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Mernagh acknowledges the "difficult situation"

THE final thoroughbred auction of the year in Ireland took place on Tuesday with the Tattersalls Ireland December Flat Sale, which was cut back from two days to one. Reflecting on the last 12 months, the company's managing director George Mernagh pointed to the trying times confronting the industry as a whole.

"Needless to say, trade has been incredibly difficult this year," he said. "Our sales have suffered in line with the entire industry.  However, as a sales company we must remember that there is a wider industry at stake, and no matter how much we may be affected, there is a wider spread of individuals - breeders, trainers, agents and the further ancillary trades whose trade is currently being impaired. 

 "This is the first year for a long time that our market has been seriously negatively affected, but it has happened at such a pace that we all find ourselves in a very difficult situation with very little warning."

Looking to the future Mernagh pointed to a global economic recovery as being central to resurgence in the general bloodstock market: "Going forward it is very hard for anyone to have a positive outlook on the bloodstock industry until the wider global economy gets restabilised, but we must take some confidence from the fact that Derby Sale, representing as it does the cream of the National Hunt store stock, still showed significant strength, the follow on from which was some excellent prices for quality colt foals at the November National Hunt Sale. 

"We would also be keen to further our exploits in the National Hunt Breeze-Up market.  As the world's premier National Hunt sale company, it is only right that we should be offering horses at all stages to potential purchasers.

"Our September yearling sale will most likely continue in the new streamlined, two-day format and this year the presence of buyers from many new overseas countries testified to the importance of the overseas marketing campaign undertaken by us and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.

"It only remains for me to thank all our clients both on the supply and the purchase side and to wish them all the best for 2009 and beyond," ended Mernagh.

Hawk Wing colt tops at €20,000
Heading the concluding day's trade of 2008 at Tattersalls Ireland, which once again underlined the sharp contraction witnessed in the bloodstock market throughout the year and a clearance rate of 46 per cent, was a yearling son of the Lockinge Stakes hero Hawk Wing who was knocked down to Tom Quinn for €20,000.

The colt hails from the superb Aga Khan dynasty that produced the outstanding Zarkava but more immediately in the pedigree he is out of a placed half-sister to the Trigo Stakes runner-up Zarafsha.

Quinn's other purchases took in a €13,000 son of Desert Style, whose star three-year-old Paco Boy is agraduate of this sale. The Killeenlea Stud offering is a half-brother to Sand N Sea who was a very capable Listed-placed performer for Tom Hogan several seasons ago.

The yearling section of yesterday's sale, which was the strongest part of the session, also saw the name of Reg Hollinshead appear on the buyer's sheet.  The latter signed for an €11,000 son of Celtic Swing from Ballykilbride Stud.

 

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TOP TEN

STALLION £ TOTAL PRIZE
King's Theatre £1,142,569
Presenting £1,058,475
Beneficial £986,639
Oscar £896,303
Milan £863,940
Westerner £839,012
Flemensfirth £755,621
Kayf Tara £657,044
Midnight Legend £595,332
Stowaway £503,470