Deep Catalogue Assembled For Orby

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Goffs Orby graduate Ribchester | Scoop Dyga

By Kelsey Riley

The Goffs Orby sale, set for Sept. 26 and 27 in Kildare, is coming off a strong renewal in 2016, with the average of €109,986 (+5%) and median of €67,000 (+6%) even more impressive given the fact that the 2016 sale yielded just one seven-figure yearling compared with four the year before. Those numbers suggest an increased depth of quality of the Orby catalogue, and Goffs Chief Executive Henry Beeby said his team’s mission for this year’s sale was to increase the depth of quality even further.
“We had a very good sale last year, we had more international buyers than we’ve ever had before, and some of the feedback from those international buyers was that they liked what they saw, but some of those U.S. buyers and some Australasians said, ‘there wasn’t enough depth to your elite horses,'” Beeby said. “So the message we took to our vendors, the really top vendors and breeders in Ireland, was, we need more of those elite horses, because we have the buyers. There were times in the past when perhaps the issue for Goffs was we didn’t have enough really top-class buyers and top-class horses, but we now absolutely have the buyers and I genuinely believe that the breeders, after last year’s sale, have listened to what we said and done their research, agreed with us and have sent us a better bunch.”
There are 468 yearlings catalogued for Orby, a number that has stayed relatively steady since 2014. Beeby said the instruction to the Goffs inspection team over the last three years has been to take only horses of a certain quality, rather than trying to fill a catalogue.
“For the Orby sale the last few years we never set out with a number,” he said. “We didn’t say, we want ‘x’ number of horses. My advice and instruction to our inspection team, of which I am one, was, ‘pick the horses purely on merit.’ If we end up with 30 or 40 fewer horses or 30 or 40 more, that’s fine, but I don’t want to bulk up the catalogue or deliberately reduce it. I want to focus on quality. We have this mantra, ‘if it can’t make it, don’t take it.’ If it can’t make last year’s median price, don’t take it. Of course everything isn’t going to otherwise it doubles, but if you can’t envisage that horse in front of you matching up with the other horses there, this isn’t the sale for it.”
That mantra has resulted in a catalogue that Beeby described as “better than ever.”
“There are a number of leading Irish breeders who are definitely, in my opinion, giving us a larger share of their best horses. So whereas in years gone by they gave us their fifth and sixth-best horse, now we’re getting number one or number three or number two,” Beeby said. “I can think of three major Irish vendors that I visit personally where in years gone by, we’d get horses but not their absolute elite. Now we’re getting at least half of their best horses, and some top three or four. I’m really pleased about that. So I believe when the buyers come they’ll see a catalogue that has moved on again and is genuinely one of the premier catalogues in terms of physical and pedigree in Europe.”
“I can think of two or three horses that I’ve seen that are very special horses,” Beeby said. “The Galileo filly of Ballylinch’s early on in the catalogue [lot 35] is a lovely, lovely horse. The Shamardal of Roundhill’s [lot 333] is an absolutely beautiful horse. The Frankel of Marlhill’s [lot 330] is a very, very nice horse. And then you get into the drafts of the likes of Croom House, The Irish National Stud, Camas Park, Yeomanstown-inevitably if you list names you’ll end up missing somebody, but there are some beautiful, beautiful horses-Kilcarn have a very nice draft again and they’ve been there for years. The Castlebridge Consignment have horses from so many different vendors and they’ll have a real good quality bunch, and Baroda and Colbinstown gets better every year.”
