Smiles all round as Chicquita sets €6m record sale
IRISH Oaks winner Chicquita became the most expensive horse ever sold in Ireland, when the gavel came down at a record €6m – amid gasps of astonishment that made the horse rear up in fright.
The bay filly was bought on behalf of an unknown purchaser by bloodstock agents Peter and Ross Doyle, of Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.
Chicquita was the 'piece de resistance' at the dispersal sale of 24 thoroughbred horses, which fetched an overall price of €12.7m – sold by Australian billionaire Paul Makin, who is retiring from the breeding business.
Would-be buyers came from all corners of the globe for the 'Paulyn' dispersal – handled by Goffs in Co Kildare, who beat off worldwide competition to secure the tender, in a major coup for the Irish bloodstock industry.
As bidding reached €3m, gasps of astonishment from onlookers in the packed auction room made the horse rear up in fright, causing auctioneer Henry Beeby to plead for calm.
Eventually, amid barely contained excitement, the sale was agreed at €6m, breaking a record set in 1984 for a rare Shergar colt, which sold for IRL£3.1m. Goffs is enjoying a bumper period and last month, a yearling colt was snapped at the Goffs Orby sale for €2.85m by MV Magnier, son of Coolmore boss John Magnier.
Chicquita had barely been led from the ring when an outburst of wild applause again startled the skittish horse on her way back to the stables.
Throughout the whole sale, Mr Makin, seated alongside his wife, Lynn, had smiled broadly, clearly enjoying the experience.
He had particularly enjoyed his encounter with a local man who had thanked him for his praise of the Irish people.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Makin said he was very happy with how it had gone – and was particularly pleased about breaking the Irish record with Chicquita.
"I love that," he said.
Among those who attended the sale were the Sheikh Prince Fahad Al Thani of Qatar, John Warren, the queen's racing manager and representatives for all the major Irish horse breeders.
Bloodstock agent Ross Doyle has revealed Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita is likely to stay in training next season.
Doyle, who purchased the filly with his father Peter, would not reveal his client, but expects Chicquita to race on as a four-year-old in 2014.
Asked whether he could reveal Chicquita's new owner, Doyle said: "I can't at the moment and it will be a while before we do.
"She is a very special filly and a beautiful looking filly by the late, great Montjeu.
"She clearly has huge residual value as a potential broodmare, but I think she will probably stay in training next year. That's the plan at the moment.
"She's a top-class filly with a lot of ability. Hopefully she still has a big future and hopefully, she'll be running in the top Group One races next season."