The top lot at Ireland’s Monart Sale of event horses (8-9 November) is off to America after being bought by US-based Australian Ryan Wood.
The Pennsylvania-based rider bid on behalf of owner Sarah Hughes, paying €35,000 (approximately £30,700) for lot 14, a three-year-old mare Shannondale Mari at the horse sales. She is by the Darco son Shannondale Sarco, out of Shannondale Maria (by Lux Z).
Sarah already owns Mari’s full brother, Shannondale Percy, a six-year-old currently competing at one-star level with Ryan.
“He’s unbelievable and Mari looks pretty special,” said Ryan.
The pair also have a full sister doing well in Britain — Ros Canter’s ride Shannondale Nadia, who was second in this year’s four-year-old Dubarry Burghley young event horse final.
This was Ryan’s first time at Monart and he made the trip with his “good friend and vet” Kevin Keane, who also rides at four-star. Kevin bought lot 86 (Shannondale Julius), another three-year-old by Shannondale Sarco. His purchase’s dam is Shannondale High Flyer, by the thoroughbred High Roller.
“We studied the horses thoroughly in the weeks leading up to the sale and then again when we got here,” said Ryan.
Ryan also signed for lot 57, a three-year-old bay gelding named Tullabeg Dilson, for another owner, Curran Simpson. He is by the thoroughbred Dilshaan, out of a mare by Ramiro B, and went for €12,000 (approximately £10,500).
“We will leave the horses here to be broken in and bring them home in the spring,” said Ryan.
This was the seventh year of the Monart Sale, which is organised by Irish Olympic eventer Niall Griffin and his wife, British four-star rider Polly Jackson Griffin. Australian rider Bill Levett is also on the sale team and selection panel, while Marcus Swail heads up the veterinary team.
Potential buyers at the sale have the opportunity to spend a couple of nights in one of the world’s top spa hotels, which is where the auction takes place and is just minutes from the yard where horses can be viewed and tried.
Visitors this year included British four-star rider Kirsty Short, Vicky Brake and Sarah Bullimore, Australian Olympian Sam Griffiths, Irish Rio rider Jonty Evans, New Zealand four-star competitor Lucy Jackson — whose group bought lot 78, a palomino three-year-old by Rainstown Lad, at €10,000 (approximately £8,800) — and last year’s Bramham winner Flora Harris.
Graduates of the sale include Jonty’s Olympic ride Cooley Rorkes Drift, Flora’s two-star winner Monarts Masterpiece and Paul Tapner’s Tattersalls CCI3* winner Prince Mayo.