Marsh Shirtliff with Pocket Power
(Image : Sporting Post / TAB Online)
EMPERORS PALACE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE
27 - 29 April 2012
We did say to anyone who asked during the course of the week, that we’d liked to have seen more customers on the sales grounds, and that was evident in the trade for the elite offerings at South Africa’s principal bloodstock auction, the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. The “big-hitters” in the domestic bloodstock market, Markus Jooste, Bernard Kantor and Chris van Niekerk were noticeably absent, having apparently filled their order books already at local and international auctions, and their lack of presence in the ring was apparent in both the reduced average and the clearance rate, when measured against last year. However, accounting for this missing element, an average of R240,000 was a fair achievement (last year R249,000 at the same stage). One soldier often associated with Messrs. Jooste and Co., Marsh Shirtliff of Pocket Power fame, was however, his usual stoic self. One thing we know from our rugby playing days and what he did to save Cape Town’s oldest rugby club, Hamiltons, is that when you’re in the trenches, you can always count on Shirtliff. If you were going to war, he’d be anybody’s general. There were just 4 millionaires last evening, and he bought two of them.
Given that we had a number of first season sires among those in our draft, we’d have to be more than satisfied with an average of R319,000, and while there was the odd disappointment, those that fell into this category are obvious Ready To Run types. Over the years, many an overlooked Summerhill horse at the National Yearling Sales, has gone on to make very good money in November, given the opportunity to mature and prove its worth as a runner.
Bloodstock South Africa’s chief yearling selector, John Kramer, has been generous again in his praise for the debut crop of A.P. Indy’s best racing son worldwide in 2009, A.P. Arrow, and this was evident in a solid performance by his first offspring in the ring. Equally, there’s obvious respect for the Mullins Bays, evident in those that signed for them on the vendors roll, and Backworth Stud will have been happy with the R140,000 for the first (and only) daughter of Admire Main to debut at any South African sale. Anyone who saw Sun Bay (a “Mullins”) helter-skeltering at the leaders in the closing stages of the Juvenile sprint on Thursday, would have to have been impressed, and we take some confidence from the fact that whoever we talk to with Mullinses in their yards, are bullish about their prospects. It’s not often you see a two-year-old quicken like Sun Bay did, particularly in a sprint, and he looks pretty decent on that effort.
Speaking with Marsh Shirtliff late last evening, it’s obvious that he shares the view with a number of experts that Sunday’s catalogue carries the biggest guns in the sale, and we will be looking for a solid performance from our five sons and daughters of Stronghold, none of whom have seen any action so far. Timeform’s champion handicapper son of Danehill has five winners from his first six runners, giving him the best strike-rate in the land right now, and he has quietly cultivated a bit of a cult following. There’s scarcely a visitor to our premises at Block A that doesn’t call for the Strongholds, besides a glass of the finest red in our cellar.