emperors palace logoThe panel has spoken and the jockeys will be doing so shortly. The Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Sale has scored a world first, a dimension which separates it from all other sales of its kind. Firstly, pound-for-pound it’s the best source of Stakes winners to sales candidates in Africa, and by definition that means the world. Secondly, it was the first sale to load the candidate’s gallops onto a website for public viewing, as well as airing them on open television.

Its three-cheque payment scheme is unique to this continent, and as far as we know its selection panel is also a world first, as is its newly announced Listed (or Black type) status. Yet this is no ordinary panel.

Among the exalted assembly were four of South Africa’s top trainers, Mike de Kock, Dean Kannemeyer, Sean Tarry, and Michael Azzie; two of the country’s leading race callers, Graeme Hawkins and Craig Peters, champion jockey Michael Roberts and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing’s Eamonn Cullen. “Formidable” may not be strong enough, especially when you consider their experience in horseracing aggregates something approaching 300 years.

For the record, each panellist was asked to nominate three fillies and three colts, and their picks were (by Lot numbers):

ready to run expert panel

In a day or two we’ll list the choices of the people closest to these horses, among them their jockeys and grooms, who have helped many a would-be customer find a champion in the past.

It goes without saying, there have been other champions that have escaped the ballot, and of course in a draft of over a hundred horses, this is inevitable, but it’s surely an incentive for those whose meaning in life comes more from finding something altogether different, rather than following the crowd.