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Yearling Sales

Just What The Doctor Ordered...

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Just What The Doctor Ordered...

So the R699,000 average at last month's Cape Premier Yearling Sale was a little beyond your pocket - Summerhill Stud have just what the doctor ordered at their 2017 Emperors Palace Summer Ready-To-Run Sale.

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MUCH MORE FAMILY

Hannah Goss
Hannah Goss

Hannah Goss aboard Graffiti

(Photo : Cheryl Goss)

“SPEAKING OF TALENT…”

Those who’ve followed these columns over the years, will remember the statement that, unlike most commercial pursuits which tend to be shorter in term when it comes to turning things over, breeding of racehorses is much more of a generational thing. This means that family-building is a prime ingredient in the production of good horses, and it’s no different in the human sphere. Sunday, at the Three Springs showground’s at Treverton College, the Goss’ granddaughter, Hannah, made her show jumping debut aboard her spritely Appaloosa pony, Graffiti. What a day, with five clear rounds, two of which were in the competition stages, including a jump-off against six other competitors. In her first-ever contest against a field of riders ranging between 13 and 20 years, little Hannah (just turned 9) concluded her last round in clear fashion again, to take the third place rosette, beaten only by the clock.

There must be an adventurous spirit tucked away in the family somewhere, as she and Graffiti went into those jumps with a confidence and a verve unusual in a debutant, particularly one of such tender years.

Speaking of young talent, Summerhill’s latest foray into the Magic Millions weanling sales at the Gold Coast was especially enlightening, because it featured the first progeny of some of the world’s best racehorses of recent generations. These included the English Derby and Champion Stakes hero, New Approach; unbeaten two year old Teofilo; Horse of the Year, Duke Of Marmalade; English Derby and Eclipse winner Authorized; Champion three year old and Champion Miler, Henrythenavigator etc. We’ve managed to get our hands on three of them, though for a band of this ilk, ideally you’d have liked one of each. Make a date for next years Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale, and get your hands on one.

Here they are: 

Authorized - Cherry Orchard
Authorized - Cherry Orchard
Duke Of Marmalade - Heaven Instead
Duke Of Marmalade - Heaven Instead
Teofilo - Trumps
Teofilo - Trumps

Please click the thumbnails above to enlarge…

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

For more information please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

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WORLD'S BIGGEST THOROUGHBRED YEARLING AUCTION

a.p. arrow racehorse
a.p. arrow racehorse

A.P. Arrow

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

“KEENE AS MUSTARD”

The world’s biggest thoroughbred yearling auction is currently under way on land once owned by the fabled American breeder, James Keene. Over the road from the Lexington airport (itself on land once owned by another legend, Nelson Bunker Hunt, the silver king), the Keeneland sales ring has seen reassuringly solid trade throughout the week.

The part of the sale which most resembles the halcyon days of the old July vendue featuring Northern Dancer,Njinksky, Mr. Prospector,Danzig and Seattle Slew,is what is modernly referred to as Book One.

While the numbers are a far cry from the seven figure averages of those days, so are the times we live in. But if you’re looking for a silver lining, it lies with A.P. Indy and his sons, Bernardini and Malibu Moon. And if you’re South African, it has be with his best racing son in these parts, A.P. Arrow.

Sire

Cat

Ring

Sold

Avg ($)

A.P. INDY (Seattle Slew)

16

15

10

797,500

DISTORTED HUMOR (Forty Niner)

17

14

13

515,000

BERNARDINI (A.P. Indy)

10

8

7

410,714

MALIBU MOON (A.P. Indy)

5

5

4

395,000

MR. GREELEY (Gone West)

12

10

7

368,571

DYNAFORMER (Roberto)

8

8

7

366,429

STREET CRY (IRE) (Machiavellian)

13

9

6

314,167

UNBRIDLE’S SONG (Unbridled)

11

8

8

288,125

EMPIRE MAKER (Unbridled)

10

9

6

277,500

SMART STRIKE (Mr Prospector)

11

7

6

268,333

GIANT’S CAUSEWAY (Storm Cat)

21

20

11

250,000

HARD SPUN (Danzig)

7

7

4

141,250

Editors Note :

A.P. Arrow was A.P Indy’s best racing son worldwide in 2008.

