Classic Siblings Aid Orby Revival

|

Goffs Orby graduate Mother Earth | Scoop Dyga

By

By now, the story is well known: after six consecutive years of healthy trade punctuated by six-figure averages and seven-figure leading lots, Goffs is on a recovery mission with its Orby Sale after it was dealt a massive blow in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. With a 14-day mandatory quarantine steadfastly in place for any visitors to Ireland throughout last year's sale season, Goffs was forced to make some gut-wrenching decisions about its flagship sale that included relocating it to its Goffs UK headquarters in Doncaster. That disruption added to the general challenges of the pandemic saw the Orby average drop 35% year-on-year to £67,981–the sale's lowest average since 2011– while the aggregate dropped 44.5% to £21,142,000. While eight yearlings passed the half-million mark in 2019, none did so last year, the top price dropping from €3-million to £450,000.

One thing that can seemingly never be taken away from the Irish, however, is their resilience and fighting spirit, and in the interim 12 months Goffs has channeled considerable resources toward restoring Orby's lustre and bringing it back to its former glory when the sale returns to its home at Kildare Paddocks on Sept. 28 and 29.

“It's no secret that last year, for a variety of reasons, wasn't the most successful sale,” admitted Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby. “In fact, it was a disappointing sale and I've spoken at length about that. We've gone back to the drawing board and sat down and had a long, hard look at the sale.”

One of the initiatives to emerge from those discussions is the re-introduction of the revamped Goffs Million, the sale race that had served Orby well in decades past but had been shelved since 2009. Set to be run over seven furlongs at The Curragh the Saturday prior to next year's Orby sale and exclusively for 2021 Orby graduates, the €1-million Goffs Million will be Europe's richest 2-year-old race with prizemoney paid down to tenth place. Should the Goffs Million winner go on to win a Group 1 race in Ireland, Britain, France, America or Australia as a 3-year-old, they will earn an additional €100,000 bonus. Naas Racecourse will likewise stage a €100,000, six-furlong 2-year-old race for graduates of the Goffs Sportsman's Sale, which follows on from the Orby sale on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

“We gathered some customer feedback and reaction and decided we needed something that inspired people,” Beeby said. “One notable breeder said to me when we were discussing the possibility of re-introducing the Million Race, 'if you put on a race worth €1-million, Europe's richest 2-year-old race, people will have to come, because they won't want to miss out.' If they don't buy at the sale, they automatically can't have a runner in Europe's richest 2-year-old race next year.”

The winner of a €1-million juvenile race next year will come from a pool of just 444 horses, before withdrawals.

“It's a relatively small group of horses; most races are open to every horse,” Beeby said. “We're very pleased that it has gone down really well. It's not an entirely new idea; we've put a different spin on it this time, but it did great things for Goffs in the 80s, it did great things for Goffs in the 90s and we're hoping it will do great things for Goffs in what we're hoping will turn out to be the roaring 20s. It's certainly caught the interest, and a number of agents and trainers have said they're certainly coming and they're putting together groups and syndicates, and that's what it's all about.”

Beeby and his team recognize, too, that it is imperative that when those buyers come they see a set of yearlings in front of them worthy of being in Ireland's national yearling sale, and he says he believes that is what Orby will deliver this year.

“We said to our vendors and to ourselves that we really had to focus on looking for the classy racehorse,” Beeby said. “The physical specimen is at the forefront of our minds, and happily a lot of Irish breeders and vendors have backed us with what we believe is an improved draft of horses. Time will tell; I think that's for purchasers to judge, but I think if they come they will see a catalogue of very attractive horses and we hope to build the sale back from last year. Hopefully last year was a blip because the sale had been on an upward trajectory in the previous number of years.”

One front on which the Orby sale has already excelled through 2021 has been its stakes-winning graduates. Mother Earth (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) was bred by Grenane House Stud and purchased by MV Magnier from Whitehall Stud for €150,000 at Orby in 2019, and she has progressed from a Group 3-winning and Group 1-placed juvenile last year to a G1 1000 Guineas and G1 Prix Rothschild scorer this season, and has not missed the board in six starts at three, all in Group 1s. Bought at the same sale for €90,000 was Winter Power (Ire) (Bungleinthejungle {GB}), who provided the Orby a major boost when winning the G1 Nunthorpe S. last month.

