Johannesburg - Home of NYS 2014

(Photo : SA Live)


TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, South Africa

27 - 28 April 2014

Ringsider: During the two days of the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales in Germiston (on Sunday and Monday), the busiest place at the TBA complex is reception, with the ladies fielding all sorts of varied requests.

There could be an unusual one this year. “Quick, ladies, find us an interpreter ASAP.”

When asked about possible foreign interest at the sale, back came this reply from Bloodstock SA CEO Tom Callaghan: “We’re expecting buyers from Germany, Sweden, America, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the United Kingdom.

The exploits of SA-breds in Dubai must surely have woken up the most sleepy bloodstock agents and - as Mick Goss once pointed out - “we’re selling First World horses at Third World prices”.

One of the great attractions at this annual sale is New Zealand auctioneer Steve Davis, who has been as loyal to this event as Ryan Giggs is to Manchester United.

If you want to be entertained, just spend half an hour in the sales ring when Steve is on the rostrum. He stands no nonsense. You might hear a response like this towards a buyer taking ages over every bid: “Don’t you worry sir, I can wait till Christmas, but I’m not sure everyone else can.”

This is Davis’s seventh sale of 2014 and he says, “It got off to a real bang with the Magic Millions (in Australia) when there was an outstanding clearance rate of 90%. I remember that from lots 525 to 580 just one yearling was passed out.

“I will again open this year’s sale and I believe there is much to look forward to - especially given the continued success of SA-bred horses on the international stage.”

Davis’s mention of the clearance rate is interesting as these details of last year’s sale clearly show.

Aggregate: R122,533,000 Average: R295,260 Highest price: R3.6 million Lots catalogued: 537 Lots Not Sold or Withdrawn: 81 Lots Vendors buy-back: 46

So, more than 20% of the yearlings catalogued were either not sold, withdrawn or bought back. The aim for Bloodstock SA this year must be to reduce this figure significantly.

Callaghan has an aggregate figure of R130-million in his sights and that looks on the conservative side given that the sale has 23 full and half siblings to Grade 1 winners.

There are 59 sires from buyers to choose from and it would be no surprise if one of the last of Western Winter’s progeny (12 colts and 9 fillies) made top price.

Champion sire Silvano has 40 yearlings (17 colts and 23 fillies), Captain Al 31 yearlings (17 colts and 14 fillies), Kahal 30 (17 colts and 13 fillies), Trippi 29 (15 colts and 14 fillies) and Var 29 (14 colts and 15 fillies) as well as excting prospects Brave Tin Soldier 6 (3 colts and 3 fillies) and Visionaire 16 (10 colts and 6 fillies).

Buyers are really going to have to do their homework and there are bargains to be found as a look back at previous sales confirms. In 2011 recent Empress Club Stakes heroine Along Came Polly was sold for just R60,000 while Forest Indigo was knocked down for R160,000.

One can also make a case for buying at the top of the market. In 2010 Master Of My Fate was sold for R3-million, Capetown Noir for R1-million and All Is Secret for R800,000. We have yet to see the best of Master Of My Fate, but both Capetown Noir and All Is Secret are now household names.

Also in 2010, Geoff Woodruff, one of the best judges of horseflesh in the country, picked out Tellina and got the son of Silvano for just R210,000. The five-times champion trainer needs to put a padlock on his catalogue!

What about another of Silvano’s sons from the same year? I refer to a certain thoroughbred named Vercingetorix, bought for R1.4-million. He’ll probably earn that amount for just being placed in Hong Kong this weekend.

One can also argue that some purchases have been good news for the breeder, but not the buyer.

The year 2009 is a perfect example, with Potala Palace sold for R3.6-million and E-Jet for R1.4-million. That’s the glorious uncertainty of the bloodstock market because - in the same year - Vodacom Durban July winner Heavy Metal was purchased for just R250,000.

Despite the huge financial rewards in Dubai, if you ask the majority of buyers at this weekend’s sale what they are aiming for the reply will be “a horse that can win the July”.

In our enforced cocoon, glory at Greyville remains the No 1 target. Fortunately, our champion trainer Mike de Kock can say “Been there, done that” and now has his sights set on races such as the Investec Derby in the UK and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France.

Nevertheless, his team will be putting their hands up at Germiston this weekend, which is an endorsement of the sale in itself.

De Kock continues to bang the drum for South Africa with every overseas victory. Every vendor owes him at least a case of French champagne!

Extract from Tab News