A heartening round of major store sales ended on a bright note this week as the Tattersalls Ireland August National Hunt Sale produced its strongest set of final figures since 2006.
With the Derby and Land Rover Sales both making significant gains to return to pre-recession levels, the August Sale followed suit with vastly improved results, albeit at a lower level.
The sale was expanded to from two days to three this year and the aggregate jumped by some 74% to over €4.7 million which was the second highest in August Sale history. The €9,829 average improved by 31% while the €6,000 median – a 25% progression on the corresponding figure from 12 months ago – was the highest since 2007.
The sale benefitted from a major input by British purchasers and those from the point-to-point field, which made for a highly competitive market. Indeed the number of horses to make €25,000 or more rose from 21 last year to 41 this time around (excluding the newly introduced 40 lot horses in training section which produced a top price of €50,000) and it was only two years ago that just seven horses managed that feat at this sale.
Another notable aspect of the sale was that the bigger catalogue gave rise to a clearance rate that improved from 70% to 78% which was the highest in this category for 14 years. This followed the trend of the other major store sales in providing a strong indicator that supply and demand are now well balanced.
In his end of sale statement Tattersalls Ireland managing director Roger Casey commented: “After the ferocious level of trade witnessed at this year’s flagship Derby Sale we were confident that the insatiable demand for stores would continue at this week’s August Sale and this has certainly been borne out by the results in the sales ring over the past three days.
“We would like to thank our ever-supportive vendors and the significant bench of domestic and UK purchasers who were here this week, many returning from the Derby Sale, with UK trade again accounting for more than 30% of the overall turnover this week.
“The €100,000 George Mernagh Memorial Sales Bumper also continues to be a big incentive for trainers to buy at this sale and indeed this year’s winner, Moon Racer, was a graduate of last year’s August Sale when purchased for only €5,000.
“Following the success of both the 2014 Derby and August Sales we now look forward with optimism to our November National Sale where demand for places is already at an all-time high and this sale will again commence with the 2014 National Hunt Yearling Show on Sunday November 9th.”
The opening day comfortably outperformed the corresponding day from last year and turnover for the session was actually greater than the cumulative aggregate for the 2012 August Sale.
John O’Byrne struck for the most expensive lot of the day when going to €58,000 to secure a Presenting gelding out of an own-sister to Tullymurry Toff. The Ballincurrig House Stud offering had missed an intended engagement at the Derby Sale in June. O’Byrne’s other spending took in a €37,000 Scorpion gelding and he paid €31,000 for a King’s Theatre gelding out of a winning half-sister to the Irish St Leger winner Septimus.
The distinction of being the top priced filly at this year’s sale fell to a daughter of Sprinter Sacre’s sire Network from Johnny Collins’ Brown Island Stables who cost Harold Kirk €57,000. Kirk was acting for Willie Mullins who trained the filly’s Grade 3-placed half-sister Twigline while Network is responsible for the champion trainer’s Grade 1-winning mare Adriana Des Mottes.
This year’s August Sale featured a new edition in the shape of a 40-lot horses in training section which was headed by Back To Bracka. The Rudimentary gelding won a Galway bumper and a Sligo maiden hurdle for Noel Kelly and he was snapped up by Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell for €50,000.
The form horses also included the prolific winning pointer Cork Citizen who came to Bobby O’Ryan for €35,000. He was placed in a Listowel hunters chase on his most recent start in June. The Kevin O’Donnell-trained bumper winners Triumph Davis and Dubh Eile were both sold for €30,000.
Agent Gerry Griffin and Nicky Richards, who are usually among the leading purchasers at this sale, gave €50,000 for a son of the French sire Kapgarde and a stakes-placed daughter of Kaldoun. The pair also gave €38,000 for a Presenting gelding out of a useful half-sister to Royal Alphabet. Both horses were purchased on behalf of David Robinson who owns last year’s Grade 1-placed novice chaser Simply Ned.
