The Goffs November foal sale, which ended its four-day run in Ireland, posted increases of 5% in gross revenue, 11.1% in average price, and 30% in median price. A Dylan Thomas colt was the auction’s most expensive horse, bringing €200,000 ($298,120 in U.S. funds) during the final session Nov. 20.
Japanese trainer Hideyuki Mori purchased the sale topper with Goffs agent Takashi Kodama handling the bidding. Consigned by Carriganog Stud, the bay colt is the first foal out of 4-year-old In My Dreams (by Sadlers’ Wells), who ran twice but didn’t win. She is a half-sister to 2002 European Horse of the Year Rock of Gibraltar (by Danehill) and D’Articleshore (by Definite Article), a group II winner in Turkey.
The final figures for the auction included a gross of €10,551,200 ($15,727,619) for the 475 weanlings that sold. The average was €22,260 ($33,181), and the median was €13,000 ($19,378). Last year, when 503 head were sold, the gross was €10,058,100. The average was €19,996, and the median was €10,000. The clearance rate rose from 49.9% in 2008 to 66.2% this year.
"What a difference a year makes!” said Goffs chief executive Henry Beeby. “The contrast between 2008 and 2009 has been palpable in terms of atmosphere, buzz, statistics, clearance rates, and the overall attitude of all the players attending horse auctions. Twelve months ago, the industry was facing the bleakest of times as the worst effects of the worldwide economic downturn impacted the bloodstock world. The real worry in November 2008 was fear of the unknown as no one really knew how long or how deep, and the shock of the fall resulted in some form of paralysis at the sales which manifested itself in frighteningly low clearance rates as the autumn progressed.
“Happily, the bloodstock world is a remarkably resilient and hardy world populated by a bunch of pragmatic optimists who simply put their heads down and focused on what we know and can influence rather than what is out of our hands,” Beeby continued. “That approach resulted in better-than-expected yearling sales, which, in turn, flowed through to a really solid foal trade at Goffs this week. Indeed, the vibrancy of the market yesterday and today, in particular, is a testament to the enduring success and popularity of Irish bloodstock and the forward-thinking approach and stamina of foal speculators, who have been forced to fight significant groups of end users for the best foals each day. Any time the most commercial type was presented, a lively crowd appeared and battled for supremacy in the sale ring as they fought for next year's pinhooking success/potential Goffs group I winner, leaving us to reflect on a genuinely strong market by any measure. Indeed every statistic has risen from last year.
“Our decision to cut numbers and concentrate on quality as part of our ‘the focus is the horse’ campaign led to a vibrant and successful Orby yearling sale and that approach has delivered the same result this week. Less is more has certainly been a recurring theme at Goffs this year, and one day less of foals was undoubtedly the right move as it has been supported in the most fantastic fashion by breeders who have rewarded us with a catalog of genuine depth and diversity for which we thank every vendor most sincerely. Such decisions are sometimes tough to make, but our goal remains to make Goffs the first choice for the very best Irish bloodstock at all levels and only by focusing on (relative) quality will that be achieved.”