Mick Goss
For the past three or four years, we’ve been evaluating our Stallion Day, and wondering whether it doesn’t need a dash of reinvention. Everything has a shelf life, and while it has become an institution of its own on the South African racing calendar and continues to attract a large local and international following, we’ve felt for a while that there might be value in “parking” it for a year, and then bringing it back in a revised format.

There’s no knowing how much business is driven by the exposure of the stallions to the public that day, though we do know that the auction of services has always been a remarkably vibrant event, and while there’s been a charitable element to it insofar as the proceeds are devoted to the School of Management Excellence, buyers of those services have always been willing to put their money down uninhibitedly. What we do know is that over several decades, all of the stallion DVDs, the farm brochure and Stallion Day have worked their collective impact, but given the fact that service fees have either been in decline or quite static in the past couple of years while costs have continued to escalate, it’s our thinking that if we’re ever going to give it a break, this would probably be the year to do it.

Of course, we’re very aware of the disappointment it will invoke in the many local and international people who have been attending for years, for the large contingent of international media who’ve used it in recent times as an escape from the frenetic pace of July week, and for those who come out of the curiosity that an assembly of fine thoroughbreds invokes in so many of us. Other losers will include our team of internationally acclaimed traditional dancers who’ve always been a hit at the show, and who see the event as one of their big “pay days”.

The burden of funding Stallion Day lies with our stallion principals, and while there hasn’t been a “bleat” from any of them, we don’t want to be guilty of taking their patronage for granted. As a result, we regret very much to advise that we’ve decided to discontinue the event for this year and to use the time in-between to see if we can reinvent it somehow without detracting from the appeal that has attracted so many followers over the years.

That said, it’s our plan to have this year’s highly-respected mating team engage with prospective customers on a one-on-one basis and to arrange for the stallions to be shown privately to interested breeders. Should you wish to make use of this service, please let us know and we will make the arrangements.

Photo: Candiese Marnewick