Prince MdunjanePrince Mdunjane with Lot 397 (Heather Morkel) There’s been plenty of talk in every conceivable form of press in the last few weeks about the state of the world’s economy, but last evening there were no thoughts of sub-prime, Zimbabwe or Jacob Zuma, as Africa’s biggest spenders took on their foreign counterparts in the bullring at the TBA sales complex in Germiston. And did the fur fly!

Records were smashed as the average soared by 21%, fuelled by unprecedented international investment on the back of the big weekend in Dubai. A year ago the first million Rand horse made headlines, yet last evening there were no fewer than 26 who broke this barrier, including two at R3 million. The average of R960,000 was 21% up on last year’s figure (R731,000), with the 76 Lots sold posting an aggregate of exactly R73 million.

Big buyers on the night included Scotsman Dr Jim Hay (for Herman Brown Jnr), His Highness Sheikh Mohammed (for Mike de Kock), Australian Paul Guy (for Heritage Bloodstock), while the old stalwarts, America’s Team Valor, Markus Jooste (for Charles Laird) and Chris van Niekerk (for Sean Tarry) were hard at it again. Though they’ve been attending the South African sales for many years, England’s Blandford Bloodstock (Tom Goff) and Allan Bloodlines (David Allan), made the biggest splash of all in securing the two top billers at R3 million a piece.

The second one, a Western Winter filly, was a classic, as the nation’s First Lady of racing, Bridget Oppenheimer, went hammer and tongs with the continent’s biggest coal miner, Graham Beck (Tom Goff in the seat). At a critical point (R3 million), Mrs Oppenheimer’s cell phone connection with Charles Laird failed, and unable to reconnect, Charles Laird had to give way.

Among local trainers, Weiho Marwing, Joey Ramsden, Eric Sands and Mike Bass were in full stride along with the big ”bloodstockers”, John Freeman and Jehan Malherbe of Form Bloodstock.

Though it’s a rest day today, and we have some excitement ahead with a great programme of Group One racing. Going to post for the farm in two of the Group One races are no fewer than six graduates of the Summerhill paddocks, with IMBONGI looking to go one better after his Gauteng Guineas victory in the R1.2 million S A Classic (a tough test from the outside draw,) and all of EMPEROR NAPOLEON, PICK SIX, CATMANDU, DYNAMITE MIKE and FORK LIGHTENING looking to shut the door in a remarkable entry of five of the thirteen contestants for the R1.2 million Horse Chestnut Stakes.

Tomorrow UMNGAZI and THE BIG ASK are among the favourites for the Byerley Turk (Gr3) at Scottsville, while CLEOME and HOT RECEPTION will hopefully be keeping the judges busy in the Umzimkhulu Stakes (G3) and the KwaZulu Natal (Listed) Stakes, respectively.

We’ll be updating you with the outcomes tomorrow morning.

Click here to view Sales Results for Lots 1 - 90