There were smiles all round at Goresbridge last Wednesday, as the venue’s seasonal opener delivered a heartening set of returns. Now under the new tenure of Ed Donohoe and his family, the one-day edition encouragingly closed with a hike in both clearance and turnover, with only the average slipping to below last year’s figures. With the trade driven predominately by the commercial sector, 80% (77% in 2023) of those on offer changed hands leading to a turnover of €692,650 (€680,750) and average of €5,870 (€6,674).

This will have been cheering news for Donohoe, who having taken over the company from his brother Martin earlier this year, is already looking forward to a new thoroughbred sale on 18 April. “We are absolutely thrilled with the results of the first sale of the year, which was very well supported by both vendors and purchasers and led to a particularly satisfying overall clearance,” he said. “Horses have gone to Ireland, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, with our top lot heading to an established client in the USA.”

Sale topper

Not for the first time at the venue, the top prices fell to the professional production team of MBF Sport Horses and Higgins Sport Horses. On Wednesday, they landed three of the top five prices between them, with an imported son of Qatar Ter Saleghem easily collecting the best return of €25,000. Owned jointly by the two parties, the four-year-old gelding was ridden on the day by Meabh Bolger under whom he impressed with his calm attitude and rideability. Despite attracting a number of potential buyers to the ringside, the gelding soon became the subject of a spirited battle for ownership between a telephone and online buyer. At the close of play, it was the USA-based customer Mikayla Howard who won the prize online.

Lot 61, Bella 18, a seven-year-old mare by Cobra 18 went for €12,500. \ Sally Parkyn

Older horses

A strong demand for older horses resulted in the day’s best clearance of 86% together with three, five figure returns. Trade buyers were especially dominant, and heading the sector at €12,500 was Eddie Wright’s attractive seven-year-old mare Bella 18 by Cobra 18. The winner of 32 SJI points under 17-year-old Galway based Ted Wright, she looked well bought by Athlone’s Jim Derwin.

Never far from the action, MBF Sport Horses scored again when their Jorado-sired mare MBF Musical Note realised €11,000. A well-related five-year-old, she was sourced from her breeder Ronan Tynan, and was one a of a number of lots knocked down to British buyer Ben Arrowsmith.

As mares continued to punch above their weight, DJ O’Sullivan’s six-year-old by Clearway changed hands at €10,000. A produce of the well-related mare Vuttion Va, she was secured by trade customer Nicole Browne.

Another with a good damline, was Ronan Fahy’s Lagans Shuraz Lad, a five-year-old gelding by Vivant Van de Heffinck out of Shannondale Shuraz (Cascaletto St Ghyvan Z). A half-brother to Lagans Shaz Girl (1.40m), he was snapped up by Co Cork producer Ciaran O’Connor for €9,000.

Four year-olds

Always a popular age group at the venue, the four-year-olds drew the day’s best average of €6,253. Although this figure was boosted by the sale topper, trade was lively throughout and at €13,000, next in line was Higgins Sport Horses’ Crosshue Delboy, a gelding by Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet out of Crosshue Lui (Luidam). Bred by Joe Walsh and bought from him last year, he had hunted with the Bree foxhounds and was another knocked down to Ben Arrowsmith.

With a full catalogue it was late in the proceedings when Mary Kehoe’s unnamed gelding by RC Mr Flint (I’m Special de Muze) was secured by Mount Juliet Equestrian for €11,500. Bought through the same sale ring as a foal, he was out of the very well related RC Olympic Iroko (Iroko) and will be show jumped before a possible export to America.

Lot 6, Cullinagh Chancer, a 12.2hh gelding was the top priced pony going for €9,500. \ Sally Parkyn


The stand out among the 12 ponies sold (15 forward) was Grace O’Donnell’s six-year-old 12.2 hands gelding Cullinagh Chancer. Having put up an impressive display under young DJ Kent, he was knocked down to very determined Keith Donovan for €9,500. It was later revealed that Donovan was buying for his daughter Nadia, who was celebrating her ninth birthday on the day of the sale.

Top returns

•MBF Sport Horses/Higgins Sport Horses’ Petar D, four-year-old gelding by Qatar Ter Saleghem (dam by Victory) €25,000.

•Higgins Sport Horses’ Crosshue Delboy, four-year-old gelding by Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet (dam by Luidam) €13,000.

•Eddie Wright’s Bella 18, seven-year-old mare by Cobra 18 (dam by Diamond Chin) €12,500.

•Mary Kehoe’s Unnamed four-year-old gelding by RC Mr Flint (dam by Iroko) €11,500.

• MBF Sport Horses’ MBF Musical Note, five-year-old mare by Jorado (dam by Ars Vivendi) €11,000.