Former international footballer Kevin Doyle netted the biggest coup of his new career as an owner/breeder when he paid €155,000 for a Camelot half-brother to the mighty Altior at the Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale on Tuesday.
Doyle, who runs Slaney River Stud in County Wexford along with his father, saw off stiff competition during a tense second session to land the star attraction in front of a packed auditorium.
It’s the second high-profile signing for the former Republic of Ireland star, who purchased the Grade 1-winning hurdler Augusta Kate for €85,000 at last year's November Sale.
The stunning foal, described by auctioneer Edmond Mahony as “something a bit special,” became the highest-priced National Hunt foal sold at the November Sale since a Presenting filly out of Best Mate's half-sister Sidalcea was purchased by Netherfield Stud for €210,000 from Sunnyhill Stud in 2007.
A delighted Doyle, who has five mares at home, said: “He speaks for himself. All the buyers knew about him and I had a proper look at him earlier today.
“There was nothing not to like about him. He will return for sale in a few years.”
The big-money purchase was bred by Paddy Behan Jnr, whose father, Paddy Behan Snr bred Altior.
Altior set a new record for the most consecutive jumps wins after posting a 19th back-to-back success, and 20th overall, in the Grade 1 Celebration Chase at Sandown in April.
His trainer Nicky Henderson has confirmed that the star of National Hunt racing is on course to clash with the highest-rated horse in training, Cyrname, in the Christy 1965 Chase (2m5f) at Ascot later this month, which will be the first time the dual Queen Mother Champion Chase winner has raced beyond 2m2f.
Altior is a general 5/2 favourite for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.