Irish thoroughbred breeders net €86 million from auctions at home and abroad
Racehorse breeding industry here faces increased competion from abroad
Irish thoroughbred breeders have sold horses worth €86 million over the last three weeks at auctions marked by several record-breaking deals done mainly with overseas buyers.
The price paid for the daughter of Irish-based stallion Gallileo was a world record for a yearling sold at public auction. The sale was the latest in several such deals this year where the price either neared or exceeded previous highs.
At Ireland’s leading yearling sale in Goff’s last week, Coolmore paid €2.85 million for a colt bred by Al Eile Stud in Co Waterford, beating a price paid more than 25 years ago.
Lots worth €23m
Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM), the industry-funded promotional body, said yesterday that
in the last three weeks, Irish breeders have sold horses worth €86 million at auctions here, in Britain and in France. Of that, €40 million was done this week at Newmarket.
Taking the top 10 lots at each of the premier sales in Ireland, Britain and France, 22 of the 30 horses were sold by Irish breeders. They fetched €23 million, almost €21 million of which came from overseas buyers. The €86 million total was shared across 48 different farms around the country.
Following their sale last week, Goffs chief executive Henry Beeby said that the rebalancing of supply and demand, a result of the industry’s retrenchment at the beginning of the recession, the arrival of new buyers from the Middle East and “superb Irish pedigrees” all combined to drive the market.
bloodstock analyst Bill Oppenheim suggested the demand side has a focus. He explained that the big buyers, Coolmore, Dubai-based Godolphin and the Qataris, Sheikh Joann and Sheikh Fahad, are chasing the offspring of a select number of stallions.
These include Coolmore inmate Galileo, the deceased Montjeu and Sea the Stars, who is also Irish based, along with the likes of Oasis Dream, Dansili and Dubawi, who stand in England.
“Ireland is still . . . the cradle of civilisation when it comes to the horse business,” he said.
However he warned that the mainly rural communities where thoroughbred breeding is based could lose if the industry begins to shift out of Ireland. He argued that properly structured prize money from racing and, at least, a supportive political community are central to anchoring the industry here.