TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, Germiston, South Africa
(Photo : Leigh Willson)
EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN SALE
TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, Germiston
6 November 2011
We’re not sure whether we’ve got this quote exactly as the sage of Omaha once said it, but Warren Buffett is famous for timing his investments to the tee. “Be fearful when the greedy are greedy, and be greedy when the greedy are fearful”. It seems that international thoroughbred investors had his advice in mind at the principal American and English sales last month, when a new tide of buyers from across the world ensured increases in average and median of 30 and 40% plus. That was before the recent EU deal on Greece, before US retail sales posted their increases, and before a spate of healthy reporting from Fortune 500 companies in the States.
In South African terms, it was before our president earned his brownie points with the announcement of an arms deal probe, the firing of 2 ministers, and the suspension of his Police Chief, and the conclusion of the evidence in the Malema disciplinary enquiry. The mood in the country has already moved into positive mode, and earlier this week Stats SA announced a net increase of almost 200,000 jobs in the formal sector. It’s remarkable how quickly things are developing, and here in the Golden City, we hear encouraging stories from retailers, casino and factory floor operators, that the “worm has turned”.
At the sales grounds, traffic is pumping, lending some credibility to a 17% uptick in visits to our website, and it seems Ready To Run fever is reaching a point where it will soon be notifiable. Credit applications at Bloodstock South Africa are well ahead of last year, and it seems the adage “the Ready To Run is all about fun” has taken deep root among racing fans. We’ve always known it, but it’s worth remembering the optimistic natures of racing people, who seem to bounce back before the rest of the economy. Toss in a bit of the farsightedness, the enterprise and the guts for which our countrymen are renowned, and the faith we’ve always held in South Africans, and you have all the ingredients for a good sale.
But this is a deep draft of quality thoroughbreds deserving of respect, and whilst you might accuse us of bias, no less a judge than Michael Azzie made a turn at Block A yesterday, and after inspecting the Summerhill draft, frustratedly announced he had 42 on his (long) shortlist, a phenomenon he’d never experienced at a sale before. He is among those that remember the early days at the Ready To Run, when he took home the top-priced colt of his year, Imperial Despatch (R65,000!), and turned him into the unbeaten champion juvenile of South Africa. He also recalls the fickle rapidity with which we tend to dismiss the progeny of certain sires, forgetting that fashion comes and fashion goes. Some years ago, when Desert Team was “dead and buried”, we consigned 4 of his youngsters, and all 4 of them told us on the gallops at home that they deserved some respect. Alan Greeff took home a Gold Cup Gr1 winner, Cereus, David Goss a Gr2 heroine, Dot Dot Dash, St John Gray a St Leger ace, Stud Master, and the late Roy Howe, Captive Audience, a 5-time winning filly who beat the colts under top weight in the B division.
The moral of the story : “watch the gallops”. These horses don’t know who their father is, and if the evidence is that they can run, it doesn’t matter who the hell their parents are. Good horses come from both patrician and plebeian backgrounds, with almost equal regularity, and there is no sale that exemplifies the successes of the rich and the not-so-rich quite as emphatically as this one. It’s also worth remembering that everything in our draft has had the benefits of a Summerhill upbringing, and if that can’t enhance your prospects, whatever your origins, nothing will. Simply put, it’s the best upbringing of a racehorse known to man.