THE current surge in sport horse figures took a further hike last week when, much to the delight of the vendors, trade at Goresbridge broke records yet again.
Headed by two lots at €30,000 apiece, the two-day renewal turned over just shy of €1.5 million and was significant not only for some notable prices but exceptionally strong averages throughout.
At the close of play, 33 horses returned in excess of €10,000, with trade especially solid in the four-year-old sector; 85% of the age group changed hands at an unprecedented average of €8,900, while the older horses also sold solidly to record €8,359 at 75%.
The three-year-old and the pony prices were not as strong, but demand was steady throughout leading to an overall two-day clearance of 79% together with an average of €7,635.
Reflecting on the sale, Mary Frances Donohoe commented: “Needless to say, we are thrilled to see such buoyancy in the market and vendors being rewarded for their efforts. They have really risen to the challenge of creating videos and images that purchasers find so invaluable – and we really appreciate their input because without them we would not have a sale.
“Every sale, the standard of production has become more and more professional, which in turn gives confidence to our purchasers.”
First up of the two €30,000 sale-toppers was Vincent Meaney’s attractive six-year-old (Lot 143) by KAH Clintender (Clinton x Contender) out of the thoroughbred sired Lanarkshire Lady, by Cut The Mustard. Bred by Tomas Hester, the bay was originally sourced by the vendor as a three-year-old and subsequently produced by Balladeer Sport Horses in Co Cork.
When Meaney had the chance to buy the gelding back this spring, he was only too delighted to do so, and passed the ride to Olive Clarke who did a super job on the day.
An eyecatcher from the get go, the tangle for ownership was a lively one. Several bidders were in contention at the sharp end, but none were as determined as successful buyer Andrew Williams (GHF Equestrian) from Monmouthshire.
A regular, and indeed a significant buyer at the venue, event horse producer Williams had hot-footed it from Badminton where he had been conducting a course walk for the Grass Roots riders the previous evening.
“This was a lovely horse, with a serious jump and good attitude to his work,” he remarked. “A horse of his quality – and with his good X-rays, you would expect to pay that sort of money anywhere, so why not here. It makes my job so much easier to come here and view a large number of horses, and when vendors bring these types of horses with the X-rays, then people like myself will pay good money for them.”
The following day, the same honours fell to the traditionally bred MBF Point and Go (Lot 223), a four-year-old by Pointilliste out of TC Silver Bouncer (Grange Bouncer).
Consigned by the regular sale-topping outfit of Jason Higgins, Meabh and Brian Flynn (MBF Sporthorses Ltd), the Tom Clancy-bred gelding had been sourced from the same venue last autumn. In a smart piece of pinhooking, the chesnut had since been well produced by the trio, with Higgins in the saddle on the day.
“He’s a lovely ride, and while he’s not flashy to watch, you can feel that he has all the gears,” he commented. One who certainly thought so was former British Olympic event rider Mary King who, although was at Badminton supporting her daughter Emily, bid through Carolyn Selley.
It was later revealed that King had travelled over to Ireland the previous week to try the gelding, and liking what she saw, was determined to buy him for herself. It has been a good week for the Slyguff stallion, as just a few days earlier his son Master Point had won the CCI3*L at Ballindenisk, while Emily King’s partner Sam Ecroyd competes the highly rated FMSH Highway.
MBF Point and Go (Lot 223) was sold to British Olympian Mary King for €30,000 in Goresbridge \ Sally Parkyn
Sale-topper aside, the trade for older stock was lively from the start. Demand was strong for all types of stock, but especially those well produced individuals with competition or hunting form.
Sixteen of the age group smashed the €10,000 mark, and among them at €26,000 was Colm Dillon’s gelding Kief Bionic Man (Lot 85) by OBOS Quality out of Promise Me This, by the Hanoverian sire Pik Labionics.
Bred by Nikki Collins and beautifully produced and ridden by Jodie Creighton, the gelding was knocked down to event horse owner Dick Murphy. The Sallins man, who owns the Ian Cassells’ ridden recent Ballindenisk third-placed CCI3*L event horse Kellys Quality, disclosed that this smart sort will also head the way of Cassells.
“He’s a nice type, well-bred and was well presented by nice people,” Murphy said afterwards.
