In her latest column, North Yorkshire trainer Ann Duffield welcomes some winners from her yard, reflects on the excitement of the premier yearlings sale, and celebrates another coup for the north  

WHILE the flat racing season continues in earnest, the yearling sales have already started with sales in Deauville and the first major UK based yearling sale - the Premier Sale at Goffs Doncaster - showcasing some of the stars of next season.

The sale was a far cry from Goffs Doncaster August Sale held a fortnight ago and which, in essence, is primarily a National Hunt sale.

In the August sale, there was a dearth of flat trainers and agents in complete contrast to the more recent Premier Sale where the sales complex adjacent to the famous Town Moor racecourse was buzzing with excitement. The glorious weather helped and the crowds flocked in.

The yearlings, beautifully presented for sale, set new records with Newcastle-based John Dance declaring himself a serious owner-breeder. Standing with his bloodstock advisor from Salcey Forest stud, who did the bidding, he determinedly went to £220,000 for a well-bred filly by Siyouni.

Dance, whose business Vertem Asset Management also sponsors racing at Newcastle, arrived on the racing scene only two years ago when he signalled the start of his spending spree, which stands at around £1.5m and counting.

Trainers Karl Burke, James Bethell, Rebecca Menzies and Tom Dascombe will be wondering who will take charge of the new highly-priced filly, while Dance told reporters on the day that “all the trainers were quite interested- we might have to have a coin flip later on!''

Team Salcey were responsible for the purchase of six lots, bringing the total spend to just short of half a million. Dance had been a lucky owner for us too since he arrived on the racing scene in 2014. George and I bought him some decent horses and have trained 23 winners for him, either in his own name or in partnership with others, although we never spent such eye-watering sums. The winners we bought cost only a fraction of the overall spend so I am sure the Dance operation have much to look forward to having invested so heavily.

As for team Duffield, we were thrilled to return home with 13 yearlings, all of whom will be uploaded onto our website over the next few days and none of which cost too much either.

As always, we try to look for real value and buy horses owners can have a lot of fun with - without breaking the bank. Some of the yearlings we bought will make ideal syndicate horses too and we might even start our own Sun Hill Racing syndicate.

ON the track, we’ve had some nice successes in the past fortnight or so. Chant again won well, while Scruffy McGuffy won for the second time in a row.

Toboggan’s Fire also scored for the second time this year for Grange Park Racing, who have an open day coming at Sun Hill on September 11 (see for more details).

Heaven Scent, a rare runner over hurdles for us, won on her debut at massive odds of 50/1 at Market Rasen for owners ICM Racing for whom we have trained a string of firsts. Their first two-year-old winner, first three-year-old winner and, thanks to Heaven Scent, their first jumps winner.

Recent Thirsk winner Hilary J appreciated the drop to five furlongs last Saturday when scoring well at Beverley. She is a filly we had high hopes for last year until injury ruled her out of her two-year-old campaign but, thankfully it seems there is more to look forward to from her this year and beyond.

GEORGE has been busy preparing for his ride in the Leger Legends race at Doncaster on September 8th.

He is hoping to raise as much money as possible for charities Jack Berry House and the Injured Jockeys Fund. Anyone who would like to make a donations can go to his Just Giving page and details can also found on our website Any support will be greatly appreciated.

FINALLY, in my last column, I wished the connections of Mecca's Angel good luck ahead of the Nunthorpe Stakes at the York Festival. How fantastic to see the flying grey filly, superbly trained by Michael Dods at Denton, and owned by Darlington businessman David Metcalfe, put up such a scintillating display to win the Group 1 sprint for the second year in a row. Many congratulations to them on another coup for the north.