TRADE on the final day of the Goffs December National Hunt Sale was dominated by some high-end broodmares and it was lot 861, the former Henry de Bromhead-trained Zarkareva who topped proceedings when selling to the Mariga family’s Coolmara Stables for €240,000.

After four days of trade the turnover of €8,201,950 represented a 6% drop on last year’s figure which was achieved with a smaller catalogue, while the clearance rate also dropped from 69% last year to 59% this week. The average of €17,564 came in just a fraction below that of 2022 but the median price rose 9% to €11,000.

A dual winner in the Robcour silks including in the Grade 3 Buck House Novice Chase, the seven-year-old Zarkareva, a daughter of Authorized was sold on Thursday by Ballyreddin & Busherstown in foal to leading French stallion No Risk At All and hails from a famous Aga Khan family that features stars such as Zarkandar, Zarak and Zarkava.

“We all saw what No Risk At All can do in the sales ring this week, siring the highest-priced National Hunt foal this year and he's a sire we really like,” Coolmara’s Cathal Mariga said.

“She's by Authorized and I am a big fan of him as a sire. We used his son Santiago for some of our mares and we sold one earlier this week for €43,000. Santiago's stock look really nice and it's a sire-line that I think is very good. She is a lovely mare with a great Aga Khan pedigree and a champion on the page so hopefully she is lucky for us.

“We will foal her down and see what the No Risk At All is like but she could go back to France to be covered. We are developing a nice band of mares on the farm and added two flat mares this year so we will have 30 mares to foal in the spring, so we’re looking for more staff,” he added.

She’s gone to a great home in Coolmara. Hopefully I can buy a foal out of her someday!”

Over the moon

It was a sweet result for the vendors and Katie Rudd, who along with John Dwan comprises Ballyreddin & Busherstown explained: “I’m over the moon. I bought Zarkareva privately out of training and sent her to No Risk At All. He got injured shortly afterwards, so we were very lucky.

“I’ve a real soft spot for the sire. I had Allegorie De Vassy and more recently Full Of Shade, who was sold for €280,000 to Willie Mullins, Harold Kirk and Pierre Boulard. So I’m a huge fan, he’s been very lucky for me.

“I was quietly optimistic before she went into the ring that she would sell well. She’s a beautiful mare, with size, scope and a fantastic temperament. Add in to that her pedigree and race record, and she really ticked plenty of boxes. She’s gone to a great home in Coolmara. Hopefully I can buy a foal out of her someday!”

Rudd’s partnership with Dwan is a relatively new enterprise and she added: “It’s gotten off to a great start, so long may it continue. The year has been brilliant. A lot of the thinking behind the amalgamation was so that we could go to France and target those two-year-old sales. My forte is the French industry, so it made sense to target what works there.

“I’m big into pedigrees. There is a good pedigree behind a lot of those good horses in France and, quite often, they are a different type to what we have over here.”

Just before they offered the sale topper the Ballyreddin & Busherstown team also had a good result with lot 860, Delightfantastic, who was bought by Hamish Macauley for €80,000.

In foal to Golden Horn this hurdles winner is a half-sister to two very smart types in Captain Teague and Sky Pirate with the promise of more to come from the former who won a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Chepstow in October.

Foundation broodmare

Multiple graded chase winner Scarlet And Dove has all the hallmarks of a foundation broodmare and she sold to Mount Armstrong Kildare for €200,000.

Offered as lot 844 by Gigginstown House Stud for whom she won seven times when trained by Joseph O’Brien, the eight-year-old was sold in foal to Crystal Ocean and her page also features a top class hurdler in Our Conor under the second dam.

Justin and Jackie Owens are the team behind Mountarmstrong Kildare and they said, “She’s a queen of a mare, a great model, and she’s in foal to a promising sire. We’re very happy to get her. We haven’t done a mating plan for this mare yet, we’ll get her home and make a decision, but all options are open to her. We’re based in Mount Armstrong Stud outside of Clane in Co Kildare, which is Noel O’Callaghan’s old farm. If we can do half as well as he done, we’ll be delighted!

"We have mixture of flat and jump mares and we’re aiming to keep it commercial, so we’re trying to add a few quality foundation mares that will get us going.

"We are trying to keep the quality as high as we can, and we bought Shattered Love here a couple of years ago. She has a Crystal Ocean filly on the ground and she’s back in foal to Walk In The Park. It’s hard to go anywhere else given the way he is going.”

Robcour draft

Brian Acheson offered his own draft of Robcour mares earlier in the sale through Sladagh Farm and these were headed by lot 851, Say Goodbye who sold to Peter Molony for €90,000.

The daughter of Getaway won four times for Acheson and trainer Gordon Elliott including a listed hurdle in America earlier this year and possesses a stout pedigree being a half-sister to Kildisart from the family of Rathvinden.

Lot 849 Gin On Lime was a six-time winner in the Robcour silks including in the Grade 3 Like A Butterfly Novice Chase and this daughter of Doctor Dino was also bought by Mount Armstrong Kildare for €75,000.

Meanwhile Jenny Flex, lot 850, a Walk In The Park half-sister to the above-mentioned Scarlet And Dove also sold well when bought by Peria Stud for €62,000.

The same price was given by Clontenty Farm for lot 858 Lady Breffni. Tinnakill House offered this Grade 2-winning hurdler in foal to Blue Bresil.

Goffs will always strive to provide the best possible marketplace for all categories

Goffs CEO Henry Beeby statement

Speaking at the conclusion of the sale Goffs CEO Henry Beeby said, “The two top priced NH foals of the year anywhere together with the 10 highest prices for a NH broodmare this autumn clearly illustrate the progress this sale has made as such accolades would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Goffs December is now the clear first choice for so many NH breeders which led to our largest ever catalogue for this sale and four-days that witnessed some serious bidding duels for several outstanding young future jumpers and established broodmares. €120,000, our second highest NH foal ever, and the €240,000 for Zarkareva are proper headline acts and we are delighted to have delivered consistently at the top of the market. It must, however, be noted that the market has spoken loudly at the middle to lower end of the week as evidenced by a clearance rate that makes for serious reflection.

"Goffs will always strive to provide the best possible marketplace for all categories and work tirelessly to deliver for every vendor but, when four in every 10 fail to find a buyer, it must surely be a warning sign for breeders when making plans for next year and beyond.

"Indeed, this is a sobering statistic especially for the smaller entities and I can only state that Goffs will continue to work with everyone to create the best possible arena for each entry we receive. That includes the ITBA, HRI, ITM and individual breeders as our fortunes are indelibly linked to those of each vendor who chooses the Goffs service.”

True market leaders

He continued: “In closing I repeat the pride all the team at Goffs feel when we reflect on the progress we have made in the NH sector in recent years as Kildare Paddocks now plays host to true market leaders in the Arkle and December NH sales, both of which enjoyed an atmosphere and vibrancy that are the envy of others as our passionate and experienced team go that little bit further on each occasion.

"These are backed up with the most viable alternatives across in Doncaster in May and November so ensuring that Goffs continues to offer and full and focussed service to the NH industry.

"For now we wish all Goffs clients a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and look forward to welcoming each and every one back to Kildare Paddocks in 2024 whilst thanking every one of them again for their support, as we know we are nothing without it.”