The ice cream was going down a treat with those in the queues at Tattersalls Ireland hoping to cool down from the soaring temperatures as the mercury rose in and out of the ring, with a record-breaking renewal of the Goresbridge Breeze Up Sale May 26.
A variety of flavors were popular with the crowds and it was the same with buyers of 2-year-olds as a selection of sires found favor, none more so than Zelzal, Haras de Boquetot's young son of Sea The Stars whose only colt in the sale achieved the highest price on the day at €270,000 (US$289,723; €1=US$1.07)
Danny O'Donovan and Adam Potts picked up the son of the Prix Jean Prat (G1) winner in France for €35,000 last October and, having posted one of the fastest times on Thursday, he sparked a bidding war between Ross Doyle and an online bidder. Doyle had anticipated going to the €200,000 mark for the grandson of Medgalia d'Oro but in the end had to dig €70,000 deeper to secure him on behalf of an established client, who intends to race the March-born bay in his native France.
"I told the client that he would not be too far off the €200,000 mark but when I saw him walking around here I told him that we shouldn't leave him behind. Luckily he is a good client who had been with us a number of years and went with me," Doyle explained.
For some buyers, times are everything at these sales but for Doyle they are not the be-all and end-all.
The agent said: "He is an absolutely outstanding physical, he boxed dramatically above his weight on his breeding when he breezed. He did it in a nice way, and he was not flat out.
"I am not big on times, I use them as a tool but what I saw when he galloped visually impressed me. He was magnificently turned out and looked fantastic, the lads have done a good job."
That pedigree has international appeal and stallion potential should he prove as successful on the track as he was in the sales ring, and it includes his second dam, Genuine Devotion, who won the Locust Grove Handicap (G3T) at Churchill Downs and is the second dam of the grade 3 winner Zoffarelli.
Genuine Devotion is a Rock of Gibraltar half sister to Mastercraftsman, whose four group 1 triumphs included the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (G1) and St James's Palace Stakes (G1). The family is also that of Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (G1) winner and sire Pressing and Beautiful Romance, who won the Middleton Stakes (G2) and then took the Sandown Classic (G2).
Potts, who purchased him from La Motteraye as a yearling with O'Donovan, recalled what it was about the full brother to the winning Arabia that prompted them to purchase the colt.
"We saw him in France and he was just a frame but he had this amazing walk and loads of scope. He has done nothing but fill out since and he has thrived," said Potts, who works for trainer Ken Condon.
Zelzal's oldest runners are just 4 this year and from smaller numbers he has enjoyed success in the United States, where he has sired the Florida Oaks (G3T) and Lake George Stakes (G3T) winner Dolce Zel and Ouraika, successful in Santa Anita Park's Sweet Life Stakes (G3T). In France he is the sire of the listed Prix Saraca winner Zelda and three more listed performers.
"Zelzal might have been a bit underrated at the time, but he is a decent sire. I thought he was an interesting proposition and he has done well from limited books. He has covered a lot of French-based mares recently," Potts added.
Young Guns Take Aim
Younger consignors took their place in the sun, and among the vendors of the top-priced lots on Friday were the Shinnick brothers and Darragh Lordan's Inishannon Valley Stud, earning plaudits and striking returns on their investments.
Lordan purchased the colt from the second crop of Sioux Nation for €25,000 in this sale ring last September from Rockton Stud and eight months later he sold the grandson of Scat Daddy to Global Equine Group for €230,000.
It was the best price Lordan has achieved so far in his consigning career but the Cork native believes that the attention garnered by the much less expensive Marshman, who won the Prix Sigy (G3) last month for Karl Burke, has helped bolster his own reputation.
"It helps when you sell a good horse," he stated. "It brings the buyers to the door and then they listen when you talk about a horse."
Plenty of buyers came to Barn J to inspect the Sioux Nation colt out of Dotada, a winning daughter of Noverre out of Nichodoula, a half sister to Juddmonte International (G1) winner and Epsom Derby (G1) runner-up Terimon.
Again he was perhaps not an obvious choice on his female line for a breeze-up sale, but Lordan explained what he had seen in the colt when he spotted him at the September Yearling Sale.
"He had a good walk, he was very unfurnished, he just thrived once I got him home," he said. "Work never phased him and you could keep weight on him all the time, I could not have asked for anything better really. He is a proper sales horse with a good step."
Given the level of interest in the colt and the manner in which he had conducted his breeze, Lordan had anticipated breaking through the six-figure barrier but the eventual price tag was beyond anything he had envisaged.
Lordan confided: "I did expect around €100,000 for him as I really liked him, but that was just unreal. To have the horse for top-tier trade is unreal, and all the right people were on him."
Nation's Cup for Coolmore Sire
The momentum behind Coolmore's Norfolk Stakes (G2) and Phoenix Stakes (G1)-winning son of Scat Daddy has continued as his first crop have impressed from 2 to 3, and they now include a classic performer in Kieran Cotter's One Thousand Guineas (G1) third Matilda Picotte, who is one of seven individual stakes winners so far sired by Sioux Nation.
He ended the sale as the highest-grossing sire with four juveniles selling for a combined €550,000 and an average of €137,500, which was the best recorded by any stallion with more than two horses sold. Sioux Nation was the sire of two of the four juveniles who made a minimum of €200,000, which was a significant contributory factor to his position at the head of the stallion tables.
The tone of his day and that of the sale was set by just the second lot into the ring, a colt sold by Katie Walsh to Mark McStay for €240,000. The Cheltenham Festival and grade 1-winning jockey has a long track record of success at this sale, both in its former location of Goresbridge and here at Fairyhouse—she sold last year's sale-topper, a Saxon Warrior filly whose €520,000 price is the highest in the sale's history.
Afterwards Walsh revealed that Fairyhouse had always been the aim for the colt since she bought him from Rathbarry Stud for €40,000 as a yearling.
"He was always so straightforward and easy to do," she said. "He could have gone a lot of places but I kept him for this sale and it has been lucky for me across the board."
The bay is a half brother to three winners, including the 2021 Hilary Needler winner Lady Ayresome, and is a son of Omanome, a winning daughter of Acclamation.
McStay had been touring Ireland inspecting horses in training for clients prior to his arrival at Fairyhouse on Wednesday and he firmly believes that the colt holds his own with any of the horses he saw earlier in the week.
"Everyone says it but I thought it was clearly the best breeze I saw yesterday," smiled McStay. "I came on Wednesday afternoon having been around some of the best trainers' yards in Ireland and I probably had not seen as nice an individual as this."
A total of 18 six-figure sales lifted the Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze-Up Sale to new heights on Friday, with records set in almost every key performance indicator.
Turnover of €8,563,500 ($9,189,063) was the highest in the sale's existence and that total was generated by the sale of 199 lots from the 239 offered, giving a clearance rate of 83%, which was a slight dip of two points from 2022. The aggregate grew by a massive 29% year-on-year.
Friday's average of €43,033 ($46,176) represented an increase of 13% from 12 months ago, but it was the median which posted the most significant and telling gain with the figure of €30,000 ($32,191), a leap of 36% from 2022, when it was €22,000.