oscar pistorius with michael azzie and insasaOscar Pistorius and Michael Azzie with Lot 26 INSASA (Galileo)
(Photo: Grant Norval)

Economic crisis? What crisis. Bucking the recent trend in international bloodstock markets, all predictions of an expected slump came to naught when previous records crashed by the wayside at Sunday’s sensational Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Sale.

Racing South Africa reports that the aggregate of R25,85 million reflected a staggering 52% increase on last year’s figure of R16,965 million, while the average price of R174,662 rose by almost 34% from R130,500 in 2007.

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.’’

History was made when no less than 3 lots broke through the magical million rand barrier. The record price of R900,000 set for a colt by Hawk Wing at last year’s sale was made to look like small change when Cape trainer Basil Marcus outlayed R2,2-million for a stunning colt by Rock Of Gibraltar (Lot 121 MATAMBO), sire also of Mike de Kock’s Breeders Cup Turf runner-up Eagle Mountain.

Offered by champion breeders Summerhill, the November-foaled bay, boasts a pedigree page saturated with North American black-type. He is the first foal of an unraced half-sister to American Gr.3 winner Erica’s Dream and Listed winner Twosies Answer, the dam of 1998 champion 2yo colt and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, Answer Lively. The colt’s grandam Lady’s Answer is a half-sister to multiple Gr.3 winner Briarctic, one of the most successful stallions to stand in Canada.

Summerhill Stud sold eight of the top ten lots, and once again, their Australian-bred imports were keenly pursued.

INSASA, a daughter of English champion sire elect Galileo (Lot 26) set the sales ring abuzz early, registering a final bid of R1,5-million bid from trainer Michael Azzie. The filly’s attraction undoubtedly lies in the fact that her dam is a half-sister to the stud’s exciting young stallion Way West, while her third dam is the accomplished Annoconnor, a triple Gr.1 winning daughter of Nureyev and half-sister to Melbourne Cup hero At Talaq.

South Africa’s athlete of distinction, Oscar Pistorius, is a member of the syndicate which purchased Insasa and his sole purchase Watchful  (Lot 7 R200,000), will also be going into training with Michael Azzie. Oscar Pistorius 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!’’

Summerhill’s smart colt Mahubo (Lot 96), a National Emblem half-brother to dual Gr.2 winner Imbongi and Gr.3 winner Spring Garland, was another to find favour with the buyers and when the gavel came down at R900,000, the name on the docket was that of trainer Herman Brown Jnr’s B&B Racing.

Graham Beck’s Highlands Farms Stud celebrated its debut at this sale when its Spectrum colt Tap Tempo (Lot 23) reached a final bid of R600,000 from trainer Charles Laird. The colt is out of a West Man half-sister to champion juvenile filly Forward Filly and Gr.3 winner Golden Tulip.

Basil Marcus emerged as the top buyer at the sale by aggregate. The former jockey and now top trainer and his clients invested R3,12- million at an average of R520,000 for six lots. This average was marginally bettered by trainer Charles Laird (R540 000, 4 lots), which made him the top buyer by average. Charles Laird’s most expensive purchase was the Muhtafal colt Blue Voyager (Lot 53), which was knocked down at an even million, the third highest price of the sale.

Summerhill’s Kahal was the top sire by aggregate, with 17 two-year-olds selling for R2,865-million, headed by the filly Fisani (Lot 101) at R400,000. The brown miss is a half-sister to Gr.1-placed Catmandu and stakesplaced Ecole Militaire and hails from the female family of 2006 English Derby winner Sir Percy.

Foreigners were once again active at the sale and Bloodstock South Africa entertained buyers from Hong Kong and even Turkey. Turkish businessman Fedai Kahraman, who spent almost a R million in 2007, purchased Highlands Farms’ Spectrum colt Snow Special (Lot 123) for R280,000.

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.’’

BSA’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 added, “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.’’

For detailed prices and statistics of the sale, visit www.tba.co.za


Lot 121 Matambo (AUS) (ch.c. Rock Of Gibraltar - Lady’s Light) R2,200,000
Vendor: Summerhill Sales Buyer: B Marcus

Lot 26 Insasa (AUS) (ch.f. Galileo - Tantalum Fever) R1,500,000
Vendor: Summerhill Sale Buyer: Prancing Horse CC

Lot 53 Blue Voyager (br.c. Muhtafal - Blue Yonder) R1,000,000
Vendor: Summerhill Sales Buyer: Laird Racing Stable (Pty) Ltd

Lot 96 Mahubo (ch.c. National Emblem - Garden Verse) R900,000
Vendor: Summerhill Sales Buyer: B & B Racing

Lot 23 Tap Tempo (b.c. Spectrum - Sweet Lark Sing) R600,000
Vendor: Highlands Farms Stud Buyer: Laird Racing Stable (Pty) Ltd

Lot 128 Tucana (AUS) (b.c. Galileo - Luanda Star) R500,000
Vendor: Summerhill Sales Buyer: Good-Hope Racing

Lot 39 Unnamed (AUS) (gr.f. Hawk Wing - Vintage Silver) R460,000
Vendor: Far End Pre-Training (Agent) Buyer: World Wide Bloodstock

Lot 101 Fisani (br.f. Kahal - Gypsey Spirit) R400,000
Vendor: Summerhill Sales Buyer: Equine Group

Lot 76 Danse To Destiny (b.c. Malhub - Derniere Danse) R380,000
Vendor: Summerhill Sales Buyer: Laird Racing Stable (Pty) Ltd

Lot 78 Sekela (b.f. Muhtafal - Dignify) R360,000
Vendor: Summerhill Sales Buyer: Good-Hope Racing