The challenging nature of the yearling season was a distant memory on Thursday as the curtain came down on the four-day Goffs November Sale. Goffs group chief executive Henry Beeby was not alone in approaching this week with a degree of trepidation but with foal traders keen to restock and out in force, the sale swiftly became the beneficiary of a ‘lively’ market from start to finish with the sale ring buzz to go with it. Particularly encouraging was the number of new participants, many of them younger faces keen to have a crack at foal trading.

Granted, the turnover dropped by 12 per cent to €25,950,000 while the average fell by nine per cent to €36,346. But the median held steady at €24,000 and in the €700,000 top lot, the Dubawi brother to Ghaiyyath who sold to Zhang Yuesheng’s Lucky Vega, the sale produced its most expensive foal since 2019.

“The world’s highest priced foal this autumn at €700,000 has topped four days of lively trade at Goffs as, once again, pinhookers and end users alike battled for the cream of the Irish foal crop,” said Henry Beeby.

“It is fair to say that the week was approached with a degree of trepidation as some of the later yearling sales were far from easy, but we have been delighted to welcome a huge group of buyers who set off with enthusiasm and determination on Monday and continued right through to the close of business today. Several first and second season sires really caught the imagination and those established names that deliver every year were highly sought after provoking a number of serious bidding duels on each day. Some of those led to very happy breeders and we are just so pleased to deliver for them as we are nothing without their beautiful foals.

“Alongside a vibrant atmosphere it must also be noted that this year’s figures do not match last year’s which we described as “sensational” 12 months ago. Indeed, there is no doubt that there is a degree of correction in the market and it was not all good news for some. That said this year’s numbers come in on a par with 2021, a strong sale in its own right, and there are definitely more positives than negatives to take away from the four sessions, not least a median that equals last year’s record with the number of six figure and €50,000 plus lots only falling short of last year but ahead of 24 months ago. 

“As we eagerly anticipate tomorrow’s Breeding Stock Sale we extend our thanks to all our vendors and purchasers for their support over the last four days and for the next 48 hours. Goffs exists to provide the ultimate marketplace for Irish breeders to sell to the world and the November Sale epitomises that aspiration.”

The Dubawi brother to Ghaiyyath was the most expensive foal sold at the Goffs November Foal Sale since 2019. Photo – Goffs

Phoenix colt on top

Although trade stepped down a level yesterday, it was still competitive for the better foals as illustrated by the sale of the top lot, a son of Phoenix Of Spain who was sold by Galbertstown Stables for €90,000 to Finn Kent. By a young sire who has impressed with his first crop, the colt is a half-brother to two winners, including six-time scorer Get Set, and out of the Le Havre mare Almarada.

The result is one that should give hope to the smaller operator given that his breeder Tony Cosgrave has just the two mares.

“The only issues were keeping a lid on my nerves trying to get him here!” he said. “He was a belter and I loved him from day one. I have never had a foal like him. He was some walker but had an even better temperament. When you start walking foals to start with, some of them take a bit of time to get up to speed, but he was a natural from day one. There was never any issue with him all year.

“I topped day one of this sale before with a Frozen Power filly. I only have the two mares and I bought Alameda a couple of years ago. She was in a sale at Fairyhouse and I bought her privately.”

On the decision to go to Phoenix Of Spain, then standing his third season, he said: “Well, I better give Paul McCartan a bit of credit because I asked him what he thought of the sire and he told me that he thought he could work. That is what you might describe as a politician’s answer, but it was good enough for me! A big thanks to everyone at the Irish National Stud as they have been very helpful.

“Another reason why I went to Phoenix Of Spain is that the mare has done well with French Navy before so Phoenix was the closest thing I could get to Shamardal. Phoenix was also a very good horse himself. The mare is not in foal but we have the whole winter to dream. A big thanks as well to everyone in Galbertstown, especially Pa [Doyle]. It’s a great result.”

The day also provided further confirmation of the confidence behind Sioux Nation. The sire of nine stakes winners in Europe this year, the Coolmore stallion has around 140 foals on the ground to follow his smaller yearling crop and with the pinhookers now well tuned into his capabilities, those on offer this week were generally well received. They included his representatives through the ring on Thursday, which were led by a colts that sold for €62,000 and €58,000 to pinhookers J B Bloodstock and Glenvale Stud.