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Late drama at the Derby Sale as The Bosses Oscar's half-brother brings €280,000

Aisling Crowe reports from a strong session of selling at Tattersalls Ireland

Top lot: the son of Walk In The Park and Cuteasafox makes €280,000 to the bid of Eddie O'Leary, acting on behalf of Bective Stud
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There was a dramatic late twist to Thursday's session of the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale when Eddie O'Leary went to €280,000 to outbid Coolmore's MV Magnier and land the Walk In The Park gelding out of Cuteasafox offered by Ballincurrig House Stud.

The well-related youngster sparked a bidding war between Gerry Hogan, Magnier and O’Leary as the trio traded blows for one of the standout lots of the sale. Both Hogan and O’Leary were receiving instructions over the telephone but Magnier was in no mood to hang about, with his quick bidding style helping the sale along at a rattling pace.

Hogan was the first to bow out, leaving matters between the Coolmore man and O’Leary. When O’Leary made his bid of €280,000, an adamant shake of the head by Magnier signalled that the contest had been won by the other side.

O'Leary was acting on behalf of Bective Stud's Noel and Valerie Moran, who have the gelding's six-year-old half-brother The Bosses Oscar in training with Gordon Elliott.

"He's an absolute king of a physical by what looks to be a top-class sire," said O'Leary. "Gordon already has the half-brother, The Bosses Oscar, and I hope he's half as good as he looks."

The sale-topper was one of two sons of Walk In The Park sold by Michael Moore's Cork farm to make the day's top five most expensive lots, as earlier in proceedings the operation sold the half-brother to Listed-placed hurdler Etre Francais to Denis Murphy and Colin Bowe at €150,000.

Walk In The Park's second Irish-bred crop were hot commodities at the Derby Sale with 32 selling for a total of €2,452,500 and an average price of €76,640, which was over €20,000 above the whole-sale average.

Jonbon team reload with Hurricane Fly sibling

On a day when record figures were recorded as the action built to a tremendous crescendo, it was the early sale of the last foal out of Scandisk, the dam of dual Champion Hurdler Hurricane Fly, which set the tone for a vibrant day of trading.

Consigned by his breeders, the Motherway family of Yellowford Farm, the well-related gelding brought an opening bid of €100,000 from Aiden and Olly Murphy, which was countered by the free-spending Paul Holden and Michael Shefflin.

The two traded blows until Holden and Shefflin pushed the price to €200,000, at which point the father and son bowed out.

Yellowford Farm's Walk In The Park half-brother to Hurricane Fly sells for €200,000

This was not the first time that the duo had gone large at the Derby Sale for a Walk In The Park sibling to a Willie Mullins-trained star, as Shefflin explained: "Two years ago we bought Jonbon, the brother to Douvan at this sale and I suppose there's a connection there."

A quarter of Hurricane Fly’s success would still make his youngest sibling a multiple Grade 1 winner but first he will have to prove himself in a four-year-old maiden point-to-point, as Jonbon did following his purchase for €140,000 two years ago.

Jonbon duly made £570,000 to JP McManus after his debut success at Dromahane last November, before he won his bumper on his only start to date for Nicky Henderson.

"This horse is flawless, it was down to the individual at the end of the day and I could not fault him," continued Shefflin. "We buy them to go pointing, win and sell on hopefully, but we are up against end-users all the time. Hopefully he'll be another Jonbon, he doesn't need to make as much as he did but he does need to make enough!"

In contrast to Wednesday’s action, which saw the duo’s total expenditure reach €583,000 for five horses, Hurricane Fly's sibling was their sole purchase during Thursday's energetic session.

The sale was a massive result for the Motherway family who made the brave decision not to sell the gelding as a foal when he was last in this sale ring having been led out unsold for €94,000.

"We’re thrilled, it's a great result for the farm, it's a lot of hard work and it's great when it pays off. We were questioning our decision at the time, but when it works out in the end it's great,” said a delighted Paul Motherway.

Paul Motherway (second right): "We were questioning our decision at the time, but when it works out in the end it's great."

Dream still alive for Logan

Another purchaser to get his hands on a six-figure son of Walk In The Park was Joey Logan, who went to €150,000 for the first foal out of Stephanie Frances, a Listed winner over hurdles and fences for Dan Skelton. 

That transaction represented a good pinhooking touch for Glenwood Stud's Dick Frisby, who bought the gelding for €48,000 from Sheridan House Stables at the 2019 Tattersalls Ireland February Sale.

"He'll come back to my place to be broken in then go to Denis Murphy and hopefully win his point and we’ll sell him on. The dream is still alive!" smiled the happy purchaser, who professed his admiration for the stallion of the moment.

