“If People Back Us, We Can Deliver” – Top-Tier Yearlings On Offer At Goffs Orby

Philip Stauffenberg (centre): consigning under his own name at the Orby for the first time | Goffs


With great trust comes responsibility and nobody knows that better than Henry Beeby. After throwing down the gauntlet to the breeders of Ireland to support this year's Goffs Orby with their top-tier yearlings, Beeby has assembled what he describes as the strongest catalogue for this sale in his 41 years working for the company. 

Along with some of the major farms in Ireland–your Glenvales, Camas Parks, Barodas, Tally-Hos, Ballylinches and more–Philip Stauffenberg is here. Consigning at the Orby Sale for the first time, Stauffenberg Bloodstock will offer the Kingman (GB) half-brother to Skitter Scatter (Scat Daddy), who lit up the foal sales here in November when selling to the German native for €550,000. 

But it's not all about the Kingman colt. Stauffenberg will also offer a Masar (Ire) filly out of his beloved mare Frangipani (Ger), producer of the brilliant German Derby winner Fantastic Moon (Ger) (Sea The Moon {Ger}). 

Already named Fire And Ice (Ger), the presence of that Masar filly and the Kingman colt, along with the Sottsass (Fr) filly Stauffenberg has brought to the Orby, can be viewed as a major vote of confidence to Goffs. 

As far as Stauffenberg is concerned, he has no doubt that, given the right horses, Goffs is as equipped as anyone at selling yearlings of the highest standard. 

Speaking alongside his wife Marion at their base in Barn C, he said, “Our connection with Goffs goes back many years and we have been very lucky here. It was a special wish of Marion's to bring the sister to Fantastic Moon here. The family has been wonderful to us and Marion said that, if the filly is to go to a sale, then it would be at Goffs. They have proven they can sell the horses when they get the right ammunition.”

Marion Stauffenberg added, “I know Goffs very well and I love it here. I have bought my best horses here and have sold very good horses here through Eimear Mulhern. I have just spoken to two agents and they have said that the quality of the horses here is really up.”

Beeby shared that the feedback he was receiving from the buyers and sellers on the ground to be similarly positive, which is good, given he went on to explain how he couldn't remember a stronger book of yearlings assembled for the Orby Sale in over four decades working for the company.

He said, “When you get somebody like Philip Stauffenberg coming here for the first time, and coming here with his best horse, that's a huge vote of confidence. It's a huge trust but it's also a huge responsibility. Then there's Dermot Cantillon of Tinnakill House with his Sea The Stars (Ire) half-sister to State Of Rest (Ire). He's here with the best horse he's ever bred–by his own admission. 

“You've also got the sister to Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) from Ballylinch Stud belonging to the China Horse Club and they've also chosen Goffs. Those are only three horses and, on paper, it's as good an Orby Sale that I can remember. All of that is for better judges than me to say but the feedback has been very, very consistent that we have assembled a solid bunch of horses.”

“The most exciting pedigree in the catalogue is matched by the physical,” – Jeremy Brummit

Beeby added, “It's hard not to keep coming out with the same things on the eve of a sale; you hope for the best and all of that kind of stuff. But, the closer you get to a sale, you do twitch because I do genuinely feel the responsibility. 

“For those two, two-and-a-half minutes, we are handling what could decide some people's year, or maybe even longer. We know there are alternatives and that people could say, 'well, why haven't you gone to other places to sell your horse.' That's a reasonable thing to say. But that's what makes the market in Britain and Ireland so vibrant, that there is strong competition between the sales companies. It's a big deal for us to get the big horses and we take it very seriously.”

And the Orby is jam-packed full of serious horses. The second lot into the ring on Tuesday is an American Pharoah half-sister to Onesto (Ire) (Frankel {GB}). Lot 8 is a Kodiac (GB) half-brother to The Lir Jet (Ire) (Prince Of Lir {Ire}), 12 a Wootton Bassett (GB) filly out of a sister to Saxon Warrior (Jpn), 16 a brother to California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) while lot 27 is another who has the potential of hitting the heights early on in the session by being a Wootton Bassett filly out of a sister to Midday (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}).

