A SOLID renewal at Goresbridge last Thursday brought the curtain down on a sales’ year that has delivered consistently good trade throughout.

Once again, the sale was well attended, there were a healthy number of five-figure returns and, while the clearance steadied to 63% (no corresponding sale), the overall average held up soundly to close at €5,372. The demand for the older stock – and most notably for those with competition or hunting form, was especially stout, while the clearance reached its peak at 69% for three-year-olds.

Reflecting on the day and year gone by, Goresbridge’s Mary Frances Donohoe commented: “Today’s trade was a very satisfactory conclusion to another incredible year. We’d like to thank all our vendors and purchasers for their support throughout the year and we are very much looking forward to seeing everyone back at Goresbridge in the New Year.”

English buyers were at the business end in many of the exchanges, and none were more determined than Steve Barnes, who accounted for the sale-topper (Lot 105) at €14,000. The Nottinghamshire man, who has been a regular at the venue for many years, rarely goes home without at least one purchase, and on Thursday was especially delighted to have secured Ardragh Celtic Breeze, a three-year-old daughter of Celtic Hero BZ.

Selling as one of the last lots of the day, Oliver Ward’s home-bred turned heads from the outset, and having put up a super display of jumping, was never going to come cheaply.

Indeed, Barnes eventually bought her at her market price of €14,000 and commented afterwards: “She was absolutely class. The best I’ve seen for long time, and I wasn’t going to leave here without her.”

Happy enough with his return, her Carrickmacross-based breeder, Ward was pragmatic. “You can’t keep them all. It’s a great family. Ardragh Me O Moy is competing in Holland, while Darragh Kenny and Damien Griffin have two older siblings, and I have retained a four-year-old full sister, by Glynnwood Cornet.”

Keith Wilson's seven-year-old gelding Kelton (Lot 49), a son of Ebony, fetched €12,800 from online bidder Rhiannon Rowlands \ Sally Parkyn

Co Monaghan vendor Keith Wilson has enjoyed a good year at the venue, and made another successful foray when his seven-year-old gelding Kelton (Lot 49) changed hands for €12,800. A well-schooled son of Ebony, he was the subject of a protracted exchange between the telephone and online bidder Rhiannon Rowlands, and was finally knocked down to the latter at €12,800.

Bidding battle

One of the best ‘feel good’ stories of the day came early in the proceedings when Patrick Dempsey’s eight-year-old mare Lulu (Lot 3) sold well above expectations to realise €12,600. Measuring approximately 138cms, the grey was put on the market at €5,100 before two equally determined bidders battled for ownership. For a while it looked as though Trade Horses Ltd would come out on top, but in the end Considine had to bow out in favour of online buyer Lindsay Mason.

“I can’t believe it,” said the emotional Dempsey, whose father Bill passed away earlier in the year. “I owe a big ‘thank you’ to Keith and Clare Fitzpatrick, who have done a brilliant job in producing her.” Based near Mullinavat, the Fitzpatricks had marketed her well prior to sale, and it through this medium she caught the eye of successful buyer Mason.

“I know Keith, so I popped down to have a look at her, and decided to try to buy her on his recommendation,” said the New Inn-based purchaser. “I was a bit nervous as it was my first time bidding online, but it all worked beautifully. The intention is now for young Sam Donovan to compete her in some jumping classes, before my own children are old enough to take over.”

Patrick Dempsey's eight-year-old pony mare Lulu (Lot 3), fetched €12,600 at Goresbridge from online buyer Lindsay Mason \ Sally Parkyn

Standing out among the older horses with form was Killian Dunne’s Riverside Swaziland (Lot 121), a 10-year-old grade A mare with 310 SJI points in classes up to 1.30m level. Bred by James and Mary Whelan, and initially campaigned by John Floody, she was bought in foal two years ago.

She had since resumed her jumping career with Dunne, and was knocked down to regular visitor Emma Browne for €12,500. “The last horse I bought from Killian went to HOYS,” said Browne. “So I’m hoping this one will be as good.”

Notable among the remainder was Frank Quinn’s Irish Draught gelding Coolfinn Grey Bouncer (Lot 39) who, with a few SJI points and hunting mileage, was well produced by Duncan McFaddyn to realise €10,700.

Topping the four-year-old sector meanwhile, was Tim Collins/Niall Redmond’s Polly (Lot 73), a filly by Lancelot out of Precious Moneen by Terimon. Tim O’Sullivan bred this smart filly, who at €10,600, was well prepared by Redmond and Debbie Flavin of the Tullow based Den Stride Stables and secured by Buckinghamshire-based Lucy Fallon.

Top lots

  • Oliver Ward’s Ardragh Celtic Breeze, 3yo filly by Celtic Hero BZ (dam by Conquistador) €14,000.
  • Keith Wilson’s Kelton, 7yo gelding by Ebony (dam by Flemmingh) €12,800.
  • Patrick Dempsey’s Lulu, 8yo 14.1hh mare (no recorded breeding) €12,600.
  • Killian Dunne’s Riverside Swaziland, 10yo mare by Hermes de Reve (dam by Naheez) €12,500.
  • Frank Quinn’s Coolfin Grey
  • Bouncer, 7yo gelding by Ballycurry Vanounou (dam by Greevagh Grey Rebel) €10,700.
  • Niall Redmond’s Polly, 4yo filly by Lancelot (dam by Terimon) €10,600.