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For BillFor Bill: high-class hurdler was snapped up by Rolan Crellin for €70,000   PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) 

Best saved for last as For Bill tops Goffs NH Sale

THE YEAR at Goffs ended on a positive note on Wednesday as the company's December National Hunt Sale posted a much improved set of returns and produced a top priced lot of €70,000 as the classy mare For Bill was snapped up by Chepstow-based breeder Roland Crellin.

This year's smaller sale saw turnover grow by 61 percent to €863,100 while the average improved by 40 percent to €8,142 and the median almost doubled as it went from €3,200 to €6,000. It was far from plain sailing for plenty of individuals but the clearance rate for the day still went from 42 percent last year to 61 percent yesterday.

The very best was saved until last as For Bill had the distinction of being the final lot into the ring. Trained by Michael Winters throughout her career for Killarney-based owner Donnie Sheehan, the eight-year-old daughter of Presenting won nine races. Shescored at Listed level in bumpers while she was also a Grade 3 winner over both hurdles and fences.

"She's all you'd want in a mare," commented Crellin, who is the breeder of the top class Cue Card. "She's a good, attractive mare with an excellent race record and we're looking forward to putting her in foal now. Hopefully she'll be lucky for us."

The top priced foal of the day was a son of the late King's Theatre and once the bidding opened at €10,000 it was evident that he would play a leading role. From Walshtown Stables, the relation to Rhinestown Cowboy and Wichita Lineman was knocked down to Thomas Coleman for €39,000.

Earlier Brendan Bashford spent €27,000 on a Flemensfirth colt foal from The Beeches Stud.

"I've bought him for a client and they will bring him home and take it from there with him," reported Bashford. "He's a good foal by one of the top jumpingsires and comes from the immediate family of a high class horse in Cardinal Hill."

The one day sale witnessed a new initiative this year as it was preceded by the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association National Hunt Foal Show which was judged by Richard Aston, Juliet Minton and Peter Molony as they looked for the foal most likely to make a top class national hunt racehorse.

After the initial group of contestants had been whittled down to six finalists the €2,500 first prize was won by a daughter of King's Theatre from Yellowford Farm whose dam is a half-sister to the talented jumpers Ottowa and Calling Brave. Later in the day she was bought by John O'Byrne for €21,000.

 

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