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Strong store trade sees records broken at Land Rover Sale

The two-day auction grossed €12,270,500

Lot 302: Etat Des Flos, a son of Balko, was purchased by Aiden Murphy for €175,000
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There may have been just the one six-figure lot during the second and final day of the Goffs Land Rover Sale on Wednesday, but high demand throughout the session saw proceedings come to a close with gains across the board.

All key market indicators were up compared to part two of last year's sale. Of the 220 lots offered, 181 were sold for a total of €3,653,500 - up 53 per cent from 2016 when just seven less lots were sold, while the average and median increased to €20,185 and €16,000, up 47 and 42 per cent respectively.

The return of the Land Rover Sale to a two-day format proved successful, with a four per cent increase in turnover returning €12,270,500 - an auction record despite 100 less lots being offered than in 2016. The whole-sale average reached €32,290, up 23 per cent, while the median jumped €8,000 to €28,000, a 40 per cent gain.

The clearance rate for the second day stood at 82 per cent, with 88 per cent - 380 - of the offered lots across the two days finding buyers, up four per cent on last year's sale.

Murphy has the vision

Top lot, Etat Des Flos, looked in pristine condition as he awaited his turn in ring early in Wednesday's session, and the rangy son of Balko duly attracted a winning bid of €175,000 from bloodstock agent Aiden Murphy, who saw off underbidders Joseph O'Brien and Eddie O'Leary from his position opposite the rostrum.  

The three-year-old is the year-younger brother of Vision Des Flos, who provided the gelding's catalogue page with a notable update when making a winning debut in the valuable Land Rover Bumper at this year's Punchestown festival for trainer Robert Tyner.

"He's as nice as anything I saw yesterday, an unbelievably good horse," said Murphy, who signed for six lots across the two days for a total of €406,000 and an average of €67,667.

"He has a good pedigree, and Vision Des Flos was a top-class bumper horse. He will go into training with Philip Hobbs for a partnership made up of three of his current owners."

Aiden Murphy spent €406,000 on six lots across the two-day sale

Speaking midway through the second day, Walter Connors of Sluggara Farm in County Waterford, who consigned the sale-topper, said: "The sale's been coming along nicely. The Balko gelding had plenty of admirers and we hope he's lucky for his new owners. We're just delighted to get here as it's the end of three years work."

Etat Des Flos was the undoubted highlight of the sale for Sluggara Farm, having sold six lots for a total of €391,000 and an average of €65,167. Recent graduates from the Sluggara academy include Bacardys, winner of the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in April.

Distinguished relation

Another lot that boasted a significant pedigree update was the Frozen Fire gelding out of Morning Rise, a half-sister to dual French Classic winner Brametot, who became only the third horse since the turn of the millennium to complete the Poule d'Essai des Poulains-Prix Du Jockey Club double.

"I'd hope he's as good as his relations! The client was looking for a Flat pedigree with speed, and this one has a sharp pedigree and he could be for nothing," said trainer Noel Meade, who snapped up the gelding for €50,000.

Mags O'Toole signed for the other two €50,000 lots on the day, including a Trans Island half-brother to the Listed-winning chaser and Grade 1-placed hurdler Runswick Royal, out of a half-sister to the dam of Racing Post Trophy third Salouen consigned by Ralahine Stud.

"He was bought for an existing client, and will go into training with Conor O'Dwyer. He's a nice horse and the mare has already produced a good jumper," said O'Toole.

The purchase price was more than eight times the €6,000 that Ralahine Stud's Ger Hannon had originally paid for the gelding as a foal.

"It's a great trade for a good individual. He has a live pedigree, with Salouen having run in the Derby," added Hannon.

Accompanied by Meade, O'Toole also paid the same price for a Mahler gelding from the family of Grade 3-winning chaser Enjoy Responsibly later in the day.

Aizavoski on the up

An Aizavoski gelding out of the unraced Flemensfirth mare Sarah Marshall became the most expensive progeny sold at public auction by his sire, when selling to Ian Ferguson for €48,000. Sarah Marshall is a half-sister to the Grade 2-placed hurdler Monoceros.

Bloodstock agent Alan Harte, together with Joey Logan of Towerview Stables, went to €47,000 for a Malinas gelding from Ballincurrig House Stud, from the family of Another Jewel - winner of the Anjou Loire Challenge, Derby winner Secreto, and legendary hurdler Istabraq.

Ballincurrig House enjoyed an excellent sale with 22 lots selling for a total of €795,000 and average of €36,136.

"He's a sharp racey type and we liked the sire," said Logan, who will break the gelding in before he enters training with County Wexford handler Denis Murphy.

"He's a fine, good-looking horse, and a fine mover," added Harte, who also struck for a grey Walk In The Park filly for €45,000 later in the day.

Highflying Minton

David Minton of Highflyer Bloodstock, accompanied by leading owner Trevor Hemmings, went to €45,000 for a gelding by the popular Getaway from Rathmore Stud, acting as agent. The three-year-old hails from the family of Saval Beg Stakes scorer Shannon Spray and Grade 1 winners Foxrock and Death Duty.

Minton also went to €44,000 for a Kallisto gelding from Busherstown, the farm that sold a Kapgarde gelding to Tom Malone and Paul Nicholls for €125,000 on Tuesday. The three-year-old is out of a winning half-sister to Group 3 winner Just Wonder and Listed winner Just Time, a family that traces back to My Juliet, a champion sprinter in the US and top-class broodmare.

The purchase represented a four-fold increase on the €11,000 paid for him by Ormond Bloodstock as a yearling at the Baden-Baden Mixed Sale. Busherstown sold four lots over the two days for a total of €242,000 and average of €60,500.

Leading point-to-point handler Colin Bowe went to €42,000 for Eclair Des Sablons for Milestone Bloodstock. The son of Noroit is a half-brother to Taratata Sivole, a Listed-placed hurdler in France.

Noroit may be an unfamiliar name to some National Hunt enthusiasts. He is by the influential sire of jumps sires Monsun, and was a Group 2 winner in Germany and placed three more times at the highest level.

I'd hope he's as good as his relations! The client was looking for a Flat pedigree with speed and this one has a sharp pedigree