THE best was saved to nearly last at the Derby Sale 2018 when the Milan half-brother to the wonderful multiple Grade 1 and three-time Cheltenham Festival-winning racehorse Altior (Lot 462) was sold for €365,000, creating a new Derby Sale and world record and contributing to the best set of returns in history for this sale for the second year in a row.
After some of the initial protagonists concluded their efforts, the bidding developed into a straight battle between Aiden Murphy, standing with Paul Shanahan and Flash Conroy, and Mags O'Toole with Eddie O'Leary. The pair dueled all the way through from €200,000, until O'Toole, with a rueful expression, shook her head when asked to extend beyond €365,000.
The March-born gelding was sold by John Dwan's Ballyreddin Stud.
"We bought him here for €40,000," said Dwan. "He was a lovely, scopey foal and I loved him - he has a great walk too.
"Altior had just won his first hurdle, but has obviously done so much since then. This horse has also blossomed - this price has exceeded my expectations."
Murphy was purchasing on behalf of MV Magnier and said: "MV has been supporting the market all week. This is a seriously lovely horse and from a hugely successful producer and by a good sire."
The late session was busy for Murphy who also bought Lot 448, a son of Martaline, for €240,000, and Lot 444, a gelding by No Risk At All from Sluggara Farm for €200,000.
Of the Martaline gelding, who is out of Mille Et Une, a Trempolino full-sister to the French Grade 3 winner Madox, Murphy said: "He's for Olly. He is an exceptional horse, with a proper pedigree. He is for an existing client."
Murphy outbid Mags O'Toole and Kevin Ross to secure the bay gelding sold by Ballincurrig House Stud.
Four lots earlier, Murphy saw off Henry de Bromhead, standing with Paul Shanahan, to secure the No Risk At All gelding at €200,000.
"He is for an existing client,' said Murphy. "I bought his year-older half-brother Umndeni and he has won his bumper - I really like this horse."
The pair are half-brothers to the progressive Vision Des Flos, twice second in Grade 1 novices hurdles. Leading performer in the family is the dual Grade 1 winner Balko Des Flos - he is a half-brother to Marie Royale, dam of Murphy's purchase.
At the conclusion of the world record breaking Derby Sale, Tattersalls Ireland Managing Director Roger Casey commented;
"A world record price of €365,000 for a store and 29 lots selling for €100,000 or more only begins to tell the story of two days' trade that ultimately produced the best set of returns ever recorded for the Derby Sale for the second year running. From the outset of the sale on Wednesday morning right through to the fall of the hammer this evening, the insatiable demand for horses has resulted in the highest aggregate of €17,890,500 and joint highest average of €51,654 ever recorded at the sale since its inception in 1975, and this rapacious appetite which was observed over the last two days for quality National Hunt potential again truly underscores the Derby Sale's position as the undisputed venue of choice for selling select stores.
"We are indebted to our loyal and supportive vendors, who, year after year, continue to send us their best stock and have again been rewarded handsomely in the ring. We are sincerely grateful to the varied bench of industrious purchasers from all sectors of the Irish industry and of course the many UK purchasers for their continued support this week, with the UK accounting for 48% of the overall turnover generated, and contributing to an overall clearance rate of 85%. The Derby Sale has been the leading source of Grade 1 winners, four-year-old winners and Festival winners over many years and we look forward to seeing the graduates of this sale continuing this long-established trend in future seasons. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing team and to every member of our own diligent team here at Tattersalls Ireland for their efforts in ensuring that the 2018 Derby Sale was a resounding success and indeed the strongest edition of the sale on record. Our attention now turns to the August National Hunt Sale with entries for that sale closing next week."
Fame And Glory was the sale's leading sire by aggregate (€1,824,000) for 22 horses sold, while the leading sire by average was Kayf Tara with five lots sold for an average price of €111,400.
The busiest buyer over the two days was Monbeg Stable with 29 horses bought, while the leading consignor was the Ballincurrig House Stud, which sold 22 horses for €1,520,000.
The figures surpassed 2017's record-breaking sale with the average essentially the same on €51,558, while the median finished up at €42,000 while the aggregate of €17,890,500 was up 1% on the 2017 total of €17,755,500
Of the 403 horses offered, 85% of the horses changed ownership.