Onto A Winner: The Monart Sales Lots We’ll Be Attempting to Put on a Credit Card

Karl Slezak and his own Monart graduate, Pan Ams gold medallist Hot Bobo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Oh, you thought I was done with shopping for the horse that would somehow take me from extraordinarily busy equestrian journalist who’s barely had time to throw a leg over a saddle in six months to prospective Olympian in my own right? Never, my friends. Never, ever. This time, I’ve spent a drizzly Saturday curled up on the sofa with the jam-packed Monart Catalogue, which is bigger than ever this year, with a whopping 173 entries in the rider-run Irish sale.

Though Monart has always been by eventers, for eventers, this expansion means that the folks running the sale have widened its parameters slightly: alongside those obvious upper-level eventing horses are plenty that would appeal to a purely showjumping market, plus some great amateur prospects, too. Each has videos showing, at the very least, free-jumping and loose movement, plus X-rays and conformation shots for your perusal — but 173 horses is a heck of a lot to sift through, and so I’m here to give you a jumping-off point to inspire your hunt for your own future champion. Here are the ten Monart horses I’d like to snap up next week, in no particular order…

Lot 146: Unnamed – 16hh three-year-old ISH gelding (Cavalier Land x Joyful Moment, by Gothland) — €15,000 to Great Britain 

I’m a real sucker for a petite horse, and this smart, blood little horse certainly fits the bill there. I’m interested in his breeding: he’s sired by Cavalier Land, who also sired 2014 Blenheim eight- and nine-year-olds winner Cooley Lands, a really nice type who then went on to finish third at Badminton and was classy and bold in his way of going. This sire and dam combo is also responsible for Paddy 180, who was impressive in his five-year-old season last year under rider Sven Lux for owner Michael Jung, winning a Bundeschampionat qualifier. Mostly, though, I like the way he jumps – it’s easy, and balanced, and keen, without too much pomp and circumstance, which suggests that he’s not going to frighten himself as he begins his career and, hopefully, makes his way up the levels. He’s careful without being too careful; he doesn’t look at all overproduced, as some three-year-olds can at the sales; and he’s clever and conscious of where his legs and body are. That, for me, makes up for a set of hooves I’d be keen to improve upon, and a slightly close-set hind end. I think there’s a tonne of potential here.

Lot 87: Stonehall Mr Cruise – 16hh three-year-old ISH gelding (Numero Cruise x Ladie Finess, by Voss) — €22,000 to Great Britain 

Though this chap is slightly heavier than my tastes generally run to, I was struck, at first glance, by the balance of his build. He’s what we’d call a real ‘leg at each corner’ type of horse, and that becomes even more evident when you watch him move and jump. He’s got plenty of power and a tonne of scope to play with – and I also think there’s no small amount of spice mixed into his recipe, which you’ll see for yourself as he clicks his heels together in joy like an equine Dick Van Dyke after jumping big fences. For that reason, he’s perhaps a horse best suited for a pro or a very capable amateur with a good sense of humour: I suspect there’ll be a fair few ‘redhead moments’ as he’s being produced, but those should also yield a good pay-off. I think, perhaps, what I like about him the most is that he’s got a smart foxhunter look to him; he looks like a horse who could be surefooted across changeable country. A useful sort.

Lot 149: Silverline Whadjuk – 16.2hh three-year-old ISH gelding (Sligo Candy Boy x Boriada, by Guidam) — €16,000 to Great Britain 

I tend to find myself gravitating towards quite a lot of Sligo Candy Boy progeny, because generally speaking, they all seem to inherit a similar lofty ease over a fence, a lightness to their movement, and a touch of spice and sensitivity that comes down through those Balou du Rouet lines and makes for a clever type that’s sharp in a productive way. This chap, who his sellers say is a ‘gentle’ type, perhaps has less of the spice – but in watching him work in a variety of situations, it’s clear he’s smart and curious and capable of responding to all sorts of challenges. I like the way he’s been produced; his free-jumping makes it clear that he’s not been pushed too hard in that sphere, as he’s still very natural over a fence, and he’s also been introduced to basic aids via long-reining, as well as starting his cross-country education on the lunge line — a method that even Michi Jung likes to use to install that ‘fifth leg’. Even with an unbroken young horse, I think it’s always smart to buy their first three years, as much as you’d buy their conformation or aptitude – and this one’s definitely graduated from a top Montessori kindergarten with flying colours. I’d like to hit the ground running with him.

