Youth To Fore At Tatts Ireland As O'Donovan Leads Way With 270k Zelzal

Danny O'Donovan: with his sale-topping Zelzal colt | Tattersalls Ireland


A man knows he is in clover when there's a bloodstock agent outside his door waiting to see his horse before he's even had time to chuck his breakfast into the feed pot on the morning of the sale. But that's exactly the scenario Danny O'Donovan faced into with his Zelzal colt on Friday and it proved a good omen with the €35,000 yearling purchase going on to top the sale at €270,000 to Peter and Ross Doyle. 

This was a result that rubber-stamped an exceptionally good year for O'Donovan, who has only been trading under Donovan Bloodstock for two years now. From an Acclamation (GB) filly [Jiwin (Ire)] who sold for 170,000gns at the Craven Sale to an Eqtidaar (Ire) filly who made £120,000 at Donny, it's safe to say that things have gone well this year for the Cork native who operates just outside the Curragh in Kildangan. 

But things reached new dizzying heights for O'Donovan and Adam Potts, who helped source the colt at Arqana last October, when the Zelzal lit up the bid board. 

Doyle said, “I was very taken by the horse who was bred the way he was and physically he had a lot of size to him. I loved the way he breezed–nice and relaxed and a big action. 

“He was bought very well by the lads [O'Donovan and Potts] and he's as good a physical as I have seen for a long time. A trainer hasn't been confirmed but he's for a long and established client and he's off to France.”

Doyle also bought the Eqtidaar filly off O'Donovan at Doncaster on behalf of Amo Racing and it is understood that she is currently in training with Richard Hannon. 

On the young operators, the top agent added, “The lads do a great job and their horses look great. Fingers crossed now. This horse could be anything.”

The Zelzal colt will be well at home in France given he was one of the few horses in the sale who qualified for French premiums. He is out of an unraced Medaglia d'Oro mare and hails from the family of Mastercraftsman (Ire). 

Speaking after the sale, O'Donovan commented, “Days like these are few and far between. I'm just delighted the horse put in the breeze I expected him to do because he shows us exactly that at home. He wasn't missed by anyone–all of the good judges were in the ring for him and I'm just delighted that one of the best judges of them all bought him because he will get the best possible chance to be good on the track and that's the most important thing.”

He added, “Mathew Dickinson, who led him up, said that he never looked after a horse with as many vets in his life. As well as that, we had an agent here first thing this morning before the horse even had his breakfast, so we were half expecting that he'd sell well. But to get €270,000, you couldn't have predicted that.”

“This is the first year that me and Adam teamed up together. He bought a few shares in the yearlings last year and helped me out in the yard with them. It's worked out well and we've had a good season.  Even Adam's mother, Suzy, was a big help. There were some nights when she didn't leave the place until 11 o'clock because she'd be up checking on them, so everyone has played their part.”

Doyle went on to snap up a Profitable (Ire) colt consigned by Tradewinds Stud for €185,000. The wildcard entry [lot 253] was bought by Shane and Alex Power for 37,000gns at the Somerville Yearling Sale and turned a tidy profit after breezing well on Thursday.

  • Successful jumps jockey Brian O'Connell, who will forever be associated for his association with Champion Bumper hero Dunguib (Ire) (Presenting {GB}), enjoyed one of his best days as a consignor when selling a Calyx (GB) filly [lot 99] to Mark McStay for €155,000. The filly was shrewdly bought here last September for €24,000 and represented one of O'Connell's biggest results as a consignor under Chasefield Stables. 
  • McStay clearly had his Weetabix on Friday morning. The top agent hit the ground running to provide some early excitement in signing for a Sioux Nation colt [lot 2] from Katie Walsh's Greenhills Farm for €240,000. That represented yet another big result for Walsh at the Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze-Up Sale, given she broke the record here 12 months ago with a €520,000 Saxon Warrior (Jpn) filly.
  • Anna Barlow told TDN Europe on Thursday that she was hopeful of securing a profit with lot 137, a Phoenix Of Spain (Ire) filly she sourced here in September for just €6,000. The 22-year-old, whose only other breezer this year, a Starspangledbanner filly (Aus), netted over €40,000 in profit at the Guineas Breeze-Up Sale, turned more water into wine when the Phoenix Of Spain filly was knocked down to Michael O'Callaghan for €55,000.
  • It wouldn't be a breeze-up sale without Willie Browne's Mocklershill playing a leading role. In this case, it was a Ten Sovereigns (Ire) filly [lot 15] who sold to Alex Elliott for €200,000, who led the way for the legendary consignor. 
  • Ado McGuinness has already hit the ground running with his breeze-up purchases this year. Tiger Belle (Ire) (Cotai Glory {GB}), who the trainer sourced along with assistant and nephew Stephen Thorne at Doncaster for £70,000, is Royal Ascot bound after winning on debut at Cork. The Lusk-based operator will be hoping to have secured another speedy youngster for the Shamrock Thoroughbreds syndicate in the shape of lot 8, an Inns Of Court (Ire) colt for €100,000 from Tally-Ho Stud.


