BloodStock SA’s Ready-to-Run initiative will be elevated to new heights by the announcement that Emperors Palace will headline sponsor this year’s auction as well as a Ready-to-Run Festival in 2007 that will see the introduction of a brand-new contest on the South African racing calendar.

Partly funded by a breeders premium, the inaugural Emperors Palace Ready-to-Run Cup will carry a minimum stake of R400 000 and is restricted to graduates from this year’s sale, which takes place at the TBA Complex at Gosforth Park on 5 November. The race will form an important part of the build-up to next year’s instalment in that it will be staged the day before the sale on 3 November 2007.

The new race will be run at level weights with a 2,5kg sex allowance for fillies and will be contested over an extended sprint distance of 1300-1400m – depending on whether the corresponding meeting in 2007 is at Newmarket (1300m) or Turffontein (1400m).

Three breezing sessions, due to take place a little over two weeks ahead of this year’s sale, are scheduled for Gauteng (provisionally at Newmarket racecourse), KwaZulu-Natal (at Summerhill Stud) and for the first time in the Western Cape (either at Durbanville or Kenilworth racecourse). The filmed breezes will then be burned to DVD and distributed to BSA’s network of potential buyers in SA and abroad.

According to Byron Kennedy, marketing manager of BSA, the R400 000 minimum stake “could increase to R500 000 in the event of vendors displaying their collective approval by supporting the new-look sale.”

He adds: “Feedback from buyers in the Middle East and South-East Asia is that they have a greater appetite for tested youngsters that come off Ready-to-Run Sales. If we are to make significant inroads in those markets we have to give the customer what he wants.”

To fund the minimum R400 000 prize, vendors will be charged a R2 000 (plus VAT) levy that will be deducted from sales proceeds while buyers can opt in by ticking the appropriate box on the vendor role sheet at the time of purchase at a cost of R1 000 (plus VAT).

Emperors Palace, a Peermont Global casino based near Johannesburg International Airport, also enjoys headline sponsorship status of BSA’s National Yearling Sale and National Two-Year-Old Sale.