McStay Strikes For £230k Night Of Thunder Colt At Doncaster

Mark McStay: signed for the top lot on day one | Sarah Farnsworth


The opening day of the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale followed a familiar theme with Mark McStay, who was busy at the first European yearling Sale of the year at Arqana just over a week ago, once again opening his shoulders back to secure the top lot at Goffs UK-170, a colt by Night Of Thunder (Ire).

The sire of last Friday's breathtakingly-good G1 Nunthorpe S. winner Highfield Princess (Fr), Night Of Thunder was labelled a rock solid stallion by McStay, who felt lot 170-for all that he looked like a son of Dubawi-was the standout colt on day one.

So much so, the leading agent, who would not disclose who the Mountarmstrong-consigned colt was bought for, went to £230,000 to secure him.

“Lovely colt by a proven sire at this stage in his career, Night Of Thunder,” McStay said. “He actually looked like a Dubawi (Ire) to me. He was well-produced and comes from a very good nursery in Mountarmstrong. Noel O'Callaghan breeds and sells good horses and I thought he was the standout colt on offer here today.”

He added, “We had to stretch to buy him. I thought we'd get him for quite a bit less but my client is brave and encouraged me to keep going and to secure him.

“Look, we're seeing what Night Of Thunders are doing on the track and I don't think that they are going to get any cheaper. I can't say who he has been bought for but he's been bought for an existing client. He'll be broken in Ireland and plans are fluid.”


The Night Of Thunder colt hails from a cracking family. He is out of Pious Alexander (Ire), a winner by Acclamation (GB), who is out of dual Group 3 winner Lady Alexander (Ire) (Night Shift). She is the dam of 10 winners, including Dandy Man (Ire) and Anthem Alexander (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}).

McStay also signed for WH Bloodstock's inspired Kuroshio {Aus} pinhook [lot171] for £120,000, Baroda Stud's Zoustar {Aus} colt [lot 19, for £72,000] out of black-type performer Golden Spell (GB) (Al Kazeem {GB}), a US Navy Flag colt consigned by Monksland Stables for £38,000 and the first horse through the ring, Grove Stud's grey filly by Starspangledbanner (Aus) for £35,000.

It proved a bountiful day for consignors, with many buyers-be they agents, trainers and breeze-up operators-relaying that there was stiff competition for the nicest horses, which was evident in the figures.
Of the 218 lots offered, 199 were sold, representing a clearance rate of 91%. The aggregate, average and median were all up as well. An aggregate of £8,954,500 represented a 28% rise on last year while the average was up 15% to £44,997 and a median of £38,000 cemented a 27% rise on 2021.

Renowned bloodstock agent Ross Doyle reflected on an encouraging day's trade after purchasing lot 211, a Baroda Stud-consigned colt by New Bay (GB), late in the day for £200,000. That brought Doyle's total spend on day one to £642,000 across nine yearlings and he was quick to praise Goffs for assembling a fantastic bunch.

Doyle said, “It's been very good, very strong, which is great to see. I've never seen so many people here than over the past few days, which is a testimony to Goffs and all their team. You only have to look around the pictures on the walls, some very good horses have come out of this sale so they deserve people to turn up and get stuck in. We'd a very good shortlist and we're the same tomorrow.”

On lot 211, he added, “I thought he was outstanding. I thought he was the best-moving horse here today. He's obviously by a sire doing extremely well and he seems to upgrade everything. “He's out of a black-type mare [Rubira {Aus} Lope De Vega {Ire})] and comes from a good home. We put him down as the best individual that we've seen, as far as movement goes, for a long time. He covers serious ground and it's all very natural and relaxed, which is a good sign. “He's been bought for an existing client who has plenty of horses with Richard [Hannon] and has been a very good supporter of this sale in particular.”

Hesketh and Wadham in Clover With Cracking Kuroshio

Violet Hesketh and Mimi Wadham, who run WH Bloodstock, have rightly earned a reputation for being one of the shrewdest young operators in the business. The pinhook of lot 171, purchased by the pair as a foal at Goffs for €38,000 before selling on Tuesday to Avenue Bloodstock for £120,000, confirmed that reputation to be bang on the money.

Some of the top buyers were on to the son of Starfield Stud's Kuroshio. In the end, it was Mark McStay, flanked by trainer Fozzy Stack, who secured him.

Hesketh said, “I am delighted. We knew we had a nice colt but you never expect to get that sort of a price. We bought him in the February Sale at Goffs for €38,000 and he has just improved and improved.

“He was an absolute pro and didn't miss a beat in every show. Some of the top judges were on him. We'll be sad to see him go but very happy with the price we got. We'll look forward to seeing him racing.”


A lovely colt, lot 171 was out of the Pivotal (GB) mare Pivotal Era (GB), herself a full-sister to Humouresque (GB), who carried the Cheveley Park silks to Group 3 glory at Saint-Cloud in 2003.

Hesketh added, “He was a gorgeous foal and is out of a good Pivotal mare, which obviously everyone loves. He had such a good attitude. We're very happy.”

Jamie Railton's pinhook with lot 21, a filly by Ten Sovereigns (Ire), was another shrewd piece of business. Bought by Railton for €26,000 at Goffs last November, the filly was knocked down to Richard Hughes for £110,000.

Hughes, who is operating at a 25% strike-rate with his 2-year-olds this season and has nine winners on the board in that sphere, bought four yearlings all told for a combined sum of £224,000.

