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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Connell snaps up GolantillaHeadlines
Tony Martin has been sent Golantilla

Golantilla, a hugely-impressive winner of a bumper at Cork last Saturday, has been bought by leading owner Barry Connell for 375,000 euros.

An easy winner of a point-to-point in December, he was taken to Cheltenham's Brightwells Sale where he failed to reach his reserve price of £190,000. His trainer Sean O'Brien brought him back home determined to show his high opinion of him was not misplaced and it proved a wise move as he hacked up by 13 lengths.

The five-year-old will now join trainer Tony Martin and is expected to be prepared for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March, for which he is a general 12-1 chance.

"He only did what we expected of him and it's great to be vindicated. He didn't sell at Cheltenham and I can understand people not wanting to pay so much for him, but I've always said he's different class to anything we've ever had," said O'Brien.

"A lot of horses look impressive in point-to-points and I can see why they wouldn't take the risk as most don't go on, but this lad can only improve as the trip to the sales took a bit out of him.

"The intention is still to go for the Cheltenham bumper I believe, and he'll take a lot of beating. It would be nice to think we might go over to see him at Cheltenham and I'll be cheering him home as much as anyone."

O'Brien admits it will be difficult to replace what he describe as "the horse of a lifetime".

"It would be a dream for us to have a runner in Cheltenham but we're only a small operation and when that sort of money comes along, you can't turn it down," he said.

"My mother owns him and it's a bit mixed feelings for her. My dad bred him but passed away in October. It's sad to see the horse go but it's a life-changing amount of money. I've got his full-brother and sister at home so I'm hoping they're as good as him.

"I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot more about him. He's the horse of a lifetime."

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