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Former Goffs Managing Director Irwin Dies at 82

"He inspired a whole generation," said Henry Beeby.

Jonathan Irwin

Jonathan Irwin

Courtesy of Goffs

Goffs' former managing director, Jonathan Irwin, has died at the age of 82. 

He was appointed managing director of Robert J Goff & Co in 1975 at the age of 33 and oversaw a defining period for the company over the next 15 years, including the construction of Kildare Paddocks.

A colorful character, Irwin's legacy lives on at Goffs as he oversaw the design of the complex, as well as introducing shouting bid-spotters, international guest auctioneers, black-tie select sales, and the first multi-currency bid board at any auction in the world, an innovation that was almost instantly copied by the likes of Sotheby's and Christie's. 

European records were regularly established, with the first sale setting the trend through Be My Guest (IR127,000 guineas) being followed nine years later by a Shergar colt realizing IR3,100,000 guineas (the equivalent of €4.2 million today), an Irish auction record that stood for 39 years.

The Cartier Million was another revolutionary brainchild under his tenure and a concept that has been developed with success to this day. He was also managing director at Phoenix Park during the O'Brien/Sangster period and a director at BBA Ireland.

Goffs chairman Eimear Mulhern said: "It is with great regret that we hear of the passing of Jonathan Irwin. 

"Jonathan was a titan of the bloodstock industry, transforming and modernizing a business which heretofore had been rooted in tradition. He inspired a whole generation, of which I am one, as to a new way to market and promote the business in a truly innovative way. 

"His contribution to Goffs was immense and we are still the beneficiaries of his vision to this day. On behalf of the shareholders and board of Goffs we send our deepest and most sincere sympathy to his wife Mary Anne, his children, his extended family, and wide circle of friends."

Henry Beeby, the latest successor to Irwin, added: "Jonathan was a truly inspirational character who revolutionized the way European thoroughbred auctions were conducted. 

"A true showman, he oozed charisma, and I learned a huge amount from him over the years. We still aspire to his lofty standards to this day."

Goffs will observe a minute's silence at 11 a.m. Dec. 11 ahead of the Goffs December National Hunt Sale.