IRISH Draught sales are usually quite congenial affairs so it wasn’t surprising that the pandemic and its restrictions had a major impact on Cavan’s 2020 renewal of its November auction of the native breed when there were just 30 lots forward of whom 18 were sold for a 60% clearance rate

Thankfully, 12 months on, the situation was much improved. Last Friday, as the curtain came down on the Cavan Horse Sales’ year, there was a clearance rate of 71% as 46 of the 65 lots forward found new homes; the aggregate, naturally, was much higher at €132,950 (€40,900 last year and €91,750 in 2019 when 45 lots were sold); while the average grew to €2,890 (€2,272 in 2020 and €2,039 in 2019).

British purchasers snapped up many of the choice lots but it was Co Westmeath’s Pat Maguire who signed for the day’s top-priced animal when giving €5,500 for Patrick Mellett’s unnamed three-year-old Rebel Flagmount gelding (Lot 367) who is out of the Merry Mate mare Miss Ellie Jane.

“Pat bought this fellow privately as a foal from his breeder (Aidan Lynch),” revealed Mellett’s partner, Tanya Bourke. “He was broken during the late summer and had one day out in Hanley’s Equestrian Centre. While he’s very flashy (chesnut with three white legs and a blaze), he never grew. He’s about 15.1hh and should be a perfect show cob.

Draught foals

“Pat buys about 10 Draught foals each year and keeps them until they are three. He’ll sometimes hold on to one to produce under saddle as he did with Echo King Prospect who won the RDS national ID performance championship for four and five-year-olds at Lambertstown in August. We have held on to him and he’ll be out again next year.”

Welsh breeder David Thomas paid €5,250 to secure John Delahunt’s unnamed dun mare by Longwood Silver Dollar (Lot 361). The nine-year-old is out of the Star Kingdom mare Rosie Kingdom.

The next four top-priced lots were all bound for England with Shelly Argyle, who purchased three horses on the day, parting with €5,100 for Kenneth Bell’s home-bred Castleview Vintage (Lot 350). This two-year-old grey gelding, who is by Castleview Inisfree Farmer out of the Coolcronan Wood mare Castleview Princess, was fourth in the Irish Shows Association/Ballinasloe Show Society Irish Draught colt foal championship in 2019.

Shropshire’s Verna Hancock purchased two lots, giving her higher price of €5,000 for Victoria Kennington’s Caelis Diamond (Lot 358) who was described as having “fantastic heavyweight hunter potential”. Bred in Co Tyrone by Charlene Little, the four-year-old grey filly is by Dunsandle Diamond out of Manors Blue Diamond (by Rockrimmon Silver Diamond).

The second of Hancock’s purchases was Tirargus Silver Crest (Lot 341) for whom she gave Letterkenny’s Tanya Russell €4,500. By Beechmore Silver Crest, the two-year-old grey gelding, who had been loose schooled, was bred in Co Donegal by John Joe Trearty out of the Star Kingdom mare White Goose.

Hannah Good paid a similar amount to secure a three-year-old gelding by Carrickcottage Star (Lot 355) who was consigned to the sale by Tubber’s Eamon Rodgers. The athletic grey, who was bred in Co Leitrim by Phil Fitzpatrick, is out of the Luke Skywalker mare Priestown Heather.

Busy day for Geraghty

Co Meath’s David Geraghty was easily the busiest buyer at the sale, signing for a dozen lots ranging in price from €4,300 down to €1,650.

The most expensive lot to join David and his wife Georgette at their Geraghty Sport Horses yard near Tara – no doubt temporarily – was Jim Heery’s three-year-old Kiltybane Naldo gelding who was bred in Co Down by Patrick Rice (Lot 354). According to the catalogue the bay, who is out of the Welcome Diamond mare Anrinnin Golden Girl, was “tried for carriage driving but was found not to be suitable for this”. Anrinnin Golden Girl has had a foal each year from 2012 to this, all of them by Kiltybane Naldo.

Ten of Geraghty’s other 11 buys were foals, the odd-one out being Gabriel Slattery’s yearling colt (Lot 347) who is considered to have stallion potential. The grey by Rebel Flagmount is the second foal bred by Co Galway’s Gabriel Nohilly out of the Mountain Diamond mare Roise Kate.

Derry Rothwell was obviously taken by Maeve Bailey’s Fuerty Supreme (Lot 310) as the well-known and highly-regarded Co Wicklow exhibitor and breeder gave €4,000 for this early August-foaled filly, the youngest Draught sold on the day.

The chesnut daughter of Moylough Supremacy has a good performance pedigree behind her as she is out of Fuerty Failte (by Welcome Flagmount) who, under Bailey, amassed 26 Show Jumping Ireland points and was twice clear in the RDS performance ID class. In 2018, Fuerty Failte Lad, a colt by Gortfree Lakeside Lad ex Fuerty Failte, was reserve champion foal at the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association national breed show in Punchestown.