Remarkable interest in Wexford horses continues
I don't think there is much of a realisation outside the sport that point to pointing and horses in Wexford are a multi-million euro business.
The perception of people in wellies gathering in mucky fields with their horses at the weekends, with the weigh room being a draughty tent with a few bales to sit on, is a factual part of the scene, but behind all that some very serious money is being generated.
The vast majority of those involved are small time operators and are in it for the love of horses and the enjoyment of the sport, always fuelled of course by the dream that a home bred or a cheaply bought-in animal could turn out to be a future Gold Cup winner.
But for those at the top it is a much more serious enterprise and they have combined to put Wexford at the pinnacle of the game in these islands.
The demand for Wexford trained point to pointers shows no sign of slowing down and there were a number of impressive figures racked up at the Goffs UK Spring Sale at Doncaster on Wednesday last, with three of the Wexford entries topping the list and going for £550,000 between them.
Here I give details of some of the bigger transactions, all prices in sterling.
'Espoir De Teillee', four-year-old bay gelding by 'Martaline', put up by the Moate Stable of Michael Goff, Clondaw, Ferns, was bought for £220,000 by Roger Brookhouse.
The horse was putting in a terrific first time run at Athlacca until slipping up after clearing the last early in May. Goff had bought the horse for €28,000 at the 2015 Goffs Landrover Sale.
John Nallen's 'Minella Warrior', a four-year-old bay gelding by 'King's Theatre', from Colin Bowe's Milestone Stables, made £180,000.
He had finished runner-up on his debut in the race featuring 'Espoir De Teillee', beating into third Colin Bowe's 'Super Follo' who won last Sunday in Bartlemy in Cork.
Nallen had bought him for €27,000 at a Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale.
The Doyle brothers from Ballindaggin, Donnchadh and Sean Thomas, who train for the Monbeg Syndicate, had a very good day in the ring.
Harold Kirk paid £150,000 on behalf of Willie Mullins to secure 'Calino D'Airy', a four-year-old chestnut gelding by 'Anzillero' put up by Donnchadh; the horse was a winner of a Broughshane maiden on his point-to-point debut and had been bought for €20,000 at the 2015 Tattersalls Ireland Derby National Hunt Sale.
Second in that race was 'Instant Replay', trained by Sean, and this four-year-old chestnut gelding by 'Fruits of Love' obviously impressed as he fetched £90,000.
'Going Gold', a four-year-old bay gelding by 'The Gold Well' was really impressive when leading home a 1-2-3 for the The Monbeg Syndicate at Bartlemy in Cork on Sunday last, trained by Sean Doyle, and he went under the hammer for £80,000. Second in that race was 'Cave Top', a four-year-old bay gelding by 'Court Cave', trained by Donnchadh, and that one sold for £25,000.
'Spiritofthegame', a four-year-old bay gelding by 'Darsi', won on his debut for Donnchadh Doyle at Lisronagh on April 30, and English trainer Dan Skelton was impressed enough to fork out £50,000.
Colin Bowe's Milestone Partnership were second at the Athlacca meeting with 'Slanelough', a four-year-old bay gelding by 'Westerner', behind Donnchadh Doyle's 'Secret Investor', but English trainer Rose Dobbin saw enough to pay out £45,000 for him.
Bowe also sold 'Mere Detail', a four-year-old bay filly by 'Definite Article', for £31,000; this one had won second time out at Curragheen on May 1.
Denis Murphy from the Ballyboy Stables in Oulart disposed of a couple of his recent runners - 'Tree of Liberty', a four-year-old chestnut gelding by 'Stowaway', owned by Thomas O'Sullivan, went for £54,000 after being second at Lisronagh on April 30, and 'Loughderg Jewel', owned by Pat Coffey (a five-year-old bay gelding by 'Oscar') was fifth in the Athlacca race won by 'Secret Investor', but trainer Donald McCain invested £26,000 in him.