Lot 3: MBF Commander Bond – (nearly) 16hh three-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Comme Il Faut x Tamara HB, by Lux Z) — day one top lot: €31,500 to the USA

Another horse who comes to the sales with a great, and age-appropriate, early education is this sweet little guy, whose pedigree is as jumper-y as they come (indeed, he has a full brother who’s competing at 1.60 at the moment in Germany), but who has a lot about him that’ll suit eventing, too. I was taken by his super-active hindend over a fence in his loose jumping videos, but actually, I liked him best when watching him trot into a variety of cross-country fences on the lunge: he considers everything, sizes up the effort needed, and looks reactive in a positive way. There’s a boldness there that, for me, outweighs his natural tendency to overjump, because it suggests that he’ll learn to economise his jump rather than frightening himself by being too careful as his career unfolds. Of course, if he does turn out to be a touch too careful to event, he’ll be an easy sell as a jumper.

Unrelated: I’ve spent the whole day browsing the Monart catalogue with my non-horsey-but-learning partner, and occasionally he glances over to see what I’m looking at. He pointed out that this chap’s headshot is very familiar…

I don’t, for what it’s worth, recommending giving your new youngster the stable name Pain, nor Panic.

Lot 12: Perseus – 16.1hh three-year-old KWPN gelding (Kempinski x Jinka, by Entertainer) — €8,500 to Ireland

This sweet grey isn’t necessarily tall, but he’s a long, rangy type — and while my own type tends to be compact, short-backed, and almost pony-ish, I never hold a long neck or back against a horse, because as long as it doesn’t lean to the extreme of making them unbalanced or impossible to package, I think it leaves room for a lot of elasticity laterally and longitudinally. I’ve had two horses like city buses, and they’ve been plenty adjustable. This guy’s definitely not in city bus territory, and his natural, sweeping gait and oodles of scope make for an athlete-in-the-making that’s very easy on the eye. Don’t judge him too harshly on his photos — he’s definitely better in the flesh — and try not to weep over that tail, which has definitely been gnawed on by a field mate. By the time you take him out for those five-year-old classes, it’ll have grown back. Probably.

Lot 5: Kohinoor MBF – 16.2hh three-year-old Selle Français filly (Diamant de Semilly x Manoeuvre, by Galileo) — €10,500 to Great Britain 

This mare caught my eye first because of her breeding. Look, I’m hardly saying anything groundbreaking when I say I love Diamant de Semilly; the French stallion is equally good at throwing top-level jumpers as he is at creating event horses that win, and win, and win again. (Toledo de Kerser, notably, is a son of Diamant de Semilly, and he’s hardly the only excellent one out there.) But just as interesting as this mare’s top half is the bottom half of her pedigree, which is 100% Thoroughbred. Her dam, Manoeuvre, is also the dam of racehorse Moonfarid, who sold for £650,000 as a yearling and then was, well, fairly useless on the track, but her granddam has had a bit more luck creating speed demons and her damsire, Galileo, hardly needs introduction — he was excellent in his own right on the track and then became one of the most in-demand sires in racing.

All this combines to create a filly that, at first glance, just looks like another plain brown wrapper blood horse — but on closer inspection, has some big tick-marks to her name. There’s a prowling, big cat quality to her walk that I love — a good walk is generally something you need to buy, rather than produce — and she has plenty of activity to her hind end and a lovely, ground-covering step. I like her jump, too: it’s not extravagant or flashy, but rather, businesslike and efficient, and she maintains her balance well throughout and on landing. She’s already worked out how to use her head and neck to her advantage, and I’d like to think that all these traits, and the benefits of those bloodlines, could add up to a horse who has real staying power and stamina over big, tough tracks one day.

