On the face of it, the catalogue for yesterday’s Cape Town auction did not appear to be extraordinary. As a result, our team of three held relatively unexcited expectations, until we arrived (as usual for the Mother City in June) in the pouring ‘bloody’ rain. A pleasant surprise, in the form of some decent individuals awaited us, and for a farm that places at least as much emphasis on the physical type as we do or pedigree, this was a positive turn. What we hadn’t factored into our calculations, was the strength of the market, which while it reflects glowingly on the current health of the bloodstock business, might’ve frightened most people’s bankers. Nonetheless, we’re all grown up now, and if that’s what it takes, that’s what you’ve got to do.

In the circumstances, we felt reasonably satisfied in coming away with six decent sorts, but we must’ve missed on close to twenty. At one stage, we bid almost R3/4 million on three successive lots, without landing a blow.

Most of the damage was done on behalf of our joint venture with the Hong Kong Breeders Club, where fortunately, the emphasis is on attempting to get the best quality our money can buy for the new man, Grand Central.

There were some familiar old names in the pedigrees, like Horse Chestnut, Wild West, Bold West, Fort Wood, Ellidor etc and we were especially pleased by the “sorts”.

Top rice for the sale was R650 000, which equaled the figure at which we sold Poppy two years back (2nd top in history), but still short of the record for a broodmares at auction (R750 000) for Secret Pac, established by Summerhill at the Kjell Foundation dispersal ten years ago. And if you talk to Varsfontein (who bought her), they’ll tell you that, like Lady Broadhurst (whom we sold for the record filly-in-training figure of R1 million), Secret Pact remains a bargain.