Historic nursery set to disperse entire portfolio later in 2017
Tattersalls to offer mares, yearlings, foals and horses out of training
One of Europe’s most important dispersal sales of recent times is set to take place later this year after Peter Reynolds, long-serving manager of Ballymacoll Stud, revealed to the Racing Post on Saturday that its entire bloodstock portfolio is booked to go under the hammer at public auction.
Tattersalls has been appointed to sell all bar four of 52 horses at the historic County Meath nursery, the exception being four older mares who will be sold closer to home at Goffs.
Ballymacoll’s future has been up in the air for the past year or so as Reynolds sought tenders for the entire operation, which has produced 30 Group 1 winners since its purchase by the Weinstock family 57 years ago. On Friday a meeting of its trustees – having maintained the stud on a brief of self-sufficiency since Lord Weinstock’s death in 2002 – decided that since no deal had been sealed, it would be necessary to set a piecemeal sale in motion.
“We’d have loved for someone to come along and do what the boss did in the 1960s, and take the place over lock, stock and barrel,” Reynolds said. “But we’ve been trying to find someone for 12 months and, while it’s not too late for that to happen, as things stand Plan A hasn’t worked and we’re moving on to Plan B.
“It would have been particularly nice to have kept the whole thing together with the staff in mind. I’ve been here 45 years this summer, and have never had better staff. They’ve been wonderful, not least the way they have carried on while knowing the place is up for sale.”
The roster of 18 mares, 14 horses in training, nine yearlings, nine foals and a couple of horses out of training will be divided between the relevant sales this autumn. “I think the days of a single catalogue dispersal are gone,” Reynolds said. “So they’ll be split between the October Yearlings, Horses-in-Training and breeding stock sales. Goffs put in a fair bid for the deal as well but while Ballymacoll is an Irish company, the beneficiaries are UK-based so Tattersalls appealed a bit more and we’re looking forward to working with Tammy O’Brien there.”
The Weinstock silks have been carried by two Derby winners, Troy and North Light, as well as such luminaries as Conduit, Golan, Pilsudski, Sun Princess and Islington. The latter, now 18, recently delivered her 11th filly from 11 foals and will be among the more venerable lots on offer. Nearly all the stock belong to parallel dynasties, tracing to two foundation mares in Country House and Sunny Valley.
Securing responsibility for the distribution of that precious heritage was duly greeted as a considerable coup for Tattersalls by the firm’s chairman Edmond Mahony. “Tattersalls is honoured to have been entrusted with the dispersal of such an outstanding collection of bloodstock,” Mahony said. “Rarely, if ever, has a broodmare band of relatively modest numbers achieved so much on the global stage, and this dispersal represents a unique opportunity to share in a legacy of spectacular success and unprecedented overachievement. Tattersalls is proud to be conducting this dispersal on behalf of the trustees of Ballymacoll Stud and proud to share with them the same enduring ethos of excellence and utmost integrity.”
For Reynolds, such a respected curator of all this equine family silver, the coming months will inevitably be poignant. “In a way it feels a funny time to be talking of selling,” he said. “We’ve foals on the ground, mares being covered, and during the week I was talking to Sir Michael [Stoute] about all the nice young stock he has coming through. Who knows? Because they’re all from the same families, perhaps something might emerge to increase their value again. So we can still be very hopeful looking forward to the season ahead.”