The star of the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale opening session on Wednesday lived up to her pre-sale billing — the impressive Kapgarde filly (Lot 58) set the sale ring alight to become the highest-priced NH store sold this year.
Her price of €310,000 also means that she is the second-most expensive NH store filly to have ever been sold in the sale ring.
It is the highest price given at the Derby Sale since 2018, she is the highest-priced filly sold at the sale since 2006 and the second €300,000 lot sold by Lakefield Farm, which previously sold the Derby Sale 2015 top lot for €320,000.
She was bought with one winning bid from Eddie O'Leary, the purchase signed under the Gordon Elliott Racing banner.
The bidding quickly sped up through the ranks with Joey Logan bidding on the balcony by the rostrum and Coolmara Stud opposite, the pair locking horns. In the end both were trumped by O'Leary.
"She is for an existing client," said Elliott, who trains her two-time Grade 1-winning half-brother Mighty Potter. "She looks a star, a pick of the sale, hopefully she will be lucky and, as a broodmare, she has a lot of residual, too. But we will worry about racing first!”
The Bleahen brothers of Lakefield Farm (the session’s leading consignor) purchased the filly privately in France in 2019, and subsequently her half-siblings Mighty Potter, French Dynamite and Indiana Jones have all picked up their black-type.
After the sale, an emotional John Bleahen said: "She was bought with my brother Niall, we are very lucky to hit on her. She never stopped here and never turned a hair. She was shown by Dermot Clarke, he is just the best showman in the world."
Kapgarde, the day’s leading sire on average, dominated proceedings, the sire's already-named gelding Touquet (Lot 174) was bought by Tom Malone and Paul Nicholls for €185,000, also on one bid.
Pinhooked as a yearling by Mags O’Toole for €60,000 and sold today by Oak Tree Farm, the three-year-old gelding is out of Tahaze (Yeats), who is the dam of one winner from one runner to date. She is a half-sister to Tatenen, a runner-up in the Future Champion Juvenile Hurdle (G1) and the Maghull Novices Chase (G1) for Nicholls.
"Paul knows the sire and the family well — he said Tatenen was a very good horse, a 150-rated horse, but tough to train,” said Malone. “This was a stand-out today and Paul fell in love with him this morning. I only showed him ten and left this one to last (there is method to the madness!) and he said, 'Well this is the one, isn't it?!' He will go to Will Biddick from here and I am delighted to get him."
The Brown Island Stables-consigned Flemensfirth filly out of Presenting Juno (Presenting) sold for €160,000, MV Magnier the buyer (Lot 114).
"We pinhooked her here as a foal off Bobby McCarthy, a great breeder," said Johnny Collins of Brown Island, who paid €41,000 for her at the November NH Sale. "I had bought Relegate who is in the pedigree, she went on to win the Cheltenham bumper. I didn't want anyone else to have this filly — I wanted to be the one to sell her as a store! She is a queen, and has an amazing temperament. She had a lot of admirers."
Her full-brother Porthill, who finished second on debut in a Fairyhouse point-to-point in April, made £250,000 this spring and is now with Willie Mullins.
Magnier said: "She is a lovely filly and there are a lot of options for mares nowadays. Flemensfirth has done well with the family — her brother is supposed to be a nice horse. We will get her broken in and decide on plans from there."
The trio headlined a strong day’s trade which produced 16 six-figure lots, a record sales rate of 91 per cent, a turn-over of €8,670,500, an average price of €55,580, which is the second-best ever produced in one session of the Derby Sale after last year’s Day 2 record, and a record median of €49,000.