By Brian Sheerin
It was a day for the young guns at the opening session of the Goffs November Foal Sale on Monday with a colt by Earthlight (Ire) sharing top lot status with a filly by the already proven Mehmas (Ire) at €80,000.
The progeny of the Irish National Stud-based Lucky Vega (Ire) also played a leading role on the day with Yeomanstown Stud's Supremacy (Ire) going down similarly well with buyers.
But the main story of the day was the positive start to the week in terms of trade, highlighted by the Earthlight, snapped up by top judge Paul McCartan of Ballyphilip Stud.
Consigned by Ridge Manor Stud, the Earthlight hailed from an unraced Danehill Dancer (Ire) mare and, according to McCartan, possesses all of the good characteristics he'd expect from one by the stallion.
He said, “I thought he was a beautiful horse with plenty of size and scope. A very good mover, very correct with a great head on him. He reminded me of some of the nice Earthlights I saw selling well this year. You'd have to give Earthlight a chance.
“I didn't have any Earthlights this year so this is my first foray with the stallion. We bought a Mohaather (GB) as well. That's the gamble we're taking with the two of them and hopefully one of them might come up with the goods next year.”
It's fair to say there was some trepidation among industry stakeholders heading into this week but, at close of play on Monday, nobody was complaining. Of the 212 foals offered, 158 found homes, which worked out at a clearance rate of 75%. The aggregate was down 10% on last year to €3,157,000 and the average fell 2% to €19,982 but the median climbed 3% to €16,000.
McCartan did his bidding online for the joint sale-topper on Monday and explained the very simple reason for doing so.
“It means that we can keep looking at foals,” he said. “That's the main reason for it. You don't have to be running in and out. You can continue looking at foals and bid away online.”
Asked if he was keeping a keen eye on the progeny of Nando Parrado (GB), who he famously sold as a foal for 165,000gns, he added, “I am and I bought a lovely colt foal by him at Fairyhouse last week. They are all lovely and he's stamping them. They're all bays and he was bay himself. They put their heads down and they walk.”
A total of seven Earthlights sold for an aggregate of €253,000 at an average of €36,143. Meanwhile, the Mehmas filly was knocked down to Tally-Ho Stud. He was consigned by Derek Gibbons of Skara Stud.
Lucky Vega Lights Up Goffs With Memorable Debut
One of the major talking points to emerge from the day was how well the progeny of Lucky Vega went down with buyers. Of the eight foals offered by the stallion, they commanded a total of €288,000, more than any other sire managed on the day.
Not only that but Lucky Vega's averages posted were pretty impressive as well. A €36,000 average placed him marginally behind Earthlight on €36,143. The Irish National Stud's CEO Cathal Beale was understandably pleased.
He said, “We've two Lucky Vegas in the top 10 which is great. They've sold great and the talk from all of the buyers is very positive. The clearance rate is very good for vendors, which is great, and something we are very conscious about. None of the horses sold have fallen below the stud fee and the top-priced Lucky Vega made €65,000, bought by the Lucky Vega syndicate, which was great to see that support from within.”
He added, “There were some really strong prices there for Lucky Vegas and there will be a lot more to come from him throughout the week. It's a great start, with him averaging close to €37,000, and that's only going to go up over the next few days. Hopefully it bodes well for what he's going to do over the next few weeks.”
The Lucky Vega Syndicate was headed by Sam Fairgray, chief operating officer at Yulong Investments, while powerhouse owner Zhang Yuesheng was also in attendance as the team secured lot 43, a colt by the Group 1-winning juvenile. That colt was consigned by Irene Scheldt, who described the result as her greatest ever in Ireland.
She said, “The colt belongs to a Gestut Kussaberg in Germany. I've had the mare down through the years and they are good breeders who know what they are at. They come over for the ITM Stallion Trail every year and, when they saw Lucky Vega, they loved him. They thought he was a great-walker. He really invested in him.”
Scheldt added, “We're based in Gorey, County Wexford, but my husband Andre is Australian but his parents are German. The mare is in foal to Bayside Boy and the other mare is in foal to Lope De Vega. Since I have come back to Ireland, this has been my best result. I did consign in France for many years but this is my best day in Ireland and it's all very exciting.”
It would be remiss not to mention the positive start Nando Parrado has made, too. Six foals by the sire sold for a decent average of €20,000, with Summerhill Stables enjoying a good touch with lot 216, knocked down to Piercetown Stud for €38,000.
Beale commented, “Nando has been the great story of the day. Again, there's been nothing selling for below the stud fee, which is important. His average is very strong and prices of €38,000, €24,000 and €19,000, it's important that breeders can make a few quid. They'll all come back and support him next year, I'm sure. I think everyone has been impressed with them and they are a good, solid, even bunch.
“They look like him and we all know what he did as a foal–Paul McCartan is one of the greatest judges and, in his own words, he described him as one of the nicest foals he's ever had. Carrying on from last week at Fairyhouse, where Paul bought a nice foal by Nando Parrado there, to have a very good and even spread across the board, we're delighted. A good start is half the work and it's been a good week for both of them with promise of more to come.”
On the market, Beale added, “The expectation coming here on Monday, off the back of a challenging yearling sale season–certainly the second half of the yearling sale season–was somewhat mixed. Taking that into consideration, it was a hell of a start. It's the best of Irish breeding here and obviously there's a very good market for that. Long may that last.”
Marnane: 'Blue Point Is Pound For Pound The Best Stallion In Europe'
Con Marnane never fails to disappoint, does he? The top breeze-up handler and pinhooker landed two colts by Blue Point (Ire) and Havana Grey (GB) for a combined €102,000 and explained how plan A is to re offer them as yearlings but going breezing is obviously an option should he need to go down that route. The Blue Point colt was consigned by Oaklawn Stud and fetched €56,000 with Marnane effusive in his praise of the sire.
He said, “We've a couple of very nice Blue Points bought for the breeze-ups and we have a mare in foal to him as well. The stallion is incredible. He's pound for pound the best stallion in Europe. This is a lovely colt with clean x-rays and a good scope.”
Clearly in a playful mood, Marnane declared himself a big fan of the Irish vets compared to their counterparts in America, who scratched his Givemethebeatboys from the Breeders' Cup.
“He had a very good vetting, and I'd prefer the vets over here than I would in America!”
Thought of the day
I'll be the first to admit that, coming to Goffs on Monday, I wasn't too sure what to expect. There seems to be something of a readjustment taking place in the market, which was evident at the yearling sales, so all things considered, the trade on Monday was pretty solid. What was evident, too, was the good vibe, bordering on the pleasantly surprised atmosphere, around Goffs on the day. Fingers crossed it continues throughout the week.