Emotional outcome to Goffs UK's online sale as Hollymount brings £300,000
The promising bumper winner was bred by Jane Buchanan
After a marathon bidding battle the Goffs UK Online January Sale was topped by promising bumper winner Hollymount, who stole the show when selling to Noel and Valerie Moran's Bective Stud for £300,000.
The daughter of exciting young sire Jet Away, who struck in a Carlisle bumper on her sole start for Stuart Crawford last month, was bred by Jane Buchanan and hails from a distinguished family as she is a half-sister to the high-class duo of Windsor Avenue and Ravenhill Road, the pair Grade 2-placed over fences.
Her dam, Zaffarella, won four times over hurdles, including when steered to success by Buchanan's brother, the former jockey Peter Buchanan.
"I’d say everyone’s exhausted!" said Buchanan, who works for US trainer Graham Motion and watched the sale from America while talking with her father, Alan, and brother Peter in Northern Ireland.
"We had no idea what to expect or who was bidding on her. It picked up near the end and we’re obviously delighted that Gordon and the Morans have bought her. We’ve just been so lucky with the mare."
Buchanan, who only has two broodmares, added: "There are a lot of people to thank. Goffs UK organised it well and we owe a lot to the Crawfords. I’m so grateful to Peter for the work he did with her and to my Dad, who has fed her, or got up in the middle of the night, doing a lot of the things which are quite thankless tasks.
"It’s emotional as we lost my mum a few years ago and Hollymount is named after the place where she was born in Northern Ireland. It fulfils a dream for all of us, really."
Like so many of the Morans' big-money acquisitions, Hollymount is set to join the all-conquering string at Gordon Elliott's yard.
"She's a lovely mare, we know the pedigree well [through half-brother Malone Road] and she came very well recommended," said Elliott's bloodstock agent Mouse O'Ryan.
"Noel and Valerie have been having fun with horses like Party Central, Queens Brook and Riviere D'Etel so the plan is to make broodmares as well to complement Apple's Jade. We won't make any plans until we get her home and see what she's like."
Doyle and Nolan strike for La Bague Au Roi
La Bague Au Roi was another of the standout offerings and the ten-year-old broodmare prospect lived up to her star billing when selling for £170,000 to Kevin Doyle and Peter Nolan.
"She's heading back to Kevin at Slaney River Stud in County Wexford but we haven't picked a stallion for her just yet," said Nolan.
"She's a dual Grade 1 winner, a 14-time winner and by the great Doctor Dino, which makes her an outcross to whatever stallion we'd want to send her to. I saw her at the Dublin Racing Festival some years ago, I'd be pally with David Minton and he tells me she's a beauty, and his view will do for me!"
Trained throughout her seven-season career by Warren Greatrex and consigned by Juliet and David Minton's Mill House Stud, the prolific mare struck in Listed company in a Huntingdon bumper in 2015 before adding seven hurdle wins to her name, including the Grade 2 Warfield Hurdle at Ascot three years later.
Her career highlights came when sent novice chasing, where she defeated subsequent RSA victor Topofthegame and Gold Cup second Santini in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton in 2018. She also added the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown to her CV that season.
Although Doyle is best known for his exploits playing football for the likes of Ireland, Reading and Wolves, La Bague Au Roi is far from his first foray into bloodstock.
His past purchases include the Camelot half-brother to Altior who fetched €155,000 at the 2019 Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale and the Grade 1-winning Augusta Kate, who was added to his broodmare band at a cost of €85,000 in 2018.
Moreover, his father, Patrick, is already a successful National Hunt breeder in his own right having bred the likes of Holywell and Megans Joy.
"Kevin is only just getting started in the breeding game, his first purchase was Augusta Kate and he's just trying to build up a nice select band of broodmares," said Nolan. "Kevin's dad [Patrick] has been breeding for years and has bred plenty of good horses."
Nolan added: "I've sold horses for Kevin's dad for probably 12 years now. They're very local to me, maybe five kilometres away. Kevin's mad into it and does all the foaling himself so he's well involved. I'd call it a working hobby!"
Although Doyle handled bidding duties himself, Nolan said of the online experience: "You'd like to see them in the flesh a bit more if you had the chance, but I had seen her two years ago and I've kept an eye on her ever since. We have to work with what's put in front of us and the online sale has worked grand."
La Bague Au Roi hails from a fine family, being out of a half-sister to Neil Mulholland's Grade 3-winning chaser Walt and French Grade 3 chase scorer Plaisir Du Roy. She is also a half-sister to the Grade 1-placed Reine Angevine, a three-time winner for Willie Mullins.
Mill House Stud's Juliet Minton said: "We're delighted she's gone to such a top-class home where I'm sure she'll be spoiled rotten. The owners are very attached to her, so they'll be very sad to see her go but equally delighted she's gone to a very good home."
The operation enjoyed another good result when the winning Presenting mare Queens Present sold to Ryan Mahon and Dan Skelton for £56,000.
The ten-year-old, who is carrying to Overbury Stud stallion Jack Hobbs, is out of a winning sister to 2005 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Kicking King.
The Yorton Farm-consigned Buck's Bee was the third-top lot of the afternoon to reach six figures when selling to Coolmara Stables for £125,000.
An unraced daughter of Kapgarde, the seven-year-old is a half-sister to none other than brilliant staying hurdler Big Buck's and is carrying to Great Pretender.
Sullivan Bloodstock to the fore
The Sullivan Bloodstock consignment featured several high-class mares, including Cheltenham Festival heroine Eglantine Du Seuil, who went the way of Highflyer Bloodstock at £60,000.
The daughter of the late but prolific Saddler Maker enjoyed her finest hour when landing the Grade 2 Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Prestbury Park in 2019, and also placed behind the unbeaten Honeysuckle in the Grade 1 Mares Novice Hurdle Championship at Fairyhouse.
An €85,000 purchase from Arqana's Autumn Sale in 2017, the seven-year-old is the second foal out of the placed Rixia Du Seuil and was last seen finishing third behind Stayers' Hurdle hopeful Roksana in Saturday's Warfield Hurdle at Ascot.
Another former Ditcheat inmate to change hands was Stormy Ireland, a Grade 3-winning and top-level-placed daughter of Motivator, who was purchased by Peel Bloodstock for £75,000 in a private purchase.
The seven-year-old, who landed a Leopardstown Grade 3 for Willie Mullins, was also placed behind Roksana and Benie Des Dieux at the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals.
From 71 lots offered, 36 sold for an aggregate of £1,138,100, an average of £31,614 and median of £10,250.
Goffs UK managing director Tim Kent said: "This was very much about breaking new ground for Goffs and we were delighted with the first attempt. Having to sell online was not our first choice but given the current circumstances we had no other options and we felt it was worth offering an outlet for their horses. We were thrilled with the support that we received from our vendors and we are delighted with the outcome.
"A top price of £300,000 is fantastic for any sale and three six-figure prices is a great advert for these online sales. We are not going to pretend that trade was strong at all levels of the market but that
reflects the current market and there is every chance that we would have seen the same outcome if these horses were sold in a traditional format."
He added: "We'll now review the sale and get feedback from vendors and purchasers. There are always improvements that can be made with any sale and whilst lockdowns continue in the UK and Ireland,
we will look at other options for the Goffs Online platform in the coming months."