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Satisfactory Start to Sales Year at Goffs

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Wednesday’s session-topping lot 289 | Goffs photo

By Daithi Harvey

KILDARE, Ireland – The second and final session of the Goffs February Sale followed a similar script to the opening day, but it still saw some significant transactions take place. The first 40 or so lots offered in the morning were 2-year-olds, some broken, others not, and while it represents an unusual stage of a flat horse’s lifecycle to be offered–it hovers between yearling sale stage and breeze-up stage–the section still produced one of the more high-profile sales of the whole auction when an unnamed Lawman (Fr) filly sold for €110,000.

While not many were rejoicing over the level of business being conducted, the sale still held its own and taking into account the reduced catalogue proceedings were more or less in line with last year. The aggregate of €3,976,150 was achieved by selling 264 of the 386 offered lots yielding a 68% clearance rate, while both the average of €15,061 and the median of €7,850 showed minor gains on last year.

At the close of business Goffs CEO Henry Beeby said, “Goffs February starts each year as the preferred option for many breeders at this time of year, as it combines the largest selection of weanlings with an eclectic mix of mares and fillies with breeding potential. Yesterday’s weanlings enjoyed a vibrant trade with strong competition for the best from a huge group of pinhookers who did battle for the youngsters they feel will be the most obvious candidates for the first-choice yearling sales later in the year.

Consequently, the knock-on effect is a trade that remains unforgiving for those that did not fall into that category; such is the way the market is operating at present as we clearly saw at all sales and locations through the autumn. Today’s breeding stock and mixed session has performed well with statistics that reflect the first choice nature of the sale and so we have enjoyed top prices in several categories on both days for the sales taking place at this time of year. We have been delighted to welcome a truly international group of buyers from as far afield as Uzbekistan whilst the home team has also been very active.”

He continued, “Of course the catalogue was smaller by over 150 lots when compared to last year, which in turn was 120 less than in 2017, so it was unlikely were going to match the turnover. However, all the other figures show growth so we have started the year with positivity and have much to look forward to in the coming months. For now we extend our thanks to each vendor and every purchaser for their support as we are nothing without them.”

Session-topping lot 298 certainly got every chance to achieve her maximum price in the ring and after a marathon game of bidding tennis between Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan and Tom Biggs of Blandford Bloodstock, it was the former who emerged victorious after a bid of €110,000. The Lawman (Fr) filly was offered by Baroda & Colbinstown to dissolve a partnership and boasts a regal back pedigree, being out of La Divina (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells), a full-sister to champions Islington (Ire) and Greek Dance (Ire). Michael O’Callaghan has built up a quality squad to go to war with this year and he reported, “I’ve bought her to race for an existing client, she is a lovely filly and has a great pedigree. She has been in pre-training with David Myerscough so she has plenty of ground work done.”

O’Callaghan signed for the filly under Moran Stud Farm, a name which also cropped up later on as the buyer of lot 380 Myopic (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}). The winning half-sister to stakes winner Twitch (Ire) (Azamour {Ire}) was offered in foal to Kodiac (GB) and was hammered down for €95,000.

The consigning team of David Cox and David Myerscough offered another attractive proposition in lot 318 Vrai (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), and they were duly rewarded when the 3-year-old filly was snapped up by Mick Flanagan for €75,000. The half-sister to Lilbourne Lad (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) has shown consistent form in both France and England, placing three times and her appeal was heightened by the future prospects of her year younger half-sister by Gleneagles (Ire) who sold for 300,000gns as a yearling last year.

“She is a lovely moving filly with a great pedigree and she will most likely be covered by New Bay (GB),” reported Flanagan afterwards.

The €75,000 mark was also reached when BBA Ireland’s Eamonn Reilly signed for lot 333 Stellar Mass (Ire), the multiple stakes winning 6-year-old entire offered by Jim Bolger’s Glebe House Stables.

Goffs Scandinavia agent Filip Zwicky had his heart set on acquiring one mare in particular in the catalogue and his conviction was rewarded when lot 389, First Spirit (First Defence) was knocked down to him for €80,000. Zwicky, standing alongside a Danish client who had flown in on the day especially to see the mare, was pushed for much of the way by Matt Houldsworth, but when Zwicky countered Houldsworth’s €72,000 bid with an €8,000 rise, it was a tactic that ultimately sealed the deal for Zwicky.

The unraced half-sister to Group 1 winner Announce (GB) (Selkirk) was offered by Grenane House Stud in foal to Zoffany (Ire) and the agent said, “She was the one we wanted and I thought she was the most beautiful mare with the head of a queen.” Zwicky continued, “I have bought her for JC Organisation, who are new to breeding, but who invested in some nice yearlings last year. She will go to York Stud in Denmark and the progeny will be retained to race in Scandinavia to hopefully raise the profile of racing in the region.”

Mares from the draft of the Aga Khan Studs are often most sought after not only for their deep current pedigrees but also for what the pedigrees may unearth in the future. Lot 343 Shareva (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}) is a prime example and she was purchased by Tally-Ho Stud for €62,000, with Tony O’Callaghan getting the better of Hugo Merry for the 4-year-old. Shareva was placed five times for Dermot Weld and, as a daughter of Group 3 winner Shareen (Ire) (Bahri) and a half-sister to two stakes winners in Shamreen (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Shahroze (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), her breeding credentials are obvious. In addition to this, the dam has a 2-year-old filly by Iffraaj (GB) and a yearling filly by Sea The Stars (Ire) coming through the ranks and is currently in foal to Frankel (GB). According to Roger O’Callaghan Shareva will be sent straight to the breeding shed at Tally-Ho with a date with rookie stallion Kessaar (Ire) on the immediate agenda.

Sean Flannery was a key member of the Goffs Bloodstock team until he decided on a major lifestyle change last year and returned to college to study medicine. But he hasn’t turned his back completely on the bloodstock business as he teamed up with his father Gerry Flannery to buy lot 373. Elshabakiya (Ire) (Diktat) was offered by Godolphin in foal to Dark Angel (Ire) and while the Flannerys had to fork out €62,000 to buy the 11-year-old, who was a black type performer in her racing days. Given the stallion will stand this year for €85,000 it seemed to represent good value.

“It’s obviously an attractive cover so she will go back home [to Esker Lodge Stud] and hopefully we will be back here in November with the foal,” reported Sean Flannery. “We haven’t decided who we will cover the mare with this year, but we will discuss it over the next while.” Of his current life as a trainee doctor in the University of Limerick Flannery said, “It’s certainly different, but I’m loving it. It’s my first time back here in Goffs since I started, as I missed the November Sale probably for the first time since I was about 10 years old. I actually have an exam tomorrow, so I’m glad we got this one so I can head off now and do some study.”

Following on from his major purchase of a Sea The Stars (Ire) colt on Tuesday, Avaz Ismoilov was busy again on Wednesday stockpiling bloodstock and he signed for 18 lots in total during the session, the majority of them fillies at the other end of the market compared to Tuesday’s main acquisition. Speaking to the TDN through an interpreter, Ismoilov indicated all the cheaper lots would make their way to Uzbekistan to boost that country’s breeding industry. Ismoilov purchased the former Ballydoyle trained James Cook (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}–Red Evie {Ire}, by intikhab) for 42,000gns in Newmarket last year and the plan is to acquire up to 100 fillies to support that young stallion’s career in Uzbekistan.

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