It took until the final lot of the Goffs February Sale for the six-figure mark to be reached and it was a round €100,000 for the top lot of the two days, Rubira (Aus), a young southern hemisphere-bred daughter of Lope De Vega (Ire) in foal for the first time to New Bay (GB).
The 6-year-old mare was formerly trained in by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman in New Zealand where she won the listed Diamond Lodge Gt North Champagne S. She was bought from the Baroda Stud draft by Alex Elliott.
“She's a good-moving mare and she's a listed-winning Lope De Vega in foal to New Bay on an early cover,” said the agent, who added that lot 253 has been bought for a syndicate.
“The plan is to probably go to a stallion like Camelot (GB). He's obviously very appealing to both hemispheres and potentially we are looking to try to breed something that the Australians could be interested in. We could also go back to New Bay—I have a bit of a soft spot for him as he's been really good to use with [G2 Royal Lodge S. winner] New Mandate (Ire). It's a question of whether we are able to get into some of these stallions. She'll stay in Ireland.”
The session of fillies and broodmares followed Tuesday's horses-in-training section of the February Sale, all of which has been conducted online and will feature a follow-up live session of short yearlings on March 11.
With Part 1 now concluded, 117 of the 191 horses offered changed hands for turnover of €1,585,700. The average was €13,553 and the median was €8,000. Encouragingly, 190 bidders from 10 different countries participated during the two days of trade.
Goffs Group chief executive Henry Beeby said, “And on we go. The last 11 months have been unlike anything we have ever known and we have been forced to adapt and react to the ever changing situation caused by Covid-19. A live online sale is never going to be our first choice for any category but our customer-friendly platform continues to evolve and serve us well. Over the last two days we have taken 1,425 bids from 190 clients in 10 countries which has allowed us to provide a marketplace that would otherwise have been unattainable.”
Bidding online isn't rocket science, unless of course you're Hubie de Burgh, who made extra sure he had the correct filly for his Australian client by enlisting the help of his daughter. The equine Rocket Science (Ire) (Fastnet Rock Aus) will soon be heading for the southern hemisphere after being bought for €84,000.
“She's been bought for an Australian and she's heading down there to go to stud,” said the agent of lot 131. “She suits the Australian profile, she's a big, strong mare, she's got speed—it's a speed family. Fastnet Rock is a brilliant sire and is going to be a good broodmare sire and of course Pivotal is good anywhere. She fits all the criteria that the Australian breeders like.”
The 4-year-old filly was bred by Frank Dunne from the G2 Queen Mary S.-placed Hairy Rocket (GB) (Pivotal GB) and made nine starts for Jessica Harrington, winning twice over seven furlongs and finishing fourth in the G3 Fairy Bridge S. behind subsequent Group 1 winner Champers Elysees (Ire) (Elzaam Aus).
De Burgh would of course normally be found in Australia himself at this time of year but is instead confined to barracks at his home in Wicklow.
He added, “It's 15 years since I haven't been down there at this time of year. I didn't know what January and February looked like but I've just discovered it. We have snow everywhere and I have managed to write off my own car on my own farm. It just took off downhill like the Cresta Run.”
Instead of pounding the sales grounds at Magic Millions, Inglis or Karaka, de Burgh is this year getting to grips with the online experience provided by Goffs.
He said with a chuckle, “I have the fear of God that I might be pressing the button on the wrong horse. My daughter Antonia runs the office here and fortunately she steers me in the right direction when I am about to do something on the internet.”
The Castlebridge Consignment offered both Rocket Science and the mare who brought the third-top price of the day, Gracefully Done (Ire). The 5-year-old mare (lot 190) is a daughter of Australia (GB) and the G1 Matron S. winner Sense Of Style (Thunder Gulch), herself a half-sister to G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches victrix Valentine Waltz (Ire) (Be My Guest). Covered by Ten Sovereigns on March 12, Gracefully Done was bought by Hawthorn Villa Stud for €76,000.
Concluding his end-of-sale statement, Henry Beeby added, “We are always grateful to every vendor and each purchaser but never more than so than at present as the pandemic puts more barriers in the way of normal bloodstock trading. Vendors have stepped up with all the additional information required for purchasers to make as informed decisions as possible in the current environment. That has led to a trade that is acceptable, albeit selective, especially yesterday. However today has seen spirited bidding for the most attractive breeding propositions and underlined the enduring desire for the best of Irish bloodlines. We salute everyone who engaged over the last two days for their fortitude and acceptance of what is required whilst at the same time hoping fervently that we can soon return to the usual norms of horses and people filling Kildare Paddocks. That always results in the best of both worlds for sellers and buyers whilst also allowing all of us to engage and catch up on a one to one basis, something that we miss more as each lockdown progresses.
“So we extend our thanks to all participants over the last two days and just hope that we are able to welcome back horses and people on 11 March for Part 2 of the Goffs February Sale even though everyone will be masked, sanitised and socially distanced; at least we'll be going in the right direction.”