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GONE MISSING : SHEIKH MOHAMMED

sheikh mohammed
sheikh mohammed

Sheikh Mohammed

(Photo : Daily Mail / Keeneland)

KEENELAND SEPTEMBER YEARLING SALE

According to the Thoroughbred Daily News, it was another strong night of selling at Keeneland September, the world’s biggest racehorse auction. But, for the first time in well over a decade, very little of the good news was attributable to the participation of Sheikh Mohammed and his bloodstock agent John Ferguson. Over the years, Sheikh Mohammed has spent hundreds of millions of dollars at September, and the sight of his 747 jumbo jet sitting on the tarmac at Blue Grass Airport was reassuring to many sellers. And it’s easy to see why.

From 1999 through 2009, Ferguson led all buyers in spending 10 out of the 11 years. (Coolmore’s Demi O’Byrne was the lone exception, in 2007.) Ferguson has signed for September toppers four times, including the $9.7 million Jalil (Storm Cat) and the $11.7 million Meydan City (Kingmambo).

His expenditures reached a staggering $59 million plus in 2006 - the year he acquired Meydan City - when he bought 34 horses. And while Sheikh Mohammed’s participation dropped dramatically over the past three years, he still was a major force. Last year, Ferguson purchased 34 yearlings at September, paying $13,980,000 for them. Other operations with ties to Sheikh Mohammed, such as Rabbah Bloodstock, also contributed to the outlay.

But Ferguson’s name has been hard to find on the 2010 results sheets. Through Book 1, he’s bought just two horses, a Bernardini - Victory Ride colt Monday for $450,000; and a Street Cry - Hidden Cat colt yesterday for $200,000. And Sheikh Mohammed, who hasn’t missed a September sale in at least nine years, has yet to make a public appearance.

Opinions as to why Sheikh Mohammed has scaled back his spending are varied. Some believe the ongoing economic woes of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates of which Sheikh Mohammed is ruler, have played a part.

Keeneland’s Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell, however, points to the worldwide expansion of Sheikh Mohammed’s breeding interests as a major factor.

“John spoke earlier this year and said that Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley would not be as dependent on the yearling market as it has been in the past, with the purchase of Stonerside in this country and Widden Stud in Australia,” said Russell. “So it (the cutback in spending) wasn’t a huge surprise to me, and I don’t think it was a huge surprise to consignors.”

Russell thinks there are even positives to the situation.

“I think that, without the strong participation of Darley, it has opened up opportunities for other buyers who in the past haven’t been successful and have been frustrated,” he said. “Now they are able to buy these horses at a level they are comfortable with. I think that’s better for the whole market - more buyers spread over more horses - and there’s more competition.”

Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammed’s brother, Shadwell owner Sheikh Hamdan, has continued to be a player at September. Shadwell currently is the second-leading buyer at September after two nights, with six purchases totaling $2,885,000. Last year, Shadwell purchased two yearlings for $1,230,000.

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IMBONGI : THE SUMMERHILL BRAND

imbongi video
imbongi video

 Please click above to watch Imbongi : The Genuine Article

(Footage : Tellytrack / Emirates Racing Authority)

 VISIT US AT BLOCK A.

THE EMPERORS PALACE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE

TBA SALES COMPLEX, GOSFORTH PARK

GERMISTON, GAUTENG

SOUTH AFRICA

23,25,26 APRIL 2010

summerhill stud genuine article
summerhill stud genuine article

For more information please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

or call Kerry Jack

+27 (0) 82 782 7297

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WALTZING MATILDA AND ALL THAT

national yearling sale lot 240 rio carnival
national yearling sale lot 240 rio carnival
national yearling sale lot 333 maak 'n plan
national yearling sale lot 333 maak 'n plan
national yearling sale lot 557 up above
national yearling sale lot 557 up above

Left to Right : Lot 240 Rio Carnival, Lot 333 Maak ‘n Plan, Lot 557 Up Above

(Photos : Summerhill Stud)

(Please click photos to enlarge… )

EMPERORS PALACE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE

23, 25, 26 APRIL 2010

A couple of weeks back, blog watchers read our pieces following the Gauteng Colts and Fillies Guineas, and the SA Classic, on our triumphs over Australia. These “test matches” are the best means South Africans get to establish our breeding merit, and because they’ve been so good in the past, beating the Ozzies is always an accomplishment.

It’s been our practice in the last several years, to import specially selected youngsters from Australia for inclusion in our National, and in particular, our Ready To Run drafts. We say “in particular” for the latter, because of the need to introduce an element of variety firstly for the sale itself, and then hopefully, into the R1.5million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, staged a year later.

