Monday, May 20, 2024

A proven source of stakes-class performers with leading sires well represented at Ireland’s only breeze-up | Topics: Breeze Up, Breeze-up sales, Horse Racing Ireland, Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing | Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

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The annual Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale, Europe’s largest sale of its kind, takes place on May 23-24 at the Fairyhouse sales complex. Photo: ITM

Nancy Sexton casts her eye over the Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale, set to feature an array of high-class stock on May 23-24 at the Fairyhouse sales complex


Ireland: Few auctions have made as much ground in recent years as the Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale.

The sale, formerly staged under the Goresbridge banner, is one of the younger auctions All eyes on the action at the Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale in 2023. Photo: ITMwithin the breeze-up circuit, which as a whole remains in the news thanks to the likes of Vandeek, Native Trail, Lezoo, Bradsell and Trueshan. 

Set for May 23-24 at the Tattersalls Ireland Fairyhouse sales complex, this year’s renewal contains 252 lots, and with the prospect of wildcard entries to come, it is Europe’s largest breeze-up sale.

Many of Europe’s leading sires are represented, including Acclamation, Churchill, Dark Angel, Havana Grey, Kingman, Kodiac, Le Havre, Mehmas, Night Of Thunder, No Nay Never, Sea The Stars and Wootton Bassett to go with exciting second-crop sires of the calibre of Blue Point, Calyx, Phoenix Of Spain, Study Of Man and Too Darn Hot.

This remains the only breeze-up sale hosted in Ireland, allowing participants to take advantage of the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM) inward buyer programme whereby overseas buyers can claim a contribution towards travel expenses (ranging from €200 for British-based buyers to €1,500 for those from Asia and Australasia).

Kairyu: sold for €80,000 at last year’s breeze-up and went on to claim G3 Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh. Photo: ITMHaving gained its reputation from earlier G1-performing flagbearers such as Hunt, True Valour, New Energy, French Claim, Bright Diamond and Layfayette, last year’s sale was again quick to reward those who invested.

Extremely talented

To date, it has yielded 58 individual winners of 85 races, several of whom have turned out to be extremely talented.

Kairyu was out early for trainer Michael O’Callaghan, breaking her maiden at Naas a month after her sale out of the Kingsfield Stud draft for €80,000. Next time out she struck in the G3 Anglesey Stakes and was later sold to the US, where she now represents G1-winning trainer Cherie DeVaux.

Kingsfield Stud was also the source of Fun With Flags, recent winner of the Prix Rose de Mai, a Listed race at Saint-Cloud, for owner Erika Gilliar.

Another graduate, Ballymount Boy, ran second to Vandeek in the G2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood following his sale for €110,000 from Micky Cleere’s M.C. Thoroughbreds to Danny Hussy. He was subsequently sold to Wathnan Racing, for whom he won a Listed race at Doncaster.

Listed success: Ballymount Boy (far side) wins the William Hill Prospect Stakes under James Doyle. Photo: Dan Abraham / focusonracing.comThe highly regarded Purple Lily, who could be next seen in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, was sold by Chasefield Stables for €155,000 to Avenue Bloodstock.

However, the best may well have been Letsbefrankaboutit. Also purchased by Avenue Bloodstock, in his case from Katie Walsh’s Greenhills Farm for €240,000, the son of Sioux Nation broke his maiden only his second start for Paddy Twomey in the G3 Round Tower Stakes but sadly died not long afterwards.

“It was a really good year,” says Tattersalls Ireland chief executive officer Simon Kerins. “Letsbefrankaboutit looked like he was going to be a really good horse and it’s unfortunate what happened to him. Kairyu was good, as was Ballymount Boy.

“The sale has improved year on year and it’s another really good catalogue. There is a really good sire profile and the established vendors have really supported it well. 

‘People like the timing’

“People like the timing of it, it’s a good time of year,” he goes on. “We had over 100 individual buyers last year, a good number from Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Hong Kong and the Middle East, and expect to do so again. We’ve also had interest from US buyers.”

No fewer than 81 lots are eligible for the 2025 Swedish Derby and Oaks series, an incentive that gives a nod to the increasingly important role played in the market by Scandinavian buyers. 

Breeze-ups offer a chance to see sales prospects going through their paces and are a reliable source of stakes performers. Photo: ITM“Paul Harley does a lot of work for us out there and he’s done a great job in bringing in Scandinavian interest,” says Kerrins. “ITM are a big help too. They were out there recently as well [when sponsoring at Jägersro alongside the Breeze-Up Consignors Association].”

As outlined above, last year’s sale was particularly productive for Mark McStay of Avenue Bloodstock.

“I bought three there last year, all of whom went to Paddy Twomey,” he says. “I hadn’t been for a couple of years and was extremely impressed by the standard – I found it to be extremely high. 