"I really liked him, he’s a really good individual and a good mover. He has a really nice page as the first foal of a good King’s Theatre mare. I love the Walk In The Parks; they're good-looking horses that move very well."

Crawford doubles up for team double green

There was a slight sense of déjà vu about Kilminfoyle House Stud’s Authorized gelding, as the half-brother to Group 3 winner Boldogsag and to the dam of Grade 3 scorer Mitchouka was knocked down to Stuart Crawford, who was also the buyer of Wednesday’s sole offering by the sire.

Going to €155,000 for the son of Belga Wood, who is from the family of German Derby winner and Sunnyhill Stud sire Lucky Speed, Crawford revealed that his acquisition was made on behalf of the same owners, Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, as his earlier Authorized purchase.

Lot 351: the Authorized gelding out of Belga Wood who was knocked down to Stuart Crawford for €155,000

"The sire has done well for the owners, they've had a wee bit of luck," said Crawford, who signed the docket in Highflyer Bloodstock's name. "This is a nice horse, an athletic horse. He’s a bit more mature than yesterday's purchase so should be one to come to hand a bit earlier."

Black Tears' owner all smiles after €125,000 purchase

Caren Walsh, who has retired her David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle winner Black Tears to the breeding paddocks at Clane farm, was at Tattersalls Ireland in search of a new potential star in the company of her husband Aidan and bloodstock agent Bobby O’Ryan.

She left as the delighted owner of Instant Tendance, a Joshua Tree half-sister to Good Risk At All who won a pair of Listed bumpers last season, after going to €125,000 for the filly, who was consigned by Tom Howley and Caoimhe Doherty’s Brook Lodge Farm.

"We loved her when we saw her the other day," said O'Ryan. "She’s a lovely filly, she has a great temperament, and has everything you want in a racemare, hopefully there’s an engine. She will go to Paddy and Jack Kennedy to be broken-in, they do a very good job, and then on to Gordon Elliott."

Final figures

Turnover over the two days reached €16,151,500, which, although only the fourth highest total of the past two decades, was the product of a slimmed-down catalogue with just 347 horses offered for sale.

The clearance rate of 86 per cent across the two days was buoyed by particularly strong trade in the middle market, reflected in a Derby Sale record average and median price.

The 2021 Derby Sale returned an average of €54,020 which was an increase of four points on the previous record of €51,755 set in 2017. That sale also held the previous record for the median at €43,000 - a figure that was comfortably surpassed by this week's median of €48,000.

With an 11th hour change to the Covid-19 protocols meaning British-based buyers were unable to attend, the Derby Sale was not without its challenges, as alluded to by chief executive Simon Kerins in his end-of-sale statement. 

Kerins said: "Once again, the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale has produced outstanding results and demonstrated extraordinary resilience under testing conditions. The sale has produced average and median prices second to none and to have witnessed such vibrant trade over the last two days has been truly magnificent.

"Despite the last minute Covid-related changes to the protocols, which had been carefully formulated to allow the safe attendance of a small number of UK based buyers, the Derby Sale yet again performed to an extraordinary level as evidenced by a record average of €54,020, a record median of €48,000, a top lot of €280,000 and 24 lots being sold for €100,000 or more.

"More than ever, we should take this opportunity to record our thanks and appreciation to all those who have contributed to the Derby Sale. In particular we must thank our loyal and understanding UK purchasers who have borne the brunt of the last minute disruption, but have continued to use every possible option to participate successfully in the sale.

"Similarly the solidarity and support shown to us by our loyal vendors has been heart-warming and we are especially pleased to see them duly rewarded in the sales ring over the last two days.

"The figures recorded by the Derby Sale speak for themselves and truly hammer home why this sale is consistently the best at every level.

"The highlight of day two was selling the most expensive store horse sold this year for €280,000 and he headed trade of true strength and depth that reflected the quality of the stock entrusted to us by so many leading vendors who continue to send their best store horses to the Derby Sale.

"Nevertheless, while we are delighted that the 2021 Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale has shown such vibrance, there can be no doubt that this would have been an even more successful renewal without the last minute disruption encountered by so many of our leading buyers.

"As we noted yesterday, the turn of events on the eve of the sale have wider implications for the industry and we will now take time to review the remaining 2021 Tattersalls Ireland sales programme with all our key stakeholders and the relevant state agencies and advise of any updates in due course.

"In the meantime we applaud the patience and determination of all those who, in the face of adversity, have contributed to the success of this week’s sale and we look forward to following the newest Derby Sale graduates as they begin their career on the racetrack and fly the flag for a sale that represents the very finest of Irish National Hunt breeding."

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Gordon already has the half-brother, The Bosses Oscar, and I hope he's half as good as he looks
E.W. Terms