There are big-ticket lots right throughout the catalogue. From Stauffenberg's duo to the Sea The Stars (Ire) half-sister to State Of Rest (Ire) (Starspangledbanner) [48] from Tinnakill House and Ballylinch Stud's sister to Saffron Beach [356], there are countless potential headline-makers in the sale. There are also plenty more bubbling with intrigue. 

The Night Of Thunder (Ire) half-sister to Lucky Vega (Ire) [37], Staffordstown's Sea The Moon (Ger) half-brother to Sandrine (GB) [78], the Mehmas (Ire) half-brother to River Tiber (Ire) (Wootton Bassett) [150] and the Camelot (GB) half-brother to Poetic Flare (GB) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) [500] could also make waves.

Jeremy Brummit | Goffs

But for esteemed bloodstock agent Jeremy Brummit, there was little doubt in his head about what the best horse he'd seen on the sale ground during inspections was. 

“The most exciting pedigree in the catalogue is matched by the physical,” he said of Saffron Beach's sister, before adding, “it's rare that happens.” Brummit went on to describe the quality of the Orby Sale to be on the rise year after year, to which Beeby later attributed to the confidence placed in the sales house by the Irish breeders. 

He explained, “It's a credit to the Irish breeders. We have very directly said to a whole range of Irish breeders that we are the Irish national yearling sale. Everything is set up right. We have put our heart and soul into it-money, time and effort-and have expanded our team. For example, our recruitment team is significantly bigger than what it was a few years ago. But we can't do it without the horses and, if people back us, we can deliver. Thankfully, we've had a good run in the sales ring and on the racetrack.”

Beeby added, “Success breeds success but it also breeds confidence. It's all down to the breeders. I'm part of the team that goes around looking at the horses and every year we are getting a greater share of the top-tier yearlings in Ireland. I really believe that and, similarly to what Jeremy said, a lot of key figures have come up to me over the past few days to say that we have assembled a better bunch of horses again. When you put all of that together with the number of people on the ground, you would have to be very hopeful of a good sale.

“It's like the old Avis advert from years ago, 'when you are number two you try harder.' We know where we are and we know what we have to do and how we can do better. We are always reaching and striving to be better. We have an ambitious team of people here at Goffs. This is my 41st year in this business and I love it.”

One of the major subplots to the Orby Sale in recent years has been the strength of the American buyers and, with familiar faces like Ben McElroy and first-time visitors like Phillip Shelton of Medallion Racing on the ground, that presence is expected to be as strong as ever this week.

Beeby said, “Jacob West [American agent for Goffs] has been an outstanding appointment for us. Tom Taaffe and Hayley O'Connor have also been out to America quite regularly and got around to everybody to promote the sale. Success breeds success and people keep coming back. Happily, the people who have travelled over from America in recent years have spread the word about the sale. We've invested a lot of time and resources in making sure that they are looked after and they play a huge role in this sale.”

Few trainers have exemplified the value on offer at the Goffs Orby Sale quite like Paddy Twomey has in recent times. Twomey ripped up the playbook in sending out One Look (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) to win the Goffs Million by a scorching six lengths on debut at the Curragh on Saturday. 

The Golden-based trainer shared how, along with One Look, Leopardstown maiden winner Juxtaposition (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) was picked up out of this sale by Kevin Connolly and Cormac McCormack for just €150,000 combined 12 months ago. The pair are worth a whole pile more 12 months on.

Twomey said, “I had never met Kevin before this sale last year. He bought two horses, Juxtaposition, who won the first mile maiden of the year at Leopardstown, and who has since been sold to Hong Kong. The other one was One Look, who won the Million on debut. It was through Cormac McCormack that I was introduced to him and he asked me to train them for him. The Connollys are a very famous racing family and Kevin trained in China, Macau and Australia.”

He added, “We turn up to all of the yearling sales and try to find the horses we'd like to train and buy them at the best value we can. Sales is something I have been around all my life and I have been lucky at Goffs. The job is to try and find the next ones this week.”


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