While Ireland’s sport horse sales season of 2015 will go down in history as one of record-breaking returns, it was also one of solid growth. The sale of the eminent show jumper Dougie Douglas (ISH) for €1.4m was the obvious highlight but the sales figures in general illustrated a consistent improvement throughout.

Encouragingly, the 2015 returns illustrated a notable increase of customers from America, as well as those from England and mainland Europe. The demand for pedigree was at its highest in the autumn foal sales. The mandate for success is for blacktype on the dam side coupled with a fashionable continental sire, and prices for the correct individuals rocketed again this year.

Fast-forwarding through to the three- and four-year-olds, however, it is ability, blood and correctness that emerge as the more important factors. The decline in breeding numbers has led to a shortage of these highly saleable individuals, leading to record prices for the top-end individuals.

Looking forward to the approaching year, pin-hookers and producers are finding it hard to source these prospects, and wise breeders should reap the rewards.


The British-based Nations Cup show jumper Dougie Douglas (VDL Douglas), ridden by Holly Gillott, smashed Irish records when selling for €1.4m at the Goresbridge Supreme Sale of Show Jumpers while Alexander Butler and Neal Fearon’s highly rated Dekato fetched €250,000.

Bred by John O’Brien out of Neills Girl (High Roller), the sale-topper was knocked down to agent Barry O’Connor and sold on to American show jumper Kathy Dinan.

Another record was broken at the Goresbridge Go For Gold event horse sale 24 hours later. With just one run short of an Olympic qualification, Anne Bannon’s homebred event mare Gorsehill Pearl (Hermes De Reve) out of Holly Clover (Minstrel Bouncer) was snapped up by international event rider Joseph Murphy at €85,000.

One of the largest hikes in the returns came in the four-year-old sector. Luke Cafolla’s Breeders Classic winner LSS Barbados, a filly by Balou du Rouet out of Consul’s Flight (Errigal Flight), bred by Paul Dillon, was sold to English-based HK Horses for €52,000 at the Goresbridge Supreme Sale of Show Jumpers.

The year’s top three-year-old price again went to a son of Ramiro B, who topped the Go For Gold figures at €42,000. Co Wicklow event horse producer Richard Sheane signed the docket.

The thoroughbred sire fared especially well in this sector, with Pierce Treacy’s son of Watermill Swatch fetching €21,000. Bred by Padraig Hevarty, out of the Errigal Flight-sired Main Flight, and selling at the Go For Gold sale, he was one of six thoroughbred-sired individuals during the course of the year to realise a five-figure sum.

A few lots later, and at the same venue, Tom English’s gelding by Puissance topped the ISH-sired group at €19,500. It was a night to remember for his breeder Michael Reck Jnr, as this gelding was a full-brother to Peruising, who changed hands for €40,000 earlier that evening.

Heading an outstanding year at €22,000 was a colt foal by the Belgian warmblood stallion Elvis Ter Putt. Sold at the Goresbridge Select Sale, Greg Broderick’s colt was out of the good mare Ballypatrick Flight (Laughtons Flight). The dam counts Broderick’s RDS Aga Khan hero Going Global as a half-sister as well as the international event horse MHS King Joules. He was secured by agent Ronnie Kelly on behalf of Tipperary show jumper Shane Breen.

Cavan’s Elite Foal Sale was the venue for another good dispersal, in which Paul Flanagan’s colt, by the world’s No 1 show jumping sire Kannan was knocked down to Michael Hayden at €18,000. This colt is out of Annyalla Three Seas (Cavalier Royale) and from the maternal family of the European championship team gold medallist Dreamin.