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Spectacular Sportsman's Sale Concludes Memorable Week At Goffs

A fantastic four days of yearling sales at Kildare Paddocks concluded with a vibrant final session today at the Goffs Sportsman’s Sale. 

Ben McElroy and Alex Elliott were very active throughout the week on behalf of their international clients and they teamed up to buy the most expensive yearling today, a son of Darley’s Group 1 Dewhurst and Lockinge Stakes winner Belardo. He will be heading Stateside, like so many yearlings bought this week at Goffs by a range of American interests who supported both the Orby and Sportsman’s Sales heavily.
"He's going to Wesley Ward and the aim will be Royal Ascot so expect to see him at Keeneland next April," said Alex Elliott of Lot 719 who was consigned by his breeder Denis McDonnell’s Parkway Farm.

It was an instant return on his investment for McDonnell who purchased Tough Spirit, the colt’s winning Iffraaj dam for €40,000 at the Goffs November Breeding Stock Sale in 2019, when she was carrying this colt. 

The depth of demand continued right to the end of the Sportsman’s Sale, with the second highest price of the final day paid for the third last lot as Vinesgrove Stud’s Galileo Gold colt, Lot 854 went the way of Peter Nolan Bloodstock for €95,000.  Purchasing with Noel Meade, the underbidder on the colt was Tally-Ho Stud.

“We thought he was the outstanding horse of the day but we didn’t intend giving that for him. We took on Tony O’Callaghan so we knew we were in the right ballpark then! He’s a beautiful horse and the second one by the sire we have bought this year and we love him. He’s for an existing owner in Noel’s and hopefully he’ll be lucky” said Nolan. 

Fresh from masterminding a triumphant visit to Bellewstown for Frankie Dettori on Thursday, Classic-winning trainer Johnny Murtagh was back at Kildare Paddocks today searching for the winner of the Goffs Sportsman’s Challenge.
The race, which will be run over 6f at Naas next September is open only to graduates of this sale and Murtagh has his eye on the €100,000 prize with a New Bay colt from Ballygallon Stud.

Lot 831 is a half-brother to Glesga Girl, who has been third in a pair of Listed events this season, and the 2019 Goffs Orby graduate runs tomorrow in the Listed Guisborough Stakes at Redcar.
Murtagh will train her half-brother for Tony Smurfit and says that the €75,000 purchase promises to be an exciting recruit.
“He is a brother to a good horse and we are excited by him. He looks a sharp two-year-old type and one we will aim at the Sportsman’s Challenge race. He comes from a good farm and we are very happy with the horses we have bought here this week.”

Click here to view the full results from the Sportsman's Sale.

Reflecting on a strong renewal of the Sportsman's Sale, Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby commented:

"And it rolled on.
We are delighted that the Sportsman’s Sale continued the vibrancy and tone of the Orby Sale with two days of strong, vibrant and lively trade. Once again we are indebted to our vendors who backed the sale with a really good commercial catalogue and were rewarded by a huge crowd of potential purchasers hungry to buy from start to finish. They were attracted by the individuals, the addition of the €100,000 Sportsman’s Challenge and the added bonus of the superb new IRE Incentive Scheme that provided €10,000 vouchers only redeemable at Irish yearling sales to the winners of a bunch of races throughout the season. This excellent initiative has made a major impact and encouraged trainers in particular to engage with the Sportsman’s Sale which is to the benefit of Irish breeders who chose the second part of The Irish National Yearling Sale for their yearlings".

"Once again this week has clearly demonstrated that Goffs can and will provide a vibrant market for every level of yearling from the blue bloods at the top across the spectrum to the sharp commercial types often referred to as “trainers’ yearlings”. Of course Orby was headed by the millionaires but it is equally pleasing to see Sportsman’s topped by a trio of six figure lots which drove the huge rises in each statistic. We are grateful to every vendor and each purchaser and have been so pleased to welcome new faces here for the Sportsman’s Sale to join those who stayed after Orby. All of them have been enticed by the Purchaser Attraction Team at Goffs, our network of international agents and the proactive team at Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.  These three groups combine sale after sale in a way that is quite unique and ensures that our clients are able to conduct their business in the most customer friendly sales complex whilst enjoying the kind of welcome that can only be found in Ireland".


Comparative Figures




Turnover (€)

Average (€)

Median (€)



185 (68%)






336 (91%)

6,962,500 (+156%)

20,722 (+41%)

16,000 (+45%)

*Converted from Sterling to Euro using rate on day of sale (£0.91=€1)