THE appetite for high-quality potential National Hunt stars was clearly demonstrated on Thursday evening in the parade ring at Punchestown.
Twenty horses with racecourse and point-to-point form took up an appointment with the Goffs auctioneers, and all but two of them found new owners at a record-breaking sale. “We are simply overjoyed,” said Henry Beeby.
Mystery surrounds the new home for the sale-topping Absolute Notions, though it will be no surprise to find that he returns to Gordon Elliott in Cullentra Stables following his sale for €370,000 to bloodstock agent Mags O’Toole. “I’ve bought him for a client, and I don’t know where he will be going,” was her response to questions about the new owner and trainer.
With a rich history of successful graduates, buying the winner of the Goffs Land Rover Bumper makes sense, and Absolute Notions won Tuesday’s renewal of the race by six and a half lengths in the colours of Micheál Conaghan. He had purchased the son of Milan for €29,000 as a foal, a price befitting the son of a mare whose siblings include the Grade 1 winning hurdler Chief Dan George.
When he was reoffered from the Conaghan family’s Evergreen Stud at the Land Rover Sale last year, Micheál retained him at €60,000, a wise move in light of subsequent events. In addition, as the consignor of the race winner he will now get to sit behind the wheel of a Land Rover!
A further hint to the possibility that the sale-topper might be back in Cullentra came with the comment from Gordon Elliott that “I think Absolute Notions could be top-class.” That was said after he purchased the runner-up to Absolute Notions on Tuesday, Miss Agusta, for €235,000. She, along with Absolute Notions, were the two wild card entries, and she was sold moments before her conqueror brought the sale proceedings to a close.
A four-year-old daughter of Kedrah House Stud stallion Well Chosen, Miss Agusta attempted to make all in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper, and she finished a clear second-best on the day. It points again to Gordon Elliott’s regard for the winner that he secured the Mag Mullins’ trained Miss Agusta, also part-owned by the trainer, for an owner in his yard.
The first foal of her unraced Presenting dam, Miss Agusta’s grandam was the six-time winning mare Lady Zephyr who was runner-up to Grade 1 winner No Refuge in the Grade 2 Leamington Novices’ Hurdle and beaten two lengths by Ladalko in another Grade 2.
Honeysuckle’s success powers trade for mares
“THIS daughter of Flemensfirth gave the performance of the season so far by a four-year-old filly on Sunday at Monksgrange.”
So read the blurb from the sales company about Jenny Wyse, offered from Colin Bowe’s Milestone Stables. Could she be the next Honeysuckle? Time will tell after bloodstock agent Tom Malone paid a whopping €360,000 for her to join champion trainer Paul Nicholl’s yard.
Out of an unraced King’s Theatre own-sister to Grade 3 hurdle winner Morning Run, Jenny Wyse won her point-to-point by an eye-catching 20 lengths. She was bought as a newly-turned yearling at Tattersalls Ireland by Kieran Cotter for €25,000.
It was a feature of the sale that demand for fillies was strong. The seven catalogued all sold, and their average of over €156,000 was very close to the overall sale figure.
Lorna Fowler, on behalf of the Tyrrell family, sold Mellificent to Stroud Coleman Bloodstock for €150,000, and she would prove to be the bargain of the sale.
A fast finishing runner-up on her debut in a very competitive winners’ bumper at Fairyhouse on Irish Grand National day, Mellificent chased home Hunters Yarn who was winning for the first time, and she was followed home by a pair of previous bumper winners representing Gordon Elliott.
What a bargain purchase she was by Niall Tyrrell who paid €9,500 for Mellificent as a newly-turned yearling.
Another mare to sell for a six-figure sum was the five-year-old The Moon Sea’s Me. She stayed on well in her breeder Stephen Lanigan-O’Keeffe’s colours to see off a late challenge from the runner up in a mares’ maiden on Sunday at Monksgrange, with the rest eight lengths and more behind.
A daughter of Sea Moon, The Moon Sea’s Me was offered from Aidan Fitzgerald’s Cobajay Stables and cost Bobby O’Ryan €110,000.
Oldcastle winners command attention
PURCHASED for €62,000 by Patrick Redmond at the Goffs Land Rover Sale last year, Fortunate Soldier progressed from an eye-catching debut at Lisronagh to follow up with a commanding victory in four-year-old maiden at Oldcastle.
Trained at Ballydaragh Stables by Liam Kenny, the son of Soldier Of Fortune will continue his racing career in Britain after Highflyer’s David Minton won the bidding duel for the chesnut at €200,000. The son of the Grade 3-placed winning hurdler Ma Belle Amie, by Oscar, comes from a very successful French female line.
Always prominent when winning on his debut in a competitive 16-runner maiden, also at Oldcastle, was De Legislator. Owner and trainer Tom Keating’s patience has paid off with this five-year-old son of Shirocco, purchased two years ago at the Derby Sale for €33,000, and this time he traded for €170,000. De Legislator was purchased by Lucinda Russell and Tom McIvor.
Mary Doyle’s Foreverwalking narrowly triumphed on his debut at Quakerstown, but it was the race won previously by the likes of Next Destination and Bacardys. Trained by Pat Doyle, the son of the red-hot Walk In The Park is from the family of Sizing Europe, and was bought for €70,000 at last year’s Goffs Land Rover Sale. He was sourced on this occasion by Harold Kirk to join the 2022 king of Punchestown, Willie Mullins.
Bloodstock agent Tom Malone was the busiest man at the sale, and he had his name on four buyer’s dockets on the evening. In addition to Jenny Wyse, he paid €135,000 for Heads Or Harps (Flemensfirth) for Michael Scudamore, €120,000 for Castleward (Notnowcato), and €100,000 for Bill Jack (Shantou), the latter to join Jamie Snowden.