Kinane on the Hunt for Hong Kong

In his role of sourcing European horses on behalf of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mick Kinane has already come up trumps with this year's Hong Kong Derby winner Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), and the legendary jockey revealed that lot 57, a £200,000 colt by the same sire, will chart a similar path.

The Trinity Park Stud-consigned son of Acclamation is from the family of Puncher Clynch (Ire) (Azamour {Ire}), who did well in Hong Kong, and Kinane is hopeful that his latest acquisition can forge out a career for himself in that jurisdiction in time.

Kinane said, “He has a champion in Hong Kong [Puncher Clynch] and is a similar type. He's a nice horse. I was here the past two years but I didn't find them [good horses]. There's nicer horses here this year.

“He'll be broken and will go into pre-training and then we'll see what he can do. Hopefully he'll do well in Hong Kong.”


The Acclamation colt was consigned by Trinity Park Stud on behalf of Peter Gleeson, who bought and raced the dam Isole Canarie (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}), a dual listed winner in Italy. From the family of Puncher Clynch (Ire), who did well in Hong Kong, lot 57 was fancied by those closest to him to go down well with the buyers, but the £200,000 fetched in the ring exceeded all expectations.

Becky Marsh, of Trinity Park Stud, said, “I thought we had a very nice horse but I wasn't expecting that. I said to Henry Beeby this morning when he came to look at the horse before he auctioned him that I would be delighted if he made £100,000. Obviously I'm overwhelmed.”

She added, “We foaled and raised this yearling-he's been with us since day one and he's always shown a lot of class. Since he came here he's not put a foot wrong. He's walked out perfectly every day and he had the right people on him.

“Isole Canarie was bought by Peter Gleeson, who raced her in Italy and then France, then brought her back here to breed. He's been lucky with Italian mares before and it's worked really well for him. The mare has an Oasis Dream (GB) colt at foot, but was not bred back this year.”

Warren Tips Land Force For First-Season Sire Honours

Jake Warren of Highclere Stud, who stands Land Force (Ire), is confident that the young stallion has what it takes to be champion first-season sire in 2023. A total of 17 yearlings by the son of No Nay Never were catalogued in the sale, eight of which found new homes on day one, averaging at a highly-respectable £34,500 for a stallion who stands for just £5,000 [stood at £6,500 in his first season].

However, what was most notable were the hotels that the Land Force yearlings have joined as multiple Group 1-winning trainer Clive Cox and renowned breeze-up consignors Katie Walsh and Con Marnane featured among the list of buyers.

Warren said, “It's always a nervous time when you bring a new stallion to the market but, the thing with Land Force is, and one of the main reasons why we've had the confidence to keep breeding to him over the past three years, is he throws these powerful, strong, good-shouldered, big physicals that are just what breeders are looking to produce. It's also what 2-year-old buyers are trying to secure. He's just ticking those boxes.”

He added, “There's no first-season sires with more offerings at this sale so he has the numbers to back him up. No Nay Never has had an amazing year with his 2-year-olds and there's no reason why Land Force can't be the champion first-season sire next year. It's exciting.”

It was lot 71 who shot the lights out for Land Force at £85,000. On the eve of the sale, Natalie Folland and her partner Matt Bowen told TDN about how they wanted to make their clients proud with the first yearlings they offered under the Folland-Bowen Bloodstock banner this week.

Well, the couple could hardly have done a better job with their Land Force colt, the first yearling they sent through the ring together, who walked around like a pro en route to commanding that impressive price tag.

Fighting back the tears in Barn J shortly after the sale, Folland said, “I'm going to cry. The owner has just been on the phone, she's bawling crying telling us how delighted she is. He's gone to Clive Cox, who has the half-brother Ascot Adventure (GB) (Mayson {GB}) and Joe Foley was the underbidder. He was vetted four or five times so it's great to have received such support.”

She added, “I knew he was busy but we would have been happy with £50,000 so, to get £80,000, we're over the moon. His owner, Fiona Trenchard, is delighted. She's such a pedigree fanatic and has tried really hard with this mare as she's been very hard to keep in foal. It hasn't been easy so, to have a result like that, I'm more emotional for her really.”

Marnane went to £30,000 to secure lot 26, a Mickley Stud-consigned filly by Land Force, while Walsh bought a colt by the stallion, lot 63, off Anna Sundstrom's Coulonces for £40,000.

Soldier Answers Foley's Call

Land Force was not the only young sire making waves. Joe Foley expressed his confidence behind the progeny of his own Ballyhane Stallion Soldier's Call in Monday's TDN and, less than 24 hours later, he put his money where his mouth was in securing Tinnakill's chestnut colt by the classy sprinter for £105,000.

Lot 212 is a half-brother to Marygate S. winner Sardinia Sunset (Ire) (Guitafan) and was sold by Tinnakill House Stud on behalf of Kevin Blake's Golden Farm Thoroughbreds.


Seven of the eight yearlings by Soldier's Call were sold on day one with Mick Easterby forking out £65,000 to bag Trickledown Stud's colt by the sire [48] and Oliver St Lawrence going to £50,000 for Manister House Stud's offering [190].

Andrew Balding also picked up two by the sire, Ballyhane's lot 59 for £30,000 and 109 for £22,000. Of the seven yearlings sold by Soldier's Call, they averaged at just under £50,000 apiece.

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