SOME six months after the last thoroughbred auction in Ireland took place, the Goffs Land Rover Sale got underway today with a session, which given the prevailing climate, upheaval and uncertainty, posted a more than respectable set of figures headed by a top lot of €185,000 which was paid by Gordon Elliott and Aidan O’Ryan for a son of Network.

With the sale taking place in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, this auction and the conduct of business over the course of the day was altogether different to anything that had preceded it in Ireland. Given how radically different the economic outlook is from earlier in the year, the final figures for the day were heartening. Comparisons with the last few years are unfair given what has unfolded over the last number of months.

At the close of proceedings the turnover for the day came in at €8m which was down 33% on last year. The average of €42,492 was down by 12 points and the median dropped from €45,000 to €37,000.

However, these still represent good figures given what is taking place in the wider world and the clearance was a fine 84%.

As ever quality stock sold well and Gordon Elliott and Aidan O’Ryan made quite a statement when signing for three of the top four lots. These were headed by the €185,000 son of Network who was continuing a long standing and fine association with this sale for Norman and Janet Williamson’s Oak Tree Farm.

The sale topper, whose price matched that of last year’s top lot, is out of a Robin Des Champs mare who numbers a number of classy French jumpers amongst her siblings.

Fantastic chasers

“He’s been bought for a new owner. The sire has produced some fantastic chasers and hopefully this fellow will be another one in time. He was one of the standout horses here and we’re delighted to have gotten him,” said O’Ryan after outlasting Margaret O’Toole.

Just a few minutes earlier Russell McNabb saw off Margaret O’Toole for a fine Authorized gelding from Johnny Collins’ Brown Island Stables who cost €155,000. This gelding is a half-brother to three winners out of a mare that won at listed level on the flat.

“He’s been bought for Gary Moore who has Goshen so he understandably has a soft spot for the sire,” remarked McNabb. “He cost a bit more than we thought but that’s always the way for the ones you want and he’s been bought for Pat Gallagher. This was the horse we were waiting for all day.”

Cheltenham bumper

The first lot to break six figures at this year’s sale was a Kalanisi half-brother to this year’s Cheltenham Bumper winner Ferny Hollow and it was the prolific Elliott and O’Ryan who signed for this three-year-old at €135,000. This very well related gelding was sold by the famed nursery that is Ken Parkhill’s Castletown Quarry Stud.

“He’s a beautiful horse and we all saw what his half-brother did at Cheltenham in March. He’s been bought for a new owner and let’s hope he’s lucky,” commented O’Ryan. “He’s got lots going for him and he’s coming off one of the great National Hunt farms in the country while Gordon has been very lucky with the sire since he came to Boardsmill Stud through the likes of Fayonagh and Malone Road.”

Much later in the day Elliott and O’Ryan struck for another choice offering when seeing off an on line bidder for a €130,000 son of Epatante’s sire No Risk At All who was also sold by Oak Tree Farm.

Jumping family

M.V. Magnier made his presence felt for several quality store and the first of these was a son of Walk In The Park who numbers the Grade 2 winner El Bandit and the bumper winner Confirmation Bias amongst his siblings.

“He’s just a lovely horse from a good jumping family and he’s by a sire who has already produced some exceptional horses. We are really looking forward to seeing Walk In The Park’s first Irish crops on the track over the next few seasons,” stated Magnier.

The latter went on to pay €100,000 for a son of Soldier Of Fortune who was showing a fine return on the €40,000 he cost Kieran Shields as a foal. This gelding is a half-brother to the smart Gold Present.

Among the buyers to make their presence felt in absentia was Tom Malone who was acting through Margaret O’Toole when giving €90,000 for a son of Flemensfirth consigned by Mick and Ciara Carty’s Kilmoney Cottage Stud. This gelding is an own-brother to the very smart Henry de Bromhead inmate Minella Melody. Malone also struck late in the day when Margaret O’Toole secured a son of Buck’s Boum for €120,000.

At the outset of the day the sale sprang to life when Bobby O’Ryan spent €80,000 on a son of Maxios from Kilminfoyle House Stud who was showing a good return on the 20,000gns he cost as a yearling.

“He’s been bought for a syndicate and he will go into training with Gordon Elliott who has had plenty of luck with the sire already,” stated O’Ryan. “I just loved the horse and if I’m honest I didn’t think that I would be able to buy him. Hopefully he can win the Land Rover in 2021.”

Part I


2020 276 220 184 7,818,500 42,492 37,000

2019 280 267 242 11,709,500 48,386 45,000

2018 269 257 216 10,452,000 48,389 38,000

2017 259 214 198 8,592,000 43,394 38,000

2016 351 316 275 9,410,500 34,220 28,000