Farm Ireland

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Goresbridge Go For Gold sale has become a showcase for champions

Ireland's Jonty Evans celebrates on Cooley Rorkes Drift after finishing ninth in the Eventing Team Jumping at the Rio Olympics. The horse is a 2010 Goresbridge sales graduate. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Ireland's Jonty Evans celebrates on Cooley Rorkes Drift after finishing ninth in the Eventing Team Jumping at the Rio Olympics. The horse is a 2010 Goresbridge sales graduate. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Siobhán English

At the inaugural amalgamated Goresbridge/Monart Select Event Horse Sale in 2010, the then four-year-old Cooleys Pay Cheque was sold for a sum of €29,000 to British resident Fiona Elliott.

Fast forward six years and this summer the renamed Cooleys Rorkes Drift finished as the highest-placed Irish representative at the Olympic Games in Rio in ninth place, under Jonty Evans.

The sole aim of the now independent Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale has always been to find champions, and this it has achieved in numbers, with graduates now flying the flag for the Irish Sport Horse in all four corners of the world.

Among those is Copper Beach, placed in the top 20 at the 2016 Rolex, and Gorsehill Pearl, the record breaker from 2015 when sold for €85,000 and now ridden for Ireland by Joseph Murphy. As the vendor at the time of Cooleys Rorkes Drift, Richard Sheane knows all too well the value of a good platform to showcase his potential superstars and this sale plays an important role in his business.

"As a vendor and purchaser I have always been lucky with horses bought and sold from the Go For Gold Sale," he said. "In the case of Cooleys Rorkes Drift, I had purchased him earlier in 2010 from Jim Derwin who had originally found him in Cavan. I then produced him with this sale in mind."

For Sheane, it proved a wise move as the son of Courage II has truly proven to be a formidable member of the Irish team, and flag-bearer for Cooley horses, with a win of the Nations Cup in Boekelo in 2015 also among his growing list of achievements to date.

"All the horses I have ridden or come across have been good horses, without a shadow of doubt," commented Jonty Evans of the sale.

"The really good horses make a premium but there are definitely deals to be had. I have a great deal of faith in the veterinary panel. You can have sensible chats with the vets and can email the vettings and x-rays to your own vet for their verdict. I also have a lot of faith in the team - especially Sally Parkyn and Martin Donohoe. They are leaders in their field," he added.

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Over the years, Richard Sheane has also been involved in several other successful graduates, including LCC Cooley, whom he purchased from former rider Oliver Townend last year for €35,000.

This summer the nine-year-old went on to compete at the FEI European Junior Championships in Montelibretti with Correna Bowe.

Another one of note is Cooley SRS, who is currently ranked 17th in the WBFSH/Rolex World Ranking List. In a bid to bolster international interest, Martin Donohue always strives to add one or two special horses to the catalogue, and this year's entry of Euro Prince is bound to catch the attention of many overseas punters.

Team-mate to Cooleys Rorkes Drift at this year's Olympic Games, where he completed all three phases, the 13-year-old gelding has been owned by his breeders Cormac and John McKay throughout, but they now feel it is time to sell him on the back of his fantastic form this year which also includes clear jumping rounds at Fontainebleau, Tattersalls and Belton.

Commenting on the addition of Euro Prince to the sale, Martin Donohue said: "It's very exciting to have been given the chance to sell such a high profile horse as Euro Prince.

"His record speaks for itself. We're delighted that the McKay family have given us the opportunity and entrusted the sale to us. It's also an incredible opportunity for someone to purchase a horse of this calibre. Horses of this stature don't come on the market all that often and public auction is a very fair and transparent way doing it."

Following Euro Prince into the ring will be the seven-year-old Luidam gelding Loughnavatta Cedar, the mount of Camilla Speirs at the recent World Championships at Le Lion d'Angers.

This year he was consistently placed at CNC* level, while also winning the CNC** at Kilmanahan, and has produced double clear jumping rounds in the CCI** at Tattersalls, and the CIC** at Millstreet.

A total of 40 horses aged four and older will be followed by a further 30 three-year-olds and these include a half-brother to Goresbridge graduate Copper Beach, ridden for the US by Buck Davidson.

Viewing of horses for the Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale continues today and tomorrow, with the auction taking place at the Amber Springs Hotel in Gorey tomorrow, Wednesday, evening, starting at 6pm.

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