British-based buyers made a notable impact throughout the day and Welsh trainer Peter Bowen forked out €41,000 for a son of Flemensfirth and the useful mare Greenflag Princess. Meanwhile Charlie Longsdon will take charge of a €35,000 son of Davidoff who was a German-based Group 3-winning son of Montjeu.
On one of the stronger day’s trade in August Sale history last year’s top price of €80,000 was matched by a Milan gelding who made up for having to miss the Derby Sale. The relation to Woolcombe Folly certainly captured the imagination and five different parties were involved beyond the €50,000 mark before Ryan Mahon outlasted Aiden Murphy to secure the Parkville Stud offering on behalf of Paul Nicholls.
The latter trains the gelding’s promising sibling The Outlaw who was placed on his sole bumper outing last term.
John O’Byrne was once again busy and his spending took in a Simon Tindall-owned €60,000 Presenting half-brother to Simonsig who was last seen in action when winning the 2013 Arkle Chase. Earlier O’Byrne saw off several members of the point-to-point fraternity for a striking son of Robin Des Champs who made €56,000. The gelding is out of an own-sister to the useful I Hear A Symphony.
A son of Stowaway out of a winning half-sister to Rock On Ruby will join the Nicky Richards team after he came to Gerry Griffin for €58,000.
Although he missed out on the sale-topper Aiden Murphy did pick up a son of King’s Theatre for €50,000. Another member of the Parkville draft, the three-year-old is out of a half-sister to the dual Whitbread Gold Cup scorer Ad Hoc. Murphy’s other purchases took in the only son of Authorized on offer this week. From a good German flat family, the gelding will join Kim Bailey after making €42,000.
The day’s top priced filly was a daughter of the Epsom Derby third Let The Lion Roar who cost Pegasus Farm €42,000. From Ralahine Stud, the granddaughter of Sadler’s Wells is a half-sister to the Supreme Novices Hurdle second Granit Jack.
English point-to-point trainer Tom Lacey just missed out on several of the better lots but he did pick up a €40,000 son of Balko from Peter Vaughan’s Moanmore Stables. Balko was a good jumper in France and his representatives in these parts are headed by Willie Mullins’ smart mare Gitane Du Berlais.
Highflyer Bloodstock’s David Minton was acting on behalf of Nigel Twiston-Davies when giving €37,000 for a Presenting half-brother to the Group 2 winner Lochbuie and the Cheltenham Festival scorer Silk Affair. Minton also spent €32,000 on a Kalanisi gelding related to Menorah and trainer Edward Cawley matched this price for a Flemensfirth half-brother to a trio of point-to-point winners.
The concluding session of the sale was a relatively low key affair but it still produced a top price of €40,000 which came in the shape of an Oscar gelding consigned by Marie O’Driscoll. The brother to the very useful eight times winner William’s Wishes was the subject of a battle between John O’Byrne and Peter Bowen from which the Welsh trainer emerged victorious.
The point-to-point fraternity were busy throughout the day and among these was Wexford-based handler Denis Murphy who forked out €25,000 for a Stowaway gelding. The Denis Hannon-owned gelding is out of a sister to the Lartigue Hurdle winner Dyrick Daybreak.
With a bid of €23,000 Willie Codd secured a son of Beneficial out of a daughter of Grade 2-placed jumper Stoned Immaculate. This price was closely matched by Tom Keating when he picked up a €21,000 gelding from the first crop of Yeats who is a grandson of the former French 1000 Guineas heroine Zalaiyka.
A Brian Boru half-brother to last season’s Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle winner Courtncatcher was knocked down to Five Star Bloodstock for €20,000. Wexford-based Monbeg Stables gave the same amount for a son of the listed-winning Monsun horse September Storm who is out of a sister to the Triumph Hurdle second Crowded House.
A Milan gelding out of a half-sister to Weapon’s Amnesty cost High Field Bloodstock €16,500.