Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

'Go for Gold' continues to set high bar for eventers

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

With a top price of €47,000 and average price of €17,603, the Goresbridge Go for Gold event horse sale has proven that Ireland is still regarded as a mecca for event horses.

The Go for Gold sale was a masterclass in slick marketing that included a sustained information campaign to attract buyers and top class facilities at Barnadown for those who travelled over. However, it was the animals on offer that were the main attraction, and the Go for Gold selection panel of Sally Parkyn, Clare Ryan and Chris Ryan should be credited with selecting a top-class entry for the sale. Between them, these three have a phenomenal track record in selecting elite horses and clearly the buyers trusted their judgement.

Topping the sale at €47,000 was Lot 15, Red Curren, a five-year-old 165cm chestnut gelding by the Irish Draught sire Murphys Irish Diamond, out of the thoroughbred dam Galballygirl by Roselier.

Consigned by British-based Donal Barnwell, the Irish-bred horse had 76 British Eventing foundation points and had never been out of the top seven placings in all his outings. With a BE100 win on a dressage score of 24 and two placings under his belt, Red Curren has all the ability and scope to make it as a top four-star horse. The winning bid of €47,000 was made by bloodstock agents BBA Ireland.

Some 31 horses were sold on the day, with three horses withdrawn and 20 horses unsold.

The second highest price of the day was €32,000, paid for lot 19, MacCarrick, a five-year-old 168cm gelding by the Irish Sport Horse (ISH ) sire Carrick Diamond Lad, out of the ISH mare Ballymurphy Dolly, by Kiltealy Spring ISH. Owned by Maureen O'Toole, MacCarrick had 8 Show Jumping Ireland (SJI) points and has just started eventing. He was bought by Irish event rider and producer Michael Ryan.

Ryan bought four horses on the day, paying between €26,000 and €32,000 for his choices. He paid €26,000 for Ultimo, a four-year-old dark bay 166cm filly owned by Matt Gordon. By Welcome Flagmount (ID), out of Persian Jenny (ISH) by High Roller (ISH), the lightly hunted filly is currently show jumping up to 1.10m, and has been schooled in cross-country and hunter trialled.

Ryan also paid €26,000 for lot 33, Saunderscourt Skyfest, owned by Albert McDonald. The four-year-old 168cm grey gelding was by Harlequin Du Carel (SF) out of the ISH mare Lavally Breeze, herself by Sky Boy (TB).

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Ryan went €1,000 higher for lot 59, Brown Jack, owned by Mrs HJ Ponsonby. The four-year-old 168cm gelding was by ISH sire Puissance, out of the TB dam Gothland Sassy by Gothland (TB).

Two horses sold for €30,000 at the sale. Lot seven, Bashful Prince, owned by Donal Barnwell, is a five-year-old 168cm bay gelding by Stormhill Miller (TB), out of My Rosie (ISH) whose own ancestry was unrecorded. In the month prior to the sale, this horse had competed in BE 100 competitions, finishing fourth and sixth with dressage scores of 27.0 and 25.0 and always going clear cross-country. The buyer was bloodstock agents BBA Ireland.

The second horse to make €30,000 was lot 36, SRS Authentic, owned by Steven Smith. This four-year-old 168cm bay gelding was by Ramiro B (BWP) out of Ballynattin Pride (ISH) by Kiltealy Spring (ISH). Richard Sheane was the winning bidder for the gelding who is currently jumping at 1m and cross-country schooling.

The Go for Gold sales highlights also included €28,000, paid by Ruth Harbison for lot 22, Copper Beech, another of Donal Barnwell's entries, and €26,000, paid by Thomas Carlisle for lot 24, SRS Orlando, owned by Steven Smith.

Copper Beech was a five-year-old 168cm chestnut gelding by Radolin (KWPN) out of a mare with no breeding recorded. He has 80 foundation points which puts him in the top 20 in Britain. The gelding has never been out of the top 10 in all his outings. He won two BE 100 competitions and placed second in a BE 100+.

SRS Orlando was a five-year-old 168cm bay mare by Lux Z (HANN) out of Crystal Cavalier (ISH) by Cavalier Royale (HOLST). SRS Orlando is a half brother to the show jumper Rockmount Larry (96 SJI points), and from the family of the international three-star event horse Westwood Joker (by Master Imp), ridden by Polly Stockton.

No doubt when event breeders sit down to make their stallion selections for the 2012 season, the breeding of the top-priced lots at the Go for Gold sale will be on their minds.

Horse Sport Ireland chairman Joe Walsh has urged Irish breeders to take note of the results and aim to produce horses that the event market demands.

He said: "This sale shows that Ireland is the place to come to buy event horses. There were buyers at the sale from the UK, the USA, several European countries and from Asia.

"The breeders and producers of the horses deserve credit for producing their stock to the highest standard.

"The sale was a showcase, not only for Goresbridge and Barnadown but also for the Irish Sport Horse sector. Everybody involved can be proud of what was achieved."

For more information on the results of the sale, visit

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