Former British point-to-pointer Interconnected, who is the highest-priced jumper sold at public auction, makes his debut for trainer Dan Skelton today.
The seven-year-old son of stallion Network changed hands for £620,000 at Goffs UK’s Doncaster sales complex in May 2019 when the buyer was racehorse owner Darren Yates. At that point Yorkshire trainer Philip Kirby was expected to handle Interconnected’s career, but within a few months Yates had a change of mind and sent the horse to Warwickshire-based Skelton.
More than a year later Interconnected makes his first start for the stable at Huntingdon today when contesting a six-runner novices’ hurdle (12.30) following a wind operation. Skelton’s brother Harry will be in the saddle.
Bred in Buckinghamshire by former point-to-point owner Mike Tuckey, Interconnected was sold as a foal for €37,000 when knocked down to a partnership involving Herefordshire trainer Tom Lacey. After they failed to sell the horse as a store he went into training as a pointer and ran under the name of Lacey’s wife Sophie, making his debut at Thorpe Lodge in January 2018 when a four-year-old.
He was going well until falling in that contest, but three weeks later he was reunited with rider Tommie O’Brien at Larkhill and the partnership made no mistake, scoring easily in a field of 11.
A month later he was sent to Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale where Highflyer Bloodstock bought him for £220,000 on behalf of racehorse owners Mike Grech and Stuart Parkin. They sent him to Nicky Henderson, but it took a year before the horse next reappeared when tackling a novices’ hurdle at Newbury.
In a nine-runner field he performed with great credit when finishing a close second to Emitom, who at that point was unbeaten in five races and who went on to finish second to high-class Champ in a Gr.1 hurdle at Aintree.
With Grech and Parkin opting to dissolve their partnership, Interconnected was duly sent to Doncaster where Yates and his cheque book were waiting. Yates has made no secret of the fact that he made in excess of £500,000 in bets on Frankie Dettori’s Ascot seven-timer in 1996, and used the money to extend his construction business to great effect.
The £620,000 valuation surpassed a record that had been set 14 years earlier when, also at Doncaster, Garde Champetre was knocked down to racehorse owner J P McManus for 530,000gns (approximately £586,000).
After such a high-profile sale it will be good for racing and point-to-pointing if Interconnected runs well today and remains in rude health for many seasons.