Glens Melody's son hits all the right notes at December NH Sale
Aisling Crowe reports on the final day of trade in Kildare
Breed the best to the best and hope for the best is an oft-quoted bloodstock maxim and Fiona McStay did just that when she sent her Grade 1 winner Glen’s Melody to Walk In The Park, the sire of the superb Douvan, for her second covering.
McStay was rewarded handsomely for sticking to that philosophy at the Goffs December National Hunt Sale on Thursday when the resulting foal from that mating sold for €72,000, the second highest price ever for a foal at this sale.
Auctioneer Andrew Nolan opened the bidding for the second foal out of the 12-time winner at €20,000 and from that point on it was his fellow auctioneer George Stanners who traded bids with bloodstock agent Gerry Hogan to send the price on an upward trajectory. It was Stanners who held the strongest hand as he secured the May-born colt for the sum of €72,000.
“I bought him for Yorkshire trainer Phil Kirby,” revealed the auctioneer. “The colt is for an existing owner with Phil and will be kept to race. The owners wanted to buy a quality, well-bred foal and Walk In The Park is a proven sire while Glen’s Melody was a high-class racemare so put when you put the two together, you hope for the very best.”
The sale capped a superb two days for vendor Ballincurrig House Stud. Michael Moore’s nursery sold two of the top three most expensive youngsters offered on Thursday, and the farm ended the foal session as the top consignor by aggregate, selling 22 foals for €425,700.
A delighted McStay was quick to pay tribute to the role played by Moore and his team in preparing the colt for his star turn in the Goffs sales ring.
“I have a great appreciation for the work of everyone in Ballincurrig in getting the colt prepared for the sale and my thanks go to them,” she said.
Glen’s Melody was bred by McStay and raced in her yellow and black colours so Thursday’s sale was a long time in the making.
“He’s a lovely foal and it is an amazing family with so much to happen still. Her full-sister Glen’s Harmony is still in training with Willie Mullins and her Sholokhov half-brother, the last foal out of Glen’s Music is also in Closutton. He is three and called Glen’s Finale and I am really looking forward to seeing him run but he has a lot to live up to as all five of his siblings to race have gained black type,” she added.
The County Down breeder is still awaiting a filly from the next generation as both Glen’s Melody and her half-sister Ceol Rua, by Bob Back have given birth solely to colts so far. Glen’s Melody is expecting her third foal in late spring and was among the first book of mares covered by Mount Nelson at Boardsmill Stud this year.
Stanners’ purchase was representative of trading over the two days, with 30 foals selling for €30,000 or above, more than double the 14 recorded at last year’s sale.
John's pride and joy
Two colts sold late on Thursday evening for €50,000 apiece, the first from the penultimate crop of the wonderful Rathbarry Stud sire Presenting.
Bred by John Hayes, who supplements his beef and dairy farming business with three broodmares, the gorgeous brown colt sparked a bidding war when led into the ring by Gearóid Harney, a neighbour of the Hayes family. Auctioneer Nick Nugent took bids from all around the ring but eventually it came down to a battle between Mount Eaton Stud and Moanmore Stables, with Peter Vaughan of the latter-named operation emerging victorious when he signed for the April-born foal at €50,000.
The joy felt by Hayes, his wife Mary, daughter Triona and son Sean was palpable as they stood in the light coming from the doorway of the colt's stable in barn S.
"My knees were shaking as he walked around the ring, I would have been delighted if he got to the forty mark so for him to make €50,000 is fantastic," remarked the thrilled breeder.
As well as his handsome looks, the colt boasts an aristocratic pedigree as the second foal of Emily's Flyer, a three-parts sister to the brilliant hurdler Feathard Lady, who reached the zenith of her perfect career in the 2005 Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Sandown for Colm Murphy and Ruby Walsh.
Feathard Lady is also the dam of Augusta Kate, herself a Grade 1 winner having landed the mares' novice hurdle at Fairyhouse last Easter.
"We are overjoyed," beamed Mary Hayes. "We've been involved in breeding National Hunt foals for around ten years now and this is the best sale we've had."
For the couple's children, there was pride and delight at their parents' success.
"I was shaking with nerves all the time he was in the ring," said Triona. "We are all so happy and Dad deserves this success for all the hard work he puts into the horses."
The Hayes' farm is home to Emily's Flyer who is now in foal to Walk In The Park. She was purchased three years ago for €23,000 and her first foal, a yearling sister to Wednesday's star lot, will not be heading to the sales ring and will instead be kept to breed from.
For John Hayes the secret behind the family's Christmas star is simple.
"If you have the goods that people want, then they will buy your produce. It all starts with a winning dam and works from there," he said.
"You have to use the right sire too," added his wife, "and Presenting was one of the greats."
Buyer Peter Vaughan concurred with her assessment of the Cashman family's dual Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning sire.
"I've had plenty of luck with the sire going back a long time and there aren't many more of them to come. He is a really good colt with a high-class pedigree and I am looking forward to bringing him back for resale as a three-year-old."
Got to Getaway
The progeny of Getaway proved extremely popular with buyers at Goffs throughout the two days of foal sales. A dozen offspring of the Group 1 winner by Monsun were offered for sale on Thursday and 10 changed hands for an average of €21,720. Getaway’s 2016 fee was €4,000.
Those results were headed by a colt out of a three-parts sister to the Grade 1 winner Oscar Whisky who was bought for €50,000 by Martin Lynch and offered by Grange Hill Stud.
Mark Hanly’s operation bred the dual Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle winner and it was the pedigree that attracted Lynch to the fourth foal out of Holly Baloo.
“He is a really nice horse and has an excellent pedigree with Seeyouatmidnight close up too,” he explained. “He’s a lovely type of horse and hopefully, if all goes well, he will be back for resale as a three-year-old.”
Earlier in the afternoon, pinhooker Richard Frisby continued his buying spree as he signed for the Getaway colt consigned by Gerry Ross’s Limekiln Stud for €47,000.
The colt is the third foal out of Celtic Cailin, a daughter of Beneficial who failed to win but was placed 11 times over hurdles including three times in Graded contests. Born in April, he can be expected to reappear at a store sale in 2020.
Tank sibling in demand
The most expensive filly of the sale, the Milan three-parts sister to The Tullow Tank and Grand National hero Many Clouds, was purchased by Gerry Hogan for €46,000.
“She has been bought on behalf of John and Liz Lucas of Swanbridge Bloodstock and has huge long-term potential as a broodmare. They will take a view on her as she matures but she has a wonderful pedigree and is a lovely, athletic horse,” commented Hogan on the filly who will be moving to Britain.
The daughter of Milan was consigned by Quill Farm on behalf of her breeder Aidan Aherne.
Burn And Turn was a classy performer on the track for trainer Jessica Harrington, winning six times including Grade 3 Glencarraig Lady Handicap Chase and her first foal, a daughter of Rathbarry Stud sire Sholokhov, sire of Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, turned plenty of heads.
Consigned by her breeder Mary Brennan, the strong and striking bay was the subject of frenzied bidding and was eventually knocked down to Stephen Kemble on behalf of The Old Rectory Stud for €41,000.