THE store sales season got off to a solid opening at Tattersalls Ireland on Tuesday with the company’s May Store Sale, back in its traditional slot for the first time in three years, returning a very respectable level of trade.

The one-day auction was unable to match the returns from last year’s edition which actually took place in August. However, there is perspective required on this point as the 2021 sale was dramatically bolstered by a notable supplementary catalogue which was responsible for eight of the 12 highest priced lots including the top two prices of €115,000 and €72,000.

This week’s top lot was a more modest €50,000 and the number of transactions to take place at €40,000 and beyond dropped from 12 in 2021 to seven this time around. Thus, when such factors are taken into account, the final figures represent a solid set of results.

Second highest

The turnover for the day came in at just over €2.7 million which was five points down on last year but was still the second highest since this sale first took place. The average of €16,390 represented a drop of 6% and the €13,000 median decreased by 13 points, but the clearance rate of 80% represented a notable positive from the day’s trade.

In all this represented a steady opening to this year’s round of store sales and one can realistically look to the higher profile auctions in the coming weeks with a sense of optimism.

“Today saw the first store sale take place on its original dates for the first time in two years and the trade has been very strong,” commented Tattersalls Ireland CEO Simon Kerins.

“Most noteworthy was the record clearance rate which increased to 80% and turnover that surpassed the 2018 and 2019 May Store Sale sessions. We extend our thanks to our vendors for providing us with quality horses as well as every purchaser who engaged as they sought to find their next star.

“We welcomed a large contingent of Irish and British clients to the newly refurbished sales complex at Fairyhouse as well as many first time visitors who certainly contributed to today’s trade. Point-to-point handlers relish the early timing of the May Store Sale and were out in force securing their stock to go to war with next season.

“Albeit a relatively new sale in the calendar, a high percentage of lots sold to the UK further endorsed the sale’s growing reputation both in the ring and on the track which has been highlighted by recent Grade 2 Aintree bumper winner Lookaway

“We now look forward to the market-leading Derby Sale which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, June 22nd and 23rd. The team are very much looking forward to welcoming back all of our clients and offering the cream of the store sale crop.”

Point-to-point handlers dominate trade

CENTRE stage at this year’s sale went to a €50,000 three-year-old from the second crop of the Sea The Stars horse Affinisea whose initial runners this spring have yielded four winning point-to-pointers.

This fact wasn’t lost on noted pointing handler Denis Murphy who secured this Elizabeth Davies-owned gelding. Murphy’s purchase is out of an unraced half-sister to the Grade 2-placed novice hurdler On Fiddlers Green.

Much earlier in the day Murphy also spent €34,000 on a daughter of Flemensfirth out of the dual winner Pietralunga while he partnered with Colin Bowe to give €33,000 for an Arctic Cosmos half-brother to the smart Panda Boy.

Bowe stocks up

Colin Bowe was notably active throughout the day and his spending was headed by a €48,000 son of Workforce. The latter began his stud career in Japan but subsequently relocated to Ireland and his eldest crop in these parts have been making a name for themselves as four-year-olds over the last few months. Bowe’s purchase was offered by Rathyork Stud and is out of an own-sister to the Troytown Chase winner Riverside City.

Another son of Workforce to capture the imagination was a gelding from Raheenduff Stables who cost Harley Dunne €42,000. This grandson of King’s Best comes from a family that goes back to the Irish Grand National winner Freewheelin Dylan.

Boum time

The sale contained just one son of Al Boum Photo’s sire, Buck’s Boum, and this gelding cost Joey Logan €47,000. Sold by the Bleahen family’s Liss House, he is the first produce out of a listed and Grade 3-placed jumper in France. Logan indicated that plans for his purchase are fluid but the gelding could easily go down the point-to-point route.

Former jockey David Mullins forked out €42,000 for a son of Well Chosen out of a winning Flemensfirth mare and he teamed up with point-to-point trainer Matthew Flynn O’Connor when going to €36,000 for Rathturtin Stud’s daughter of Constitution Hill’s sire, Blue Bresil.

Leading filly

The highest priced filly of the session was a €40,000 daughter of Jukebox Jury for whom Colin Bowe and Rob James joined forces. This filly is a half-sister to the classy Ben Dundee who came within touching distance of a big-race success last Christmas when only just denied in the Paddy Power Chase. Also snapped up by the Bowe-James alliance was a €36,000 daughter of Yeats out of a Beneficial mare.

Meanwhile another €40,000 transaction was supplied by a son of Affinisea who was knocked down to Declan and Darren Byrne.

A Mahler gelding, who cost Denis O’Regan and his wife Louise €8,000 as a foal, showed a good return on that outlay when selling to Brendan Bashford for €36,000.

Dingo Dollar brother

One of the higher profile lots destined to head across the Irish Sea is a Golden Lariat own-brother to last year’s Scottish National runner-up Dingo Dollar. He was snapped up by the latter’s trainer Sandy Thompson for €35,000.