barry irwinBarry Irwin (mikedekockracing) “This is the best value thoroughbred sale in the world,’’ said Team Valor International’s Barry Irwin after the hammer came down on the final lot at the 2008 Emperor’s Palace National Yearling Sale at Gosforth Park on Monday night.

Barry Irwin, who purchased 13 foals at an average of R606 538, was fifth biggest buyer at the sale spending R7.885 million, and he added: “From my experience you would pay roughly twice the price for any foal at sales elsewhere in the world. The quality of this year’s bloodstock was superb, much better than last year when I noted in the media that the quality was really good.

“The world hasn’t cottoned on to South African bloodstock yet, despite your great performances in Dubai and I think that’s the way it will remain in the foreseeable future. It takes courage to come here, but I again enjoyed myself thoroughly and will be back next year.’’

When the provisional figures were released, the sale fell only R350 000 short of the magical R200 million mark, but the aggregate was up 21% on the 2007 figure, while the average of R398 503 per foal was 19% higher than last year.
Bloodstock SA CEO Jan Naude said: “When the final calculations are done the aggregate will probably exceed the R200 million mark, as there are unsold horses on which deals are in the process of being concluded.’’

Jan Naude thanked all buyers, breeders and his staff for what he called an “amazing’’ sale, and said: “The support from international buyers is much appreciated and contributed greatly to our success. Everyone agreed that the quality of yearlings had improved remarkably on last year, our breeders have undoubtedly upped their game. With more good new stallions entering our market and even more improved bloodlines, we will be hoping for even better results next year.’’

Highlands Stud was the top vendor by aggregate, selling 38 lots at an average of R510 132. The top buyer was Form Bloodstock, acting on behalf of various clients including Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum from Dubai. They acquired 29 lots averaging R823 793.

Champion stallion Jet Master topped the sires list with an aggregate of R24.94 million, or R489 020 per yearling, just shading his old rival Fort Wood, with Western Winter in third.

Two fillies topped the sale at R3 million apiece, one a daughter of Royal Academy and the other of Western Winter.

Spectrum was the leading freshman sire by aggregate, with 24 of his foals sold for a total R9.915 million, R413 125 per foal. VAR (13 foals, R4.37 million) and Victory Moon (16 foals, R4.005 million) also fared particularly well.

On the whole, 27 lots sold for between R1 million and R2 million; seven lots for between R2 million and R3 million and two for R3 million. A total of 475 foals sold for under R1 million and Caroline Simpson, Sales Manager, commented: “This shows that there were plenty of good value lots available for smaller buyers. We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of the sale.’’

Extract from Thoroughbred Breeders Association of South Africa