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Anticipation builds as Sheikh Mohammed flies in for first Orby since 2005

Ireland's premier yearling auction begins on Tuesday

Sheikh Mohammed (centre) is greeted by Goffs Group chief executive Henry Beeby. Surrounding the sheikh is Charlie Appleby, Saeed Bin Suroor and Simon Crisford
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The arrival of Sheikh Mohammed at Goffs on Monday provided vendors with some much needed optimism before the Orby Sale, which is set to start its two-day run on Tuesday at 11am.

Last week’s Tattersalls Ireland September Sale, a tough market for a number of people, remains fresh in the memory but the confirmed presence of the Maktoum family, not to mention the sizeable international contingent attracted by Goffs, have gone some way to allaying fears among vendors of another week of potentially tricky trading.

While Sheikh Hamdan is a regular visitor to the Orby, not since 2005 has Sheikh Mohammed attended the sale in person. His presence at the Keeneland September Sale after an absence of almost a decade undoubtedly contributed to a competitive top end of that particular market, as Godolphin and their Japanese arm went on to spend nearly $20 million on 27 lots. Thus, his afternoon spent viewing yearlings yesterday in the company of Simon Crisford, Charlie Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor among others was a particularly welcome sight for Goffs and all involved.

Overall, international investment is likely to be key to the success of this sale, as it was to an extent in 2017. Last year’s €1.6m topping son of Frankel, for instance, was knocked down to American agent Justin Casse on behalf of a partnership between Coolmore and Zayat Stables. Named Old Glory, he looked particularly exciting last month when landing his debut at Naas for Aidan O’Brien, although he still has a fair way to go to match the exploits of stablemate Forever Together, this year’s catalogue cover star by virtue of her Oaks victory who sold out of the Ballylinch Stud draft for €900,000 to MV Magnier in 2016.

American investment is once again expected to play its part while Goffs have attracted a significant contingent of Japanese buyers, among them the J S Company, Big Red Farm, who have returned following a lengthy absence, and representatives of Shadai Stallions and the Satomi Horse Company. The international buying bench also looks likely to be bolstered by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, YuLong Investments and Form Bloodstock to complement the usual array of domestic players.

“I take my hat off to Goffs,” says Brendan Holland of Grove Stud. “They’ve been working hard in getting international buyers and it looks like they’ve turned up.”

Holland’s six-strong draft includes a colt in possession of one of the big updates of the sale in lot 383, the Lope De Vega brother to Acomb Stakes winner Phoenix Of Spain who was pinhooked for €110,000 as a foal.

“I’ve brought some good colts here,” says Holland. “Obviously the Lope De Vega has the update. He’s a well balanced colt with a lot of quality and he’s been easy to do throughout – he’s a very sound horse.”

Also positive is Eddie O’Leary of Lynn Lodge Stud, one of the larger drafts represented with 16 yearlings under its banner.

“Goffs have worked extremely hard,” he says. “They’re getting the buyers in and giving us every chance. We’ve been showing since Saturday and the traffic through the yard has been very, very good – it’s been non-stop.”

Goffs have catalogued a total of 417 lots this year, a reduction of 11 per cent from the 468-strong edition of 2017. A total of €40,702,500 worth of stock changed hands led by a pair of seven-figure yearlings in the aforementioned €1.6m Frankel colt and a €1.2m Galileo filly who sold to Godolphin out of the Ballylinch Stud draft.

Ballylinch returns with another coveted inmate among its draft in the Galileo sister to Forever Together and fellow Group 1 winner Together Forever (318) bred by Vimal and Gillian Khosla. Progeny out of her dam Green Room have realised a total of €2.68 million at this sale since 2013 and it must be short odds that this year’s offering will enhance that figure significantly.

“The two full-sisters were raised and sold by us and she's very similar in many ways,” says John O’Connor, managing director of Ballylinch Stud. “She's medium-sized with great limbs and a very good mover.

“She does everything you'd like her to at this stage and looks like a racehorse. Bringing horses like her to auction is what we're all about."

The Galileo - Green Room filly is one of close to 20 full or half-siblings to Group/Grade 1 winners catalogued over the next two days. Others of particular note include the Galileo sister to Alice Springs (165) and the Zoffany half-brothers to Latrobe (42) and Dancing Rain (46).

More from the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale:

Patience and thoughtful cultivation pays dividends for historic operation

Five unmissable lots in the Orby Yearling Sale catalogue

Timely boost for Tasleet sister pinhooked for six-figure sum

We?ve been showing since Saturday and the traffic through the yard has been very, very good ? it?s been non-stop
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