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George Washington foal lights up Goffs sales ring

A LANDMARK moment in sales history took place last night as the only foal ever sired by the outstanding George Washington topped the Goffs November Foal Sale when selling to Ger Burke for the week’s top price of €280,000.

No foal attracted more attention all week and fittingly the filly from the Irish National Stud proved to be the star turn, having entered an auditorium that has rarely, if ever, been as full. The ill-fated George Washington’s unique brilliance lit up the racecourse for three seasons and carried him to the title of champion juvenile before a 2,000 Guineas victory followed at three.

Every vantage point was taken as auctioneer Henry Beeby asked for an opening bid of €200,000. The opening price was a quarter of that amount but the bidding quickly moved into six figures and it was eventually Burke who prevailed for the filly, who is a half-sister to a Group 3 winner and a Grade 1 runner-up in America.

“We specialise in pinhooking well-bred fillies and she’s a unique filly by a uniquehorse,” reflected Burke. “She was a really, really good filly and she was our pick of the week.

"Her pedigree alone reads very well – she’s a half-sister to a filly who was placed in a Group 1 and produced a French Derby second in Best Name. We’re delighted to get her and she’s been bought for resale.”

As the sale drew to a close last night following a hearteningly active and busy final session the five-day auction was poised to produce a set of results that finished a long way adrift of those from twelve months ago.

The best foals of the week were on offer yesterday and produced a flurry of six-figure transactionsas pinhookers and those buying to race did battle with customary enthusiasm and vigour. The consensus among buyers was that the quality individuals, which appeared scarcer than usual over the course of the week, were hard to buy and that there was plentyof competition for them.

In addition it was felt that the low key start to the week was a reflection of the yearling trade for comparable horses where those lacking in terms of pedigree or conformation struggled throughout the autumn.

Looking back over the five-day sale Goffs chief Executive Henry Beeby said: “What can I say that hasn’t already been said by every sales company chief over the last few months? Obviously we are disappointed withthe results as the bare figures do not make happy reading across the board. However what they do not show is that all the pinhookers have stated that it has been as hard as ever to buy the ‘nice foals’ and today’s trade in particular has borne out that view.

“The bloodstock industry, and Goffs , has enjoyed unprecedented and sustained growth and buoyancy in recent years, often defying trends elsewhere but that could not go on forever. Whetherthe drops we are seeing would have been as severe if we had only had to deal with the effects of overproduction or the global economic climate rather than both at the same time is anyone’s guess.

“Maybe no-one was able to predict what has happened in the financial world but many have expressed concern about the increasing numbers of thoroughbreds for some time and it seems to be generally accepted that there are just too many horsesfor the market.

“That was certainly the problem in the early part of the week when clearance rates told their own story and reflected the lower end yearling sales in every location. Painful though it may be for us all to take, it may have a beneficial effect in the medium to long term with the result that we come out of this dip all the stronger.

“Bloodstock industry professionals are an admirably resilient bunch as this is all we know and it is our life. We are enduring hard times but I truly believe that we have a world-class product and I continue to urge positivity where possible as it is always easier to cope with problems with a smile rather than a scowl.”

For much of the day Timmy Hyde was leading the way after securing an excellent son of Dalakhani from Silfield Bloodstock for €190,000. The colt, who shares his sire with such luminaries as Conduit and Moonstone, was the subject of a protracted duel from which the Camas Park owner eventually emerged victorious. His purchase is a half-brother to the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes hero Balakheri.

“Times are tough but he was a stand out colt and let’skeep our fingers crossed for when he comes back next year. He’s from a very good family,” said Hyde.

John Ferguson wasted little time making an impact and his spending was headed by a €120,000 son of Marju from Collegelands Stud who is a half-brother to Kingsgate Prince and the talented Listed-winning two-year-old Captain Ramius. He also signed for an €88,000 son of Refuse To Bend who is the first foal produced by the dual Group 3 winner Miss Sally.

 “The Marju is a very good foal. He’s a really athletic sort and the dam has already proved herself. We were delighted to get him,” reflected Ferguson.

“The Refuse To Bend is a half-brother to a very tough and fast filly. We’re delighted with the start Refuse To Bend has made to his career and we’re optimistic about his future,” he added.

Eddie O’Leary also reached the €120,000 mark when he picked up an Exceed And Excel half-sister to the Group 2-winning sprinter Moss Vale from Ringfort Stud.

“She’s just a lovely filly and a half-sister to a very high class horse.  She’ll be back for resale and I actually sold Moss Vale as a yearling a few years ago,” commented O’Leary.

Earlier Paul Shanahan struck for a Montjeu colt from Riversfield Stud who cost €115,000. He is out of an own-sister to the outstanding juvenile filly Bint Allayl and the Jersey Stakes winner Kheleyf.





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