The palpable sense of expectation that has hung over Goffs for the last two days was rewarded with a spectacular sale as the brilliant Apple’s Jade, carrying to Walk In The Park, smashed the record price for a National Hunt broodmare when selling to Noel and Valerie Moran’s Bective Stud for an incredible €530,000 on Thursday evening.
This exceptionally well credentialled mare, who was described by auctioneer Nick Nugent as National Hunt racing’s Enable, attracted an opening bid of €200,000. Quickly several other parties got involved but from around €400,000 the battle for Apple’s Jade developed into a duel between Gordon Elliott, representing the Morans, and Gerry Aherne and Robert McCarthy, representing Coolmore.
Both parties traded bids in considered fashion before McCarthy rounded the price up from €475,000 to €500,000. Elliott was not to be deterred though and several minutes later his offer of €530,000 went unanswered in a piece of neat symmetry with the trainer having saddled Apple’s Jade to nine of her top level triumphs.
“It will be a very, very long time before we see her like again and it’s next to impossible to have a chance at auction to buy a mare like her who won 11 Grade 1 races. We’re delighted to have gotten her and I’d say in future we will definitely be keeping her progeny to race,” reported the increasingly prominent Noel Moran by phone after the sale.
Afterwards Gigginstown’s Eddie O’Leary reflected: “She’s a very, very special mare and if she breeds horses with half the heart she has they will be absolutely fine. We’re sorry to see her go as she’s been such a special mare for us but she has gone to a great home and I hope that she will be just as successful for Noel and Valerie in her new career”.
The appearance of Apple’s Jade in the ring, unquestionably and forever more the centrepiece of what has become a fascinating annual sale of Gigginstown House Stud’s jumping mares, was always going to be the outstanding highlight of this year’s Goffs December National Hunt Sale and the chance to acquire a mare of such rare and distinguished quality led to a notable piece of history.
From her wondrous display in the Anniversary Hurdle at Aintree as a four-year-old all the way through to her 11th and final Grade 1 success at Leopardstown last Christmas, the charismatic and teak-tough mare has lit up Irish National Hunt racing and her many fine qualities ensured that she was always going to command quite an audience and quite a price when she made her way into the ring.
Her price easily bettered the previous record for a jumping broodmare in Ireland - €270,000 for Karello Bay in 2007 – while she comfortably eclipsed the €230,000 which was paid for the Gigginstown-owned Whistle Dixie at this sale in 2018. In addition Apple’s Jade bettered the £270,000 which was paid for Feathard Lady at Doncaster in August 2007.
Apple’s Jade more than played her part in another set of encouraging results from this sale. From an appreciably smaller catalogue the aggregate of just over €5.2 million was only fractionally down on last year. The €16,010 average was up by 11% while the €10,000 median finished slightly down on last year’s figure of €10,500. Over the two days the clearance rate advanced slightly to 71%.
In terms of the foals on offer today the star of the show was a filly hailing from the final crop of Flemensfirth who fetched €80,000. The daughter of the veteran sire was consigned by John Dwan’s Ballyreddin Stud and is a half-sister to the high class Irish Saint while she hails from a strong French family.
All of this pointed to her being one of the stars of the day and she duly lived up to expectations. Peter Molony opened the bidding at €50,000 and a short while later he outlasted Ian Ferguson when rounding the price up to €80,000.
“I saw her on the farm about six weeks ago and I loved her then. She’s actually turned inside out since then and we were very keen to get her,” stated Molony. “Obviously she is one of the last of the Flemensfirths which is very significant and she comes from an excellent and active family and there’s a lot more that could happen on the page over the next few years. In terms of plans I’ll just get her home and see how she comes along before deciding what route we might take with her.”
Once again the progeny of Walk In The Park were in some demand and these included a €50,000 colt bought by Norman Williamson. This Grange Hill Stud offering is out of an own-sister to the dual Aintree Hurdle hero Oscar Whisky whom Williamson pinhooked and sold at the Land Rover Sale.
Another sought after son of Walk In The Park was knocked down to leading agent Aiden Murphy at €48,000. This colt, from Milltown Park Stud, is out of an own-sister to the high class chaser God’s Own.
Agent John Kilbride picked up several popular foals on Wednesday and he was again to the fore when forking out €50,000 for a son of Westerner whose many quality jumpers include the exciting Cheltenham Bumper winner Ferny Hollow. This colt was sold by Jimmy Mangan’s Conna Stud and is related to the Tolworth Hurdle winner Minella Class.
Another member of Flemensfirth’s final crop to catch the eye was a relation to Relegate who cost Kieran Shields €48,000 while Adrian Costello added to his haul for the week when going to €44,000 for a son of Milan owned by John Donovan.
After picking up the sale’s top priced foal the Pine Street Stud team stocked up further when going to €44,000 for a Doyen half-brother to the smart Harry Senior.
COMPARATIVE FIGURES FOR ENTIRE SALE
YEAR CAT OFF SOLD AGG AVG MED
2020 522 540 326 €5,219,100 €16,010 €10,500
2019 594 524 366 €5,287,200 €14,446 €10,500
2018 555 453 319 €4,635,650 €14,532 €9,000
2017 555 498 352 €4,280,850 €12,162 €8,000
2016 564 479 311 €3,683,150 €11,698 €8,200
2015 566 489 325 €3,250,500 €10,002 €7,500
COMPARATIVE FIGURES FOR DAY 2
YEAR CAT OFF SOLD AGG AVG MED
2020 248 224 161 €2,792,600 €17,345 €10,000
2019 293 262 188 €2,862,600 €15,227 €11,500
2018 270 214 158 €2,526,000 €15,987 €10,000
2017 269 240 166 €2,045,100 €12,320 €8,000
2016 270 226 151 €1,880,150 €12,451 €8,000