IRELAND's biggest sale of sport horses - the Goresbridge Sport Horse Performance Sale (September 8th-17th) - got off to a roaring start this week at the Kilkenny auction house.
Goresbridge auctioneer Martin Donohoe said the sale - which started on Tuesday with the pony lots - was powering ahead, fuelled in no small part by the amount of British buyers in attendance, buoyed up with the strength of the strong sterling difference.
"There is an incredible amount of British buyers here at Goresbridge, they are all very welcome and it's great to see so much interest from them in buying good Irish horses. There was very lively trade for the four-year-olds this week with Thursday's top lot bought late in the sale by Graham Smith for Holly (Gillott) to ride, hopefully another Dougie Douglas for her.
"Next week we have four days of three-year-olds and there is strength evident in every segment of the market, trade has been strong for Irish horses since the beginning of the year and continues to hold up extremely well,'' said Martin Donohoe.
Leicestershire-based Graham Smith - who sourced his British Nations Cup horse Dougie Douglas at Goresbridge Sales - paid Thursday's top price of €17,000 for a son of Lux Z, Marion Casey's Ballyknock Fountain Boy. The five-year-old has been bought for Holly Gillott to campaign.
"What can I say - I hope he's a nice horse. All you can do is keep buying the best you can find. Goresbridge has always been a lucky venue for us and we generally manage to find a good one," Graham Smith told The Irish Field.
The horse was bred by Rodney Brady and is out of the KWPN registered mare Wanieta (Darco) and was produced by Paul McDermott initially before being educated further by Jason Higgins.
Among the other well-sold lots, the Dutch-bred gelding grade a show jumper, the 14-year-old Ullrich (by Emilion), consigned by long-term owner Niamh Keogh, with form from the Hickstead Speed Derby and the Dublin Horse Show, was secured for €10,000 by Hampshire buyer Amy Derber who intends to keep this gem for herself.
The nine-day Goresbridge marathon comes on top of last weekend's hugely successful supreme sale of show jumping foals at Barnadown, Gorey, Co Wexford, - held in conjunction with Goresbridge Auctioneers - where the top price of €22,000 for a smashing colt foal by the Belgian warmblood Elvis Ter Putte out of the top Irish show jumping mare Ballypatrick Flight (Laughtons Flight), delighted vendor Tipperary international show jumper Greg Broderick. The foal's dam is a half-sister to Broderick's recent Dublin Horse Show Aga Khan Nations Cup winner Going Global as well as the CCI*** event horse MHS Joules. He was snapped up by Co Limerick's Ronnie Kelly on behalf of British-based Irish international showjumper Shane Breen. Foals from that sale averaged €11,000.