Shadwell cast-off is the needle in the haystack for Byrne
The consignor has been in the business for 20 years
While most consignors dream of turning a little into a lot at the breeze-up sales and rarely manage to do so, one who hit the jackpot in a tremendous way at the Goffs UK Breeze-Up Sale was Michael Byrne of Knockgraffon Stables.
Byrne offered a daughter of Tamayuz that became the second most expensive filly at the sale when selling for £140,000 to Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock.
Byrne said: "The sale was very important because it's very seldom you'd get a touch of that size. We're usually just making enough out of these horses to keep the show on the road. To turn €12,000 into £140,000 is just something you dream about. You don't expect to do that very often. It was just kind of a one off.
"You're limited in what you can get for these breeze-up horses, because it's so much down to time. You could give £100,000 for a horse, and if he doesn't do a nice time, you won't get paid for him. So I try and buy at the lower end, and overlook a few faults and hope that they can go quick.
Being able to overlook some aesthetic faults reaped its reward for Byrne, who is based in Cahir, County Tipperary, on Wednesday.
"The Tamayuz filly had injured herself as a foal and she had muscle wastage on her shoulder, and Shadwell were culling her. That's probably what put a lot of people off buying her as a yearling. But she was always a lovely, nice-walking filly. Her movement was perfect so it wasn't affecting her."
"We've been in the breeze-up business for twenty years now and it pays the bills. It's gotten tougher now since they brought in the timing, because you have to be that bit harder on the horses to make the times, which means they're more prone to injuries.
"The main thing is getting them to the sales without a sore shin or an injury. If you're bringing them to the sales, and they are not 100 per cent sound, you are at nothing.
"Conformation is obviously your main concern when buying a foal or yearling, and finding a good athletic horse after that. They should be correct. Having a good walk is also very important. They should be able to make good use of themselves. I'd prefer a nice, athletic horse with a good walk, over one that has a nice pedigree.
"You need a lot of luck really. At the end of the day, if they can't go quick, you're in trouble. That's what it's all down to now - the time. So you need a horse that can go quick."
Born in the USA
Byrne is no stranger to the US sales, having sold a Forest Wildcat colt for 100,000gns at the 2007 Tattersalls Craven Breeze-up Sale, which failed to sell for $37,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale the previous year.
The colt, later named Fool's Wildcat, was an impressive four-length winner of a maiden at Newbury, but was later gelded and raced over hurdles.
Describing the trend of pinhookers buying in the US and selling in Europe, Byrne said: "It was very popular there seven or eight years ago, but then trainers seemed to go cold on the American sires for a while.
"The American sires seem to be back in popular demand at the moment, so some of the lads had a few nice touches from horses they bought at Keeneland and sold at Doncaster.
"I had a couple of good sales at Tattersalls, from horses I bought at Keeneland. But I hadn't a touch like Wednesday's in a long time, so it was a big help."
Looking to the future, Byrne said: "I've two horses to sell at the Guineas Sale and three at Goresbridge. I've a very nice Dabirsim filly going to Newmarket that I think a lot of."
The filly is out of the Acatenango mare Anavera, a winning half-sister to German Oaks scorer Amarette, who in turn is out of a half-sister to German 2,000 Guineas winner Aviso.
She was purchased by Byrne for €16,500 as a yearling, at the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale, so should she put in a fast breeze at Newmarket, Byrne may just have found himself another bargain.