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Reality calling for Katie Walsh despite sale of record-breaking Frankel filly

Two-year-old trade has proved difficult despite top-end strength in 2018

Katie Walsh: "no two years are ever the same in this game"
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Despite setting an auction record when selling a Frankel filly to Stephen Hillen for €315,000 at the Goresbridge Breeze-Up Sale on Friday, consignor Katie Walsh is remaining pragmatic about the realities of selling two-year-olds in the current market environment.

Walsh offered the Frankel filly and a Bated Breath half-sister to Bellamy Road, who fetched €200,000 from BBA Ireland, on behalf of Prince Muteb Bin Abdullah.

She was understandably pleased with those results but was quick to point out that the success of those two lots was not reflective of the wider market.

"They were two exceptional fillies and both have lovely pedigrees," she said. "A Frankel filly with a good pedigree was a first for Goresbridge. On top of that she did a good breeze, so it all just came together on the day."

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Explaining how she came to consign such choice lots, Walsh said: "Frank McGovern, racing manager to Prince Muteb Bin Abdullah, rang and said that these two fillies were going to go to Goresbridge and asked would I like to consign them. Of course I said I would and that's how the whole thing came about.

"They were two easy individuals to do, but you have to have the horses so I was just lucky that it was my phone that rang."

The well-related fillies at Goresbridge were not the only big-priced lots Walsh has sold during this year's breeze-ups, having also brought a winning bid of 500,000gns from Godolphin for Zalpa, a daughter of More Than Ready offered on behalf of David and Henrietta Egan.

Katie Walsh and the Greenhills Farm team with the sale-topping Frankel filly at Goresbridge
But the wider breeze-up market has not been quite so rosy for Walsh and her fellow consignors. So despite those notable results - all of which were gained on behalf of outside clients - and having retired from race riding, Walsh said no plans were in place to expand her breeze-up activity.

"I've been doing the breeze-ups for eight or nine years," she said. "Every year I've always set out to try to buy a bit of value. Just because I've stopped race riding doesn't necessarily mean I'll be buying more yearlings.

"They were huge results but I was consigning those horses for other people. The market was very tricky and a couple of people have been hurt by that, including myself as I still have a couple of my own at home that I didn't sell."

A significant increase in catalogue sizes during the 2018 breeze-up season was offered by Walsh as a major contributory factor in the fortunes many vendors experienced at this year's sale.

However she added that, even though the harsh realities have hit close to home, it was going to be business as usual come the yearling sales.

"There's been a lot breeze-up horses this year," she continued. "If you didn't tick all the right boxes you didn't get sold and that's just the way it was this year.

"But no two years are ever the same in this game, so you just have to get stuck in and hope that next year will be better."

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If you didn't tick all the right boxes you didn't get sold and that's just the way it was this year
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