EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN SALE
TBA Complex, South Africa
1 & 3 November 2013
Summerhill CEOThere were some who said that the disparity between Friday’s trade at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale, and Sunday’s, was a stronger catalogue for the latter, and while there may have been some merit in that argument, it can’t have accounted for all of it. Last November, Friday was every bit as buoyant as Sunday, but it seems this year’s two days got their scripts from different playbooks. Friday’s turnaround suggested that buyers felt they’d over-indulged last year, but come Sunday, that was a distant memory. The opening day’s average was almost 14% off last year’s figure, yet Sunday’s numbers not only overcame the backlog, but were within 3.2% of the corresponding figure, and given that Bloodstock South Africa were pushing the boundaries in a sale we’ve always advertised as offering the “best odds in the world” with an additional 48 lots (which generally mitigates against maintaining averages), an overall average of R215,940 (last year R222,241), has to be a respectable result. The big difference though, was the strength at every level of last year’s sale, whereas the 2013 version saw a bigger gap between the upper and lower markets.
South Africans are nothing if not resilient, enterprising and strong-spirited, and they “never-said-die” when the legions of foreigners climbed in with meaning. Of course, battling against the dollar is like trying to take on America in a nuclear war, and in the end, buyers from Hong Kong, Denmark, Norway, Brazil and Germany signed for more than R20million of the aggregate of R47million. When more than 40% of your turnover is accounted for from abroad, you have to take your hat off to the work Peter Gibson and his team at the South African Equine Trade Council have done in attracting these people to our shores, particularly given the difficulties we still have with our export protocols, and the time it takes to get the horses out.
It’s comforting to know that these guys think enough of our local bloodstock (and they were full of praise at the sale) to walk that gauntlet and still come away smiling. I have to say, having made their acquaintance, that we couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch of customers either. Another encouraging sign was the performance this year of local-breds. This sale has been characterised by a healthy representation of horses from abroad, and while several of those made good money (not all, but certainly those in our draft), the locals fought their corners determinedly.
On the subject of stallions, you might have expected the Kahals to box well, and they did (average R207,500), but you’d never have thought he’d be outboxed by Admire Main, who had an average of R243,571 off sales of R525,000, R425,000, R225,000, R200,000, R140,000 and R130,000. The market obviously likes Admire Main’s stock; trainers seem to love them, owners seem to love them, jockeys seem to have a healthy respect for them, and off these numbers, he should be irresistible to breeders, too. Our customers obviously know that he’s a son of one of history’s great stallions, that he was the second best colt of his generation, and they’ve seen enough of his runners to date, to know that his future is bright.
While there are hard-luck stories in every sale we’ve ever attended (and we have a few of our own), given the fact that this sale held up as well as it did in the face of a couple of distractive announcements from another sales outfit, says something for our customers (among them, I should add to their credit, some of the principals behind that outfit), who stuck to their guns and voted with their feet. There’s an unwritten code among sales companies abroad that you don’t step on another man’s toes in circumstances such as these, but I guess in the hurly-burly of business, “all’s fair in love and war”, and at least we’re still here to tell the tale!