Go for Gold – Ireland’s premier sale


The Goresbridge annual Go for Gold sale is THE select event horse sale and its list of notable graduates grows year on year.

Taking place on 11th and 12th of November, the sale is the brainchild of Martin and Mary Frances Donohoe, and this year marks its 10th anniversary.

The passion that Martin and Mary Frances have for the sale is clear. Martin tells Eventing Worldwide: “We thought from the start the sale would gather momentum. And it has. It has become one of the most important sales for the purchase of event horses – it is the best in Europe, if not the world. It attracts the world’s top owners and riders. What is most satisfying for us is that it isn’t always the horse that makes the top price that goes on to the biggest success. And that makes it worth it. We take great pride in these sales. It’s hours and hours of work, discussing ideas and talking about what we can do to make it better. It’s more than a business. It’s a passion.”

That passion rubs off onto owners of the horses being sold through Goresbridge Go for Gold Sale. Martin adds: “It means a lot for people to have a horse selected to be sold through this sale. Some people dream about it. And then it becomes a big affair when they have a horse selected.”

Just one of horses to have recent come through Goresbridge Go for Gold sale is November Night. This powerful mare came through the sale in 2010 and has gone on to compete at the top level with Ciaran Glynn – the pair represented Ireland at this year’s European Eventing Championships having finished 14th at both Badminton and Burghley. Looking to future stars of the eventing world, Trinity Match Me was the runner up in this year’s Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse five-year-old final with Camilla Earnshaw having been sold through Goresbridge in 2017.

But the list of event horses who have made their mark on the eventing scene having come from the sale is endless; Prince Mayo, Exclusive Cooley, Tullabeg Tango, Red Hot Cooley, Garcon Du Lux, Cooley SRS, just to name a few……

The sale may take place in November, but it is a year-round job for the Donohoe family. This year’s catalogue has 74 horses; from three-year olds looking to start their careers, up to seven-year olds who are already making a mark on the eventing scene.

It’s a difficult task selecting the final line-up from the applications received. But the Donohoes have an expert team whose job it is to find top class prospects for all levels of eventing. This year they have welcomed back selectors Sally Parkyn, Clare Ryan and Chris Ryan. Acknowledged worldwide as finders and producers of some of the sport’s most recognisable equine names, the trio were joined once again by British five-star event rider Nicky Roncoroni and Bridget Speirs to pick the best horses to come forward.

Martin continued: “A lot of effort goes into the sale – no stone goes unturned. It takes time to select the horses – we feel it is worth taking the time to make sure we have the best horses. We’re looking for horses with potential to be top of their class – not just the five-star eventers, but top amateur horses too. There’s a market for eventers of all standards and we try to cater for everybody. It’s definitely about quality rather than quantity. That’s why it is important to have the top people on our panel to select the best horses. Sally, Clare and Chris between them have a vast wealth of knowledge, as do Bridget and Nicky.”

Welfare of the horses is all important. Each horse presented for the sale receives a full five stage veterinary examination with the veterinary panel issuing a certificate outlining any discoverable signs of disease, injury or physical abnormality if any are found. They also offer an opinion whether on the balance of probability any of the conditions are or are not likely to prejudice the animals use for eventing.

One of the great things about Goresbridge Go for Gold Sale is the online viewing platform so riders, owners and agents can scope out their options well before the sale gets underway. Prior to going under the hammer, lots 1 through to 35 are then shown on the flat, over jumps and cross country, whilst the younger horses (lots 36 to 74) are loose jumped. It really gives an all-round picture of the horses being sold.

With the sale looming, Martin says the online gallery is getting a lot of interest: “We seem to be getting more views on the catalogue than any other year.”

Since its inception, the sale has grown in popularity with riders all over the world (Michael Jung came in 2018 buying two future superstars). But what is it that draws the professional riders to Go for Gold?

In the words of Sam Watson, who won team silver with Ireland at the 2018 World Equestrian Games: “Finding world class horses is difficult when you are busy competing. The Go For Gold sale takes place at the perfect time of the year and sees the best breeders and the best producers keeping their best horses for it. It’s a sale that I can’t afford to miss.”

Whilst you’ll see some of the world’s top event riders scouting out their next top horse, it’s also a place for amateurs to source horses.

Martin adds: “We feel there is something for everybody. With horses, everybody wants something different and we have the best selection of horses. This comment is echoed by people viewing the videos.”

Last year’s top seller was an unnamed three-year-old purchased by Sam Ecroyd for €59,000 Euro. Other top sellers included Kilnamac Croga, Boleybawn Freedom, Kiltubrid Candy, Ballymoyle Pilot and FMSH Highway. So which horses be the top seller this year?

Martin adds wryly; “We have a lot of good horses in the sale. But I couldn’t possibly say which one is going to take top money.”

To view the catalogue – http://www.goresbridgegoforgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/GoforGold19.pdf

To view the videos – http://www.goresbridgegoforgold.com/lot/gg001/

Or head to www.goresbridgegoforgold.com

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