Derby Sale achieves the highest-priced National Hunt store sold this year

Kayf Tara (GB) / Miss Bailly (FR) 2020 B.G. (GB)
Kayf Tara (GB) / Miss Bailly (FR) 2020 B.G. (GB)

The best was saved to very nearly last at the Derby Sale 2023 when Lot 397, a gelding by the late Kayf Tara and offered just 17 lots from the end of the sale, fetched a sale-topping €265,000.

The February-born gelding out of the Kapgarde mare Miss Bailly is the highest-priced National Hunt store horse sold this year.

Bids for the good-looking gelding consigned by Castledillon Stud came from all over the ring as well as online, but it was Eddie O'Leary, standing with trainer Gordon Elliott, who was successful.

Elliott had a particular reason for purchase – he trains the gelding’s year-older full-brother Romeo Coolio. A 2022 Derby Sale graduate and subsequent winning point-to-pointer Romeo Coolio was purchased by Elliott and Aidan O'Ryan at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale this spring for a top price of £420,000.

Elliott said of today’s purchase: "He was the stand-out for the sale. He looks the part, and he looks a little like his brother."

It was a first Derby Sale top lot for Castledillon Stud, the sale’s leading consignor, and a smiling Timmy Hillman said: "We bought him privately off Will Kinsey through Covid and it is all credit to him, as well as to our team at home.

“He was a smasher when we bought him and he has done nothing wrong at all. He is by a great sire and his brother looking such a promising type has stood him in good stead. Let’s hope he is lucky for his new owners."

Doctor Dino (FR) / Countess Comet (IRE) 2020 Ch.G. (GB)

Leading French-based stallion Doctor Dino was a red-hot sire over the two-day sale and after getting the top price on Day 1, the gelding offered by Johnny Collins’s Brown Island Stables took the Day 2 runner-up spot selling for €240,000 (Lot 249).

Collins was enjoying a quick, profitable and strategic transaction – he bought the horse for just £58,000 in January with the objective of re-offering the horse here just five months later.

“It was always the plan to come here and resell,” said Collins after his pre-planning paid off. “I was wanting something by the sire – I had been trying to buy one by him in France and I could not get anything.”

He added: "Doctor Dino is an amazing sire and this gelding is an incredible mover. He was the same horse in January as he is now – he came from a good farm and was well prepped, I was just in the right place at the right time."

Today's purchaser Ian Ferguson was buying for owner Wilson Dennison. "He will go and be broken and after that a decision will be made as to whether he goes to a trainer or down the pointing route, I would think, possibly, he will go to a trainer," said Ferguson. "He is a scopey sort and is by a sire who can do no wrong at present.”

 Sionainn (FR) 2020 B.G. BY Doctor Dino (FR) EX Heritage River (FR)

Doctor Dino also got the third-best price of Day 2 with former National Hunt jockey Bryan Cooper going to €170,000 for the named gelding Sionainn. He is out of the Kaldounevees mare Heritage River and was sold by Ballyreddin and Busherstown having been a €46,000 yearling purchase in France in 2021.

“We have waited for him all day," said Cooper, who was standing with his father, trainer Tom Cooper. "He is for a new owner of Dad’s. He is going home to be trained and, hopefully, he is a racehorse. I love the Doctor Dino's and I was in Willie's [Mullins] and rode the likes of State Man – his stock just have a great attitude."

Trainer Paul Nicholls headed home leaving agent Tom Malone in charge of purchasing and he went to €165,000 for the Authorized gelding out of an own-sister to the two-time Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo (Lot 269).

"He has been bought for owner John Hales," said Malone. "Paul saw the gelding when he was here, this is his type of horse and is a lovely big staying chaser in the making with a lovely page. Paul was very sweet on him. We have not had too many by Authorized, but he speaks for himself – he is a good stallion and he can get you a very good horse."

Already named Authorizedetou, the gelding is the second foal out of the winning Buck's Boum mare Diteou and he was sold today by Ballincurrig House Stud.

Over the two-days, 33 horses sold for €100,000 or more, a third-best result at a Derby Sale, while five have made €200,000 and above, only one behind the record six sold in 2022 and 2007.

A total of 300 horses changed hands at a clearance rate of 81 per cent achieving gross sales of €16,075,000, an average price of €53,583 and a median of €43,000.

Commenting on the conclusion of the Derby Sale, Simon Kerins CEO of Tattersalls Ireland said:

"There are so many positives to take out of what was witnessed at Tattersalls Ireland the last few days. We had the honour of once again selling the highest-priced National Hunt store this year at €265,000 and he headed 33 horses selling for €100,000 or more, as well as 5 horses selling for €200,000 or more, both of which are the highest number seen at any Store sale this year.

"Last year’s Derby Sale was a record breaker, and it held its historic position at the top of the Store sale table. This year’s statistics produce the same outcome however, polarisation of the market and select choice of stallions has probably resulted in a drop in the clearance rate. Our average and median have not quite kept pace with last year’s record-breaking figures but the average of €53,583 is still the highest produced at any Store sale this year.

"To achieve such figures we needed the support of our vendors and they once again entrusted us with their top-quality stock. It was wonderful to welcome so many UK agents and trainers as well as their owners to the Derby Sale and we must also mention the strength of the Irish purchasers. Our thanks go out to each and every vendor and purchaser who produced the goods and to all the team at Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.

"We look forward to rounding off the Store sale season in July."