Swanbridge Goes To 150k For Winning Daughter Of Quevega At Goffs

Princess Vega, pictured with Brady Betlamini, topped the Goffs February Sale at €150,000 | Goffs


Princess Vega (Ire) (Beat Hollow {GB}), a winning daughter of six-time Cheltenham festival scorer Quevega (Fr) (Robin Des Champs {Fr}), proved to be worth the wait at the Goffs February Sale when selling as one of the last lots through the ring [431G] on Thursday evening for €150,000 to agent Gerry Hogan on behalf of Swanbridge Bloodstock . 

It was Liz Lucas's Swanbridge Bloodstock who signed for the Order Of St George (Ire) filly out of Princess Vega at the November National Hunt Sale at Goffs for €48,000 last year. According to Hogan, so pleased are the new owners with their Order Of St George filly from the top-notch family, they decided to push the boat out to secure the dam who was sold by the Irish National Stud in foal to Walk In The Park (Ire).

Hogan said, “She was bought for Swanbridge Bloodstock, who bought the Order Of St George, who is the daughter of this mare. She's a nice mare and the pedigree speaks for itself. They know the family and they were very anxious to get her.”

It was Catherine Magnier who pushed Hogan furthest and filled the role as determined underbidder. The pair were left fighting it out from the six-figure mark for Princess Vega, who, like her superstar dam Quevega, was trained by the champion trainer in Ireland, Willie Mullins.

Princess Vega, a winner of a Tramore bumper on debut for Mullins, will now join the broodmare band of Swanbridge Bloodstock in Britain, which features well-known mares like Alasi (GB) (Alflora {Ire}), Intense Tango (GB) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), Western Victory (Ire) (Westerner {GB}) and more. 

Graduates of the British National Hunt breeding operation includes Midnight River (GB) (Midnight Legend {GB}), Prince Of Scars (Ire) (Flemensfirth) and last year's impressive Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper winner Crest Of Glory (GB) (Black Sam Bellamy {Ire}).

Princess Vega proved to be the highlight of the two-day sale which saw turnover fall by 29% to €3,082,400 compared to 12 months ago. The average fell 19% to €12,898 while the median was also down 11% to €8,000. The clearance rate stood at 65%.

Goff chief executive Henry Beeby commented, “As ever Goffs February has been dominated by weanlings and once again has delivered the highest-priced Flat and National Hunt weanling of the February sales season by some margin. That is the strength of the sale and what sets it apart as, like November and December, Kildare Paddocks was awash with pinhookers finalising their 2024 yearling drafts and adding to their three-year-old stores of two years' time which led to several lively bidding duels for those youngsters adjudged to be the most commercial.  

“Of course, a clearance rate of 65% is a clear mirror of the autumn sales season and those the market deemed less appealing were friendless in the ring. However, the familiar cry of 'it's hard to buy the good one' was as evident as ever and we are all having to adapt to the evolving nature of the market.”

Beeby added, “Trade for the breeding stock session mirrored the weanlings with keen competition for some headed by the €150,000 top price and less interest in others but we have welcomed a diverse overseas contingent over the two days who are enticed year after year by the undeniable quality of Irish bloodlines and the proactivity of ITM working alongside the Goffs Purchaser Attraction Team and our superb international agents. Indeed, buyers from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, UK and Zambia have all featured in the results and ensured a truly cosmopolitan feel to the sale.

“So Goffs February confirms its market leading status again with two vibrant sessions and a big crowd from start to finish. As ever, we extend our thanks to each vendor and all our purchasers for we are nothing without them.”

“It's Not Rocket Science,” – Havana Grey Continues To Shine

Willie Browne: bought a Havana Grey weanling for €90,000 | Goffs

There's no such thing as a dull day when it comes to Havana Grey (GB). The Whitsbury Stud-based stallion lit the touch paper to the February Sale on Wednesday when a colt of his was knocked down to Yeomanstown Stud for €85,000 and the big results kept coming for the sire sensation on Thursday when top judge Willie Browne signed for a Havana Grey filly under the banner of JB Bloodstock to the tune of €90,000. 

That meant that Havana Grey accounted for three of the top five weanlings sold at Kildare Paddocks this week. The €90,000 filly (lot 291) was offered by The Castlebridge Consignment on behalf of her breeder Tommy Severns, who was rightfully overjoyed by the result.

He said, “I've loved her from day one. She was always a pretty classy filly and the dream was to keep her, but as a small operation, we have to keep trading. Billy Jackson-Stops felt she would stand out a bit here, so we targeted this sale as a result. 

“It's all a credit to the team at Stoneyhill Stud in Gloucestershire, where she was born and bred. We then sent her to Triermore Stud in County Meath, where Paul McDonnell and Terry Denning do a great job. The filly has thrived since she went there and having seen the videos, she looked great on the complex, so Bill and his team at The Castlebridge Consignment deserve a lot of praise too.”

The January-born Havana Grey filly is out of the Selkirk mare Scots Fern (GB), a three-time winner. Scots Fern has already produced two winners, Giava Dream (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) and Hebridean Nomad (GB) (Ulysses {Ire}), from five foals.

Severns added, “It's our (Stonehill Stud) second year in operation and a result like this is so important. Ed Harper deserves a lot of credit, too, as he was very strong on Havana Grey and advised me to use him. 

“We've got six mares at home, so we're a pretty small operation, though a result like this may help us to go out and improve the quality of stock on the farm. I'm a polo player by day, so I'm currently in Argentina. I'm actually gutted to not be there, but that's the way it is.

“Scots Fern has been great for us and she foaled a smart filly by Perfect Power (Ire) last week. We haven't finalised our mating plans for the year, but there are an exciting bunch of stallions on the list so far.”

For Browne, who revealed to be down on numbers with regards to his foal purchases in 2023, the Havana Grey filly proved to be exactly what he was searching for. The legendary breeze-up trainer and pinhooker admitted that his new acquisition didn't come cheap but explained how she could slot into any yearling sale in the autumn. 

He said, “She is a very good model and I couldn't fault her in any way. She was plenty expensive now but I suppose that's what you have to pay to get a Havana Grey these days-it's not rocket science. 

“I actually underbid another Havana Grey earlier in the day so I am very pleased to have gotten her. I usually buy around 12 foals a year and we were down on numbers this time round. They were very hard to buy in the winter. This filly could come back to the Orby or even to Book 2 but I've been very lucky selling at Goffs down through the years so we might keep her for the Orby.”

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