AS the market buoyancy of 2022 looks set to continue, Goresbridge staged a highly satisfactory opener this week. Rarely has the sales’ complex appeared as full and, following a lively day’s trading, the figures came close to matching the record-breaking returns from 12 months ago.

The overall average illustrated a marginal hike to €6,674 (€6,664 in 2022) while the clearance closed at a healthy 75% (80%). Once again, the four-year-old sector reaped the best returns, yielding the sale-topping price of €16,500 as well as the best average of €7,576.

Encouragingly and equalling last year’s figures, 16 individuals realised five-figure returns, leading Goresbridge’s Mary Frances Donohoe to comment: “We were understandably delighted with the trade, which saw a record number in attendance, and successful purchasers from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Isle of Man as well as the valuable home and UK markets. It was equally busy with our virtual audience opting to bid online. The averages maintained an equal footing on last year’s sale which is very gratifying. It’s a hugely positive start to the year and bodes well for the remainder of the year’s trade.”

The Higgins Sport Horse and MBF contingent opened their annual account in the same sale-topping fashion as they closed the last. The team, minus Jason Higgins who was on huntsman duty with the Wexford Foxhounds, travelled with a large consignment of horses, and were well rewarded when their attractive Sunhill MBF (Lot 157) by Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet changed hands for €16,500.

Only a four-year-old, the Stephen O’Sullivan-bred filly was sourced last autumn, and in the interim had been broken and produced by Alice Martin Jones and Thomas O’Leary. A very elegant individual, she caught the attention of the eventing fraternity, and following a lively exchange was finally knocked down to Max Warburton together with his partner Irish international rider Susie Berry.

As a regular supporter of both Goresbridge and the Go For Gold sale, Warburton revealed that his intention had been to look rather than to buy, but at the close of play he had secured two lots from Higgins, the second of which was the four-year-old Madgeslane Harriot (Lot 136) by HHS Cornet (dam by Harlequin du Carel) at €13,000.

Older horses

Co Tipperary breeder Rory Costigan is another with a proven track record, and it was his five-year-old gelding (Lot 60) by Luidam that headed the older horse figures at €15,000. A full brother to the 2018 Lanaken representative GRC Quaser (Gemma Phelan), the home-bred gelding impressed when jumping prior to sale, and although he was initially led out unsold, he was soon snapped up by British agent Lee Penny.

As the professional producers continued to dominate the proceeding, Co Monaghan’s Keith Wilson scored when his unnamed five-year-old filly (Lot 73) by Colandro landed a return of €13,500. An exceptionally smart sort, she had competed in a few training shows, and looked well bought by a determined Maureen Roche Flinter from Naas.

Hot-footing it to Goresbridge from watching her jumpers compete in Sharjah, UAE Carol Gee accounted for Johnny Widger’s Grantstown Amadeus (Lot 93) for €13,500 and also William Smyth’s home-bred five-year-old (Lot 97) by Luidam (not as catalogued) for €10,800.

Well ridden and produced by Billy Sinnott, the latter clearly impressed Gee who commented: “I was blown away by him, and think he’s a jumper. He’s very raw and very green but he’s exciting and the plan is to keep him for Duarte (Seabra).”

Keith Wilson's five-year-old filly (Lot 73) by Colandro fetched €13,500 at Goresbridge when bought by Maureen Roche Flinter \ Sally Parkyn

The first of the big prices came earlier in the day for Mrs Anna Kennedy’s KEC Hatijoe (Lot 40), a home-bred gelding by KEC Maximum Joe out of a full-sister to KEC Alicante (1.60m). Caron Nicol (European Sport Horses), such a prominent buyer last July, signed for this smart sort at €13,000, and also for Seamus Dermody’s mare Euro Quality (Lot 75) at €10,000.

Gemma Phelan was another busy rider, and among her successful rides was Michael Tierney’s home-bred and slowly produced six-year-old Rocky (Lot 125) by Sandro Boy. At €13,500, the bay was secured by German customer Hans Nagel on behalf of Frank Schoenges, from Cologne.

Michael Tierney's six-year-old Rocky (Lot 125) sold at Goresbridge Sales for €13,500 to a German buyer \ Sally Parkyn


Taking centre stage once again, the age group delivered the day’s best average of €7,576 together with a strong clearance of 78%. Demand was phenomenal from the get go, and among those to stand out was John Roche’s Assagart Rebellion (Lot 159), a traditionally bred gelding by the thoroughbred Watar out of Assagart Wonder (Flagmount King).

A good-looking gelding, and well placed in hand at the RDS last year, he was knocked down to show horse and jumping producer Katrina Hirst for €11,500.

Equalling that price, five-star event rider Emma Hyslop-Webb secured the well related Boleybawn Bluebell (Lot 146) by SHS Soco Blue, while University of Limerick’s students-produced Kilconireon Basil, garnered a very healthy return of €11,000.

While the opening group of ponies was a mixed bunch, there were plenty of buyers on hand which helped to produce an 80% clearance together with a top price of €9,000. This went to Angela Finn’s home-produced Moon Star (Lot 4) who, described as a real all-rounder, was secured by trader Niall Daly.

Top Lots

  • Higgins and MBF Sport Horses Sunhill MBF, 4yo filly by Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet (dam by Windsor Castle) €16,500.
  • Rory Costigan’s Professor, 5yo gelding by Luidam (dam by VDL Arkansas) €15,000.
  • Keith Wilson’s Unnamed, 5yo mare by Colandro (dam by Isky de Baussy) €13,500.
  • Johnny Widgers’ Grantstown Amadeus, 5yo by Quidam Junior (dam by Zafonic) €13,500.
  • Michael Tierney’s Rocky, 6yo by Sandro Boy (dam by Colin Diamond) €13,500.