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Bloodstock Desk: Domestic demand for mares ensured a fine week.

Byline: Michael Clower

GOFFS four-day February Sale finished last night with a 47 per cent surge in aggregate to EUR4,930,400, easily a record for this particular sale. Despite a big increase in the number of horses catalogued and sold, the average was only marginally affected and the median was unchanged.

Managing director Matt Mitchell said: "The increased size of the sale is partly indicative of the growth in the horse population in Ireland, but it also reflects that in recent years the experience of vendors at this sale has been very positive, and success breeds success.

"The domestic demand for mares is particularly strong and, while the market tends to polarise the good and the bad, the overall picture is healthy and this sale has given us a good start to the year."

Top price was EUR87,000 paid by Gay O'Callaghan for Christian Healy's Happy Talk who is due shortly to Aidan O'Brien's 1999 Phoenix Stakes and Prix Morny winner Fasliyev. The five-year-old Hamas mare is a half-sister to Storm Dream who was third in the 2000 Irish 1,000 Guineas before winning a Grade 3 in America.

The Yeomanstown Stud owner said: "I didn't come here to buy a mare but I decided to take a punt with this one. I suppose she's quite good value as she is a winner from a decent family and Fasliyev's stud fee is EUR75,000."

Edward Daly expressed similar sentiments after paying EUR57,000 for the nine-year-old American bred mare Sofia Aurora. She came up from the Fanstown House Stud and is closely related to a number of good winners including Cherry Hinton scorer Spinola, Molesnes (Prix du Cadran), Celtic Heir (Horris Hill) and Cherokee Rose (Haydock Sprint Cup).

Daly said: "We will have a look at the foal first - it's not too far away - and then decide what to do with her."

Few horses this week have been the subject of as much aborted confusion as Northern Mill who was due to be sold with the horses-in-training on Monday. However, according to the sales company, owner JP Murphy then decided the seven-year-old four-time winner would do better coming up with yesterday's broodmares.

Therefore she appeared in the ring midway through the afternoon with lot number 116 inked onto a sticker on her rump. She was knocked down to Bobby McCarthy for EUR42,000 but the Beeches Stud owner pointed out that it wasn't him who bought her. His last bid had been EUR40,000 and this was capped. Some minutes later the spotter returned to McCarthy. He was not to worry, the mare was going to be reoffered later. At this point Murphy decided to cut his losses and take her home. He left the arena wondering if Friday the 13th had come early this year.

Eamonn Reilly of the Curragh Bloodstock Agency went to EUR50,000 for Gerard Mullins' Trempolino mare Asseverate, a winner in France as a three-year-old and with a strong American pedigree. He was acting for the Milltown House Stud and said one of the reasons for buying was

the absence of Northern Dancer blood in the pedigree.


Fasliyev, whose service to Happy Talk ensured she made top lot at Goffs yesterday
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 13, 2004
Previous Article:Wincanton: At a a glance.
Next Article:Bloodstock Desk: Class to the fore at Doncaster sales.

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