BUILDING on some massive increases achieved last year, it was a challenge for the team at Goffs UK in Doncaster to add further to those numbers, but when the gavel fell on the final lot at this week’s two-day Doncaster Premier Yearling Sale, the overall emotion was probably one of satisfaction.

While 28 lots realised £100,000 or more, five more than last time, only one sold for £200,000, and this compares to five who reached that figure or made more in 2022. The sale’s median was unchanged, though the average did advance by four percentage points. Selectivity among buyers was reflected by the reduced clearance rate of 86%, but the turnover, which narrowly missed doing so last year, broke through the £16 million barrier.

The Doncaster Premier Yearling Sale has a deserved reputation for producing speedy and precocious types, affectionately called ‘Donny Rockets’, and next year many graduates of this week’s auction will have the new Harry’s Half Million as their target, set to be run at York’s Ebor Festival. As the name suggests, the race will have a prize fund of £500,000.

Goffs UK’s managing director Tim Kent summed up the two days from the company’s perspective. He said: “It’s been a fantastic few days in Doncaster with an incredible atmosphere generated by the huge number of people who’ve visited our vibrant sales complex. Vendors have been quick to say that we are missing no one, the car park has been full since the weekend, and our party on Sunday night set the atmosphere nicely for the week ahead.

“In the ring it has been great to see the sale make advances in turnover and average, with the latter growing 4% to £45,809 which is the third-highest figure achieved in the history of this sale.

The number of six-figure lots also grew on last year, moving to 28 for the two days, and despite not having an obvious standout lot, the top of the market was very strong, with plenty of bidders looking for what they believed to be the best horses on offer and frenzied bidding at the very top.”

Top lot

The sale-topping lot emerged during the first session of the sale, the stronger of the two days, and his early slot in the catalogue, some two hours into trade, gave a boost to the sale which continued for the remainder of the day.

From the first Coolmore-conceived crop of Wootton Bassett, Highclere Stud’s half-brother to last year’s Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes winner Trillium possessed one of the best pedigrees of the week, and Lady Carolyn Warren consigned him on behalf of the Keswick family’s Rockcliffe Stud. The breeders raced the colt’s dam, the pattern-placed Invincible Spirit mare Marsh Hawk, and she won twice at two and ran fourth in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile.

Now the dam of three winners, all blacktype horses, with her first three foals, Marsh Hawk’s fifth produce attracted plenty of interest, but all bidders at the ringside were outgunned by an online bidder, whose identity was only revealed when the hammer fell. Robson Aguiar returned to Ireland after carrying out all his inspections and his attraction to this latest £200,000 purchase was understandable.


Fresh from celebrating a Group 1 success in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes with another son of Wootton Bassett, Bucanero Fuerte, bought with Amo Racing, Aguiar said that the latest purchase was in his own name, though he hinted that a partner was likely, and no one will be surprised if it proves to be Amo Racing again. Aguiar said: “I see a lot of value in this horse at this price.”

“We’re delighted,” said Ed Sackville, who oversees the bloodstock interests of the Keswick family.

“We always pick out a nice yearling to sell at Doncaster as they do such a good job. We sold the Frankel colt Mai Dubai, who won recently, for £200,000 here last year, and we received £190,000 and £170,000 for colts out of Age Of Chivalry a few years ago.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see him go to Robson Aguiar, as he has such a fabulous record with the sire.”