Till now, the Ozzies haven’t fared that well, though several of them have made the cut for the big race. This time around though, we bit off a good chunk of the best Australia had to offer, and the past fortnight has revealed two potential superstars for Charles Laird andMarkus and Ingrid Jooste, in Hiss Affadavit (by Hussonet) and Hollywoodboulevard (by Street Cry). Hiss Affadavit was one of the season’s easiest juvenile colt winners on debut, easing down by 5.5 lengths on his first visit to the course. And then, at the Vaal yesterday Hollywoodboulevard trotted up by eight lengths under a hand ride from champion jockey, Anton Marcus, who promptly got off and said, “she needs further!”

Coupled with Hussonet’s impressive Juvenile Stakes winner, Sky Link, in the Somerset 1200 on Saturday, and the exploits of Hiss Affadavit, there’ll be many who’ll be visiting us at Block A next week to look at Lot 240, Rio Carnival, (also by Hussonet), and while they’re there, they’ll have a few other Ozzies to fix their gazes upon. 

Just last week, a daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus made R10million at the Sydney Easter Sale (she wasn’t alone among the Fusaichi Pegasuses to make good money,) and you can save yourself the trip to Sydney with Lot 557, Up Above. Elusive Quality is the sire of the great American racehorse Smarty Jones and this season’s multiple Grade 1 winner, Quality Road. He has a son, Lot 333Maak ‘n Plan, who’s enough to lure any discerning buyer to the yard, though Mike de Kock will tell you that in Elusive Quality’s champion daughter, Raihana, he has something special as well.

They’re all there, at the top of Block A, and so are the beverages. See you there.

summerhill stud logo
summerhill stud logo

For more information please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

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BY JIMINY, THIS JUST ISN'T CRICKET

emperors palace national yearlings sale summerhill horses
emperors palace national yearlings sale summerhill horses

THE EMPERORS PALACE

NATIONAL YEARLING SALE

23, 25, 26 APRIL 2010

 The winemakers call it terroir, the combination of land and climate

without which great wines can’t be made.

When big race winners churn out week after week after week,

in the breeding game you need those elements in your favour too.

But at Summerhill we have a few other things up our sleeves as well.

We know our land, and we know how to get the best from it.

We know our people, and they don’t know “second

when it comes to raising a racehorse.

And then there’s that indefinable dimension which only a few possess.

The combination of instinct, genius and “bloody” hard work

that sets this team in its own orbit.

summerhill stud logo
summerhill stud logo

For more information please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

or contact

kerry jack
kerry jack

Kerry Jack

For National Yearling Sales Entries

+27 (0) 82 782 7297

tarryn liebenberg
tarryn liebenberg

Tarryn Liebenberg

For Horses Ready To Run

+27 (0) 83 787 1982

IT’S AGAPANTHUS TIME AGAIN...

agapanthus
agapanthus

“It’s a sight that gladdens the eyes of every visitor…”

(Photo : Leigh Willson)

…THE TIME OF YEARLING PREPARATION.

Nkomiyaphi Mbanjwa was quite a character. When we arrived at Summerhill thirty-one years ago, he was already an elderly man, and when we buried him five or six years ago, he was a 102. By some distance, he was the best “sitter-upper” (foal-watcher) we’d ever known, and in all the years he worked at the farm, he never missed a mare about to drop a foal. He was quite a reticent old codger, and in all the decades we knew him, even after we retired him at 96, no-one can recall a smile.

Old Mbanjwa was not one for the airs and graces of the Victorian era, though his time on this earth dated almost back to the era of the good Queen. But when it came to conscientiousness, he was up there with the best. Unlike his modern counterparts, Nkomiyaphi never knew the inside of a classroom, and he relied always on the signs of nature to tell him what routine should follow next. Not for him the calendar we all know, though he never forgot Christmas Day, not because it was a holiday, but because he loved his bonus.

When the daffodils first sprouted forth in late July, he’d come bumbling along to the stud office, tap the ground in front of him with his stick when he found me, reminding me that it was time for the foals to start arriving. When the cherry blossoms broke and the wisteria began to drip with its purple tendrils, he’d remind us to prepare the stallions for covering. Every March, when the countryside is bedecked with the pink, crimson and white hues of the cosmos, his aged counterpart, old man Hlongwane, would remind us that it was time to prepare our departure for the National Sales, and as the leaves began to turn to gold and burgundy, we’d be prompted to start breaking in the youngsters for next year.

