basil marcus with denis and gail evans and babazaniDenis and Gael Evans with Basil Marcus and Babazani (Lot 43)
(Grant Norval)

charl pretoriusCharl Pretorius 2008 Emperors Ready To Run Sale turned over an incredible all-time record R25.85 million at the TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, on Sunday. This brought to an unexpectedly climactic close, another terrific year for Bloodstock South Africa.

The success of this year’s renewal left even the most optimistic commentators speechless and Mick Goss of Summerhill Stud, who consigned the biggest proportion of the 166-lot catalogue, said: “The sale produced awesome results and delivered ample testimony to the confidence that buyers have in the South African racing and breeding industries. We are extremely pleased.’’

The staggering one-day aggregate is 48.3% up on the record figure of 2007 and the average of R174 622 is up 38.2%. The highest price of R2,2 million was paid by Basil Marcus Racing Stables for MATAMBO (Lot 121) , a son of international boom sire Rock Of Gibraltar.

Second-highest price was paid by trainer Mike Azzie and partners for INSASA (Lot 26), a filly by another international sire sensation Galileo. South Africa’s athlete of distinction Oscar Pistorius is a member of the syndicate that purchased INSASA. Oscar’s sole purchase WATCHFUL (Lot 7, R200 000), will also be going into training with Mike Azzie and he said: “My involvement in racing is a long time coming. I learnt to love racing through my association with the Azzie family and I can’t wait for them to run!’’

BloodStock South Africa’s Chief Executive Jan Naude, delighted with the outcome of the sale, commented: “The presence of several top imported lots was a factor that gave the sale a boost, but even without them the aggregate would have been up on last year, which is most encouraging in the current economic climate.’’

Bloodstock South Africa’s Sales Manager Caroline Simpson added: “Over the last few years a big buzz has been created around the Ready To Run Sale, from the breeze-up gallops to the cocktail party to the big raceday that includes the exclusive Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup which is expected to have prize money of at least R1,5 million next year.’’

“Importantly,’’ Caroline Simpson adds, “Summerhill Stud’s six-cheque payment scheme made purchases affordable for everyone. Most of the other vendors followed suit, which brought regular buyers back to the sale while new clients came on board too.’’

Basil Marcus was the top buyer at the sale by aggregate. The former jockey and now top trainer and his clients, Denis and Gail Evans, invested R3,12 million at an average of R520 000 for six foals. This average was marginally bettered by trainer Charles Laird (R540 000, 4 lots), which made him the top buyer by average.

Summerhill’s Kahal, with 17 two-year-olds sold for R2,865 million, was the top sire by aggregate, closely followed by his Mooi River “stablemate’’ Muhtafal with R2,81 million for 11 lots.