Top returns

Lisa McGinnity’s West House Spencer, six-year-old gelding by Dunbeggan Grey Mist (dam by Witness Box) €10,000.

Bernadette Boland’s Portphilip Danny Boy, three-year-old gelding by Big Dan Du Rouet (dam by Cruising) €9,200.

Tom Meegan’s Lets Prove Them Wrong, six-year-old mare by Derg Showtime (dam by Sir Shutterfly) €9,000.

Rachel Hughes’ Cosmic Girl, five-year-old mare by Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet (Chacoa) €8,500.

John Aherne’s Uno Van Het Havelaar, three-year-old gelding by Lembrion De Narcotique (dam by Landor) €8,500.

Tom Whyte’s Ardagh Apollo, four-year-old gelding by Ganesh Hero Z (dam by Puissance) €8,200.

The Howard family’s Highmightybitofapickle, 133cms gelding. €8,200.

LAST week’s one day sale at Goresbridge may not have been the best of the season’s renewals, but it was significant in that it not only marked the close of sale’s year for the Co Kilkenny auction house, but also the end of the tenure of owner Martin Donohoe and his wife Mary Frances. Following several decades at the helm, the couple are handing the reins over to Martin’s brother Edmund, who will move into his new position at the beginning of next year.

On Friday however, it was business as usual, and while the one-day edition will have been a rather lack-lustre finale, it wrapped up a very successful month, and a lively trading year.

Demand has definitely steadied, and in keeping with recent trends - as well as the traditional slackening of trade on the run up to Christmas - the stock on offer was unsurprisingly mixed. This was certainly mirrored in the closing figures which illustrated a deficit in both the overall clearance (60%) and the average (€4,322). More unusually, it was the older horses who struggled to make an impact and, despite accruing the day’s sole five figure return, they were undoubtedly the weakest sector and only 46% changed hands. The clearance did improve as the day progressed and concluded with a far healthier 71% in the three-year-old division.

Sale Topper

One of the most delighted vendors last Friday was seventeen-year-old Rosie Flanagan, whose production of Lisa McGinnity’s West House Spencer (Lot 38), earned the sale topping honours at €10,000. Bred by Edward McCoppin and sourced as an unbroken three-year-old, the traditionally bred six-year-old was by Dunbeggan Grey Mist out of the thoroughbred dam Poor Box by Witness Box. Based in Co Longford, Flanagan had produced the grey gelding every step of the way, and having clocked up 10 SJI points, he was snapped up by British first time buyer Jo Tavernor. “We were looking for a suitable first horse for our daughter Millie to go eventing, and thought this one looked honest and clever and perfect for someone coming off ponies.”

Older notables

Certainly, the demand peaked for the quieter individuals and most popular were those with competition or hunting form. Lifting the trade, Yorkshire-based trader Graham Sugden was in determined form at ringside, and he accounted for two mares with plenty of mileage. Having paid €9,000 for Tom Meegan’s fully warranted Lets Prove Them Wrong (Lot 138), a six-year-old daughter of Derg Showtime out of DS Lily by Sir Shutterfly, he commented. “It’s a tricky one. I need stock and trade is strong for a quiet, quality one, but it’s coming close to Christmas so I don’t want too many. A little bit of age, like this mare, makes them easier to sell and so is no harm as well.”

Much earlier in the proceedings, Sugden signed the docket at €8,500 for Rachel Hughes’ similarly warranted Cosmic Girl (Lot 17) a five-year-old home-bred mare by Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet out of Alanas Jewel by Chacoa. Well related, Cosmic Girl is a half-sister to the smart jumper Smalltown Boy, who under Stephen Holland, was placed in the five-year-old championship at the RDS and runner-up in the Balmoral equivalent.

Lot 17, Rachel Hughes’ Cosmic Girl, a five-year-old mare by Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet out of Alanas Jewel by Chacoaat went for €8,500 at the final Goresbridge sale of 2023\ Sally Parkyn


The demand for the four-year-olds was as mixed as the quality, but as usual buyers were prepared to pay for the right individuals. Among the stand outs at €8,200 was Tom Whyte’s Ardagh Apollo (Lot 69), an attractively bred 15.2 hands gelding by Ganesh Hero out of Ardagh Venus by Puissance. Home-bred, and produced for sale by Diarmuid Ryan, Ardagh Apollo is out of a full-sister to two international event horses, one of which is the CCI3* mare Ladycraft. Fethard-based event rider and producer Paul Donovan signed the docket for this smart sort, while selling just one lot earlier, regular American customer Ian Michaels made the online winning bid for Alison Irwin’s palomino cob Casper C (Lot 68) at €7,500. The latter had hunted a full season with the Donegal Harriers and had competed in training shows.


Prices hiked again in the final session, and were topped at €9,200 by Bernadette Boland’s Portphilip Danny Boy (Lot 92), a well related gelding by the jumping sire Big Dan Du Rouet out of Portphilip Cruise by Cruising. Knocked down to Westmeath customer Terry Whyte, this home-bred is a sibling to several international horses, including the Italian-ridden Portphilip Jones (CCI4*) and the 1.35m jumper Portphilip Dioscruise.

Having accounted for three lots, including the sale topper, at the recent Go For Gold sale last month, British international event rider Max Warburton was back at ringside to secure John Aherne’s imported Uno Van Het Havelaar (Lot 112) for €8,500. Destined to be produced to event, this attractive gelding is by Diamant du Semilly-sired Lembrion De Narcotique out of Palandora Landor.


Kicking off the proceedings, the pony trade was mixed but did deliver a smart sale topper in the Howard family’s very experienced performance pony Highmightybitofapickle (Lot 122) at €8,200. An eight-year-old 133cms gelding, he had a wealth of competition and hunting mileage under his belt and, prepared for sale by Trevor English and ridden by Kayleigh Fitzpatrick, was described as a wonderful all-rounder. Successful buyer Nigel Hill (on behalf of his sister Jocelyn), disclosed that he had only just been sent a video of the pony, and when he discovered he was to be sold at Goresbridge, he jumped in the car, and set off from his home in Moira, Co Down, to make sure of securing him.