Seven-year-old grey gelding Sacramento got the Goresbridge Go for Gold sale off to an explosive start recently, selling for a new record top price of €65,000.
Secured by US buyer Daniel O'Hara, the carefully produced gelding had been billed prior to the sale as suitable for either an amateur or professional rider and it was this amenable temperament and willingness to try that tipped the scales in his favour.
By Passion (WEWB) out of Queen Lizzie (ISH), a daughter of Candle Kind (ISH), the grey had clocked up 42 SJI points in his early career before turning his hoof to eventing in September of 2012.
He proved equally adept at crossing country as he did jumping coloured poles, winning a CNC one-star event and placing fifth in the CIC one-star at Ballindenisk last year.
He continued to progress in 2013, winning the CNC two-star at Annaharvey and finishing fourth at both Tattersalls and Grove.
He had been competed by Kylie Dermody for his Swiss owner Mrs Sylivia Hoffstetter, who was delighted to hand over the reins to his new American owner/rider, Daniel O'Hara.
The second top price of the day was €46,000, achieved by Lot 49, Reenmore Alfie (ISH), sold by Mrs Maura Crowley to the Czech Equestrian Team, who also pulled out the chequebook for two unbroken three-year-old geldings.
The four-year-old liver chestnut Reenmore Alfie had several impressive achievements under his belt prior to the sale, having won his qualifier of the Future Young Event Horse League, and placed fifth in the final at the RDS.
He won the Young Event Horse discovery class at Millstreet and has some relations flying the flag in Britain at the moment.
Alfie was sired by Quicksilber (BRDBG), who also sired Parkmore Quintessential, winner of the Burghley Young Event Horse championships as both a four-year-old and a five-year-old. Alfie's dam was Harlequin Night (ISH), herself by Harlequin Du Carel (SF).
Along with Alfie, the Czech team paid €8,000 for Lot 68, Ballymurphy Mark (ISH), a bay gelding by Kings Master (ISH) out of Ballymurphy Clover Nellie (ISH), mare by Clover Hill (ID). Nellie is a half sister to eight individual graded show jumpers, including the Nations Cup jumper Shannondale and Greg Borderick's mount Mrs Quinn, owned by Noel Cawley.
The Czech buyers went to €12,500 for Lot 69, an unnamed bay gelding by Road To Happiness (GB) (TB) out of Boney Kelly (ISH) by Dow Jones Courcel (SF). Sold by Michelle Fox, the gelding showed lots of scope over a pole and was described as a young horse with a great attitude.
Mark Cleary's traditionally bred bay mare Shanbo Skylark achieved the third highest price of the sale, when American buyer Sarah Wildasin placed the final bid of €39,000.
Skylark, who was sired by Master Imp (TB) out of Shanbo Happisfied (ISH), a mare by Kildalton King (ID) has plenty of successful siblings, including full sister 2008 RDS Champion Shanbo Queen B.
Queen B won 30 SJI points and 24 EI points in her first season, as well as winning the CCI one-star at Ballindenisk International this year. Skylark's full brother is Shanbo Spring, champion lightweight show hunter in Britain.
Sarah Wildasin is no stranger to Irish horses or the Go for Gold sale as she and her husband Tim have bought through and keep several horses with Michael and Trish Ryan and the team at Donegan Ryan eventing.
Their daughter, Arden, has been moving up the ranks in the United States, helping to showcase Irish horses to the amateur market over there. The couple have been keen supporters of the Go for Gold sale format since they bought four horses at the inaugural sale in 2011, paying €26,000-32,000 for their choices.
Shanbo Skylark has clocked up nine SJI points up to 1.20m level in her few outings and finished on her dressage score at her first three Eventing Ireland events prior to the sale.
Not far behind on €35,000 each were lots 12 and 33, which were sold to the United States and Britain respectively.
Lot 12 was Moycullen Falcon (ISH), consigned by John Flynn and bought by Susie Beale from the US.
The five-year-old bay gelding by Cobra (KNHS) out of Nona (ISH) by Hallo (SF), has won 56 SJI points and is a brave cross country competitor.
Some of this bravery must have come from his dam, who is a half sister to Riscoshea, the advanced event horse ridden by David Doel in the British Young Rider European championship squad.
Lot 33 was Shes All Class, an eye-catching four-year-old mare who gained top marks in the Future Event Horse League for conformation and movement. She placed fifth in the Masterclass for young horses at the Camphire International event and was lightly show jumped before she caught the eye of British buyer Colina Pickles.
By O.B.O.S. Quality 004 (OLD) out of Rosshaven Ruby (IRIP), herself by Fast Frigate (TB), the mare was consigned to the sale by Kathy Charlton. After a break, she will tackle the young event horse classes with her new owner in the spring.
A total of 41 horses were sold to over five different countries and the average price on the night was €16,000. The sales tally for the night was €656,400.
Several horses were withdrawn from the sale prior to the auction and a number went unsold despite being bid to considerable sums.
Richard Sheane was one of the vendors who decided not to go on the market with his grey gelding Ice Cool Cooley. By Beach Ball (ISH) out of The Classic Porsch (ISH) by Porsch (BWP), the six-year-old was described as having all the attributes of a four-star championship horse.
However, the top bid of €70,000 was not enough to tempt Richard Sheane, who no doubt has other potential clients for the grey.
Kanturk's Mary Quinlivan also turned down €30,000 for her six-year-old. Gee Que, a half brother to Aoife Clark's mount Fernhill Adventure, has 14 EI and several top five results at pre-novice and CNC one-star level, as well as third place in the National Eventing Discovery class at Millstreet. The grey is by Guidam (SF) out of a Clover Hill (ID) mare.
Buyers were not shy about buying younger horses at the sale, with a top price of €21,500 paid for lot 72, Tynan Echo.
This transaction was a more local affair, with the gelding being sold by Wexford producer Shane Nolan to RDS equestrian manager Fiona Sheridan.
The dark grey by Womanizer (KWPN) out of a Cavalier Royale (HOLST) mare is a half brother to the promising young show jumper Icost Alot (by Cruising). Tynan Echo has been broken and turned away to mature and will most likely go showjumping in the spring/summer of next year.
The second highest price for a three-year-old was €21,000, paid for lot 73, an unnamed bay gelding by O.B.O.S. Quality 004 (OLD) and bred by the Hughes family out of Shannondale Cody (ISH) by Cavalier Royale (HOLST).
Consigned to the sale by Liam Kennedy, the gelding was bought by Derek Morton on behalf of British buyer Matthew Heath, who had already tried and failed to buy Tynan Echo ahead of Fiona Sheridan.
Full results of the sale are available to download from www.goresbridgegoforgold.com and regular updates will be included on the progress of the sales graduates over the next 12 months.
James Beecher, chairman of Horse Sport Ireland's breeding sub board described the sale as an enormous success, with the 2013 top price easily exceeding the 2012 sale topper by almost €17,000.