THE first half of the Goffs UK Spring Sale this week, on Monday and Tuesday, comprised store horses. While all the metrics showed a decline from last year, trade was headlined by the emotional sale of a Blue Bresil filly for a record British store price of £210,000.

The subject of greatest interest over the first two days’ selling was a three-year-old daughter of Constitution Hill’s sire, and the first foal out of the Presenting mare Petticoat Tails. Bred by the late Richard Aston and his wife Sally at their Goldford Stud, her sale was a great tribute to Richard, coming just weeks after his untimely death.

The Aston family stamp was all over the sale-topper, who was acquired by Highflyer Bloodstock’s David Minton, and signed for in collaboration with Jerry McGrath Bloodstock. The filly was among four lots sold by Goldford for £390,000, and that figure was beaten by £1,000 by Ballincurrig House Stud when their final lot of 11 lots sold realised £13,000. This prevented Goldford from topping the consignors’ table for the eleventh time.

Richard Aston was one of the most respected figures in the world of National Hunt breeding and sales, and he and Sally developed the family of the sale-topping filly over a number of generations. Warren Greatrex handled the racing career of Petticoat Tails, and his wife Tessa was among the many who made a play for her daughter on Monday.

Twice successful in bumpers and over hurdles, Petticoat Tails was runner-up in the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle on her final start, and was only denied a blacktype win by half a length in a listed bumper at Sandown.

Theatre Girl

The next dam, Theatre Girl, won three times for Alan King, and she was beaten less than a length by Chomba Womba when runner-up in the Grade 2 Doncaster Mares’ Hurdle. Her four winners at stud also includes the blacktype-placed bumper and chase mare Tweed Skirt.

Theatre Girl, a daughter of King’s Theatre, was bred at Goldford, and she is one of seven winners on the racecourse for the five-time winning Ardross mare Fortune’s Girl.

Fortune’s Girl bred the Grade 2 Martell Champion Bumper winner Diamond Sale, and the Listed Sandown Handicap Hurdle winner Ring The Boss, and she is related to the Group 1 winner Muhaarar, the sire of the recent French 2000 Guineas winner, and the dual 2023 Grade 1 bumper winner, A Dream To Share.

Goldford sold one of the top lots the following afternoon when their three-year-old son of Authorized, a half-brother to three bumper winners and out of a winning Presenting mare, realised £85,000, being bought by Gary Moore, acting through agent David Phelan. The gelding was bred by Martin Lightbody.

Vaughan’s star is Tuesday’s best in class

PETER Vaughan’s Moanmore Stables headed the trade on the second day of the Goffs UK Spring Store Sale, and this was one of four lots to bring six figures during the session.

The sale of the three-year-old son of No Risk At All, the third foal of a three-time winning Hurricane Cat mare, showed the strength of the market for point-to-pointers, as he was purchased by Monbeg Stables’ Donnchadh Doyle for £125,000, the aim being to go pointing and resell.

Vaughan, a frequent visitor to France, purchased the gelding as a foal, and his sire needed no introduction. On the female side of the family, his dam had bred a winner from her first two offspring, and she was one of six winners from the American-bred River Trebor. While the immediate family is that of the Group 1 winning siblings Stormy River and Silverwave, it also contains the Grade 1 Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle heroine Stormy Ireland.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Doyle spent £100,000 to purchase a three-year-old son of Walk In The Park from Richard Collins’ Park Farm, near Sedgefield. The price left little if any profit for Collins who paid €85,000 for him as a yearling at Tattersalls Ireland. His appeal then was obvious, by the most sought-after sire on the National Hunt scene, and out of a full-sister to the Grade 1 Gold Cup and Grade 1 RSA Novices’ Chase winner Lord Windermere. Their dam also bred the Grade 2 hurdle and chase winner Sub Lieutenant.

Bought as a foal for €30,000, Oak Tree Farm’s Walk In The Park gelding made huge appeal to Highflyer Bloodstock’s Anthony Bromley, and he signed for this relation to Grade 1 winners Cooldine and Blow By Blow when bidding reached £115,000.

