Late Late Show At Goffs Orby As Frankel Filly Shines At €1.85m To MV Magnier

MV Magnier: landed the top lot at this year's Orby Sale | Sarah Farnsworth/Goffs


The wind clenched its fist and did not let go on day two of the Goffs Orby Sale as Storm Agnes took no prisoners in a similar fashion to how MV Magnier was not for loosening his grip on the Frankel (GB) filly who commanded top lot status at €1.85 million deep into the session.

By that stage, the majority of those in attendance at Goffs had either nipped out to the car parks early or in some cases the bar, but for the die hards who stayed around the sales ring to the bitter end, they were served up a mouthwatering tussle for Camas Park's sale-topper (lot 525).

Bred by the Sangster family, the Frankel filly boasts a wonderful pedigree being out of a half-sister to Kingman (GB), who supplied one of the major lots earlier in the day.

But it was the Frankel filly who dominated and MV Magnier was forced to be strong to see off the attention of Kieran Lalor of Al Shira'aa Farms at €1.85 million.

Magnier said, “We have a long history with the Sangster family and have been very lucky buying off them in the past. She is a very nice filly and Frankel is doing exceptionally well. She's very well bred and we're delighted for Ben [Sangster] and all the guys.”

He added, “She really has everything so let's hope she's good. A Frankel filly with that pedigree, it's a lot of money but, listen, it was probably a fair price for her.”

This sale, along with that of Saffron Beach's sister, who made €1.65 million to Amanda Skiffington earlier in the session, contributed to a comeback of sorts at this year's Orby Sale.

If heads were down over a 10% dip in the aggregate, average and median on day one, well then there were no such downbeat feelings at close of play on Wednesday, with all of the key figures on the rise.

Turnover for the entire sale climbed 7% to €53,645,500 while the average was up 2% to €123,893. Of the 497 lots offered, 433 were sold, representing a clearance rate of 87% [down 2% on last year] while the median dropped 2% to €85,000.



Goffs chief Henry Beeby commented, “That Orby is a world class yearling sale has never been in doubt and the last two days has proved the point again. What we strive to do though is to grow and evolve with each year as it is imperative that Goffs is the first choice for increasing numbers of the top yearlings in Ireland as that is our raison d'être. Every spring we travel the length and breadth of the country, and further, discussing, inspecting and selecting with leading breeders. We know there are alternatives so it means a huge amount to us when we are chosen to handle the sale of any stand out yearling.

“So our evolution takes many forms and this year, of course, it has featured the introduction of the Goffs Two Million Series which has undoubtedly caught the imagination of buyers for its depth and diversity. Combine that with a catalogue full of real athletes, and many blue-blooded pedigrees, and we have seen a two-day trade of real strength across the board. As is sometimes the case it seems that there was a greater concentration of the stand outs on the second day this year which has led to statistics that have almost completely flipped from last year.

“However, we judge the sale in totality and have been pleased to return figures that have improved on last year's superb sale which grew by 24% following a remarkable recovery in 2021. In summary, Orby is once again consistently delivering for vendors and purchasers.”

He added, “Selling the best is important so it has been especially pleasing to see the top of the market particularly vibrant as evidenced by the increased numbers of six-figure, two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand, half-million and seven-figure lots. The average has advanced again and the median is the second best on record whilst a clearance rate of 87% tells us that vendors and purchasers are aligned in their assessments.

“A world class catalogue deserves global attention, so we have been delighted to welcome a huge buying contingent from so many countries following another proactive campaign from the Goffs Purchaser Recruitment Team, our international agents and the team at ITM. Of course, I must single out our friends from across the Atlantic who have made the trip in even bigger numbers this year. What a joy they are to have on site and we wish them well with their many Orby purchases.

“Finally, I repeat our thanks to every vendor who has supported the sale as we are truly nothing without their horses and can't do anything without them. At the same time, we are indebted to all our buyers and look forward to cheering their purchases into the winners' enclosure in 2024 and beyond.”



“A Collector's Item” – Sister To Saffron Beach Sells For €1.65 Million

A sister to Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) (lot 356) lived up to her star billing when selling to Amanda Skiffington on behalf of owner-breeder Fiona Carmichael for €1.65 million.

It was Kieran Lalor, bloodstock and racing manager to Al Shira'aa, and Godolphin who pushed Skiffington the hardest for the Ballylinch-drafted sister to the brilliant racemare.

After multiple shakes of the head from Skiffington and some words of encouragement from Goffs chief Henry Beeby on the rostrum, who said, 'you only live once,' the bloodstock agent dug deepest alongside Carmichael atop of the auditorium.

