RACEHORSE trainers may be used to a photo finish but a battle between two famous breeders went right to the wire on May 17 when Graham Budd (17.5% buyer’s premium) in association with Sotheby’s Olympia offered a selection of chattels from Ascot Racecourse.
The competition focused upon the wrought and cast iron
entranceway to the winners' enclosure, which had been removed as
part of the redevelopment of the racecourse. The old stands are
being demolished and those items stripped out that are not being
rehoused were put up for auction.
The entranceway comprised a pair of central gates with uprights,
spear finials and rising centre section with scrolling brackets
enclosing the royal cipher ER. There was some speculation as to
whether the ER stood for Edward VII or Elizabeth II, since it was
unclear whether they dated from the Edwardian or post-War
Estimated at £20,000-30,000, there were a number of bidders who
dropped out at the top end of this range and it was then the two
racehorse owners that carried the bidding up and up.
They finally sold to Newmarket-based owner and trainer Bill
Gredley who had to go to £280,000 to secure them. He will
apparently have the gates gracing the outside of his equine centre
near Stansted. The underbidder was J.P. McManus, the Irish
racehorse owner and business partner of John Magnier, whose
investment vehicle Cubic Expression had just netted a cool £70m
from selling its shares in Manchester United to Malcolm
The price was a record for a piece of sporting memorabilia, but
one that lasted only 48 hours before it was exceeded when
Christie's South Kensington sold the FA cup for £420,000 two days
In all, the 311 lots at the Ascot sale made a total of £395,040.
The profits will be donated to various charities, the majority
going to 'Racing Welfare'.
A sporting round up can be found in this week's London Selection
on pages 19-20.
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