It wasn’t the Goffs February Sale originally envisaged when the catalogue went to press. But with Ireland in the grip of a Level 5 lockdown against the backdrop of Covid-19, the worth of the company’s online platform was again required to come into play on Thursday as Part 2 of the auction, restricted to yearlings, was played out in front of an empty Kildare Paddocks auction ring.

As Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby outlined in his end of sale statement, this particular auction came under a fleeting review to be cancelled. However for many involved, these sales remain an important outlet to trade regardless of guise and while Goffs’ decision to press on with an online-only event was undoubtedly a contributory factor in the withdrawal of 144 lots, for others it also served a purpose. That in itself was illustrated by the sale of 35 lots for a total of €360,900, for all that represented a clearance rate of just 42%. The average was €10,311 while the median wound up at €8,000.

Six yearlings sold for €20,000 or more led by a €35,000 son of Walk In The Park.

“Selling weanlings in March without proper viewings was never going to be ideal but circumstances dictated that was the only option if we were to hold the sale,” said Beeby.

“When we were forced to further delay it by the latest Level 5 lockdown being extended we considered simply cancelling and directing the entries to the yearling sales in the autumn. “However several vendors made contact to implore us to give them an outlet so we staged today as a service to those who wished to present their weanlings to the market.”

He added: “The results are predictably mixed with a clearance rate that speaks volumes but there was some spirited bidding for those that stood out and we are sure that several will be shown to have been value when they are reoffered in a normal yearling sale later in the year. Once again Goffs Online proved its worth with bids from around the world.”

Top billing went to a jumps-bred son of the ever popular Coolmore sire Walk In The Park for whom Thursday Bloodstock bid €35,000. Offered by Ballinaroone Stud, the colt is a half-brother to five winners and the 12th foal out of the unraced Charming Present, by Presenting.

This Walk In The Park colt headed proceedings at €35,000. Photo – Goffs

Those Flat-bred yearlings on offer were led by a daughter of Exceed And Excel purchased by BC Bloodstock for €26,000 from her breeder Wardstown Stud.

The filly boasted one of the deeper pages on offer as a half-sister to the Listed-winning sprinter Copper Knight. Their dam, Mystic Dream, is a winning Oasis Dream mare from the fine Juddmonte family of top sprinter Prohibit.

A pair of fillies bred by the China Horse Club and sold through Baroda Stud also provided their share of excitement. Grizzetti Galoppo SRL signed at €25,000 for their Zoustar filly, a relation to Mohaather, while Stone Farm, bidding through the BBA Ireland, came away with the Australia filly at €20,000.

Attention now turns to the inaugural Goffs Online Sale on March 24.

“We now turn our attention to our Timed Online Sale on 24th March after which our fervent hope is that the vaccination programmes in Ireland and the UK will allow a return to some normality as the year progresses and we look forward to welcoming horses and people back to Kildare Paddocks for the Land Rover Sale in June,” says Beeby. “Following that we are working towards a full programme of Goffs sales throughout the rest of the year on their scheduled dates and in their usual location, here in Kildare.”