Goffs kicks off its 2021 sales season on Tuesday and Wednesday with Part I of its February Sale. Prevailing unprecedented circumstances mean that the mixed sale of yearlings, 2-year-old, fillies and mares and horses in training will take place as a live online auction, with no horses, vendors or purchasers on the grounds at Kildare Paddocks. COVID-19 safety measures late last year meant that Goffs staged its Autumn Horses-In-Training and Yearling sales in the live online format, and the positive results spoke to the resilience of the bloodstock market as well as the work put in by Team Goffs to perfect the process. The turnover and average at the horses in training sale were up on 2019, with two lots surpassing the prior year's top price, while the yearling sale posted 10% increases in both average and median with 2261 individual online bids. All this means that the Goffs team can approach their 2021 curtain raiser with added confidence. “Goffs Online has done us so much good,” said Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby. “Ten years ago we would have been in a far more difficult position. Since we launched Goffs Online as a support to our sales last July at our breeze-up sales, we have sold over €6.3-million worth of horses to 12 different countries and taken something like 6,000 bids online. That is business that would not otherwise have been attainable [last year] had we not had Goffs Online. It may be peculiar and alien to some people but it's been an absolute god send in COVID and pandemic times when people can't travel. It's something we've come to rely on and it's been a great help.” “With breeding stock and form horses and older horses, I think it's a viable proposition to sell with online videos,” Beeby added. “It's not ideal, it's not what we'd like, but we're making the best of what we've got. We demonstrated with our horses in training sale last autumn that it can work and it can work well. We've sold horses now for up to €300,000 without anyone seeing the horse in the flesh and without anyone being anywhere near it.” The sale begins on Tuesday with a catalogue of 89 2-year-olds by sires like Australia (GB), Belardo (Ire), Churchill (Ire), Dandy Man (Ire), Decorated Knight (GB), Footstepsinthesand (GB), Make Believe (GB), Mehmas (Ire), New Bay (GB), Oasis Dream (GB), Starspangledbanner (Aus) and Zoffany. Highlights on pedigree include a colt by the recently deceased Zoffany (Ire) whose dam is a half-sister to G1 Ascot Gold Cup winner Big Orange (GB) (Duke of Marmalade Ire) (lot 4); a Mehmas (Ire) filly whose second dam is a full-sister to Fantastic Light (lot 21); and a filly from the first crop of Guineas winner Galileo Gold (Ire) whose second dam is champion and Group 1 producer Red Camellia (GB) (lot 72). Day one concludes with a small section of horses in training, including offerings from the Aga Khan. Wednesday is dedicated to breeding stock, with standouts expected to include Soft Lips (GB) (Rahy) (lot 140), a dual stakes producer in foal to New Bay; Margarita (Ire) (Marju Ire) (lot 141), a stakes producing full-sister to champion Soviet Song (Ire) in foal to Starspangledbanner (Aus); Kitkitty (Fr) (Olympic Glory Ire) (lot 145), a 4-year-old filly from the family of champion and sire Konigstiger (Ger); Royal Free Hotel (Ire) (Mastercraftsman Ire) (lot 155), a winning 4-year-old filly from the family of G1 Fillies' Mile and G1 Falmouth S. winner Simply Perfect (GB) (Danehill); Musical Rue (Ire) (Exceed and Excel Aus) (lot 163), a winning 4-year-old filly from the family of champion Finsceal Beo (Ire) (Mr. Greeley); Gracefully Done (Ire) (Australia GB) (lot 190), a daughter of GI Matron S. winner Sense Of Style (Thunder Gulch) in foal for the first time to Ten Sovereigns; Shringara (Ire) (Dansili GB) (lot 197), a winning 6-year-old whose dam is a half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner Youmzain (Ire) (Sinndar Ire); Topaz Clear (Ire) (Pivotal GB) (lot 214), a half-sister to two stakes winners including top stayer Forgotten Rules (Ire) (Nayef) offered by breeder Moyglare Stud in foal to Zoffany (Ire); Rose Tinted Sand (Ire) (Siyouni Fr) (lot 219), a daughter of the well-related Group 3 winner Afternoon Sunlight (Ire) (Sea The Stars Ire); Gold Lace (Ire) (Invincible Spirit Ire) (lot 241), a stakes-producing mare in foal to Camelot (GB); and Rubira (Aus) (Lope De Vega Ire) (lot 253), a stakes winner in New Zealand in foal for the first time to New Bay. “The vendors have been very supportive and we're very grateful for it,” said Beeby. “Since the pandemic outbreak our goal has been to continue providing an ongoing marketplace by whatever means we can. Obviously we prefer to have physical sales and we were able to hold those with some very strict protocols last autumn, but there have been a couple of occasions, as now, where that hasn't been possible. So having an online system to back it up is a great help. It's not our first choice but it's certainly a very worthy second choice and it provides a market and allows us to continue to put liquidity into the market.” “We're grateful to the people who have supported the sale and stood their ground with entries,” Beeby added. “We'll be doing our best and we'd encourage people to engage online. Every online sale we hold we improve the service and we've been very gratified and flattered by the really positive feedback we've had, with people saying our platform is as customer-friendly if not more than any out there.” Part I of the Goffs February Sale begins online at noon on Tuesday and Wednesday. Part II of the sale is currently set for Mar. 11 as a live sale of short yearlings.
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