Five-year-old mare Romantic Proposal (Ire) (Raven's Pass) has been a rapid improver this season, and she punctuated that upward mobility with a win in this month's G1 Flying Five S. Romantic Proposal was originally a €25,000 Goffs November foal and pinhooked for €55,000 at Orby by Aileen and Amy Lynam.

Raging Bull (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}) was a €90,000 purchase from the Wildenstein Dispersal at the 2016 Orby sale, and he won his third Grade I in America when taking the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland in April. Likewise advertising the sale overseas has been Queen Supreme (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}), who was exported to South Africa and won two Group 1s there, including the Paddock S. in January, before leaving Mike de Kock to join Andrew Balding over the summer. Other 2021 Group 1 winners who went up for sale at Orby but failed to meet their reserves were G1 Matron S. victress No Speak Alexander (Ire) (Shalaa {Ire}), who was led out unsold at €190,000, and G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud scorer Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}), whose bidding stalled at €120,000.

The 2021 Orby catalogue specifically has been a beneficiary of some of these updates, with siblings to some of Orby's star graduates set to go under the hammer this time around. Whitehall Stud offers a half-sister to Mother Earth and G2 Premio Dormello winner Night Colours (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) by first-season sire Sioux Nation (lot 117), and she is bookended by two more sisters to Classic winners by first-season sires: lot 110 is a Saxon Warrior (Jpn) half-sister to Orby graduate and G1 Prix de Diane winner Channel (Ire) (Nathaniel {Ire}), while lot 120 is a US Navy Flag half-sister to this year's G1 2000 Guineas and G1 St James's Palace S. scorer Poetic Flare (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}). Another Classic pedigree that should generate interest early in the sale is Al Eile Stud's Kingman (GB) filly out of dual Guineas winner Finsceal Beo (Ire) (Mr. Greeley) (lot 29), who is a half-sister to G2 Beresford S. winner Ol' Man River (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}). Kingman's eight catalogued also include Mountarmstrong Stud's colt out of champion and stakes producer Alexander Goldrun (Ire) (Gold Away) (lot 338).

Newlands House Stud's lot 294 is a full-brother to Winter Power and two other stakes horses, while Coulonces Sales offers a Footstepsinthesand (GB) half-brother to last year's G1 Phoenix S. winner and Orby graduate Lucky Vega (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) (lot 196).

Six sons and daughters of Galileo (Ire) are catalogued, including a filly who is the first foal out of GI Frizette S. winner Nickname (Scat Daddy) (lot 152) and a colt out of dual Group 1 winner Simply Perfect (GB) (Danehill) (lot 242), who is also the dam of G3 International S. winner Mekong River (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). There is a colt and a filly each offered by Dubawi (Ire), including lot 70, a colt out of G3 Balanchine S. winner I Am Beautiful (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}) from the Monevassia branch of the Miesque line that has also produced the brilliant Rumplestiltskin (Ire), Tapestry (Ire), Loves Only You (Jpn) and Real Steel (Jpn) among others.

Dark Angel (Ire's) 17 catalogued include Owenstown Stud's full-sister to G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. winner Persuasive (Ire) and half to this season's G3 Jersey S. winner Creative Force (Ire) and the listed-winning Tisbutadream (Ire) (lot 408), all of which were sold at Orby; and a full-brother to G3 Princess Margaret S. winner Angel's Hideaway (Ire) (lot 289). Sea The Stars (Ire) has 16 catalogued including a half-sister to Hong Kong champion and Group 1 winner Irishcorrespondent (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) (lot 413). Frankel has four catalogued including Marlhill House Stud's lot 377, a colt who is a half-brother to group winners Adjusted (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}) and Giuseppe Piazza (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and out of a half-sister to the excellent producer In Clover (GB). Another sibling to a 2021 Group 1 winner catalogued is the Starspangledbanner (Aus) half-brother to G1 Prix Jean Prat scorer Laws Of Indices (Ire) (Power {GB}) (lot 216).

