The yearling sales circuit moves to Goffs this week for Ireland’s flagship yearling auction, the Orby Sale. Fresh off Group 1 victories by graduates Eldar Eldarov and Jannah Rose, not to mention the potential of two-year-olds such as Persian Dreamer, the sale opens its four-day run on Monday with a pair of select sessions followed by Book 2, formerly known as the Sportsman’s Sale.

Sales officials would have to be satisfied with the level of traffic in the barns, which save for severals hours on Sunday afternoon when the heavens opened, have been consistently busy since showing began on Saturday morning. Onlookers include representatives from a number of the larger operations, including Godolphin, Juddmonte Farms, Shadwell and Coolmore. Sheikh Mohammed is not due to attend but hopes run high that his buying team will make their presence felt.

As has been the case in recent years, however, the sale has attracted a number of leading American buyers. Goffs have done what they can to entice such investors over, going so far last year as to actually charter a plane out of New York. That proved to be a seriously successful move – around 35 such investors made purchases at last year’s sale including Jacob West, who also underbid the €2.6 million sale-topping No Nay Never sister to Blackbeard. Their presence contributed to an overall Orby Sale turnover of €50,354,500 and average of €121,337, up 24% and 11% from 2021.


In turn, the presence of Goffs graduates has naturally increased Stateside. They include the Kingman colt Turf King, a €100,000 purchase by Florida-based pinhooker Niall Brennan who recently made it three from four for trainer Chad Brown with a victory in the Grade 3 Marine Cup at Woodbine. A valuable two-year-old turf fillies maiden at Saratoga on July 20 also showcased the Orby Sale in a good light, with the winner Kodiac Wintergreen, bought for €160,000 by Mike Akers last year, leading home Ever So Sweet and Parade Ring for an Orby 1-2-3. The Calyx filly Ever So Sweet has since won at Belmont at the Big A.

This year, Goffs have taken a different approach to enticing American buyers; rather than chartering a plane, they are funding travel to quite an extensive level, allowing buyers the freedom to fly in and out from wherever they want. In return, the team at Irish Thoroughbred Marketing envisage welcoming interest from 47 individual American buying parties.

“The vendors have supported us with some lovely horses this year,” says Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby. “I know we say this regularly but we are nothing without the horses and the feedback I’ve had from the sale grounds is very good, which is very satisfying.

“We’ve had huge interest from buyers. Right now, our biggest problem is having enough hotel rooms in the area. We have another massive contingent from the US, more than ever before, and a number of buyers from the Middle East, Australia and Hong Kong.”

One of the major highlights of the week is likely to be Philipp and Marion Stauffenberg’s Kingman half-brother to Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Skitter Scatter, who topped last year’s Goffs November Sale when bought from his breeder Airlie Stud at €550,000. His full-sister, Skellet, recently added further to the family when the taking winner of her maiden for Ralph Beckett at Salisbury. The Stauffenberg’s are also selling their Masar half-sister to German Derby hero Fantastic Moon as well as a Sottsass filly from a deep German family. It’s a trip that obviously requires extensive time and planning from his base in Germany but Stauffenberg is no stranger to selling with the company and was keen to support the sale with three high-class horses. 

“We were keen to split the horses and send a few to both Goffs and Tattersalls,” says Stauffenberg. “We’ve sold through Eimear Mulhern [of Abbeville Stud] before – we sold Four Sins through her – but this is the first time we’ve actually sold under our own banner at Goffs. We finally decided to go there and we’re taking some very nice horses.

“Normally we would not sell a filly out of Fantastic Moon’s family. It’s our signature Fraulein Tobin family. But this filly is, after all, a half-sister to a Derby winner and at least there is the prospect of getting some ‘pain money’.”

Alluding to the investment made in the Kingman colt, he adds: “It’s very enjoyable when it works out but painful when it doesn’t! I buy everything myself, it’s all my own risk. After the foals have been bought, I split them up.

“Obviously there is pressure. You want the horses to go to the next step and be successful. And the next step for us is the sales and for them to be profitable for the people involved. Then after that, it is to go on and hopefully do well on the track.”