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Buyer preferences differ in all age groups



Taking a closer look at the top-selling horses of the past two years, it is interesting to see the preferences demonstrated by buyers at the top end.


The pedigrees of the top 12pc of foals sold in 2009 were overwhelmingly showjumping oriented.

Just four of the 32 foals were sired by thoroughbred or Irish Sport Horse (ISH) stallions, while the rest were all sired by stallions of Continental origin.

Interestingly, the sires used were predominantly performance sires -- stallions which have proved themselves in the competition arenas and are producing performance stock.

It is more difficult to follow through with information on the dam lines.

However, the ISH sires were slightly more common last year. Seven of the foals sold for €3,000 or more were by ISH sires and one was by a thoroughbred. Once again, the overwhelming majority -- the remaining 40 foals -- were by Continental sires.

Some 16 of the dams of 2009 and last year's foals were by Cruising; nine were by Cavalier Royale; 19 were by various continental sires (excluding Cavalier); and 11 came from King of Diamond or Clover Hill lines.

The overriding factor in achieving a good price in either year was that the foal had to be a good model -- conformation and movement -- with performance pedigree to match.


Looking at the pedigrees of the top 11pc of three-year-olds last year, only 10 were by thoroughbred sires, seven were by ISH stallions and the remaining 28 horses were by Continental sires.

Foals and three-year-olds are bought predominantly on the basis of future potential as there is still a while to go to see if that potential may be realised.

Pedigree, therefore, still plays a greater role and, in general, the buyers of this age group seem to place more faith in the Continental performance sire.

Table 2 (below) shows the sires that had more than one three-year-old offspring which sold for €4,000 or more last year.


The top 13pc of four-year-old horses sold last year was comprised of 14 by thoroughbred sires, 32 by ISH sires, and 29 by Continental sires.

Buyers of this age group were influenced by the horse's performance under saddle and, potentially, by the level of training and participation in sport.

From these results, it would appear that there is a better outlook for those by ISH stallions in this age group.

When the results from the Monart and Tattersalls elite event horse sales are included, the analysis shows some excellent returns for horses by thoroughbred and ISH stallions.

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Table 3 (below) shows the top 20 sires of last year, according to sales results. The ranking is based on the number of offspring that each sire produced above a certain figure. The criteria were foals which sold for €2,000 or above, three-year-olds which sold for €4,000 plus, four-year-olds which sold for €4,000 plus and five-year-olds which sold for €5,000 plus.

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