Excitement, glamour and even a little bit of horsey history
Buyers from across the world made a huge vote of confidence in our bloodstock industry, writes Tamso Doyle
IT was a game of nods, winks and twitches as a European record was broken by the Greystones men who paid €6m for one horse.
As someone who has been coming to Goffs all my life, I knew I was arriving at something a bit special when the overflow car park was brimming over. Shiny new Jaguars glinted in the sunshine temptingly. There was barely a spare seat in the 600-seater auditorium – Goffs international auctioneer Nick Nugent quipped from the rostrum: "The ring hasn't been this full since Christy Moore performed here."
Among the many packed in the seats, steps, stairs and balconies of Goffs were some of Ireland's biggest bloodstock names, including the Nagles, Hydes, O'Callaghans, Magniers, and McManuses, as well as international buyer Sheikh Fahad of Qatar, a major player on the international racing scene.
Once Goffs landed this dispersal, they initiated a worldwide marketing campaign across the bloodstock world and were gratified when buyers from Japan, Russia, Turkey, the US, France, Britain and Australia flooded in.
What was special was the rarity value of this select group of 24 horses owned by an Australian, Paul Mackin, who chose Ireland as the place to sell his prized racing and breeding stock as part of the overall breeding stock sale.
It is very unusual to have a collection of horses of that calibre sold in succession. There were five camera crews and eight photographers to capture the excitement as a new record for the highest-priced filly or brood mare ever sold in Europe was broken. The Darley Irish Oaks winner Chiquita sold for €6m.
Ireland is known worldwide for being the land of the horse and dapper Goffs chief executive Henry Beeby reiterated the importance of this when they competed with the top sales companies from Britain and France to attract this dispersal sale to Ireland.
Mr Beeby told the Sunday Independent: "Ireland is the spiritual home of the horse. This is a very big deal for Goffs – usually we would be reading about something like this in the paper, but Mr Mackin decided that he liked Goffs' can-do attitude and proactive approach and it has been a huge vote in confidence not only in Goffs but in Ireland."
Mr Mackin made the commercial decision to sell up all his stock and had his 24 four-legged steeds flown in from France, Australia, the US and Britain to be offered for sale on Friday.
Speaking after the sale on his decision to sell his horses in Ireland, Mr Mackin said: "I thought it would be more exciting to hold the sale here.
"We have been brilliantly looked after from the get-go. I like to keep everyone guessing and do things in phases.
"I decided to sell on the sizzle and I am very happy for other people to have fun with the horses I enjoyed. It's all so transient, as is life, it comes and goes and now just seemed the right time to sell.
"I will still race some horses, but I won't get involved in the breeding end. I'm getting older and it takes too long!"