A likely candidate for the sale-related £100,000 Spring Store Sale Bumper, Bromley revealed that the gelding would race for John Hales and be trained by Dan Skelton.

Completing the list of six-figure lots was a three-year-old daughter of Doctor Dino, and she cost bloodstock agent Tom Malone and trainer Paul Nicholls £105,000. Part of the draft from Peter Nolan Bloodstock, her new trainer is well acquainted with the family, training her half-brother Quel Destin, and his 10 wins included the Grade 1 Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle. Another sibling is the dual listed hurdle winner in France, Libeccio.

Malone and Nicholls teamed up on Monday and spent £76,000 on a Time Test three-year-old filly, the second foal of a Sea The Stars mare who showed herself to be a useful bumper mare, and was placed at listed level.

Fry sees off allcomers with Ross

KEVIN Ross was on the telephone with Harry Fry throughout the sale of a son of Walk In The Park from Galbertstown Stud. The duo won out when Ross’ bid of £95,000 caused Matt Coleman to shake his head.

While the family, three generations and more back, has produced a large number of blacktype winners on the flat and over jumps (in France, Germany and Britain), few of the names would resonate with racegoers in this part of the world. However, the popularity of Walk In The Park with Fry, who had had success with a number of his progeny, was enough to gain their interest.

Jamie Snowden will train a well-connected son of the German Derby winner Kamsin, after the Brown Island Stables’ three-year-old half-brother to Grade 1 winning hurdler Roll On Has was snapped up by Tom Malone for £85,000. He comes also from the immediate family of the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase winner, and Grade 2 King George Vi Chase runner-up, Royale Pagaille. Named Rony Has, the gelding was pinhooked by Johnny Collins who gave €50,000 for him as a yearling at Arqana.

Another named gelding was Ballincurrig House Stud’s three-year-old son of the listed hurdle winner and very successful French sire, Cokoriko. Kadastral is a half-brother to a pair of winners, and his winning Video Rock dam is a half-sister to the Grade A Munster National winner, Raz De Maree. He cost Ryan Mahon, on behalf of Dan Skelton, £82,000, and this was a nice return on his 2022 sale price of €42,000.

One of the final lots at the first session was Trickledown Stud’s three-year-old Diamond Boy gelding, a half-brother to three winners and out of an Anshan half-sister to the smart hurdler Tropical Lake. At stud, the latter bred the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Milkwood. Alan King joined forces with Highflyer Bloodstock to secure the gelding for £75,000, the same agency having paid €14,000 for him as a foal.

Selective trade evident throughout

DESPITE solid demand for the better lots, a two-point fall in the clearance rate to 81% demonstrated that there was a degree of selectivity among buyers, and with more stores sales in the offing at Goffs and Tattersalls Ireland, they could afford to be choosy.

Twenty fewer horses sold this year, resulting in a fall of some £1.1 million in turnover for the auction house. The average and median both declined by a single-figure percentage. The sales company’s press release after the conclusion of Tuesday’s session credited Goldford Stud with the honour being the leading vendor, though their website gave that position to Michael Moore’s Ballincurrig House Stud.

Goffs UK managing director, Tim Kent, said: “A record top price and a record equalling number of six-figure prices are the obvious headline stories of the last two days, but the moment we will all remember for years to come is the outstanding £210,000 achieved for Goldford Stud’s Blue Bresil filly during yesterday’s session. This was a new British record for a store, and it was a wonderful result for the Aston family given the sad passing of Richard just a few weeks ago. They have enjoyed incredible success at this sale over the years, so it was a fitting tribute to Richard that they broke the record in Doncaster.

“Away from the top of the market, trade has been a little more selective, but vendors have been realistic with their expectations which has helped to contribute to a very respectable clearance rate of 81%. Along with the launch of our new £100,000 Spring Sale Bumper in March, which is now the world’s richest bumper, it has been another successful chapter for the Doncaster Spring Store Sale.”