Neil Andrews, Bob Yearham, HM King Letsie III, Julie Alexander, Mick Goss
(Photo : Peermont)
2009 EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN SALE
There is no other way to describe it. At the height of the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression, the South African Thoroughbred market stood up and said “I’m the only game in town!”
Up 9.4% on average (at R189,895 against R173,636 last year) and with a clearance rate exceeding 90% for the second year, the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale has retained the mantle of being consistantly the world’s best performing auction of the past five years.
And there’s one very good reason for it. The whole Ready To Run package has captured the public imagination like no other, from the Gallops at Summerhill; the “big hitting” selection panel; the R1,5 million stake and the odds of a crack at it; the Emperors Palace pre-sale party; the celebrities and the best “gas” at a raceday known to Gauteng; and then the sale itself.
Unlike most marathon auctions, this one has a “boutique” catalogue of just 160 lots, and like a twenty/20 cricket match in both atmosphere and duration, it ebbs and flows emotionally for just five hours. By 7:30pm, more than R27 million has changed hands, almost treble the output of the internationally celebrated Nederburg Wine Auction.
Given that Summerhill has always claimed “there’s a horse for everyone out the Ready To Run” the veracity lies in the spread in prices, from R30,000 to R1,2 million. The truth of the statement was in bold print and the R60,000 purchase of last year, Pierre Jourdan, scooted off with the major part of the R1,5 million prize.
“Travel the world, and you’ll find South Africans are renowned for their enterprise, their work ethic and their positive outlook,” was Summerhill boss Mick Goss’ comment after the sale. “They know there’s life after the recession, and they’re already looking forward to next year’s race and sale.”
Talking of the race, two past Chairmen of the S.A. Jockey Club, Ronnie Napierand Alick Costa, commented independently that this race caused as much vibe as they’d known on a Gauteng racecourse in two decades. Hardly surprising though. If you’ve picked right, you can get to compete for the fourth richest stake in racing, after just one visit to the racecourse.
And don’t forget “the Cup”. It’s pretty much a unanimous verdict, that the Summerhill claim that it’s the best trophy in racing was absolutely on the button.