International Flavour To Tatts Ireland As Consignors Bid To End Year On High 

Andy Lo Chung-Yin: shopping for the Hong Kong market at Tattersalls Ireland | Brian Sheerin


The talk on the breeze-up circuit this year has been dominated by poor clearance rates combined with a record number of private sales, an ever-increasing polarisation to the market and a Houdini-like disappearing act by the middle tier buyers. 

So what has the mood been like on the eve of what is widely considered to be the final big breeze-up sale in Europe at Tattersalls Ireland? Pretty good actually.

This sale has almost always been operating in its own realm–you never know who you are going to see here. Take Andy Lo Chung-Yin for example. Here is a man who sourced the Hong Kong Derby winner Broadhurst (Ire) (No Nay Never)-now Massive Sovereign-in his first year acting as an agent. He's here at Fairyhouse hunting for his next big signing for the Hong Kong market and says he has been impressed by the stock on show. 

“This sale has produced some very good runners in Hong Kong,” he explained. “There are three or four high-class runners in Hong Kong. Taj Dragon (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) is a really good horse and won again at Sha Tin last week. Then you have Fallon (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}), who is a nice young horse to look forward to as well. Both of those horses were sold at this sale by Tally-Ho Stud.”

There are not many guys who decide to quit their job in pursuit of their dream and hit the jackpot with their very first pull of the lever. But that's essentially what Chung-Yin did when, after leaving his role in the banking sector, bought Hong Kong Derby winner Massive Sovereign in a private deal from Coolmore.

Chung-Yin will be shopping this week for other Hong Kong-based clients but credits Chan Kam Hung, the owner of Massive Sovereign, for providing him with a leg up in the industry. 

The young agent said, “To be fair, that was a big risk for me but I am very lucky that my owner believed in me and believed in the horse that I wanted to buy him. I am friends with Mr Chan's son and, usually, I am not the guy who pushes horses on people. I am not the agent that gives you a hard sell. But, with Massive Sovereign, I told Mr Chan that we needed to buy that horse. I went to his office and we had a good conversation. He understood the amount of effort I was putting into my new job and he took a chance. Thankfully it worked out.”

He added, “I would be a very picky agent because I prefer to buy the right horse rather than just filling the order. I mean, I haven't even bought a single horse since winning the Derby in Hong Kong. That is partly why I am here. I tried to buy at Arqana but didn't hit the target so, given Tattersalls Ireland has produced some very good horses in Hong Kong, I said I would try to come here instead. Hopefully we can find the right horse this week. There are some very nice colts here and I will be looking at a few form horses as well while I am in Ireland.”

Chung-Yin might be a new face at Tattersalls Ireland but Paul Harley, the company's representative for Germany and Scandinavia, has a deep understanding as to what a lot of clients want from this sale. Harley himself has done a lot of business at this breeze-up sale down through the years. He hopes to be active again when things kick off at 10am on Friday morning and shared a genuine optimism about what trade will bring in between post-breeze inspections on Thursday. 

He said, “The Scandinavians feel very welcome here and they love this sale. Exporting is much more straightforward for the Scandinavians and, not only that, but they have had a lot of success shopping in Ireland. There are a lot of people here. Alex Cairns, of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, does a lot of work in attracting foreign investors to this sale and told me that we have 22 Scandinavian buyers here. I think there are a couple of German buyers as well. To be fair, we would have a lot of clients at different levels this week and hope to be busy.”

Tattersalls Ireland has traditionally had a strong cohort of buyers from Scandinavia and Italy but, if there is an area that has been developing in recent times, perhaps that is Eastern Europe. 

Just last year, the European Pattern Committee upgraded Poland's flagship race, the Wielka Warszawska, to Listed status. One of the leading trainers in that nation, Maciej [pronounced Magic] Kacprzyk stated his intention not to leave Fairyhouse empty handed.

He said, “I think Ireland offers the best quality horses and value for money in Europe. What I love about Ireland is that they have excellent sires but also a lot of horses by some new sires who could also be very good. We are also buying in France but France is much more expensive than Ireland. After Brexit, I decided not to go to Britain. Okay, from Ireland it is expensive to travel the horses home but it is a lot easier than from Britain.”

Kacprzyk added, “We are going to buy two or three horses this week and have a decent budget as well. For Poland, we are not searching for typical two-year-old types. We want mile-plus horses so that's what I am looking for this week.”

A trip to Tattersalls Ireland wouldn't be complete without a chat with the Thistle brothers or, to afford them their correct title, the Shinnick brothers who couldn't have wished for a better start to the consigning ranks when selling a Make Believe (GB) filly for €170,000 here last year.

The boys came out with the brilliant line that the filly “looked fast going past thistles” after the sale 12 months ago and are back again with a speedy Arizona (Ire) filly who showed up well on all of the times sheets and appears to be going down well with many of the top buyers. 

John Shinnick said, “We only gave 20 grand for this filly. She has been galloping around the same field of thistles as the last one so it's obviously working! It's a good thrill. It's a great buzz when you get one ready for the breeze-up sale because it's not simple. There is only one date and so much can go wrong so, when it works out, it's some buzz.”

While John, 22, is a talented dual-purpose rider who has partnered many winners on the track, his brother Andy, 27, keeps the show going at home. 

He concluded, “I do all the dirty work-riding out in the rain and things like that! This is only our second year at it but we're really enjoying it and we are learning from Blarney Holland, who is one of the best in the game. He's only five minutes down the road from us in Cork and has been a massive help.

“We've seen loads of lads buy horses and lose a load of money so we were conscious of that when we sold the filly last year and then we didn't go mad at the yearling sales. Thankfully this filly breezed well and she seems to be going down okay. There are plenty of people here so hopefully all goes well tomorrow.”

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