THERE were celebrations all round at Cavan on Thursday night, as the 10th edition of the annual Elite Foal Sale exceeded all expectations.

During a glittering evening, connections saw four foals realise in excess of €20,000, with a top return of €36,000. The result was testament to a significantly strong catalogue, which saw all but two of the 28 foals sold, and led to a heady average of €15,474 (€11,385 in 2021).

“We were always hopeful, but never expected it to be quite so good,” commented a delighted Stuart Clarke. “We knew we had a fantastic catalogue, with great pedigrees and models to match.

“We had over 100 foals at our selection days, and such was the high standard all would have been worthy of a place in an elite sale. It was a difficult job to pick the strongest pages and it’s brilliant to see that Irish breeders have made such massive steps forward.”

Certainly, almost every pedigree was a truly stout one, and none more so than Declan Phelan’s sale-topping filly (Lot 28) by the eternally commercial Cornet Obolensky. Knocked down for €36,000, this sharp filly was out of Tim O’Shea’s good jumping mare Biscaya d’Eversem (by Sheyenne De Baugy) who had competed to 1.60m level with Joan Greene. She had already bred Full Speed D’Eversen (1.35m), while second dam, who also campaigned to 1.60m, has bred Capacity D’Eversem (1.60m) and several blacktyped performers.

Phelan, who is based in Tullogher in south Kilkenny, is predominately involved in the thoroughbred industry, and bought the dam of this foal from O’Shea as a present for his wife Ciara. A keen breeder of sport horses, Ciara remarked: “We didn’t arrive back home until 4.30 this morning, but it was worth it and I’m over the moon. This was always a striking, sharp filly who had something special about her.”

The filly was carried by a recipient mare, who is now carrying another embryo out of the dam by Diamant de Semilly. Ciara also has retained two yearling fillies out of the dam (one by Nabab de Reve and the other by Chacco Blue) to continue the line.

Signing the docket on behalf on successful buyer Tony O’Doherty was sport horse producer DJ O’Sullivan. The Limerick man was, in the words of O’Doherty, ‘his eyes on the ground’ as he explained: “I’m in Australia at the moment, and while you can do so much online, it is important to view in person if you can. This was the one we wanted to buy from the start, although we didn’t expect to be paying quite as much for her.”

A Newcastle West native, O’Doherty currently has about 10 foals to store, and commented further: “We like to keep the quality high and the quantity low. In the short term, we will let her develop, and while we will know more in a few years, we will give her the best start we can.”

Adding to a most successful evening, the Phelans also offered another out of the mare (Lot 10), who by the young sire Rock’N Roll Ter Putt,e was secured by GBBS International for €14,500.

For much of the evening it looked as though Matthew McBreen’s Crosskeys Stables was going to land a sale-topping hat-trick, but in the end the Cavan man settled for second spot and a purse of €31,000 for a smart colt foal (Lot 24) by Aganix Du Seigneur. Out of Jumeirah (Ard VDL Douglas) and sibling to both the 2018 and 2020 sale-toppers, this colt hails from a contemporary and improving family.

“I’m just getting over the shock,” said the Cavan man. “I thought we might top the sale, but to be rubbing up against a foal out of an international mare is not too bad. I would like to give thanks again to Epic Management who manage all the pre-sales marketing for me, and also to Kate Smith who did such a brilliant job for me on the night.” McBreen also disclosed that he has two recipient mares in foal again for next year. The successful buyer was the British-based show jumping owner Zizandi Dickens, who was accompanied by Alex Bishop, the rider of the highly rated half-brother Thomascourt Emirates (1.45m).


As a long time supporter of this sale, Westmeath’s Heather Dean Wright received her best result to date, when the filly Ard Gazelle (Lot 16) by Diamant de Semilly out of Arabella (Argentinus) changed hands at €30,000.

Boasting an exceptional blacktype pedigree, the dam jumped to 1.40m under the vendor’s son Conan and is a sibling to Blue Movie (1.60m), and to Shark (1.60m). Adding even more prestige, the second dam was Nick Skelton’s world cup horse Showtime (1.60m).

“I’m ecstatic – just thrilled,” Dean-Wright said afterwards. “I was thinking around €20,000 so to get €30,000 was fantastic. My son Conan’s friends came over from Germany to try to buy her but in the end she became too expensive for them.”

Heather Dean-Wright's Lot 16, Ard Gazelle, a filly by Diamant de Semilly sold to England for €30,000

\ Cavan EC

Dean-Wright went on to explain how she found the dam. “I heard about her from Philip Scandrett in Wales, and bought her in a barter deal which included the event horse Ard Highlighter. She had been jumped by an amateur, so we decided to compete her first before retiring her to stud.” This foal aside, Dean Wright has had a several offspring from the mare, who was also responsible for an embryo which realised €18,000 at the Flanders Embryo auction held at the RDS last month.

This filly was knocked down to an English Cash customer, while a few lots later, Darragh Kerins and Jordan Coyle accounted for Anna Bobel’s Countdown RF (Lot 22), a colt by Chacoon Blue out of Brillante (Casco). An exceptionally well-bred sibling to the French-ridden Z Ice Cube Z (1.60m), and to Chellasco (1.45m), he looked well bought at €26,000.

Anna Bobel's Lot 22, Countdown RF, a colt foal by Chaccon Blue sold to Darragh Kerins and Jordan Coyle for €26,000 at Cavan Elite Foal Sale \ Cavan EC

This was one of two foals snapped up by the American-based pair. Kerins commented: “The catalogue was a strong one with good mother lines and this was obviously reflected in the prices. The two we bought we had picked out on paper, and they were as nice in the flesh. They will be stored and produced here in Ireland with my brother Richard, and hopefully finish up in America.”

The duo also paid €15,500 for Ciaran Ward’s Carthago Cruise Away (Lot 19), a colt by Mylord Carthargo out of Majestic Cruise (Cruising). The dam has bred the Damien Griffin and Cian Harrison-partnered Tabby (1.60m) as well as the event horse Kincooley Cruising (CCI4*).

Standing out among the remaining notables, the Connolly family continued their good run when their colt CSF Moonshine (Lot 21) by Kannan out of CSF Alis Diamond (Diamond de Semilly) changed hands for €16,500. Frano Derwin signed the docket for this well-bred colt who, carrying an up-to-the-minute pedigree, is out of a sister to the recent RDS Aga Khan cup winning-team horse CSF James Kann Cruz (1.60m) as well as to CSF Vinze (1.50m) and CSF Kancruz (1.45m).

Top returns

Declan Phelan’s unnamed filly foal by Cornet Obolensky (dam by Sheyenne de Baugy) €36,000.

Matthew McBreen’s Crosskeys, colt foal by Aganix du Seigneur Z (dam by Ard VDL Douglas) €31,000.

Heather Dean-Wright’s Ard Gazelle, filly foal by Diamant de Semilly (dam by Argentinus) €30,000.

Anna Bobel’s Countdown RF, colt foal by Chaccon Blue (dam by Casco) €26,000.

Stracomer Stables’ Stracomer Melvin, colt foal by Toulon (dam by Locarno) €19,000

Patrick Connolly’s CSF Moonshine, colt foal by Kannan (dam by Diamant de Semilly) €16,500.