TATTERSALLS Ireland’s February NH Sale got the 2024 sales calendar off to a satisfactory start on Tuesday when just over €1 million worth of stock changed hands at a 56% clearance rate.

This year’s catalogue was 25% smaller than last year which helps to explain a €600,000 drop in turnover. However, the average of €11,528 and median of €7,000 also failed to match those from 12 months ago.

As was the case in 2023, stock by Blue Bresil and Walk In The Park remained much sought-after and it was a son of the former who topped the sale when selling to Charles Shanahan for €62,000.

Offered by Donie Murphy’s Walshtown Stables, the yearling colt is out of Maryota, a half-sister to Yanworth, who has produced four winners from five runners including the smart Grade 1-placed Mr Glass.

Charles Shanahan was buying on behalf of Ciaran Conroy’s Glenvale Stud and said: “He was our highlight of the day. Since we saw him, he stood out to us and by the price he made he stood out to everyone else too. He is very well-bred and from a great family – the mare has produced a good horse and Martaline seems to be a good broodmare sire.

“Blue Bresil is flying, he had a good bumper winner the other day for Ben Pauling and obviously Constitution Hill keeps doing it too. We just need to find another like him and we will be okay!

“This chap has the pedigree and the physical. We’re very happy that he’s coming home with us and the plan will be to reoffer him at the Derby Sale.”

Feronily sibling

The same vendor, Walshtown Stables, got proceedings off to a good start when selling a yearling colt to Niall Bleahen for €50,000. By Blue Bresil out of the Old Vic mare Vickeeto, the colt is a half-brother to the Emmet Mullins-trained Grade 1 winner Feronily while the dam is a half-sister to another Grade 1 winner in Watson Lake.

It’s a family Bleahen knows well, as he explained afterwards: “I had Feronily and he was a lovely horse to work with and straightforward from the word ‘go’. We broke him ourselves through Covid and he showed fairly early on that he was going to be something special.

“This fella has the same temperament. He has a lot of growing to do as he was a very late foal, but he is very athletic and, like his older half-brother. It’s no negative [being a late foal]. Our land is good to grow horses and he will get all that he needs. He should make up into a nice horse.”

Walshtown Stables sold the sale-topper at last year’s edition of this sale and the farm’s Laura Murphy said: “He is a lovely foal. He was bred by Tom O’Brien, and we had the Malinas half-brother last year, he is supposed to be a nice horse and will run in a point-to-point.

“We had this horse for his prep and he has done everything right. He has always been very straightforward to do and came up here and he has not put a foot wrong. He was very busy here yesterday and this morning. He is by the right sire, they all want them at the moment, and that is the sort of figure we were hoping for.”

Rathbarry support

Blue Bresil, of course, stands at Rathbarry Stud and that farm’s Paul Cashman went to €40,000 to acquire a filly by the red-hot stallion.

From Ballinaroone Stud, the filly is out of the stakes-placed four-time winner Whatzdjazz from a family which has thrown up plenty of high-class performers including Fiveforthree, Langer Dan and Celestial Gold.

Rathbarry Stud also signed for another yearling by one of their stallions, this time a colt by their new recruit Jeu St Eloi, for €41,000. The colt was consigned by Galbertstown Stables and hails from the family of Master Minded.

An impeccably-bred son of Walk In The Park out of French Grade 1 winner Fleur D’Ainay unsurprisingly proved popular when selling to Catherine Magnier of Grange Stud for €43,000.

Consigned by Railstown Stud on behalf of Garranlea Bloodstock, the colt is a half-brother to listed-winning French hurdler Zurekin and the very promising bumper winner Fleur In The Park, who finished second for trainer Andy Slattery in a listed mares’ bumper at Navan in December.

Railstown Stud had earlier sold a colt by Goliath Du Berlais to Ger Hannon for €30,000. The colt’s dam Ephedrine was a three-time winner in France and is herself a half-sister to a Grade 1 performer in Miss Salsa Blue.

“He is a nice horse and hopefully he will come back here for the Derby Sale,” Hannon said. “I’ve bought him for Pat Fenlon of Brandon View Stud. We saw him together yesterday. I bought one by the sire in November and they are nice sorts.”