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A Brief History

The Company that is now Goffs UK Ltd was founded as Doncaster Bloodstock Sales (“DBS”) in 1962 by Willie Stephenson, the only Englishman to train both Derby and Grand National winners, and Kenneth Oliver, a well-known Scottish based Auctioneer and National Hunt trainer, following an approach from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC).

However, Bloodstock Sales had been part of Doncaster for a very long time and, in fact, the St. Leger Yearling Sales were the oldest bloodstock sales date in the United Kingdom.

Tattersalls originally held Sales in Glasgow Paddocks at Doncaster until their Lease ran out in 1957 when they chose not to renew and concentrate their efforts in the South of England with the result that there were no sales for a period of five years. This was felt to be very detrimental to the Town and local businesses and in the early 1960s Albert Cammidge, the Leader of DMBC, approached Willie Stephenson and asked him to consider restarting Sales using part of the Racecourse Stables. Mr Stephenson joined forces with Ken Oliver and they started the Doncaster Bloodstock Sales in May 1962 reintroducing the St. Leger Yearling Sales in 1963 whilst a full programme of Sales Dates throughout the year were gradually implemented. In the ensuing decades, DBS grew from a small regional Company which specialised in servicing the needs of the commercial market place in Britain to a leading International Bloodstock Auctioneer with a worldwide reputation of offering value for money and a personal service that is second to none to their clients.

Stephenson and Oliver were quick to forge a link with Irish Vendors and were particularly helped in the early days by the much respected Irish dealer, Jack White who became their first Irish Agent. The original partners were joined in 1964 by Harry Beeby, son of top trainer George Beeby and, in the ensuing years, were responsible for several innovations including sales of Shares and Nominations at Public Auction, Pre-Sales Show Championships as well as the highly successful Breeze-Up Sales at the start of the Flat Season. The partnership was further extended in 1969 to include Michael White, a nephew of noted Northern Trainers Sam and Charlie Hall.

The organisation was formed into a Limited Company in 1976 to widen its base and ties were extended with Ireland when Jack White, vet/breeder Jack Powell and pinhooking king Tim Hyde became Directors whilst Michael Dale, who had spent time with agent John Bartholomew and trainer John Winter, also joined the Board. Henry Beeby joined the team in 1982 and in March 1989 he was also appointed a Director following stints with Coolmore, the Irish National Stud, Furnace Mill Stud and Fasig-Tipton Company in Kentucky and New York.

Harry Beeby succeeded Willie Stephenson as Chairman of DBS in 1988 whilst, in turn, Henry Beeby succeeded Harry as Managing Director in 1998. The DBS Board was assisted for some years by the respected Bloodstock Agents Johnny McKeever and John O'Byrne as well as leading Sales consignor John Osborne. In 2006, cousins Stuart Mactaggart and Jeremy Mactaggart were also appointed Directors. Stuart had been with DBS since 1990 following six years with trainer Nick Gaselee whilst Jeremy gained vital experience in Ireland, USA, Australia and the UK with the likes of Coolmore and Lanwades Studs before joining DBS in 1999. 10 years later Tim Kent was appointed to the DBS board followed two years later by George Stanners and Derek Forrest and, in turn, Michael Orton.

"Value. Service. Success" became the DBS slogan as they were the key words that summed up the ethos of the Company. DBS Auctioneers built a strong reputation and conducted a number of Auctions around the World on an annual basis. These included the Hong Kong International Sale on two occasions prompting Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Executive Lawrence Wong to comment "DBS conducted the Hong Kong International Sales with thorough professionalism".

DBS also launched the highly successful Auctions of Seniority Positions in Racecourse Betting acted as Guest Auctioneers in Ireland, Sweden, Trinidad, Italy, Qatar, South Africa etc.

After several years of negotiation with DMBC, and planning with architects and designers DBS relocated to a new state of the art, custom built sales complex on Leger Way in April 2008. The new buildings comprised 500 stables of one, high standard with superb showing areas and a main building that houses sales ring, offices, restaurant, bar and all amenities required to allow international visitors to conduct their business in comfort. Many have stated that the Complex is the most horse and people friendly around, very similar to comments regularly made about Goffs iconic Kildare Paddocks in Ireland.

On 6th July 2007, Goffs and DBS completed a landmark merger, forming a Bloodstock Auction House that provides a strong, vibrant and innovative international auction house. In the move announced by Goffs Bloodstock Sales Chairman Eimear Mulhern and DBS Managing Director Henry Beeby, Goffs Bloodstock Sales and DBS joined up under the Robert J. Goff and Co plc. banner with sales continuing from Kildare Paddocks in Co Kildare, Ireland and Doncaster in the UK.

The combined entity offers an extensive programme of sales throughout the year, at eight locations in Britain and Ireland, cataloguing nearly 10,000 horses each year and covering every sector of the bloodstock market with auctions conducted by a consistent team of world-class auctioneers and horsemen with unrivalled experience. In the new structure, Henry Beeby, Managing Director of DBS, became Group Chief Executive overseeing and auctioning at every Goffs and DBS sale whilst Eimear Mulhern succeeded Oliver O'Reilly as Chairman of R.J. Goff & Co plc.

DBS was rebranded to Goffs UK in April 2016 so continuing the harmonisation of the Goffs and DBS brands. Henry Beeby was named as Goffs UK Chairman, alongside his Group Chief Executive role, and Tony Williams was appointed Goffs UK Managing Director later in the year. Tony enjoyed three successful years with Goffs UK before taking up a new position with Aquis farms in his native Australia. He was succeeded by Tim Kent as Goffs UK Managing Director in January 2020.

Goffs UK continues to evolve as a Thoroughbred Auction House. Now totally part of the Goffs Group, the company remembers its past and the characters and hard work that brought it forward from its 1960s beginnings to its modern day standing. At the heart of every Goffs sale, regardless of location or category, is the industry, innovation and integrity that is a vital ingredient of an international auction house.

Updated Jan 20