Three schoolboys became the top bidders for three lots at Goresbridge Sales when they swapped a careers information day in Dublin for an outing to a horse auction in Kilkenny.

The trio, seniors from Kilkenny College — one of Ireland’s leading secondary schools, drove 15 miles to the sales where they assessed dozens of colts and fillies in the auction rooms of Michael Donohoe and Sons.

They bid a total of 5,000 euros to secure the purchase of three horses.

Although the students spoke happily with the breeders of a three-year-old colt they had supposedly purchased, when sales staff asked for details of the buyer, they gave the name and address of a fellow schoolboy at Kilkenny College.

Staff at the auction rooms became suspicious when the three lots were not sent for a standard re-vetting, and tried to contact the apparent purchaser.

Flabbergasted parents soon confirmed that their son was no way near the auction, and further enquiries eventually uncovered the true identity of the trio.

Michael Pender, who prepared a three-year-old filly allegedly bought by the youngsters, told local papers: “The mart contacted us to tell us what had happened the next day. We were treated as well as you could expect in the circumstances, but it was a nasty thing to do.”

It is understood that the boys have been severely disciplined by Kilkenny College.