Lot 132: Kiltubrid Flying Column – 16.2hh three-year-old ISH gelding (Sligo Candy Boy x Kiltubrid Heather, by Lombardo) — €10,000 to Sweden 

Another Sligo Candy Boy (sorry), and another young horse who’s spent plenty of time trotting into cross-country fences, this maternal half-sibling to Mark Todd’s 2018 Badminton sixth-place finisher Kiltubrid Rhapsody comes equipped with plenty of pop and pace. He’s got a surprising amount of bone on him, too, but I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest he’s a heavy stamp of a horse – he’s certainly an athlete, and one who looks like he has no shortage of potential. He’s seriously neat over a jump, and I like him best over solid fences, because he’s less prone to overjumping while trotting into those. I think this could be a really cool horse to produce through the levels.

Lot 102: Perthago – 16.2hh three-year-old KWPN gelding (Comthago x Wanida Rose, by Riverman) — €9,000 to the USA 

A paternal grandson of jumping sire Comme Il Faut and a maternal great-grandson of the Dutch stallion Wolfgang, who’s produced plenty of very good jumpers and dressage horses, this striking grey could do a lot of different things: he looks brave and clever enough to event and sharp and tidy enough – he’ll learn to rotate that shoulder with a little more training — to jump. He’s also got smart paces, is uphill and nice to look at, and seems to take in the world around him, making him one to watch for a professional project, for sure. He’s the sort of stamp that’s very commercial, so even if he doesn’t become a top-level horse himself, he’ll be valuable as one to produce and re-sell.

Lot 145: Whitewell Plot Balou – 16.1hh three-year-old ISH gelding (Hiello x Baluba, by Balou du Rouet) — €8,500 to Ireland 

Every time I follow an auction, either in person or from afar, there’s at least one horse I fall for almost entirely because I think, if he came back to my yard with me, he’d find a way to make me laugh every day. This is one of those horses: he has a kind, goofy, silly face that makes him look like he’s already figured out that he can garner more attention by being a bit of a class clown, and even the way he sweetly fiddles with his chain while he’s being walked up and down, almost like a little boy sucking his thumb, is almost too much for me to cope with. Maybe I’m just PMSing, or maybe this is the most adorable horse you’ll see all day — either way, I know that if I end up attending Monart myself this year, his will be the stable I make a beeline for, because I reckon he gives great cuddles. For those of you who are interested in more important things than cuteness (and really, I need you to consider if there actually is anything more important), he moves and jumps, too, making him a viable prospect both as one to keep, and one to produce and sell. I don’t think you’ll want to sell, though, which might be a bit of a difficulty.

Lot 34: Monbeg Cosmos – 16.1hh three-year-old ISH filly (HHS Cornet x Legaland Blue Angie, by Chacco Blue) — €16,000 to the USA 

And finally, this delightful little mare, who’s bred to the hilt for jumping but looks like she’d do most jobs, and for most people. This is one of those rare instances in which we get to see a three-year-old ridden away, and she’s just as balanced and sensible with someone on her back as she is while loose-schooling. She’s a nice jumper, a nice mover, and most of all, I get the impression that she’s a really nice person – and, as such, as suitable for the amateur buyer as the professional. Monbeg horses so often come with a really nice, appropriate start, and I’d feel confident lifting my hand for this gal, who I think will make someone very happy indeed.

To pick your own favourites from this year’s Monart line-up, and to get yourself registered as a bidder, head to the Monart catalogue and information pages. The Monart sale’s viewing days will run on November 6 and 7, giving in-person buyers a chance to see horses in the flesh and try them, too, in the case of those that have been ridden away. These viewing days will be live-streamed for remote bidders.

Bidding for all lots will open on Monday, November 6 at 10.00 a.m. Irish time (that’s 5.00 a.m. Eastern time), and lots 1–86 will finish from 5pm local time/12.00 p.m. Eastern on November 8, going lot by lot at three minute intervals as the in-person bidding gets underway. Lots 87-173 will run in the same way on November 9. Each horse’s profile on the website will indicate how long is left in the bidding process. Happy shopping!

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