Other highlights of the catalogue on paper include lot 25, a filly by Invincible Spirit (Ire) from the family of Order of St George (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}); lot 84, a Lope de Vega (Ire) half-sister to Classic winner Elusive Wave (Ire), whose foals have topped Japan’s JRHA sale the last two years; lot 87, a Dubawi (Ire) half-sister to the multiple Group 2 winner Banimpire (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), who was sold for €2.3-million at Goffs November in 2011; lot 188, a Frankel (GB) half-brother to two stakes horses from the family of multiple Classic winner Divine Proportions; lot 213, an Invincible Spirit colt out of the excellent producer Spirit of Tara (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells), whose ‘TDN Rising Star’ Tocco d’Amore (Ire) (Raven’s Pass) topped this sale at €2-million in 2015; lot 257, an Oasis Dream (GB) filly out of a half-sister to champion Moon Ballad (Ire) (Singspiel {Ire}); lot 362, a Dark Angel (Ire) half-brother to champion Irish mare Chinese White (Ire) (Dalakhani {Ire}); lot 390, a Galileo (Ire) half-sister to Intense Focus (Giant’s Causeway); lot 429, a Camelot (Ire) half-sister to Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire (Ger) (Montjeu {Ire}); lot 449, a Sea The Stars (Ire) half-sister to G1 Cheveley Park S. winner Rosdhu Queen (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), herself a 2.1-million gns broodmare prospect in 2013; and lot 455, a Galileo filly out of a mare that has produced 11 winners from 11 runners including stakes winners Slip Dance (Ire) (Celtic Swing {GB}), Air Chief Marshal (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) and Misu Bond (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}).
“What I’m hoping and believing is that from the start of day one to the end of day two there’s consistency, there’s depth, and there’s real quality. World-class quality,” Beeby said. “We used to talk about Orby being Ireland’s best yearling sale; of course it is. To put it more into context it’s now one of Europe’s leading yearling sales.”
While the breakout sires like Galileo (seven), Dubawi (three), Frankel (three), Invincible Spirit (13) and Sea The Stars (11) are well represented, another significant feature of the catalogue is that there are 27 and 24, respectively, slated to sell by red-hot sales sires Dark Angel and Kodiac.
“Those are good, strong solid horses that appeal to everybody,” said Beeby. “You’ve got your elite sires like the Galileos, Frankels and Dubawis, but to have the Dark Angels and the Kodiacs-that was one of the reasons that Doncaster [the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale in August] was so strong, because the Dark Angels and the Kodiacs are the sort of horses that have come up through the ranks in Doncaster, and the fact they’ve stayed with Doncaster has helped, but having that depth of horse in the Orby sale–and those Dark Angels and Kodiacs are from some of the better mares that have gone to them as well.”
Beeby said the encouraging start to the yearling sale season is helping optimism ahead of Orby.
“Our Doncaster sale was very strong; in fact, it was probably the best yearling sale we’ve had at Doncaster in terms of statistics,” he said. “To put it in context, we broke £50,000 for the average for the first time, and it’s not that long ago I remember the great celebration we had when we broke £10,000 average.”
“I think the market in general for good-looking, attractive horses seems to be relatively strong at the moment,” he said. “The first choice sales look like they’re going to hold up pretty well. That was certainly the case at Doncaster and it looked to be the case in France as well, and [at Keeneland on Monday].”
Goffs has another good marketing tool in its arsenal this year in the form of the four-time Group 1-winning miler Ribchester (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}), who was a €78,000 Goffs November Foal turned €105,000 Orby yearling. Ribchester has won this year’s G1 Lockinge S., G1 Queen Anne S. and G1 Prix de Moulin. When he was beaten a neck in a soggy G1 Sussex S. at Glorious Goodwood, the winner was another Orby graduate: Here Comes When (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}).
“The Orby sale has got a magnificent record going back down through the years of selling Group 1 winners, Classic winners, Royal Ascot winners,” Beeby said. “The flagship horse is Ribchester, but the horse that beat him in the Sussex is also an Orby horse. Again, another demonstration of what’s there.”
“When we say, ‘the world’s best at Goffs,’ we’re saying that because Ribchester specifically can quantify it this year, but I believe again this year’s catalogue stacks up with any catalogue,” Beeby said. “It’s relatively small by comparison to the Keeneland sale and the Tattersalls sale and perhaps some of the others, but it’s all about quality.”

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