THE store horse market took a significant downturn at Goffs on Thursday when just 69% of horses offered at Part 2 of the Arkle Sale were sold.

Vendors would have been entitled to feel a little optimistic before trading began, following Part 1 of the sale on Tuesday and Wednesday, which were generally accepted to have gone much better than was feared.

Indeed, the first three lots into the ring on Thursday all sold for five-figure sums, and a few minutes later agent Harold Kirk paid €45,000 for what would prove to be the day's joint top lot.

However, business became patchy as the day wore on. A total of 44 horses sold for €20,000 or more, compared to 76 a year ago.

The average price of €15,158 was down 23% and the median fell by over 17%.

Goffs CEO Henry Beeby said: "The average and median have declined by larger percentages compared to Part 1 which was deemed a success relative to the expectation coming into the week.

"The clearance rate is of particular concern as a figure of 69% is well short of what we all set out to achieve. It compares unfavourably with Part 1’s 80% and demonstrates the challenges the market is facing away from the headline horses and continues recent trends. A tightening of trade impacts everyone and we will look to reverse the decline by working hard with all entities."

John Murphy's Highfort Stables was the day's top buyer, spending €73,000 on five horses.

Sharing top spot on the day's transactions was a Joshua Tree gelding from Niall Bleahen's Liss House Stables and a son of Poet's Word from William Flood's Boardsmill Stud. Both fetched €45,000.

Willie Mullins will train the Joshua Tree gelding, who was knocked down to Harold Kirk. He is from the family of Tropical Lake and Embittered. Cork trainer Robert Tyner acquired the Poet's Word, who is a half-brother to multiple winner No Comment and Burn The Evidence.