Bumper results for Ballincurrig House in December opener
Aisling Crowe reports from the first day of the December NH Sale
Ballincurrig House Stud was riding the crest of the wave of a buoyant foal market during the opening session of the two-day Goffs' December National Hunt Sale on Wednesday, with Michael Moore's farm being responsible for some of the most in-demand lots.
Noted pinhooker Richard Frisby was among the busiest buyers at Goffs on Wednesday with eight foals purchased, including four of the six most expensive lots, and high on his shopping list was Ballincurrig House’s Walk In The Park colt.
Frisby was forced to €50,000 to secure the colt, who descends from a French family that has plenty of black type winners up close in the pedigree, including the Grade 2 winner Lord Carmont.
The April-born foal is out of Ma Furie, twice a winner for trainer Henrietta Knight over fences following her purchase from France after winning a hurdle race at Pau.
"This is the first foal I've bought by Walk In The Park and he is as good a foal as I've seen by the sire all year," remarked Frisby, who also commented on a number of his more expensive purchases.
"A very nice horse from a good family," was Frisby’s description of the Leading Light colt he outbid agent Gerry Hogan for at €39,000.
Sold from his Conna Stud by breeder Jimmy Mangan, the son of the Ascot Gold Cup hero is a half-brother to Harry Fry's Minella Awards, who won the Shamrock Hurdle at last season's Punchestown Festival. Born on St Patrick's Day, the foal hails from the family of Monty's Pass who memorably won the Grand National for the Mangan family in 2003.
Frisby Soldiers on
Frisby also purchased Wednesday’s most expensive foal from the first Irish crop of Soldier Of Fortune who was repatriated to Coolmore’s National Hunt division in 2016 after a successful start to his stallion career at Haras du Logis Saint Germain.
The pinhooker and farmer paid €37,000 for the third foal out of Little Dil, a half-sister to Whatuthink, the prolific Graded winner over hurdles and fences who was also placed multiple times at the top level. Consigned by The Beeches Stud, where Soldier Of Fortune now resides, the chestnut is also from the family of champion Glen's Melody, while his yearling half-brother by Flemensfirth was bought at this sale last year for €50,000 by Aiden Murphy.
"Soldier Of Fortune is doing very well as a sire, and like all of these foals, he will be offered for sale as a three-year-old," added Frisby who also bought a bonny chestnut colt by the late, lamented Presenting, consigned by Sherdan House Stables on behalf of Michael Dixon for €33,000.
Kilkenny native Frisby purchased subsequent Grade 1 winner Finian's Oscar as a foal at the 2012 renewal of this sale and he will be hoping to unearth another star from this year's crop.
Another foal with a Grand National winner in the family was among the bigger prices achieved on the day. Ballincurrig House Stud consigned the son of Flemensfirth out of Queen Mantua, a winning half-sister to Ballabriggs on behalf of breeder Cathal Ennis. The colt went the way of Ian Ferguson, who has started off such luminaries as Simonsig, for €40,000.
"He's a lovely foal and I'm a huge admirer of Flemensfirth, he speaks for himself," said the point-to-point handler from Antrim.
Shortly after Ballincurrig offered a colt from the penultimate crop of Rathbarry's influential sire Presenting out of another half-sister to Ballabriggs also bred by Ennis. A three-parts brother to Trevor Hemmings and Donald McCain's Aintree star, he was knocked down to Dromoland Farm for €25,000.
Got to Getaway
Anna and Kevin Ross, standing with Chris Jones, were the purchasers of the Getaway colt consigned by Moore's farm on behalf of his breeders who include Bryan Mayoh, also part-breeder of reigning Gold Cup champion Sizing John.
From the family of another Gold Cup winner in Long Run, the chestnut foal will be offered for resale by Jones’ Killeen Glebe at a store sale in 2020.
"He's a gorgeous foal, a superb walker and really athletic too. The pedigree is very active, his four-year-old half-sister Lostnfound won a novice hurdle two weeks' ago," Anna Ross said.
It was an enormously successful day for Moore and the team at Ballincurrig House Stud, who were the leading vendors by aggregate after the opening session. They sold 11 foals on Wednesday for a total of €230,200 and an average of €22,927.
Peter Nolan Bloodstock was another team celebrating a successful sale on Wednesday with the Wexford-based operation the consignors of the most expensive foal sold at public auction by Jet Away. The son of Cape Cross stands at Arctic Tack Stud in Wexford for an advertised fee of €1,600 in 2017, his third breeding season.
The colt, part-bred by Eoin Banville of Arctic Tack Stud, was purchased for €34,000 by bloodstock agent Gerry Hogan and is out of an unraced half-sister to Monkerhostin, the winner of 13 races for Philip Hobbs including the Rendlesham Hurdle and the Whitbred Gold Cup as well as being runner-up behind Kicking King in the King George, the year it was run at Sandown.
Railstown Stud consigned the colt from Sageburg's second Irish-bred crop on behalf of Peter and Maria Byrne. The May foal is a half-brother to the Listed-winning pair of King's Theatre fillies Mystic Theatre and Morello Royale, and was bought for €32,000 by Gerry Merrigan.
Fame And Glory’s untimely death at the start of the 2017 season continues to be keenly felt as his final foals come up for sale. Late in the evening Ryan Mahon and Tom Weston bought a June-foaled colt by the Ascot Gold Cup winner consigned by Cleaboy Stud and Coppice Farm. A half-brother to the Grade 1-placed Toubab, out of a half-sister to the dam of Pique Sous. He was the most expensive of the seven foals sold on Wednesday by his sire at €33,000.
A colt consigned by the Motherway family's renowned nursery of Yellowford Farm in County Cork became the most expensive progeny of Racing Post Trophy and St Leger victor Kingston Hill when selling to Duhallow Bloodstock for €32,000. The grey is a half-brother to Coney Island, successful in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase last season for Eddie Harty and JP McManus. Their dam Millys Gesture is an unraced half-sister to the Grade 1 and Cheltenham Festival winners Rhinestone Cowboy and Wichita Lineman.
These strong sales helped boost the aggregate figure to by a substantial 26 per cent on last year's total of €1,758,000. Wednesday posted an aggregate of €2,227,000 and a clearance rate of 71 per cent which was a healthy increase on the 2016 rate of 63 percent.
Both the average and median prices also showed improvements on the results from this day last year with the median achieving the largest increase, up 25 per cent to €10,000. The average grew by 11 per cent to €12,100.