But right now, it’s agapanthus time, and the farm is home to tens of thousands of these spectacular plants. It’s a sight that gladdens the eyes of every visitor, and we’ve little doubt it helps to make the day of everyone of us on our way to work. Old Mkomiyaphi would be tapping his stick right now again reminding us that the yearling preparation should’ve started by now and of course, he would’ve been right, because that process is already underway, under the watchful eye of another generation Hlongwane. This time Richard Hlongwane, a man of rich equine talent and a graduate of our international scholarship programme. At his side is Maliyakhe Zuma and Elliot Bhengu another two graduates of our programme to Derrinstown Stud in Ireland and as gifted a pair of horsemen as you’ll ever meet.

SALES TOPPERS AND SUMMERHILL CONNECTIONS

mullins bay stallion
mullins bay stallion

Mullins Bay

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

“Please click photo to enlarge…”

MULLINS BAY : ONE OF THE FINEST PEDIGREES ANYWHERE

The racing world held its breath as the Tattersalls October sale approached last week, but it needn’t have done so. Instead, fans of our sport gasped at the game’s ongoing attraction to the high-rollers, as the numbers emerging from the auction held their own with last year. Deservedly, two of the top horses in the sale were the progeny Europe’s standout stallions, Galileo and Pivotal, both of them making 650,000gns. The latter of the two fell to the bid of Sheikh Hamdan’s Angus Gold, after a protracted duel with one-time worldwide manager of Sheikh Maktoums Gainsborough Stud, Michael Goodbody. These two men were the initiating catalysts in the now twenty year old association of the Maktoum family with Summerhill, and it’s a tribute to their skills and longevity as relevant horseman that they should’ve remained central to the drama which unfolded at Park Paddocks this past week.

The third top lot of the second day will have warmed the hearts of those associated with the Summerhill stallion, Mullins Bay, and in particular those breeders who’ve seen the light. Sire of one of the best first crop foals we’ve seen at Summerhill, Mullins Bay’s family was twice up in lights in the top ten, with Coolmore buying the Montjeu colt out of the remarkable mare Colorspin, no doubt as a prospective stallion for their already dazzling line-up, while yet another, a Dubawi filly out of a sister to Mullins Bay, made 460,000gns to the bid of John Ferguson, acting for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.

As a descendant of one of the most successful families in European history, if for no other reason than the fact that he sports one of the finest pedigrees anywhere, the daughters of Mullins Bay are bound to be in big demand when they eventually get back to the paddocks themselves.

OASIS DREAM TOPS TATTERSALLS OCTOBER YEARLING SALE

tattersalls october yearling sale lot 545 oasis dream
tattersalls october yearling sale lot 545 oasis dream
tattersalls october yearling sale lot 499 galileo
tattersalls october yearling sale lot 499 galileo

Left : Lot 545 Oasis Dream  Right : Lot 499 Galileo

(Photos : Tattersalls)

“Please click photos to enlarge…”

TATTERSALLS OCTOBER YEARLING SALE BOOK 1

Tattersalls’ Book 1 October Yearling Sale finished in Newmarket last night with figures marginally down on 2008. The final session’s 116,138gns average dropped by 11 percent and the 76,500gns median fell by 15 percent. The day - and sale - were topped by a 700,000gns Oasis Dream (GB) colt out of Maganda (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells). Marcus Tregoning and Kazakhstani owner Nurlan Bizakov made a bold play for the colt, but it was Coolmore boss John Magnier who signed the buyer’s ticket after seeing off Sir Robert Ogden.

The colt, selling as hip 545 from John Deer’s Oakgrove Stud in Wales, had been bought in utero by agent Amanda Skiffington for 320,000gns at the 2007 December Sale.

“I’d imagine he’ll be going to Ballydoyle and race for the usual partnership,” said Magnier. “Paul Shanahan and Demi O’Byrne liked the horse, and that was it really.”

Magnier had earlier outbid BBA Ireland agent Eamonn Reilly, standing withJim Bolger, for a 600,000gns Galileo (Ire) colt sold from Michael O’Flynn’s Co Cork-based Rockfield Farm. The yearling, hip 499, was out of G1 Irish Oaks and G1 Irish 1000 Guineas second Kitza (Ire) (Danehill), who had been bought for 550,000gns at the 2006 December Sale. It was the second highest price on the day.

tattersalls logo
tattersalls logo

Tattersalls October Yearling Sale - Book 1 Day Three Top 10 Lots

Lot

Sex

Sire

Dam

Vendor

Buyer

Price (gns)

