“This is how we see our stallions for the season ahead…”

Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO

It’s a fact of economic life that you take your cue from the market leader, so when it comes to accommodation rates in the hospitality sector, for example, you need to know where the best establishments peg themselves; if you’re in the retail trade, you should pop in at Pick n Pay or Shoprite, and get the feel for the cost of a shopping basket. It’s no different in the stallion firmament, where the dominant players set the tone for the rest of the industry.

The latest news is that the heady days of the R200,000 plus service fees are back in vogue; several stallion masters are apparently headed that way, which leaves some leeway for the next tier in the R100,000 plus bracket to ratchet theirs up a few notches.

In our own neighbourhood, stud fees have always tended to be a little more “accommodating” even in the heydays of the likes of Northern Guest and Foveros, who as the market leaders of that era, set the trend for the rest of the country. Right now, we’re in a state of transition, where the evidence of recent sales tells us that the elder statesmen, Kahal, Muhtafal and to a lesser degree, Mogok, are approaching their commercial sell-by dates. That’s not unusual: we’re in the fashion business, and it happens to all old bulls: I can attest to that myself!

Our region is in serious need of the “next big thing”, and if you can believe the grapevine, Visionaire and Brave Tin Soldier seem to be most people’s idea of what’s likely to fill that description. Whatever else happens in the setting of stud fees for the 2014 season, on the basis of the “hotline”, it’s obvious that these two are in the forefront of most breeders’ strategies right now. It’s our responsibility then, to make the market for the province, and that means for Gauteng and its environs as well, as a good deal of the broodmare traffic emanating from the racing yards and breeders in that part of the world, will make its way east of the Drakensberg.

This is how we see our stallions for the season ahead:

Stallion Fee
A.P. Arrow R12,000
Admire Main R15,000
Ato R20,000*
Await The Dawn R30,000
Brave Tin Soldier R30,000
Golden Sword R20,000
Mullins Bay R15,000
Solskjaer R10,000
Traffic Guard R15,000
Visionaire R35,000
Way West R10,000

Visionaire’s youngsters averaged seventeen times his opening fee at the “Nationals”, and at this price, he remains ten times ahead of his game. Abroad, they boast when fees amounts to five or six multiples of the sales averages, which puts ours into real perspective. Nobody knows Visionaire better than Barry Irwin, who also knows what his first American runners have done. Now he’s seen his local stock, and he won’t hear anything but “upwards and onwards” for the stallion. From his mouth to God’s ears!

Two of the new fellows are generating their own waves. Ato, or the “Prince of Speed” as he has been anointed in our stallion barn, earned his nickname on the strength of his surging victory in one of the most competitive sprints of 2013, the Krisflyer International (Gr.1). On the way, he put six lengths between himself and Krypton Factor, Europe’s outstanding sprinter of that season, just a month after the latter’s own moment of glory in the richest sprint in the world. The other chap is of course Golden Sword, whose first crop gave the Tweeters and Facebookers plenty to chirp about last year. They’ll both be understandably popular, as will Traffic Guard, already a “talker” the season before, and whose first yearlings face the auctioneer in 2015.

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Enquiries :
Linda Norval +27 (0) 33 263 1081
or email linda@summerhill.co.za