Surviving The Sales

Surviving the Sales – Horse & Hound
By Paul Thorman

From September until Christmas, many in the bloodstock world abandon their own beds for an unrelenting sales circuit involving the varied delights of Doncaster, Newmarket, Fairyhouse and Co Kildare, with the lucky few squeezing in trips to Deauville, Kentucky or even Germany and Italy. Paul Thorman, who with wife Sara has grown Trickledown Stud in Hampshire into one of Britain’s biggest consignors, selling the likes of Compton Place, Chancellor, Torgau, Imperial Dancer and Move It, talks about life in his business, with 100 horses going through the ring this year.

Describe your year
In November, December, January and February, it’s dark nights, cold, wet and the wife is very grumpy. In March and April, the wife starts to pick up, and from May until October it’s light nights, shorts and T-shirts — and the wife is happy at last.

Best bits
Watching mares and foals, foaling and following horses we have foaled, raised or sold throughout their racing careers.

Worst bit
Telling an owner that their horse has a problem.

Favourite sale
I always enjoy the December at Tattersalls as you’ve seen another year through without either seeing Thorman smile, David Redvers being shy and retiring or Jamie Railton buying a drink.

Least favourite
It has to be the December again, because Ted Voute will tell me how much commission he has earned.

Which horses are you looking forward to?
Selling all of them equally, although the easy, straightforward ones are much the best.

How do you stay sane?
Sanity and sales are not compatible, although I’d recommend the odd vodka along the way.

Favourite restaurant
Any of them where we can get Joe Foley (of Ballyhane Stud) to pay.

Plans for the end of the sales season
I’m going on a diet with Mikey Swinburn and Charlie Mason, and Sara’s hoping something’s sold well enough to finance some winter sun.

By kind permission of the editor, Horse and Hound.