'World-Class' Goffs Dubai Breeze-Up Has Mass Appeal

Watching the breeze at Meydan | Goffs


A total of 73 juveniles by some of the pre-eminent dirt sires from America complemented by a collection of top European turf stallions are set to go under the hammer during the second renewal of the Goffs Dubai Breeze-Up Sale to be held Tuesday evening in the sprawling parade ring at Meydan Racecourse.

“It's just a huge honour and privilege to be appointed as auctioneer now for the second year by the Dubai Racing Club and the chairman, Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, and it's a great feather in our cap that we are the appointed auctioneers to Sheikh Mohammed, really,” said Henry Beeby, Goffs Group Chief Executive.

Nothing breeds future success like past success, and Beeby is quietly optimistic that this year's renewal outperform the results from 12 months ago.

“It was a great success year one, the vendors have done a mighty, mighty job in learning a huge amount about what's required,” he said. “We've got a really good collection of horses, we've got global interest and we're very excited about the outcome for the sale.”

Beeby credits Goffs International Clients Relations Consultant Tom Taaffe, Nick Nugent and Gerry Hogan for their collective work in liaising with the sale vendors in recruiting the types of horses that can succeed at the races, be it in the Gulf region or beyond, now and in the future. Taaffe suggested that the freedom to travel abroad during 2022 has made the task at hand significantly easier.

“The vendors, purchasers, Goffs and the Dubai Racing Club have learned much from last year,” said Taaffe. “This year, the vendors–without any COVID restrictions–have moved around the globe, particularly the States, and picked up what they feel is suitable to come to this sale. I would say that the results will reflect that proof out on Tuesday night.”

The variety of horses on offer will suit all budgets, said Taaffe.

“Goffs and the Dubai Racing Club have produced a world-class catalogue to be held in a world-class country,” he said. “The horses in the catalogue are designed to be at three levels, there are many purchases that are top level and middle level and a slightly lower level. We are happy to present these horse to any audience.”

'Three-Quarter Speed Work On the Bridle'

Beeby would know a thing or two about breeze-up sales, as his late father Harry was the former chairman of Doncaster Bloodstock Sales (now Goffs UK), which launched the concept of such an auction in the 1970s. An old-school mentality has been agreed to by the auctioneer and the Dubai Racing Club to allow the sales horses a chance to display their innate ability under tack without necessarily emptying the tank. This year's gallops took place Monday over the synthetic training track.

“This is a breeze-up with a difference because virtually every other breeze-up held around the world are very clock-based,” said Beeby. “When I first started with my father, what people were looking for in those days was a good three-quarter speed work on the bridle showing potential. That's what we told the vendors last year and I think it sat very well.”

Taaffe added: “We have to credit His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and His Highness Sheikh Rashid for agreeing with Goffs to run the sale with no clocks. There is no timing here, it's not based on speed, it's about producing the most quality horse that will develop with more of a 3-year-old programme in mind and longer longevity because they race at four, five, six, seven here. Having no clock here is a big thing, we can give a horse a chance to develop and its head not to be blown. The emphasis is more on the longevity and a good career rather than speed.”

Take Two

During last year's inaugural sale, 55 2-year-olds (from 69 offered) changed hands for turnover of €8,467,630, good for an average of €153,957 and a median price of €99,169. The event was topped by a colt by the wildly successful Hill 'n' Dale Kentucky-based Curlin who fetched just shy of €620,000 from Mohammed Al Subousi.

The 2022 Breeze-Up received a timely endorsement when two of its graduates–Go Soldier Go (Tapiture, €123,962) and Mr Raj (Bolt d'Oro, €86,773)–finished first and second, respectively, in the Listed Al Bastakiya S. on Super Saturday Mar. 4. The duo face a rematch in Saturday's G2 UAE Derby. Big Red Farm purchased Labeling (GB) (Frankel {GB}) for just over €520,638 at last year's event and watched as the half-brother to G3 Chartwell Fillies S. winner and G1 Matron S. runner-up Lily's Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and to the stakes-winning and multiple Group 2-placed Zurigha (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}) won his maiden at first asking before finishing third, beaten a half-length, in the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity last December.

“We've had 14 individual winners out of the sale now, six different countries,” said Taaffe. “People are aware of that and I would expect it to fester and grow from there. This is a world-class sale, make no doubt about it. It can stand up properly over the test of time.”

Beeby believes there was a bit of a feeling-out process among buyers and sellers alike last year which he expects to have dissipated this time around.

“There was plenty of interest last year, but there's definitely been greater interest this year,” he said. “A lot of people watched last year, and we were pleased with the results, but there were people watching and monitoring and now they've seen the success.”

The team at Goffs and the Dubai Racing Club are committed to grow and evolve as necessary, and Beeby believes that will be on full display during Tuesday's sale.

“I think the greatest thing we all learned was what that particular market wants and what works there,” he said. “The horses that did well at the sale were the dirt horses or the real top-of-the-range European horses–the Frankels and Dubawis. You've got to work to your market. We've got another good bunch.”

One of the longest-standing breeze-up consignors in Europe, Con Marnane of Bansha House Stables, has been keen to give his backing to the new sale and reported on Monday of increased interest from years one to two.

He said: “There's way more people here this morning for the breeze than last year. I'd say there's double the amount. Goffs and the Dubai Racing Club have done a great job bringing in new buyers. The Saudis and Qataris have had some good success from the sale and all their people are here.”

Marnane has two juveniles in the sale. Lot 65 is a colt by a former star breeze-up graduate Le Brivido (Fr), and the youngster's pedigree will have special resonance in the UAE as he is a half-brother to the Dubai World Cup winner Prince Bishop (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}). Also in the Bansha House draft is lot 36, a May-foaled colt from the first crop of WinStar Farm's Audible and a half-brother to the GIII LA Woman S. winner Lady Ninja (Majesticperfection).

Marnane added: “The vettings have been very intense. To get into the sale you had to have a good scope, and 10 days ago they were all x-rayed as well. And it is worth noting that 10 days ago in Ireland there was several inches of snow, so these horses have been exercising in the snow and now they are out in Dubai in 30-degree heat. So it's tough on them adjusting from that cold weather but we're very happy with the couple of horses we have brought here and there has been great traffic during the inspections. We must thank Sheikh Mohammed for having us here, and we are delighted to support the sale.”

For the entire Dubai Breeze-Up catalogue, please click here.



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