WHEN it comes to specialist sales, it’s hard to look beyond specialist producers and Jason Higgins Sporthorses, MBF Sport Horses and Monbeg Sport Horses, all based in the south-east of the country, were responsible for the top-priced three-year-olds at this week’s Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale.

When two of these operations join forces, things become even harder for others and so it was that the Irish Sport Horse gelding MBF Bonfire Heart (Lot 60), who was consigned by his breeder Jason Higgins in partnership with MBF’s Maeve Bolger and Brian Flynn, topped this year’s sale at €65,000.

Thankfully bidding on the Castlecomer Q bay was lively, with an opening offer of €5,000 being immediately followed by one of €20,000. Advancing quickly in increments of €5,000, the gelding was put on the market at €60,000 and was eventually knocked down to Andrew Williams who, present at the sale, was acting on behalf of Barratt Equestrian.

MBF Bonfire Heart is out of the Dutch Warmblood mare Ramirma (by Damiro) who comes from the family of Tamira IV (CSIO5*). The dam’s previous seven produce registered on CapallOir were bred by Etter Sportpferde in Co Offaly while her 2020 colt by Castlecomer Q was bred in Co Tipperary by William McDonnell jnr.

The sales-topper will ultimately be evented by British Young Rider Elizabeth Barratt as will Joanne Curtin and Pat Fenlon’s ISH filly CFH Cornet Vivendi (Lot 57) for whom Williams signed the €34,000 sales chit. One of two horses in the sale from the first crop of the Cornet Obolensky stallion HHS Cornet, the bay is out of the Ars Vivendi mare Ars Vivendi Lady whose previous produce include the Querlybet Hero gelding Vivendi Hero (CCI3*S).

Remarkable sale

The sale had an overall clearance rate of 72%, with a remarkable average of €26,350 and a total turnover of €1.58 million. Some 44 lots made in excess of €20,000, which led Goresbridge’s Martin Donohoe to comment: “It was incredible, much better than we could have imagines, the three-year-old trade was nothing short of exceptional. In the older horses, the clearance was disappointing. Having said that, the horses that sold in the older sector sold exceptionally well. We will have a sit down now and have a rethink, see what we might change; we will definitely keep the older horse section because we think it is very important but we will see what we can change.

“There was a serious increase on the average price (€25,869) of three-year-olds, 70% of them made over €20,000 and one quarter made €30,000 or more.”

Some 22 horses were sold online and 11 on the phone. “We were very busy on the telephone, which is good for people who are more comfortable buying over the phone rather than on a computer and it works very well. We want to make it easy for our remote customers,” Donohoe added.


Back to the top of the three-year-old sales prices and in second and third spot were two home-bred ISH geldings offered by Monbeg Sport Horses who both made €50,000.

Bidding on the grey Monbeg Celtic Mist (Lot 31) opened at €10,000 and proceeded quickly to €40,000 where it stalled. Put on the market at this point, and with a couple of €1,000 bids thrown in, bidding on the gelding kicked on again until he was eventually knocked down to British five-star event rider Fiona Kashel.

By Celtic Hero BZ, Monbeg Celtic Mist is officially listed as being bred by Marti Rudd but it is her husband, Tomás Doyle, who competes the grey’s Diamant de Semilly half-sister Monbeg Ruby (who represented the ISH Studbook at Lanakan last year) and rode their dam, the Boherdeal Clover mare Ballycapple Mist, at CSI3* level. This is also the family of the CSI4* campaigners, BMH Big Time and BMH Show Time.

Doyle and Rudd’s decision to put Monbeg Raegan (Lot 48) on the market at €35,000 really paid off for them as, slowly at times, bidding rose to €50,000 when the last one standing was British owner Karla Wheatcroft who has her horses these days with Tom Grant.

Lot 48 Monbeg Raegan was sold for €50,000 \ Bit Media

By the Selle Français stallion Quabri de l’Isle, Monbeg Raegan is out of OBOS Nancy Broone which makes him a half-brother to the OBOS Quality 004 siblings OBOS Impressive (CCI3*-S), OBOS Take One (CCI3*-L) and to the six-year-old Monbeg Equity (CCIYH2*-S). Both of these Monbeg horses, plus the nine Doyle and Rudd sold at Monart, were broken and riding. They still have four three-year-olds at home to produce themselves next season.

Hoy successful

Over the phone, Stephanie Hoy had the final bid at €47,000 to secure MBF PLS Castecomer Q (Lot 30), another Castlecomer Q gelding offered by Higgins Sporthorses and MBF Sport Horses. This flashy ISH chesnut was bred by William McDonnell jun out of the Dutch Warmblood mare Fornet Roos (by Cornet’s Stern).

Lot 30, PLS Castlecomer Q, was sold for €47,000 at the 2022 Go For Gold sale \ Bit Media

The first of two three-year-old geldings who made €40,000 apiece was MBF Sport Horses’ Deise MBF (Lot 29), a black ISH by Ulysses M2S out of the Indoctro mare Wendy V who is dam previously of the Calvino Z gelding Cascade Z (CSI4*) and is a half-sister to Veni Vidi Vici (CSIO5*). He was purchased by the USA’s Kim Meyer.

A Co Kerry owner/breeder to break into the top lots was Stephen Kelliher whose Caraghs Harley Jo (Lot 49) was purchased the UK-based Connaught Sport Horses.

This ISH bay by Jorado is out of the Ringwood Harley Carol mare Caraghs Harley Lady who comes from the family of Ballingowan Zeal (CCI4*-S), Cooley Northern Mist (CCI4*-L) and Neat Midnight Magic (CSI3*).