HE MAY yet succeed in snapping up Mitchells & Butlers on the cheap, but there were no bargains for racing tycoon John Magnier at the Tattersalls bloodstock auction in Newmarket yesterday.

Forcing Magnier’s hand on Lot 35 was Lawrie Inman, the 30-year-old superstar futures trader, whose bid of 500,000 guineas pushed the Irish billionaire into paying 520,000 guineas for a yearling sired by his own stallion Montjeu.

Aside from Inman and Eddie Stobart CEO Andrew Tinkler however, City names were thin on the ground at the opening day of the yearling sales, where Hong Kong-based professional punter Paul Makin placed the top bid of 800,000 guineas for a relation of Magnier’s Pour Moi, this year’s Investec Derby winner.

“The bloodstock industry has failed to attract City money,” said investment banking consultant Nicky Samengo-Turner, thinking long and hard before producing the tenuous link that the late Amschel Rothschild’s ex-wife Anita is married to the bloodstock agent James Wigan.

“The racing fraternity is bad for people with fragile but large egos,” he continued from his windswept field in the Fens. “Around here, people think a hedge fund is something hunting people collect to help maintain the hedges for jumping.”

HOW are Evercore and Lexicon Partners’ staff getting on since the merger that saw Evercore’s employees move into Lexicon’s home in Paternoster Square?

It’s “business as usual”, says former Lexicon investment banker Marie Brown – but not for long, as Evercore will soon be on the move again, with executives already viewing new office space around the City to accommodate their expansion plans. “Paternoster Square is only a temporary measure,” said Brown. “My money’s on Mayfair.”

Brown was a guest at a dinner hosted by financial PR firm Tulchan, where founder Andrew Grant introduced his new managing partner Neil Duffy, formerly of Interbrand, to City names including Numis corporate broking MD Tim Rowntree and Slaughter and May senior partner Martin Hattrell.

Not to mention one rather jaded M&A banker from Credit Suisse, toughing it out with four children and a mortgage. “There are five more years of pain ahead,” he told The Capitalist gloomily. “Why can’t they just let Greece default?”

WHO DO you invite as guests of honour to an art prize ceremony to reward the creator of a work called Bad Government?

No shortage of options for the event organisers, but in the event the arts-loving Tory peer Lord Palumbo and former cabinet minister Michael Portillo (left) turned up to The Mall Galleries to watch Henrietta Simpson win the £25,000 Threadneedle Prize.

The Visitors’ Choice award of £10,000, presented by culture minister Ed Vaizey, perhaps applied to everyone currently working in the City though – the succinctly titled Drained.

MOVE OVER Alessio Rastani, the City’s latest internet sensation is Daniel Stewart stockbroker Sean Lunn, whose spoof James Bond viral video has been viewed more than 20,000 times on YouTube.

Lunn’s Live and Let Braai clip, a tribute to South African barbecuing starring his friend Andre Vos, the ex-Springbok captain, hit the zeitgeist following rumours the next James Bond film will be shot in Cape Town. Search YouTube for “Live and Let Braai”.