New Approach daughters in demand as February Sale draws to a close
Aisling Crowe reports from the concluding breeding stock session
The breeding operations of Jim Bolger and the Aga Khan have provided plenty of success over the years and it was a pair of New Approach fillies from those farms who were the catalyst for a flurry of bids during the final day of the Goffs February Sale on Thursday.
The first of the pair into the ring was Glamorous Approach, a five-year-old mare twice victorious at Listed-level and placed the same number of times in Group 3 contests. Bred and trained by Jim Bolger, just like her Derby-winning sire, Glamorous Approach was in huge demand with a number of buyers representing stallion farms.
As the bidding crept past the €200,000 mark it appeared to be a two-way battle between Tony O'Callaghan of Tally-Ho Stud and Blandford Bloodstock's Tom Biggs. But John O'Connor of Ballylinch Stud joined the fray late on and it was his bid of €280,000 that proved to be the winning move.
Out of Maria Lee, a daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar, Glamorous Approach's second dam, Elida, is a half-sister to Speirbhean, the dam of Bolger's champion two-year-old turned leading sire Teofilo, who stands under the Darley banner at Kildangan Stud. With that calibre of pedigree, a date with one of Ballylinch Stud's roster of stallions awaits, although a return to the track was not ruled out by O'Connor.
"We will have a chat with Jim about her, take her home and assess her but no decision has been made about what stallion she will go to or whether she will race on," said O'Connor.
"She's a lovely, active mare from one of Jim's very good families, a family that can produce champions, and that is what we're after. Her pedigree suits us as she's a good cross for a number of our stallions."
Two horses later came the grey Harrana. The four-year-old Aga Khan homebred gets her colouring from her damsire Daylami, and boasts a connection to her breeder's best recent horse, the dual Derby hero of 2016, Harzand. Harrana's dam, Hazarafa, is a half-sister of the Gilltown Stud stallion, whose first foals are on the ground.
The O'Callaghan family was once again on the hunt for a New Approach mare and their opponent this time was agent Paul Nataf, but having lost out once, the Tally-Ho team were determined not to be outbid again, and went to €150,000 to secure the deal.
"She's a long-term project but her immediate future will be to be covered by Kodiac," said Tony O'Callaghan, who earlier in the session had signed for another Aga Khan mare, the €72,000 Elmaliya.
The four-year-old is a daughter of Sepoy and a granddaughter of the blue hen Ebaziya, the dam of Ascot Gold Cup-winning siblings Enzeli and Estimate as well as Irish Oaks winner Ebadiyla and Edabiya, winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
Elsewhere, Blandford Bloodstock secured Listed winner Chica Loca, in foal to Rathbarry Stud's leading sire Acclamation, for €80,000. She is by American Post, a son of Bering who won the Poule d'Essai des Poulains in 2004 for the recently retired Criquette Head-Maarek, owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah and jockey Richard Hughes. Chica Loca produced a winner with her first foal, with Fils De L'Air having landed five races in France.
Compared to last year's equivalent breeding stock session, which started the historic Ballymacoll Stud dispersal, turnover was unsurprisingly down more than a third to €1,814,500, while the median price of €6,450 was a quarter lower than that of 2017. The average, meanwhile, fell six per cent to €17,447.
Quality over quantity
"Today's breeding stock session has not matched last year in some respects but such is the nature of mixed sales as there are times when a particular dispersal benefits a sale and boosts figures," acknowledged Henry Beeby, group chief executive of Goffs.
"However when such one-offs are not catalogued it does not necessarily mean trade is lacking but rather that it reflects the lots on offer. We are perfectly content with today as we welcomed a large group of buyers back to Goffs and our €280,000 top price comfortably exceeds that of 12 months ago."
Beeby added: "As we focussed on relative quality the catalogue was smaller than last year so it was unlikely that we would match the 2017 turnover. However all the other figures show growth so we have started this year as we finished 2017 with great positivity and have much to look forward to in the coming months."
An average of €14,392 for the entire sale was an improvement of 11 points on last year's figure while the median grew by 18 per cent to €6,650. The smaller catalogue also posted a slightly better clearance rate than 2017, with 66 per cent of the horses offered over the three days changing hands compared to 64 per cent last year.
Catch up on all the action at Goffs this week: