A half-sister to legendary chaser Altior furnished the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale with a dose of star quality on Wednesday when selling for €300,000 to Gordon Elliott and Aidan O’Ryan, becoming the second highest-priced filly in the sale’s history.

Predictably in light of the outside world, it was a challenging edition of the flagship store sale. Delayed by almost two months from its original slot on the calendar, the final catalogue suffered from a swathe of withdrawals while the current travel and quarantine restrictions robbed the sale of its usual raft of British-based buyers. The one silver lining was the warm reception shown by those unable to attend towards the company’s live internet bidding platform.

In all, 220 horses – 70% of those offered – changed hands for a total €9,015,700. The average was €40,980 while the median was €32,000. It marked the first time since 2012 that the aggregate had dipped below €10 million but it is worth remembering that a number of horses were rerouted to a select session at the Goffs UK May Sale in Doncaster, where they turned over £2,205,000.

“Having completed the two day 2020 Derby Sale, we share with the majority of our valued clients a sense of relief that the sale has been able to take place,” said Tattersalls Ireland CEO Matt Mitchell. “We have placed emphasis on a substantial level of pre-planning to ensure that the registration process and the protocols were of the highest standard for all those present on the sales complex. We acknowledge with gratitude the very high compliance levels for the protocols. Reflecting the current cooperation between Tattersalls and Goffs, it was a pleasure to renew acquaintance with Andrew Nolan on our panel of auctioneers.

“Overall trade has been remarkable, given the difficulties of Covid-19. Whilst the market is down, the quality is still very much in demand. In this exceptional year, it is appropriate to highlight part of the Derby Sale took place in Doncaster, with sales of £2,205,000 and an average of £64,853. The €300,000 achieved for the full sister to Altior reflects the demand for quality, and also rewards the vendor Paddy Behan for his belief in the Derby Sale.

“Despite the backing of Brian Kavanagh, HRI and ITM whose efforts we acknowledge with thanks, the protocols proposed by Tattersalls Ireland and Goffs to allow purchasers to attend from outside Ireland did not succeed. By providing videos of each entry in the sale we sought to assist purchasers outside Ireland who were unable to attend, with approximately 19% of the total sale purchases being made via live internet bidding/from non-Irish-based purchasers.”

The sale-topping Walk In The Park filly, a half-sister to outstanding chaser Altior | Photo: Tattersalls Ireland

The sale-topping lot headed an excellent day for Coolmore’s Walk In The Park, who also supplied the second most expensive horse in a €195,000 gelding, bought by Russell McNabb, and wound up with an average of €68,421 as a result.

The €300,000 half-sister to Altior was bred by Paddy Behan and sold on behalf of the breeder by Mark Dreeling’s Coole House Farm. Bidding for this collector’s item commenced at €100,000 and it was eventually agent Aidan O’Ryan and trainer Gordon Elliott who secured the filly following an exchange with Peter Molony.

In addition to Altior, whose 21 wins include ten in Grade 1 company, the filly is also a half-sister to three other winners including the Grade 2-winning hurdler Princess Leya. They are out of the Grade 3-winning hurdler Monte Solaro, by Key Of Luck.

The €195,000 Walk In The Park gelding, meanwhile, provided a fine pinhooking coup for Jimmy Murphy’s Redpender Stud. Murphy paid just €47,000 for the youngster as a foal and reaped the rewards as Russell McNabb came out on top this time around on behalf of Pat Gallagher. Plans call for the gelding, who is out of a Saddlers’ Hall sister to the high-class jumpers Cane Brake and Judge Roy Bean, to join Willie Mullins.

The €195,000 benchmark had been set the previous day by a Milan half-brother to the ill-fated Weatherbys Champion Bumper heroine Fayonagh. Another snapped up by the O’Ryan-Elliott buying partnership, he is out of the winning Fair Ina, a Taipan half-sister to the brilliant hurdler Solerina, and was sold by Timmy Hillman’s Castledillon Stud.