JP McManus will be hoping that he’s landed another major winner in the making after splashing £570,000 on the full brother to Douvan.
Jonbon went under the hammer at the Goffs UK November Sale today after an impressive point-to-point victory on Sunday, and McManus must have been impressed with what he saw after forking out more than half a million on the four-year-old – breaking the auction house record.
There must have been huge celebrations for Paul Holden and Michael Shefflin, who had acquired Jonbon at the Derby Sale last year for €140,000 – roughly £125,000. The horse has been in training at the yard of Holden’s daughter Ellmarie ever since, and his dominant display at Dromahane hinted at the qualities that he may possess.
“It’s great for the yard, Ellmarie puts a lot of effort into it,” Paul Holden said after the sale.
“We took a punt on the horse when we bought him, he was an expensive store. On the day we bought him I suppose he was a cheap expensive horse – we didn’t think we’d get him.”
Reporters quizzed the owner on how far Jonbon would go in the sport, and he replied:
“All the way. He’s got serious ability. Watch this space.”
Those are lofty words befitting a horse that has sold for a record sum for a point-to-pointer in a public sale. The lead auctioneer Henry Beeby actually opened the bidding at £200,000, but it soon became clear that the gavel would be dropped at a considerably higher margin than that.
McManus, phoning in his bids, was locked in battle with the present Anthony Barney, and he just had the purse strings to outbid his rival and surpass the £480,000 paid for Flemenshill – the previous record – which was paid three years ago.
How to Emulate a Legend?
Whenever a sibling of a legendary chaser comes along there is plenty of expectation as to what might follow, and Jonbon really has a tough task achieving anything like his famous brother in National Hunt racing.
Douvan claimed an outstanding eight Group 1 victories in a stellar career, including back-to-back Cheltenham Festival wins in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and the Arkle, and McManus will be hoping that Jonbon shares his big bro’s powerful running gait.
Many young horses with a stellar bloodline have come and gone without much success to their name, and of course point-to-point success is by no means an arbiter for joy over the hurdles and the larger obstacles.
Amazingly it’s a year to the day that Douvan last ran – a winning effort in the Clonmel Oil Chase, and the rumour is that he will return in 2021 for something of a swansong.
Meanwhile, his little brother hasn’t even made his debut under rules yet, and so we still know very little about him. But a judge as shrewd as McManus has moved mountains to land his signature, and that suggests a very bright future indeed is to be expected.