Keeneland September Yearling Sale Hip 87 A.P Indy - Malka
Keeneland September Yearling Sale Hip 87 A.P Indy - Malka

Hip 87 A.P Indy - Malka $1,400,000

(Photo and Footage : Keeneland)


11 - 24 September 2011

The Americans have been called lots of things, including “the free and the brave”, but the results of this weekend’s start to the Keeneland September sales (showcase of American breeding,) and the just-completed Fasig Tipton Saratoga sale, tell us that Americans (or at least some of them) have put aside their economic woes for the time being, in favour of a splurge on the ponies.

Saratoga showed some encouraging signs, but Keeneland (there are still more than 10 days to go) was roaring. Given that this year’s figures were competing with a $4.2million A.P. Indy colt on the first day last year, an average of 8.6% up (with a highest price of $1.4million) was encouragement enough, but it was in the median of $350,000 (the mid-price of the day) that there was cause for jubilation. This was a hefty 40% up, and it tells you how strong the market was at all levels. Investors know that racehorses are an international currency, you can take them anywhere if they’re good enough, and if they’re really good, the big prize is anybody’s guess.

Of course, there is a gamble involved, but it seems it’s one the rich are prepared to take. These numbers are a long way off the heady days of a few years ago, but they at least encourage the view that the market has bottomed and that breeders can continue, with a modicum of confidence, to breed these noble creatures, knowing that there is a point of appreciation in the hearts of Americans, beneath which values are not going to descend.

Perhaps of greater significance to Americans, was the fact that, by and large, the bulk of the big spenders were domestically based. Apart from the odd horse purchased by Shadwell, there was little evidence of participation from the Middle East, though their principal adversaries of the past decade, Coolmore, were back in the fray. Noticeably, the Irish purchases included the progeny of Maktoum stallions, an acknowledgement that for them at least, who owns the sire is not the determining factor: it’s a matter of who the best sires are, and for the past two years, Coolmore’s dabbles in the Maktoum gene pool suggests their interest lies mainly in their wish to maintain their position as the dominant force in world racing through the acquisition of the best horses, wherever they may be found.

Since the local environment is not, by any means, in the sort of trouble the American economy finds itself, there has to be some hope for our market as well. South African horses are more talented now than at any time in our history. Breeders have invested more heavily in their product than any of their predecessors did, and our horses have repaid the faith owners have bestowed upon them, by delivering the goods at the highest level wherever the best races are found.