THE final two days at Goresbridge delivered mixed results, but maintaining the buoyancy of the older horses, the four-year-old session garnered a raft of good returns. At €25,000, these were headed by an imported son of Bon Coeur, whose sale was among the seven five-figure returns by the end of Thursday evening.
This contributed to an improved age group average of €6,730 (€6,472) albeit with a reduced clearance of 72% clearance (80% in 2021). Reflecting on this, Goresbridge’s Mary Frances Donohoe commented: “It was a healthy trade, and good to see the strong demand for the age group continue.”
It was however a rather different story on the final day, where a large selection of three-year-olds never gained quite their momentum. There was certainly value to be had but overall, the quality was mixed and, as is often the case with the age group, buyers were very selective. At the close of play, it was disappointing to see that just 51% had found new homes in comparison to 68% 12 months ago, while the average also slipped to €4,616 (€5,341). That said, it is still early in the season for the age group to really make their mark, and with select sales on the horizon this was probably anticipated.
So, very good in parts and rather disappointing in others, would sum up the final two sessions leading Goresbridge’s Martin Donohoe to comment: “The three-year-old figures are obviously not fantastic, but it’s early in the year, the stock was mixed and importantly we had plenty of buyers.”
As one of the most astute pinhookers in the business, Jason Higgins is no slouch when it comes to sourcing potential sale-toppers, and scored again when his eye-catching gelding (Lot 319) by Bon Coeur out of Sweet Memory (AT Moritz Junior) topped the four-year-olds at €25,000. Imported from Belgium about six months ago, the well-produced gelding was the subject of a lively exchange between a telephone bidder and Andrew Williams of Monmouth-based GHF Equestrian.
At its conclusion the hammer fell in favour of the latter, with Williams elated with his purchase. “I have been wanting a black horse with Sandro Hit in the pedigree for 15 years, so it was meant to be,” he said, revealing that the sire St Moritz Junior is by St Moritz who in turn is by Sandro Hit. “He is just beautiful, and I imagine that we will aim him for the age classes this summer.”
Keith Wilson's Lot 272, a four-year-old gelding by Tullabeg Fusion, fetched €15,000 at Goresbridge when bought online by Caron Nicol \ Sally Parkyn
Among the remainder to shine was Keith Wilson’s big dun gelding (Lot 272) by Tullabeg Fusion, who after another competitive tussle, was knocked down to online bidder Caron Nicol at €15,000. Trading under the name of European Sport Horses, Nicol had gathered up several lots over the three days and as she explained in last week’s report, she was returning to buy in Ireland following an absence of many years. Co Monaghan trader Wilson had sourced the Liam Duffin-bred gelding through the same ring 12 months ago, and in the interim had broken him and slowly produced him through training shows.
Wilson declared himself “happy enough with the price” as were Brian and Meabh Flynn of MBF Sport Horses, who a few lots later sold their smart offering MBF In The Making (Lot 280), by Presidential Ball (by Clinton) for €13,500. Another to be snapped up remotely, he was bought online by Lauren Maguire, wife of jockey Jason.
“Lauren had seen the videos on social media, and contacted us direct,” said Flynn, who sourced the chesnut (out of HHS Bianca by Beach Ball) from his breeders Bravo Hughes Ltd about five months ago. The sale crowned a super week for the Co Waterford pair, which kicked off with Meabh (Bolger) winning two international event classes at Ballindenisk the previous weekend.
Moving into Co Wicklow, breeders and producers Boleybawn Horses and Caitriona Redmond did well when their jointly owned Boleybawn Kartini (Lot 330) by Cartani realised €13,000. Bred with the intention of selling as a four-year-old, this good sort is out of the grade A jumping mare Kahlua du Karl (1.35m) by Ars Vivendi and was knocked down to Scottish event horse producer Kirsty Hogg.
A further two lots changed hands for €11,000 apiece and first up was Firgrove Farm’s Cloughlea Diamond Gem (Lot 300), a filly by Diamond Graaf out of Aruba Gold by Marmite D’Or. Produced largely through the hunting field by her Newmarket on Fergus-based vendor David Frost - who is also whipper-in with the Co Clare Foxhounds, she was described as ‘as machine across the country.’ This was Frost’s first foray into buying and selling, and having sourced this one (bred by Una Quinn) as a two-year-old, he was very happy with his return.
The second of the €11,000 duo was John Flood’s unnamed son of Tolan R (Lot 342) who sold as one of the last lots of Thursday night. Fully warranted, he was bred by Margaret Clarke in Co Armagh, and secured by British buyer Mark Thompson.
John Kearney's Lot 413, a three-year-old filly by Cantosano fetched €10,200 at Goresbridge \ Sally Parkyn
Just two of the age group realised five-figure returns, the first of which was John Kearney’s filly (Lot 413) by Cantosano (dam by Acobat). Sourced in utero, and registered with the Anglo European Stud Book, the filly was beautifully produced by Thomas Quigley, and was snapped up by Monaghan trader Keith Wilson for €10,200. Co Louth-based Kearney has since bred two siblings to this smart lot, both by his own stallion Diamond Roller.
Passing through the ring much later in the day and selling for €10,000 was Frank Casey’s gelding (Lot 469) by the very commercial Pointilliste (dam by Kings Master). Bred by John Irish in Co Kilkenny, and sourced as a two-year-old, this gelding looked every inch an event horse, and was one of three well priced lots secured by Somerset event horse producer Denise Crossman. “Whoever has this horse as a six- or seven-year-old, will have a very, very, good one,” remarked Casey, who as a top scout, is well qualified to pass such a comment.
Based near Bristol, Crossman also accounted for the next two in line, namely Martin O’Meara’s gelding by Lancelot (Lot 388) at €9,500 and also Thomas Quigley’s LWY Cobra (Lot 387) for €8,000. The former, bred by Anthony Cregan, is a sibling to the international event horse Austrian Ice, while the latter by Cobra 18 was bought from breeder Declan Kelly out of the imported dam Dantal by Clarimo.