The Goffs Land Rover Sale, the first live auction to be held in Ireland this year, offered plenty of optimism for the future, ending on Thursday with a set of figures way in advance of the beleaguered 2020 edition.

Parts 1 and 2 combined yielded €18,299,800 in turnover, an incredible 86% advance from last year. Of the 561 horses offered, 472 found new homes in the ring – 84% – and at an average of €38,711, up 21% from 2020. The median increased by 27% to €33,000.

Unsurprisingly, Part 1, which spanned two days, featured the strongest growth as 353 horses (88%) changed hands for a total of €16,337,500 – an increase of no less than 105%. The average rose by 10% to €46,282 while the median increased by 11% to €40,000.

Led by a Shantou brother to Grade 1 winner Airlie Beach who sold for €230,000 to Bective Stud on the opening day, 22 horses realised €100,000 or more compared to six in 2020.

This Shantou brother to Grade 1 winner Airlie Beach will carry the Bective Stud colours. Photo – Goffs

Reflecting on the performance of Part 1, Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby commented: “It’s good to be back…and how.

“The last two days [Part 1] have been positive in so many ways. Firstly to be in a position to hold a sale in Ireland for the first time this year is a massive step forward, not just for Goffs but for the Irish bloodstock industry, as it lays solid foundations upon which to build for the rest of the year. Let there be no doubt that Goffs is open for business in Ireland as has been graphically illustrated this week. 

“We have been pleased to welcome a small but significant group of UK buyers to Kildare Paddocks using the ‘bubble’ method successfully utilised at our breeding stock sales last autumn and replicating the measures for British connections travelling to Punchestown and the Irish Guineas meetings. At this point we would like to thank Brian Kavanagh and his colleagues at HRI who have been pivotal in this connection as I’m not sure it would have been possible without them.

“Those British buyers have helped fuel a truly amazing level of trade from start to finish as they bid ferociously against a huge and enthusiastic home team. Of course they had to find the horses to appeal and we salute our wonderful vendors who have sent us another increased share of their best. When expanding a sale there is always a risk that the quality is diluted but that has very much not proved the case with a two day Part 1 that has more than maintained the momentum that this sale has built up over the last decade. We always say we are nothing without the horses as we can’t do it without them and vendors have largely reaped the benefit of their support for which we thank them most sincerely.

“As the sale approached we were encouraged by the strong trade at our UK Spring Sale but to return an double digit increase in average and median from a significantly bigger catalogue is a major achievement for the sale and it has been gratifying to witness an increase in the number of €200,000 and over lots (three), those breaking the six figure barrier (22) and a massive 130 making €50,000 or over. These are the kind of statistics that allow us to proclaim this sale as a genuine first choice for so many whilst a clearance rate of 88% points to a real depth to the market.”

Noel and Valerie Moran of Bective Stud added further to their burgeoning string with the purchase of one significant lot in the form of the sale-topping Shantou brother to Airlie Beach, who was secured out of Peter Nolan’s draft for €230,000. Eddie O’Leary, bidding on behalf of the Morans, confirmed that the gelding was destined for Gordon Elliott’s Cullentra House Stables.

Bective were joined in free-spending mood by fellow Cullentra owners Andy and Gemma Brown, who in conjunction with Joey Logan signed came away with three lots worth a total of €570,000.

Dick Frisby of Glenwood Stud, right, and his son, JJ, pictured with the €220,000 Walk In The Park gelding. Photo – Goffs

They included Wednesday’s session-topper, a Walk In The Park half-brother to the top chaser Monalee for whom Logan went to €220,000. The sale represented a handsome profit for vendor Dick Frisby of Glenwood Stud, who bought the gelding for €68,000 at the 2018 Goffs December Sale.

The Browns also went to €200,000 for a Martaline gelding from Sluggara Farm and €150,000 for the dearest filly on offer, a Champs Elysees half-sister to the Grade 3-winning hurdler Landofhopeandglory from Peter Nolan.

Nolan ended Part 1 as leading consignor thanks to the sale of 24 lots worth €1.39 million.

Highflyer Bloodstock purchased 40 lots worth €2.049 million to wind up as the sale’s leading buyers. They added further to their haul in Part 2 with the purchase of another five youngsters.

In his end-of-sale statement, Beeby added: “I repeat our thanks to everyone at HRI for their help in working through the protocols to deliver a safe, compliant and vibrant sale. And, as ever, our colleagues at Irish Thoroughbred Marketing have been pivotal to the whole sale as they worked with the Goffs Team to ensure the maximum audience for all three days. Their can do attitude and extra mile approach to ensuring that our UK visitors were looked after from the moment they arrived ensured lots of happy faces and allowed them to focus on the business of the day. Ireland is fortunate to have an organisation of this calibre to assist us in promoting the Irish thoroughbred around the world and Goffs are enthusiastic contributors to its workings.

“UK buyers have always been an integral part of the Land Rover Sale and, whilst it is hard to single out a specific buyer, I cannot ignore the amazing contribution of Highflyer Bloodstock and their clients who bought a mighty 45 lots over the three days. David Minton, Anthony Bromley and Tessa Greatrex had already been leading buyers at our UK Spring Sale but their Land Rover spend was more than double that of any other purchasers as they bought for a multitude of interests. That said there were many, many others who made a real impact including Paul Nicholls/Tom Malone, the Monbeg team, Andy & Gemma Brown via Joey Logan, Colin Bowe, Michael Shefflin/Paul Holden and so many more. We extend our thanks to them and all our buyers regardless of their spend and wish them the best of luck with their Land Rover purchases as they seek to follow in the hoof prints of so many NH stars of recent years.

“And our vendors. So many of them stepped up with drafts of note and it gave us enormous pleasure to see them rewarded for the faith they placed in the Goffs Land Rover service. It may be a repetitive statement but we are nothing without the horses and can’t do it without them.”