Asked how her heart rate was after landing the top lot, Skiffington said, “Terrible–I feel physically sick!”

Of course, it was Skiffington and Carmichael who landed the brother to Saffron Beach at this sale last year for €450,000.

A six-time winner for Jane Chapple-Hyam, Saffron Beach won twice at the highest level, including the Sun Chariot S. at Newmarket and the Prix Rothschild at Deauville before selling to Najd Stud for 2.6 million gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale last year.

Her little sister was described as “a collector's item” on Thursday, with Skiffington revealing how she was determined not to leave the filly behind.

“The pedigree is fantastic,” she continued. “She is beautiful and we bought the brother last year, who looks like he could be very good. It did appeal a bit. I thought she was a collector's item, a special filly to breed from. We had to be brave.”

“We hoped we wouldn't have to go that far but we knew we had to be brave and Fiona is a brave lady. She's a collector's item and rather special to breed from later on.”



Talking Points

  • Not since Manchester United roared their way back to a famous 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League Final has there been a greater comeback. Obviously such a statement is made with tongue firmly in cheek but hats off to Goffs on their comeback on Wednesday. In many ways, it was a flip-flop of sorts compared to last year given day one was stronger to day two in 2022. However, all's well that ends well in this instance, and the booming late trade ensured that all of the key figures were up and that went some way to lifting spirits on the complex.


  • Was this the sale where the fillies shone brightest? Obviously the top three lots through the ring at this year's Orby Sale were fillies but many of the top judges on the ground reported that they felt it was harder to buy fillies over colts across the board. And the numbers backed up such a statement. Fillies averaged €156,057 while colts averaged just €121,442 over the two days.


  • Nine different buyers were responsible for the top ten lots over the two days. MV Magnier, Amanda Skiffington, Joseph O'Brien, Godolphin [2], Kim Valerio agent for Commonwealth, Hong Kong Jockey Club, De Burgh Equine/Glen Hill Farm, Qatar Racing/China Horse Club and Form Bloodstock filled the list.


  • Four well-bred colts are set for Hong Kong after Mick Kinane signed for €1.19 million worth of yearlings across the two days, headed by a Mehmas (Ire) colt (lot 400) from Kellsgrange Stud for €500,000. That represented a fine pinhooking profit for Peter and Ross Doyle, who bought the Mehmas colt for 240,000gns at the Tattersalls December Foal Sales. Kinane also landed an Invincible Spirit (Ire) colt (lot 427) for €170,000 from The Irish National Stud on Wednesday to go with the Acclamation (GB) and No Nay Never colts he had signed for on behalf of the Hong Kong Jockey Club the previous day.


Stauffenberg Marks Orby Debut With €650k Kingman Colt

Philip Stauffenberg marked his debut appearance as a consignor at the Goffs Orby Sale with a €650,000 sale for his Kingman (GB) half-brother to Skitter Scatter (Scat Daddy).

It was Godolphin, returning to the Orby after a four-year hiatus, who saw off the attention of David Redvers and the China Horse Club for the Kingman colt that Stauffenberg bought from Airlie Stud here for €550,000 at the November Foal Sales.

The royal blue of Godolphin has been associated with many high-class performers by Kingman. Think Noble Style (GB), Noble Truth (Fr) and Persian King (Ire).

Anthony Stroud, who bought lot 313 on behalf of Godolphin, revealed how the powerful operation almost bought the colt as a foal but decided to wait and see how he turned out as a yearling.

He said, “An extremely well-bred horse by Kingman and we had Victory Dance (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) out of the mare who was bred by Airlie which is a great stud farm. We looked at him as a foal and debated buying him. We thought we'd just leave him and see what he was like this year. It was reassuring that he came back with Philip Stauffenberg so we had a chance to look at him again. We thought he progressed well in the year. Happy with him.

“Victory Dance is a different type of horse. This horse has a lot of Kingman in him. I've been associated with a few good Kingmans, like Persian King. He's had another great season this year and as we all know, he's very capable of siring a brilliant horse, isn't he?”

Asked if €650,000 was around the mark he expected to pay for the Kingman colt, Stroud added, “Well, I think the choke was out. I don't think we were going to go much further. That was what we valued him at.”

All told, Godolphin bought six yearlings at this year's Goffs Orby Sale to the tune of €2,505,000.


Banahan Records Greatest Payday As Breeder

He may be best known as the official starter for the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, but Joe Banahan proved that he is also a dab hand at breeding and recorded his greatest day on a sales ground when selling his New Bay (GB) filly to Hubie de Burgh and Craig Bernick of Glen Hill Farm for €480,000.

