheltenham and Aintree – Will has ridden round there before and wanted to go again. This horse is perfect for that job."
In 2015 Mr Mercurial won the Connolly's RED MILLS Intermediate Series Final at Cheltenham and seemed destined to become a leading hunter chaser, but failed to find the consistency needed to compete at the top on a regular basis. He ran well at Aintree last year, when beaten just over 10 lengths by winner Dineur in the Fox Hunters' Chase, and finally put together a sequence of victories in the season just ended.
Ridden for the first time by Crow's grandson, Henry, the gelding finished third to smart Hazel Hill at Horseheath on his season's debut, then won twice at Ludlow before landing the Cheltenham win. He has an official rating of 124.
Crow, who was joined at Doncaster by owner David Rogers, admitted after the sale: "I feel terrible, but I loved the horse. I'm just very glad he's going to an excellent home.
"He's not only a good horse, he's also a very nice person, and sound. When I went out in the mornings to feed he was always the first to be fed because he would shout at me. This morning, because he was coming to the sales, I fed him at 4.40am, he heard my footsteps, and was soon calling.
"After he ran at Warwick the season before last he spread a shoe in front and it stuck into him. It took a long time to come right, but last season we had a good run with him and he showed what he could do."