Kief Bionic Man (Lot 85) made €26,000 at Goresbridge \ Sally Parkyn
There was a further glut of high prices during the course of the day, and another to stand out at €16,000 was Michael Brennan’s home-bred MHS Chicago (Lot 39), a big gelding by Vigo d’Arsouilles out of MHS Broadway (Mr Blue).
From the maternal family of MHS Attraction and a host of other top jumpers, this gelding was produced and showcased by Diarmuid Ryan and, after a lengthy exchange, was knocked down to private customer Jessie Sheffield (J.Stancombe).
A former pony buyer at the venue, this was Sheffield’s first foray into horse ownership. “I liked the fact that he was home-bred and looked an easy ride for such a big horse,” she commented.
Co Waterford’s Gemma Phelan was busy throughout the two days, and included among her many rides was Noel Ryan’s Billy (Lot 126), an exceptionally good looking five-year-old by Cruise Ballyvillane.
Winchester producer Julian Mincher signed for this one, who is half-brother to Phelan’s former Lanaken partner Quality Villane. Bought by Ryan as a yearling and given time, he been slowly produced at home by Ryan’s niece Nicole.
MHS Chicago (Lot 39) was sold for €16,000 at Goresbridge \ Sally Parkyn
Carrying an 85% clearance together with an average of €8,900, the four-year-old sector was on fire. Like the older horses, the presentation of stock has improved beyond recognition, and five-figure prices came thick and fast.
Next in line at €17,000 was Cathal Meaney’s home-bred gelding (Lot 242) by Luidam out of Norway Maid, by Coevers Diamond Boy. A half-brother to the Grand Prix and junior European team jumper Norway Venture (1.40m), and to the Boyd Martin-partnered four-star event horse Penhill Celtic, the well-related gelding was ridden on the day by Olive Clarke, and secured online by mid Wales event rider and producer Marcus Reid.
Speaking to The Irish Field, Reid commented: “It was a bit off the cuff! I hadn’t seen any videos and hadn’t even seen him move! That said, I love the breeding, he looked a great stamp in the ring and he’s well-related. I have always loved Luidam, and I’m thinking of side stepping from eventing to show jumping, so have bought this one for myself with that discipline in mind.
“I had a real feeling about him and now it’s up to me to produce him – it will either be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made or the best move.”
Moving down through the returns, Gerard Burke’s well-bred filly (Lot 210) by Vittorio out of Miss Baloubet (Balou du Rouet) gave an exhibition of jumping under Gemma Phelan and was rewarded by a price of €15,000.
Bred by Eamon McArdle from Drumhowan Stud, the filly was secured by Hampshire event owner Julian Mincher, who will produce her further. “She’s a dinger to jump,” enthused Phelan, while her vendor, who bought her as a foal, remarked: “It’s all down to Gemma – and best of luck to Julian.”
MBF Sporthorses Ltd enjoyed a highly successful two days and, sale-topper aside, consigned another thoroughbred-sired four-year-old to realise €14,500. Selling as the first lot on Thursday morning, MBF Hopeful (Lot 156) was an attractive filly by Craigsteel out of Reenasreena Hopeful (Big Sink Hope).
Sourced from the breeder Kathleen Mennis earlier this year, she was snapped up by event producer Georgie Selley.
Just one of the age group realised five figures, and at €10,000, this fell to Declan McGarry’s Carrow Cornet (Lot 262) a home-bred filly by Glynwood Cornet out of Carrow Kannan (Kannan).
From the immediate dam line of the RDS-winning Flame Hill (Clover Hill), she looked well bought by Fermoy rider Emma Walsh. Stating that she loved her way of going, Walsh revealed that she will probably be aimed down the show jumping route.
Selling for €15,000 and heading the pony session by a distance was Janet Burke’s good-looking Gooseberry Hill Gallahad (Lot 8), a home-bred six-year-old by the Galileo-sired thoroughbred Vita Ventura out of an unregistered dam.
Initially produced by the vendor, and also by her son, the up and coming race jockey Luke Burke-Ott, the gelding was knocked down to Kieran Egan, and later to British-based trader Penny Grimster.
Gooseberry Hill Gallahad (Lot 8) sold for €15,000 at Goresbridge \ Sally Parkyn