AS the clock moved towards five o’clock yesterday afternoon, an air of expectation was palpable.
Watching the ring from my position above the Tattersalls auditorium, it was interesting to see various parties get into position. Not just potential purchasers, but key sales personnel and many onlookers.
The reason for the heightened interest was a son of Dubawi, the only one of three colts by the sire in the catalogue to make an appearance in the ring. While emerging as the sale-topper, it was not generally anticipated that he would do so in such fashion, realising an incredible 1,800,000gns (more than €2.25 million). It was a result that proved popular with all in Park Paddocks.
The colt was bred by the Swinburn family’s Genesis Green Stud and he is a half-brother to Group 2 winner and multiple Group 1-placed I Can Fly, and the listed winner and group-placed Viscount Barfield.
The previous best price for a progeny of their dam was 260,000gns which was paid for a Dark Angel yearling daughter of the Montjeu mare Madonna Dell’orto last year. This was another stratosphere completely.
Wally and Doreen Swinburn bred and the family raced Madonna Dell’orto and she was placed a few times. She was trained by the couple’s son Walter, one of the finest jockeys ever and eternally associated with the brilliant Shergar. Genesis Green Stud is run by Walter’s brother Michael Swinburn.
Madonna Dell’orto may not have won, but she has 10 winning siblings, notably Landseer who progressed from winning the Gimcrack Stakes at two to becoming a classic winner at three. He won the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains-French 2000 Guineas and the Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile, but tragically suffered a fatal injury at the Breeders’ Cup.
Wally Swinburn, a multiple champion jockey in Ireland when he had a long and loyal association with Dermot Weld, was one of the most popular figures in Irish racing. A true gentleman, he went on to establish Genesis Green Stud as a boarding stud for small breeders in 1984. Some of the original clients remain such today.
Extended to some 200 acres with the acquisition of another farm in 1997, the stud’s excellent sales record, until last night, included a 400,000gns foal sale of a son of Sadler’s Wells.
Their best price for a yearling has been 680,000gns for a Shamardal.
Last night represents a career high, one that is fully deserved. The fact that it was obtained for a homebred makes it all the more special, and few deserve it more.