THE expectation that a positive yearling sales season would feed back into the foal market was borne out by this week’s Goffs November Foal Sale, which returned a fine level of trade over the course of its four-day run.

After being forced to switch to December and being cut back to three days in 2020, the foal sale returned to its traditional slot and it did so with a catalogue that was a third bigger than last year’s.

Any fears that the increased level of supply could impact upon proceedings were allayed from the very outset of the sale which grossed just over €25.5 million and this was a 45% improvement on last year.

The average of €34,966 was actually down 4% on 2020, but it should be noted that the number of horses sold increased by some 50% from last year and, in truth, the sale was probably stronger than the bare figures would suggest.

An overall median of €22,000 represented a 10% improvement on last year, while perhaps the most heartening aspect of all was the clearance rate which went from 75% to 82%.

In all, this was a fine edition of this sale which contained all the characteristics one would look for in a good foal sale. There was good demand at the head of the market, the middle market performed well and demand held up well during what would be the traditionally more low-key sessions of Monday and Thursday.

In terms of major transactions, the number of six-figure lots went from 31 to 41. but the head of the market had a somewhat different feel to it this year.

The top price of €550,000 was better than last year, but in 2020 there were five foals who made €300,000 or more whereas only one managed that feat this year.

However, this doesn’t detract from a sale which continued what has been a really fine year for Goffs after the company was forced to enduring some trying times in 2020.

For the second year in succession, and the third time in all, Frankel was the source of this year’s top-priced foal when a regally bred filly consigned by the Grassick family’s Newtown Stud on behalf of Heiko Bischoff and Niko Lafrentz of Gestut Gorlsdorf fetched €550,000.

Juddmonte Farms made an occasional venture into the foal market to secure this half-sister to the brilliant German Derby winner Sea The Moon who has made such an encouraging start to his career at stud.

This filly is also related to a number of other outstanding German champions, while her two-year-old half-sister Sea The Sky recently made a winning debut at Chantilly for Andre Fabre.

“Obviously she’s by Frankel, who’s had a phenomenal year and looks like he’ll be champion sire this year and she’s a beautiful filly from an outstanding family,” remarked Juddmonte’s Barry Mahon. “We’re delighted to have her. It’s not often that a filly like this comes to the market. We were keen to have her and hopefully one day she’ll join the broodmare band.”

Several foals by Sea The Stars played a major role over the course of Wednesday’s marquee session and the first of these to make an impact was a colt for whom Timmy Hyde had to go to €270,000.

This half-brother to the E.P. Taylor Stakes winner Blond Me was sold by Mark and Elaine Clarke’s Wardstown Stud and he is the latest produce of a Docksider mare whom the Clarke family picked up for 30,000gns at the Tattersalls December Sale some 15 years ago.

Later in the day, another son of the Gilltown Stud resident reached €270,000 when Franny Woods secured a colt from Jockey Hall Stud. This colt is the second produce of a Dark Angel mare and will also return for sale next year.