Developer hits €2.85m jackpot at horse sales

A developer who was recently found not guilty of making corrupt payments to a Waterford councillor has hit the jackpot at the Goffs bloodstock sales.

Michael Ryan Sr’s Al Eile Stud in Kilgobnet, Dungarvan, sold a yearling colt for an incredible €2.85m.

Despite an improving market, the price dwarfed the sales trend for Irish yearlings in recent years, and was 28 times the average price at the second day of the annual Goff’s Orby sale. The deal was five times the next highest sale price seen at the Kildare sales’ ring yesterday.

Mr Ryan’s stud farm previously bred very valuable horses and he had raced the colt’s broodmare, Finsceal Beo, to 1,000 Guineas successes in Ireland and England.

However, Mr Ryan was recently in the spotlight for different reasons.

In July, a jury took under an hour to decide that €80,000 he gave to corrupt councillor Fred Forsey Jr in 2006 was for a loan that he wanted repaid and that it was not a bribe.

Forsey had already been jailed for taking money to make representations to planning officials in order to get Mr Ryan’s agricultural land rezoned for industrial and residential purposes.

Mr Ryan had said he lent the money to Forsey to invest in two houses and it was not connected in any way to the fate of his own land outside Dungarven.

After he was cleared of the three charges against him, Mr Ryan’s family and friends celebrated in court. Yesterday they had reason to be cheerful again.

Al Eile stud’s bay colt, listed as lot 331, was sold to MV Magnier, a son of John Magnier, after a bidding war.

The yearling is the son of one of the best regarded stallions in the industry, Montjeu.

Montjeu, as son of the legendary Sadler’s Wells, died last year having sired three winners of the English derby during his 11 years at stud. He was standing at Coolmore for a covering fee of €75,000.

Mr Ryan’s broodmare, Finsceal Beo, has also had considerable success.

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