Dreams Come True For The Shinnick Brothers With Make Believe Filly

The good results just kept coming and there were few better than what brothers Andy and John Shinnick produced when transforming their €7,000 Make Believe (GB) filly foal (lot 47) purchase into a €170,000 breezer. 

The sire in this case was quite apt as the result was clearly beyond the Shinnick brothers' wildest dreams with Nick Bell doing the buying on behalf of Middleham Park Racing. 

“It isn't too bad, I suppose, for your first time doing it,” came the understatement of the year from Andy.

John, who is an apprentice jockey, added, “We always liked her. We don't even have a gallop at home–just train her in the fields. She looked quick running past thistles!

“She is ignorant to go, though, she wants to go and is very straightforward. We did like her at home and, to be honest, it was our first time doing it so we didn't come here with any real high expectations.”

The Shinnick brothers hail from County Cork and it was at the Goffs November Foal Sale in 2021 where they sourced the speedster from Grennanstown Stud.

On the experience on the whole, John said, “There's a lot of pressure and work involved. It all comes down to the one day and a lot can go wrong. But you have to take your chance and it's great when it does pay off–it really gives you the bug.

“It's brilliant for the likes of the two of us. For it to be the first time to go at it, it's dream work. We have a bit of money so we'll go and buy a few more of them now!”



Lordan Sioux Happy With €230,000 Colt

Another young operator, Darragh Lordan, produced a result to rival the exploits of O'Donovan and the Shinnick brothers when selling his Sioux Nation colt to Adam Driver [later changed to Global Equine Group] for €230,000. 

A €25,000 yearling purchase here last September, the Sioux Nation colt was consigned under Innishannon Valley Stud, and exceeded all of Lordan's expectations in the ring. 

He said, “I did expect around €100,000 for him as I really liked him, but that was just unreal. To have the horse for top tier-trade is unreal and all the right people were on him. He breezed savage and all year he has been so straightforward, everything was so smooth, a very easy horse to do. I think he is a very good horse. Hopefully he can go to the track and show it there.”

He added, “I sold Marshman (GB), a good Harry Angel (Ire) horse, last year. It helps when you sell a good horse because it brings the buyers to the door and then they listen when you talk about a horse.”

Bourke Pulls Another Rabbit Out Of The Hat With James Garfield Colt

John Bourke of Hyde Park Stud rightly grabbed the headlines last year when his breeze-up graduate Cachet (Ire) (Aclaim {Ire}) won the 1,000 Guineas for George Boughey.

The Mullingar man, who is not afraid to chance a cheaper yearling every now and again, was duly rewarded for rolling the dice on his €3,000 purchase here in September by James Garfield, with the colt selling to Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock for a whopping €155,000. 

Brown said, “It is extraordinary trade here. I think there were four or five people in over €100,000, which for a colt who cost very little as a yearling is certainly testament to the way he was prepared and the way he breezed. 

“He is a gorgeous colt and he did a very good breeze. He is bred to be a sprinter–he has got the looks, he did the breeze and he was the one on that basis that we really wanted.”

Strong Trade At All Levels At Tattersalls Ireland

Bigger does not always translate to better, as we have seen already on the breeze-up circuit this year, but in the case of this sale, it resulted in an excellent trade across the board.

The average climbed 13% to €43,033, and the median rose 36% to €22,000. Of the 267 horses offered, 239 sold (83%) for a gross of €8,563,500.

Simon Kerins, CEO of Tattersalls Ireland, said, “Incredible is the word that springs to mind when I reflect on today. The Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze Up Sale is truly going from strength to strength, the second lot into the ring making €240,000 set the tone for the day and the six-figure lots didn't stop coming after that. To sell a record 18 lots for €100,000 or more is remarkable and our sincere thanks must go out to every single vendor who entrusted us with their top-quality 2-year-olds. It was also fantastic to see so many young consignors rewarded for their hard work and determination, and I congratulate all of those who returned with profitable pinhooks.

“We must also thank our overseas buyers who flocked to Tattersalls Ireland in their droves, it was wonderful to see everyone and to welcome a wealth of new faces as well. The footfall seen across the last two days at Ireland's only Breeze Up Sale has been phenomenal and the figures achieved were driven by an international buying bench with a huge contingent of overseas buyers from UAE, Scandinavia, Germany, Spain, and Italy taking on lively bidders from the UK and Ireland.

“The logistics that go into staging a Breeze Up Sale are huge and we would not be able to do it without the support of Fairyhouse Racecourse and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing. Charles O'Neill and the team at Irish Thoroughbred Marketing have worked so hard to attract overseas buyers and the team at Fairyhouse Racecourse provided us with a safe surface and excellent facilities. It was great to hear vendors being so complimentary about the new stretch of ground that had never been used for this sale before.

“We have no doubt this year's graduates will go on to be top-class performers across the globe and we look forward to following their journeys. We now turn our attention to compiling our catalogue for the September Yearling Sale and attracting a strong bench of purchasers back in the Autumn.”

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