The European breeze-up sales season got underway with the seventh renewal of the Goffs’ sale at Kempton Park racecourse.
This auction – a rarity in that it is an Irish-arranged sale staged in Britain – has received much praise since its inception in 2007, with vendors and buyers alike pointing to the neat one-day format and proximity to London’s airports that make it so user-friendly.
This year in particular, the fact that it is staged on Kempton’s Polytrack surface rather than on turf was a major help following a spell of sub-zero temperatures.
With 61 of the 84 two-year-olds offered being registered as sold, the clearance rate from fell to 73% (from 82% in 2012), with the aggregate also declining, to £1,479,000 (from £1,795,000), but there were gains in both median and average, the former up by 11% to £20,000 and the average settling at £23,854 (a rise of 2.3%).
The joint-top lots, a pair of colts which fetched £70,000 apiece, didn’t quite reach the heights achieved by last year’s sales-topper, Ahern. The son of Dutch Art fetched £80,000 when selling to David Redvers on behalf of Sheikh Fahad and subsequently won on his racecourse debut in June before finishing third in the Group 2 July Stakes for trainer David Barron.
Barron’s fellow Yorkshire-based colleague Kevin Ryan will take charge of this year’s joint-toppers, colts by Holy Roman Emperor and first-season sire Intense Focus, both bought by bloodstock agent Stephen Hillen, who regularly works in tandem with the trainer.
Ryan has enjoyed plenty of success with breeze-up graduates in the past – in 2005 he trained Palace Episode and Amadeus Wolf to win the Racing Post Trophy and the Middle Park Stakes respectively, though, ironically, neither had sold when offered at Tattersalls’ Craven Breeze-up Sale.
Plenty of trainers were in action at Kempton, with Welsh-based Ron Harris signing for seven lots, while Andrew Balding, Gay Kelleway, Willie Musson, Seamus Durack, Eve Johnson Houghton and Gary Moore were also on the buyers’ sheet.
Sheikh Fahad was once again in attendance, along with David Redvers, who made the winning bid on an Aussie Rules colt out of Golden at £18,000.
The breeze-up circuit heads next to Newmarket, where two-year-olds will perform on the Rowley Mile on the morning of Tuesday, April 16 before being put through the ring at Tattersalls in two post-racing sessions on April 17 and 18.