Of particular appeal to those targeting the Goffs Million will be the yearlings catalogued from precocious families. In addition to the half-brother to Lucky Vega, those include siblings to the winners of this year's G2 Queen Mary S. as well as the last two winners of the G2 Norfolk S. Tally-Ho Stud offers a three-quarter sister by Kodiac (GB) to this year's Norfolk and G1 Prix Morny winner Perfect Power (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}) (lot 214), while Kilpatrick Farm offers a Footstepsinthesand (GB) half-brother to last year's Norfolk winner and recent G2 Franklin-Simpson S. scorer The Lir Jet (Ire) (Prince Of Lir {Ire}) (lot 167). Oghill House Stud's lot 247 is a full-brother to this year's Queen Mary winner Quick Suzy (Ire) (Profitable {Ire}). Lot 364 is a Churchill (Ire) half-brother to Agartha (Ire) (Caravaggio), who added the G2 Debutante S. to her win in the G3 Silver Flash S. since the catalogue was published. Lot 370 is a full-brother to G2 Lowther S. winner Living In The Past (Ire) (Bungleinthejungle {Ire}); lot 430 is a Dragon Pulse (Ire) half-brother to this year's G3 Anglesey S. winner Beauty Inspire (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}); lot 168 is a Belardo (Ire) half-brother to last year's G2 Gimcrack S. winner Minzaal (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}); and lot 384 is a half-sister to this year's G3 Albany S. third Oscula (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}) by first-season sire Kessaar (Ire).

Another by a first-season sire is Ballyhimikin Stud's Saxon Warrior (Jpn) colt out of Cassandra Go (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}) (lot 397), who is the second to last foal out of the highly influential mare. Other first-season sires represented include Cracksman (GB), Expert Eye (GB), Havana Grey (GB), Roaring Lion, the aforementioned Sioux Nation and US Navy Flag and Zoustar (Aus), who has his first Northern Hemisphere-bred yearlings. There is strong representation from American-based first-season sires too, including Scat Daddy sons Justify and Mendelssohn and Kitten's Joy's multiple Grade I-winning Oscar Performance.

“The catalogue reads very, very well,” Beeby said. “The sire profile is good with Galileo, Frankel, Dubawi, Sea the Stars and all the major stallions in there. We are very hopeful. We rely completely on the support of the Irish breeders and we've specifically marketed it, as we have in the past, as Ireland's national yearling sale. It's very important to Ireland as a country, to the bloodstock community in Ireland, and we've been well supported and we're very grateful for that as ever.”

With Tattersalls Ireland opting to stage its September Yearling Sale in Newmarket once again this year, the Orby will be the only flat yearling sale staged in Ireland this year.

“I do think people enjoy coming to Ireland and often this is their only trip to Ireland in the year, whether it be from England or the United States or elsewhere,” Beeby said. “They can have two or three days in a beautiful part of the world with great attractions; they can nip off to places like the Irish National Stud, Kildangan and Coolmore.”

Beeby said he was “encouraged” by the results of the Arqana August Yearling Sale and Goffs UK's Premier and Silver yearling sales to kick off the season, and that his expectations are “realistic” as Goffs works to “reboot and re-establish the Orby sale.”

“We were on an upward trajectory certainly for the previous four years,” Beeby said. “In 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 we grew every year and we had six-figure averages. Our UK sale–and I think the Arqana Sale as well but certainly our UK sale–bounced back to somewhere between where we were in 2019 and 2020, and I think if we can do that with the Orby Sale we'd be delighted. Anything better would be amazing.

“Happily vendors have seen that we've reacted as proactively as we can to the reversal we endured last year. They've bought into that and we think we've put together a very good catalogue and we're hoping to welcome a big group of buyers.

“What I'd like to say to people is come to Kildare. You'll be extremely well looked after, and we believe you'll like what you see. Come and have a look at our horses and you'll see we have some very good-looking horses. It's all about potential racehorses and they'll come from all parts of the catalogue, all consignors. It's a very, very good bunch.”

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Exit Box x
X

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.