'I've never seen breezes as good as this year' - high hopes for consignors heading into Tattersalls Ireland Sale

Aisling Crowe sets the scene from Fairyhouse ahead of the Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale

Roderic Kavanagh whose Glending Stables graduates include Vandeek
Roderic Kavanagh, whose Glending Stables graduates include VandeekCredit:

Friday marks the final stop on the main breeze-up circuit with the Tattersalls Ireland Sale, and it's the culmination of two sales seasons that will be difficult to surpass for Roderic Kavanagh of Glending Stables.

Last year the consignor's standout colt was a son of Havana Grey who he bought as a yearling for 42,000gns and turned into a 625,000gns breeze-up seller. That colt went on to be the Crisfords' unbeaten Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes winner Vandeek, who makes his seasonal return at Haydock on Saturday. 

This year Kavanagh has already repeated the spectacular pinhooking triumph with the final Galileo yearling to be offered at auction, purchasing the colt for 125,000gns in December and selling him for 1,000,000gns last month.

"It's exciting and I'm looking forward to seeing him out again on Saturday in the Sandy Lane Stakes," Kavanagh remarked of his most high-profile star to date.

And as for the Galileo colt out of Manderley, who sparked such wondrous scenes when bought by Godolphin, he said: "You are always hoping when you buy them that it could turn into something like that so, when it does, you're delighted."

Having such an outstanding result at the start of the year is both a blessing and a curse, something of which Kavanagh is acutely aware.

He said: "Obviously we got off to a great start, and in one way that took the pressure off for the rest of the year, but you can't close your eyes and not see the reality of it; there are probably more horses available than there are people to buy them. 

"You wouldn't be getting carried away with yourself, but fundamentally if you bring nice horses to the market you are going to go okay."

For the final sale of the season, Kavanagh brings a strong quartet to Fairyhouse and the calibre of the horses on offer has risen in tandem with the success of the Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale. The 2023 version produced two juvenile Group winners in Kairyu and Letsbefrankaboutit, and Ballymount Boy, who won the Listed Prospect Stakes, as well as the recent Listed Prix Rose de Mai winner Fun With Flags.

The traditional view of breeze-up horses is also changing, with the success of such as Trueshan transforming perspectives. Ambiente Friendly, a breeze-up graduate, pushed himself into the reckoning for Derby glory with victory in Lingfield's trial for the Classic and victory at Epsom for the son of Gleneagles would be another step on that journey of evolution for the sales.

"Last year was a vintage renewal in terms of the graduates that have come out of it; Kairyu, Fun With Flags, Ballymount Boy," said Kavanagh. "It's great to see those kind of horses coming through the sale because it gives a lot of confidence in the product that is coming out of the sales – they are being produced better and better all the time; I've never seen breezes as good as this year. 

Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale graduate Kairyu wins the Anglesey Stakes
Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale graduate Kairyu wins the Anglesey StakesCredit: CAROLINE NORRIS

"The general standard of the horsemanship at these breeze-up sales has gone so high, it's a very competitive game and horses are being very well-produced."

It doesn't come as a surprise to Kavanagh, who has noticed how the increasing discernment and brilliant equitation skills of practitioners are having an enormous impact on the horses and the sales.

"Very few nice horses are missed through the breeze-up selection process, I think," he said. "Regardless of times and things, it's very thorough and they're getting more and more professional at identifying them.

"It's great to see the variety in horses that are coming through the breeze-up system, they're not all whizz-bang Royal Ascot two-year-olds. They have longevity and careers."

Purple Lily also emerged from last year's sale and Paddy Twomey's Group 3 Salsabil Stakes runner-up, who remains in the Irish 1,000 Guineas ahead of Friday's declarations, is a daughter of Calyx. Glending Stables offers a Calyx filly out of the Listed Prix des Lilas third Delhi (lot 84) who resembles Purple Lily, the cover star of the sale catalogue.

Right from the start, the catalogue is filled with appealing prospects and Glending Stables' draft contains one of the earliest potential stars of the day in a second-crop son of leading first-season sire Blue Point (7).

Out of Timpani, a winning Raven's Pass half-sister to the Group 1 Preis von Europa second Poseidon Adventure, the bay colt impressed with his breeze on a chilly May morning at Fairyhouse.

Blue Point in the Darley stallion parade at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket last July
Blue Point: sire of the colt out of Timpani offered by Glending StablesCredit: Edward Whitaker

"The Blue Point horse is probably the star attraction," said Kavanagh. "Blue Point needs no introduction and hopefully he could have a Classic winner at the weekend; Rosallion looks good and he's a carbon copy of him, we are excited and hopefully the market takes to him.

"He's a fine, big, strong horse and he has taken till now to fill out his frame. That's why we targeted this sale with him."

Grade 2 winner Catalina Cruiser, a son of Union Rags, is not as familiar a name as some of the stallions represented in the catalogue, but Kavanagh is excited about the filly (45) he offers, and her appeal to a certain sector of the market that has been enticed to Fairyhouse.

He said: "The Catalina Cruiser is only just two, she was born on May 22, but she's a lovely, big, rangy, scopey filly. We're very excited by her and think she could be one for the desert."

The international buyers assembled by the teams at Tattersalls Ireland and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM) is a notable feature of the sale, with the variety of languages spoken around the sales ground and at the racetrack across the road growing again.

"When you are down on the track, bar vets and vendors, you couldn't see too many people around but when you looked up into the grandstand with the cool day that it was, a lot of people were taking cover and shelter," said Kavanagh.

"ITM and Tattersalls Ireland usually do a great job with this sale, and at the top end those buyers are always on the lookout for the better horses."

Jockey 'Flash' Gordon Power supplies the fourth member of the Glending draft, a filly from the first crop of the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sottsass (48) out of the Lingfield Oaks Trial runner-up Bellajeu, by Montjeu.

"Flash has done a great job with her and she has a lovely, floaty action and came up the track really nicely today," Kavanagh said of the filly who was proving popular with viewers.

"I think we have three lovely horses of our own and Flash's filly is lovely too, so hopefully he gets on well."

It's the final time this breeze-up season that Kavanagh, and every other consignor, will have to wait to discover their fate, with the sale getting under way at 10am on Friday.

Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale Factfile

Where Tattersalls Ireland, Ratoath

When Selling starts at 10am on Friday

Last year's stats From 239 offered, 199 sold (83 per cent) for turnover of €8,563,500 (up 29 per cent year on year), an average of €43,033 (up 13 per cent) and a median of €30,000 (up 36 per cent)

Notable graduates Layfayette (sold by San Antone Lodge, bought by Noel Meade for €54,000); Parent's Prayer (sold by Kilminfoyle House Stud, bought by BBA Ireland for €165,000); Fun With Flags (sold by Kingsfield Stud, bought by Erica Gilliar for €62,000); Kairyu (sold by Kingsfield Stud, bought by Michael O'Callaghan for €80,000); Letsbefrankaboutit (sold by Greenhills Farm, bought by Avenue Bloodstock for €240,000); Ballymount Boy (sold by MC Thoroughbreds, bought by Daniel Hussy Bloodstock for €110,000

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