TDN Q&A With Oliver St Lawrence


Oliver St Lawrence | Tattersalls

With the yearling sales now in full swing, TDN quizzes industry figures on past purchases, life during lockdown and their perspective on the sales for the next few weeks. Today, Oliver St Lawrence answers our questions.

TDN: What was your best yearling purchase over the last few years? And your favourite?

OSL: Buying Daahyeh (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}) for £75,000 at the Goffs UK Premier Sale in 2018 has proven fortuitous. She has earned over £330,000 from her six runs to date, winning half of them, including the G2 Rockfel S. and the G3 Albany S. at Royal Ascot. She was second in her other three starts including the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and G1 Moyglare [Stud] S. Her close form with Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) makes the few niggles she's had this year frustrating but she should be back in the next few weeks. She comes from a great Juddmonte family and is a lovely foundation mare for Aislabie Stud.  Unsurprisingly she has become one of my favourites.

TDN: Is there any positive you have taken from how the sales have been conducted this year?

OSL: I think we've all had to adapt how we do our work, from sales companies embracing online bidding to agents sending out more videos of horses at sales. Building and maintaining that vital element of trust between buyer and agent has been emphasised in these Covid times.

TDN: How has your business adapted?

OSL: I'm more on the ground at training stables, studs and sales than my clients, so keeping very good communication with clients has been essential. I've started working from home more which has pros and cons.

TDN: In general what are your thoughts on the 2020 yearling catalogues? And what progeny of new stallions are you most looking forward to?

 OSL: I think the catalogues are of similar quality to previous years, though the distribution between sales houses fluctuates slightly. Having attended Goffs UK Premier and Arqana Select yearling sales I have really liked the Almanzor (Fr), Caravaggio and Ribchester (Ire) yearlings. I've already bought yearlings by the first two and just need to source the right Ribchester at the right price. Profitable (Ire) has had some nice stock of the less pricey stallions.

TDN: Did you develop any new interests or hobbies during lockdown?

OSL: I took to going on long walks with our dogs (one couldn't handle the increase) but was actually pretty busy during the main lockdown as I sell a lot of stallion nominations on behalf of shareholders.

TDN: Who's the most interesting person you know?

TDN: Undoubtedly Sir Mark Prescott, who, aside from being a master trainer, is a fount of knowledge and of long anecdotes that can keep anyone interested and amused for days. His knowledge stretches from art to blood-sports. I have been lucky enough to act as his agent at Keeneland September in recent years and it has been a most entertaining and enlightening few days, not always in ways I'd expected. I have clients with horses in his stables, so I get a telephone call each Sunday which gives me the opportunity to gently wind him up.

TDN: What's one mistake (if any) you made in your career, and what did you learn from it?

OSL: I am rubbish with remembering names and therefore can lack the self-confidence to talk to people I have met. I know what I should have learnt regarding names but instead I normally try and get away without being obvious, and probably failing miserably.

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