Bloodstock South Africa
Bloodstock South Africa

…there’s plenty of subject matter for quite reflection.

(Photo : Heather Morkel)

“Survival of the customer

means survival of the industry…”

While the debate about the contrasting outcomes between the Cape Premier Yearling Sale and the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale rages on, there’s also plenty of subject matter for quiet reflection. Some claim that the Cape Sale received a disproportionate share of the marketing attention, while others put the differences down to a determination to make the Cape version exactly what its name suggests, viz the “Premier” sale. And then there is the view that it’s just a matter of timing, with the Cape Sale getting the first bite of the cherry.

Let’s acknowledge this: the Cape Premier Sale was very well promoted, and the organisers were rewarded with a palpable buzz around the ring. This undoubtedly had an impact, and there are lessons to be learnt from it. To suggest the outcomes were separated by marketing alone though, is far-fetched. Both selection panels (the pedigree and physical teams) proclaimed the National Sales catalogue the best they’d known from both perspectives, so clearly, the Cape Sale could not be ranked in the same class on those two scores and because of its timing in January, it’s unlikely it can aspire to do so. That its 300-odd entries accounted for an average of R414,000 (an all-time record for South Africa, against a National Sales average of R244,000) tells us that buyers at the National Sale got better value. They paid considerably less for what was regarded by the experts as a superior product, and if the statistics and panel assessments stand the test of time, it’s only a matter of time before buyers realise that they’ve skewed their spend disproportionately.

To put another spin on the outcome, the two top stallions on the Sires’ log at present, Jet Master and Captain Al, are separated by a mere R300,000 in total stakes exceeding R9million. They’re in a dead heat when it comes to Stakes winners (9 each) yet in the sale, Jet Master averaged R609,286 while Captain Al was quite miserable at R234,808. How come the chasm?

Don’t get us wrong, we’ve said all along, any sale which has the impact of the Cape Premier Sale is worthy of continuity, but as we wrote yesterday, we need to develop a sense of balance and perspective, so that not only does the sales programme as a whole survive, but also to ensure customers get the best deal we can give them. In the end, the survival of the customer means the survival of the industry, and that should be our only imperative.