“I bought Purple Lily from Brian O’Connell. She’s two from three and looks to be a very exciting filly. She might run next in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. 

Classic contender: breeze-up purchase Purple Lily scores on debut at the Galway Festival after being bought at the 2023 breeze-up. Photo:“I bought another lovely horse called Procrastinate, a Siyouni colt who won at the Curragh first time out on the first day of the Irish turf Flat season,” adds McStay. “He came well recommended from Norman Williamson. Norman said give him a bit of time, which we did, and now he looks a smart horse for owner Mohammed Al Suboosi.

“And last but not least, Letsbefrankaboutit. He also came well recommended by Katie Walsh. He was a lovely physical, breezed exceptionally well and then went on to win the Round Tower. 

Skill and horsemanship

“All three horses compared very favourably to what was on offer at the preceding sales. Funnily enough, they all came from Cheltenham Festival-winning jockeys and I think that’s testament to the skill and horsemanship of the breeze-up consignors.”

He adds: “It’s sounds like they’ve compiled another excellent catalogue and I’m looking forward to heading over again.”

One of the best-bred lots arrives early on in proceedings in Lot 3, a first-crop son of Persian King who is a half-brother to G1 Prix Jean Prat winner and sire Territories. He was pinhooked for just €7,000 by Shanaville Stables from his breeder Godolphin. 

Shanaville Stables also offer a Wootton Bassett half-brother to current G3 winner Cairo from the famous Rafha family of Invincible Spirit and Kodiac (Lot 78). He was pinhooked for 22,000gns from his breeder Coolmore.

Breeze-up regular Peter Nolan keeps a watchful eye on proceedings. Photo: ITMA selection of well-connected two-year-olds by No Nay Never include a colt out of American G1 winner Sophie P (Lot 240) from Whitehall Stud, a half-sister to G2-placed 2yo Burwaaz (Lot 193) from Church Farm Stables and a colt from Lady Rothschild’s Boast family who is a half-brother to high-class sprinter Mince (Lot 248), herself dam of last year’s G3 Prix Chloe winner Araminta. He is offered by Egmont Stud.

Kingman is represented by two lots in a granddaughter of high-class Australian mare Milanova (Lot 40) from Ard Erin Stud and a colt out of German G3 winner La Saldana (Lot 146) from George Peckham Racing. Among Mehmas’s quintet is a half-brother to Australian G3 winner Jaameh from Ballycullen Stables.

Others that take the eye on paper include Mocklershill’s Ribchester half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint heroine Twilight Gleaming (Lot 6), Yeomanstown Stud’s Too Darn Hot daughter of G3 winner Calyxa (Lot 56), Glending Stables’ Bungle Inthejungle half-brother to G3 winner Roman Mist (Lot 90) and M. C. Thoroughbreds’ Persian King half-brother to Listed winner Shahnaza (Lot 229).

Hitting the headlines

Vendor Katie Walsh of Greenhills Farm hit the headlines at this sale two years ago when selling a Saxon Warrior filly for a sale record of €520,000 to Kevin Ryan and Stephen Hillen. 

Letsbefrankaboutit wins the G3 Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh under Billy Lee. Photo: Healy Racing / focusonracing.comHer draft last year was topped by Letsbefrankaboutit and – having made an excellent start to this year’s breeze-up season at the Tattersalls Craven Sale, where Greenhills sold a pair of 2yos for 525,000gns apiece – is looking forward to returning to this ‘lucky sale’.

“Tatts Ireland has always been a very good place for me and I like to support them with nice horses,” says Walsh.

“The team there do a great job,” she adds. “We always liked Letsbefrankaboutit as he was shaping up. I thought the sale would suit him, give him the time to strengthen up. 

“His sire was going well at the time, still is, and he breezed the way he did – we thought he was smart and he didn’t let us down on the day. Then he went on to do what he did on the track.”

Walsh has eight catalogued this time around starting with a Starspangledbanner half-sister to high-class sprinter Rohaan (Lot 14), whose ten victories include the G2 Sandy Lane Stakes. She also has the sole lot catalogued by leading American sire Medaglia d’Oro, a filly out of a half-sister to G1 winner Verrazano (Lot 112).

“I kept the Medaglia d’Oro filly for this sale,” says Walsh. “She’s a lovely filly with a bit of book. I also have a lovely Kodiac colt out of a Galileo mare, he has a fine bit of size and scope to him (Lot 17), and a beautiful Sioux Nation filly out of Decorative (Lot 83). She’s another I’ve held back for this. She’s a fine big filly. I had plenty of other options for her but I thought she would suit this sale. 

“I think overall that we have a nice mixed bunch for it. It’s been a lucky sale for me and hopefully there are some more good ones in there this year.”

• Visit the Tattersalls Ireland Breeze-Up Sale 2024 website and the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing website

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