Session one of the Bloodstock South Africa National Yearling Sale, held at the TBA Sales Complex in Johannesburg Wednesday, commenced with 150 lots going through the ring. Kevin Woolward, Bloodstock South Africa's chief executive officer, was cautiously optimistic after the first session
"The day started slowly, but picked up momentum nicely, although the aggregate is slightly lower than last year,"he said. "It was encouraging that in the current economic climate, we had a new Bloodstock South Africa sales record of R4.25 million (US$348,388) for lot 41."
Consigned by Ascot Stud, lot 41 - named Arabian Dynasty and by Dynasty (Fort Wood) out of Arabian Jazz (Danehill Dancer) - was considered one of the top horses of the sale and the colt certainly did not disappoint. Prior to leaving South African shores for Hong Kong, trainer Tony Millard produced the colt's second dam, Arabian Lass, to four Grade 1 victories and two champion titles. Millard made the journey to Johannesburg for the sale for good reason, and he was not going to go home empty-handed. The champion trainer did not have things all his own way as stiff competition from Form Bloodstock forced him to the new record price.
"He looks like a Classic-type of horse and those are hard to come by," said Millard. A thrilled Ashley Parker of Ascot Stud explained how an Australian-bred filly, Arabian Jazz, ended up in his paddocks.
"I bred both the third dam, Lorehana, as well as Arabian Lass, and was on the lookout for a daughter. Arabian Lass had been exported to Australia by Robert Sangster and when her daughter by Danehill Dancer came up for sale at the 2006 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, I managed to get her for A$70,000. Not a bad buy was it?"
Parker's day got even better when lot 68, a Silvano colt out of Blushing Fairy (Jallad) also breached the R2 million mark. This time Form Bloodstock was not to be denied, and the hammer fell in their favour at R2.2 million (US$180,342). Jehan Malherbe was philosophical about the earlier defeat to Millard.
"That's auctions for you," he said. "Fortunately we got this one. He is one of the best-looking colts in the sale and we purchased him for a client of trainer Dean Kannemeyer."
Having been one of the underbidders on several of the earlier lots, Shadwell South Africa's Angus Gold was not to be denied when one of the sale standouts, lot 110, named Scottish Guard, entered the ring. Another quality colt from the Mauritzfontein Stud draft, the son of Silvano (Lomitas) out of Crown Office (Horse Chestnut) was duly knocked down to Gold for R1.8 million (US$147,552).
"He is a very classy horse by a great stallion, from a very fast Australian family," Gold said. "His dam is a half-sister to Greys Inn, who of course was a great horse for Mike de Kock and he loved this colt. We are here to buy two or three colts with a bit of scope and class to them and he fits the bill perfectly."
The bidding may have started slowly on lot 31, but the half brother to G1 Golden Horseshoe Stakes winner Forest Indigo was never going to be cheap. By first-season sire sensation Gimmethegreenlight (More Than Ready) out of Albizia (Fort Wood), the colt was knocked down to TBA as agent for R1.7 million (US$139,355), on behalf of overseas clients.
"He is a very good-looking colt, with a great walk and he is by a great freshman sire," commented Peter Gibson, TBA's Director of Breed Affairs.
The last offspring of four-time champion sire Western Winter have been snapped up by buyers all year long and lot 83, consigned by Mauritzfontein Stud, was no exception. By Western Winter out of Cashew Nut (Horse Chestnut), the bay colt, named Cashew Apple, was knocked down to Ridgemont Stud for R1.5 million (US$122,960).
"I thought he was the top colt of the sale,"said Ridgemont's Managing Director Craig Carey. "He moves beautifully and comes from a top farm - you can't go far wrong with that."
The last lot of the day somewhat unexpectedly produced some fireworks. Consigned by Klipdrif Stud as agent, lot 150 Wild Ticket, a Dynasty colt out of Firstnightbliss (Jallad), was slow off the mark with bidding starting at a mere R50,000. Visiting auctioneer Steve Davis had to work hard to keep the bidding going, as it slowly crept up to around the R700,000 mark. Figuring that the colt was a good buy at that price, Dean Kannemeyer threw his hat into the ring. It was however not to be, as Gavin Smith stuck to his guns, eventually having to fork out a hefty R2 million (US$163,947) to secure the colt.
"He is a beautiful specimen with a lovely eye, a good walk and he is from a great farm. Pity I got pushed," Smith quipped, "but I was determined to have him."
The sale continues Thursday with lots 151 to 330 going under the hammer. Summerhill Stud consigns the following lots on day 2.
Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News