Banahan, who operates alongside his wife Edel from Moortown House Stud, bred lot 288 out of his mare Coco Rouge (Ire) (Shamardal), the dam of Bernick's Group 3 runner-up You Send Me (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}). MV Magnier filled the role as underbidder.

Bernick said, “She's a beautiful filly–not as big and rangy as You Send Me but she's well made. When You Send Me was two I always thought she'd be better at three and four but this filly looks like she can run at two and hopefully be a miler at three. We're excited to get her.”

Bernick's silks have become a familiar sight on Irish racecourses and his latest acquisition will be trained by Fozzy Stack, who manages the career of You Send Me and sent out Aspen Grove (Ire) (Justify) to win the GI Belmont Oaks for Bernick in July.

As well as being a proven producer, Coco Rouge is a half-sister to Jacqueline Quest, who was famously demoted to second place having finished first past the post in the 2010 1,000 Guineas.

Banahan sourced the mare for just 17,000gns back in 2012 and she takes pride of place among his small but select broodmare band.

Speaking later in the evening, he said, “We're absolutely over the moon. As the fella says, the secret to an overnight success is a lifetime of hard work and we've been working hard for a result like this all our lives.

“The mare has a cracking Space Blues (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) filly foal at foot and is happily in foal to Starspangledbanner. I suppose, you'd have to be thinking about keeping a filly out of the family now at this stage but we're just delighted with today's result first and foremost.”

Donnacha O'Brien To Train €500k Wootton Bassett For American Owners

Donnacha O'Brien's appeal has never been higher and he was put forward as the designated trainer for a €500,000 Wootton Bassett (GB) colt (lot 367) by American agent Kim Valerio who was buying on behalf of Commonwealth.

Chase Chamberlain, the co-founder of Commonwealth, the ownership vehicle that has been associated with the Kentucky Derby winner Mage (Good Magic) and similarly classy types in America such as Country Grammer (Tonalist), revealed ambitious plans to ramp up its involvement in Irish racing, principally with O'Brien.

The Wootton Bassett colt, consigned by Glenvale Stud, is out of a sister to Hydrangea (Ire) (Galileo), Hermosa and The United States, and was high up on Valerio's list.

She said, “He's beautiful and was my top choice. He looks like an American horse and I kind of migrate towards those. He's light on his feet and is super smart so I like that.”

The Wootton Bassett colt will represent Commonwealth's second horse in Ireland and Chamberlain explained how he hopes the syndicate can grow in time.

Chamberlain said, “Kim has been busting her hump working this sale. He's going to head to Donnacha O'Brien. He has been crucial in the process.

“We want to find great horses for people and that starts with conviction. We had the same conviction about Country Grammer and Mage. We have great partners and trust people like Kim to help us make great decisions. Hopefully some magic can happen but it starts with quality horses.”

Thought For The Day

Credit to Kieran Lalor for bidding strongly on the two top lots on day two of the Orby Sale on behalf of Al Shira'aa. Bernard Condren may have come out with the line of the day when telling Lalor that, 'nobody remembers the second man on the moon,' when the Frankel (GB) filly was in the ring.

However, in this case, Lalor's contribution to this year's Orby Sale was memorable despite the fact Al Shira'aa did not walk away with any of the headline acts.

For what the operation has achieved in such a short space of time, namely with the Group 1-winning graduate of this sale, Jannah Rose (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), is a testimony to how well run the organisation is.

Buy Of The Day

Lot 322: Starspangledbanner (Aus)-Deira Surprise (GB) (Slade Power {GB})
                Consigned and bred by Deerpark Stud (Ire)
                Bought by Richard Ryan for €170,000
The second foal of a young mare, this colt with a great action will join Joseph O'Brien's stable for a team which has enjoyed notable success with his sire Starspangledbanner through the globetrotting exploits of multiple Group 1 winner State Of Rest (Ire).

A juvenile winner herself, his dam Deira Surprise was bought for 82,000gns four years ago by Suzanne Roberts on behalf of the Fagan family's Deerpark Stud and there was plenty to recommend her. While her full-sister Power Of Beauty (Ire) gained Listed black type and won two races, another two half-siblings have done better still: Unforgetable Filly (GB) (Sepoy {Aus}) won the G2 German 1,000 Guineas as well as two Listed races in Britain, while Raven's Corner (GB) (Raven's Pass) counts the G3 Dubawi S. among his five wins. Farther back the family includes champion sprinter Stravinsky (Nureyev) and recent G3 Sceptre Fillies' S. winner Matilda Picotte (Ire) (Sioux Nation).


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