545

C

OASIS DREAM

Maganda

Oakgrove Stud

Demi O’Byrne

700,000

499

C

GALILEO

Kitza

Rockfield Farm

Demi O’Byrne

600,000

523

C

GALILEO

Lila

Tullamaine Castle Stud

Sir Robert Ogden

550,000

600

F

MEDICEAN

Musical Treat

Rathbarry Stud

John Ferguson

500,000

676

C

GALILEO

Puce

Newsells Park Stud

Blandford Bloodstock

475,000

516

C

ELUSIVE QUALITY

Last Second

Denford Stud

John Ferguson

425,000

582

C

DANEHILL DANCER

Miss Honorine

Glenvale Stud

Sir Robert Ogden

370,000

571

F

GALILEO

Mermaid Island

Ashtown Stud

Demi O’Byrne

360,000

597

F

OASIS DREAM

Much Faster

Watership Down Stud

Cheveley Park Stud

350,000

599

C

CAPE CROSS

Murrieta

Trickledown Stud

John Ferguson

350,000

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

GALILEO AND PIVOTAL TOP TATTERSALLS OCTOBER DAY TWO

sheikh mohammed and john ferguson tattersalls october yearling sale
sheikh mohammed and john ferguson tattersalls october yearling sale
michael goodbody and patricia thompson
michael goodbody and patricia thompson

Left : Sheikh Mohammed and John Ferguson

Right : Old Summerhill stalwart Michael Goodbody and Patricia Thompson

(Photos : Tattersalls/TBA UK)

TATTERSALLS OCTOBER YEARLING SALE BOOK 1

Yesterday’s penultimate session of the Tattersalls Book 1 October Yearling Sale again produced a trade on a par with 12 months ago, with two lots matching the 2008 sale-topping price of 650,000gns (approximately $1,085,175).

The first to earn the distinction was Lot 282, a filly by Pivotal (GB), who was purchased by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s racing manager Angus Gold. Out of listed winner Briolette (GB) (Sadler’s Wells), a half-sister to champion Pilsudski (Ire) (Polish Precedent), she was sold from David and Diane Nagle’s Barronstown Stud. Michael Goodbody, acting for a new client, was underbidder to Gold on the filly. “She comes from a very good stud, and is a lovely big scopey filly whose family keeps on producing,” explained Gold. “Sheikh Hamdan was very keen on her, and we’ll decide on a trainer once the sales are finished.”

Shortly after, a full-brother to 2006 G1 Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Nightime (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), bred by Dermot Welds mother Gita and consigned through the Castlebridge Consignment, realized a 650,000gns final bid. Owner Sir Robert Ogden had to outbid, first the BBA Ireland’s Eamonn Reilly, and finally John Magnier to get the Galileo colt.

tattersalls logo
tattersalls logo

Tattersalls October Yearling Sale - Book 1 Wednesday 7 October 2009

CUMULATIVE

2009

2008

Catalogued

452

406

No. Offered

407

351

No. Sold

320

279

RNAs

87

72

% RNA

21.4%

20.5%

No. 500K +

4

5

High Price (gns)

650,000

650,000

Gross

36,111,000

32,511,000

Average (% change)

112,847 (-3.2%)

116,527

Median

80,000

n/a

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

Comment

GALILEO HEADS TATTERSALLS OCTOBER BOOK 1

tattersalls october yearling sale book 1 day 1 top lot 118 by galileo
tattersalls october yearling sale book 1 day 1 top lot 118 by galileo

Top Lot 118 by Galileo

(Photo : Tattersalls)

“Please click photo to enlarge…”

TATTERSALLS OCTOBER YEARLING SALE BOOK 1

An opening day on a par with last year was a satisfactory result when Tattersalls’ October Sale Book 1 opened in Newmarket yesterday.

In the ethereal world of upper-tier yearling sales any outcome was possible, so turnover of 16,840,000gns, up 12% on last year, albeit from a slightly bigger catalogue, a median of 80,000gns to match the 2008 figure, and an average of 111,523gns, down 2%, have to be classed as rather good, although a glance at the results showed once again that Maktoum and Coolmore money is king and crucial – Darley’s John Ferguson became the day’s top buyer when purchasing 16 horses for 2,710,000gns. The clearance rate of 67% was also marginally up on the same day 12 months ago.

Backed by support from Coolmore chief John Magnier, there were notable results for Galileo, Sadler’s Wells and Holy Roman Emperor.

tattersalls logo
tattersalls logo

Tattersalls October Yearling Sale - Book 1 Day One Top Lots

Lot

Sex

Sire

Dam

Vendor

Buyer

Price (gns)

118

C

GALILEO

Tadkiyra

Croom House Stud

John Magnier

550,000

121

C

MEDICEAN

Tariysha

Corduff Stud

Shadwell Estate Co

450,000

103

F

HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR

Starlight Dreams

Ashtown House Stud

Demi O’Bryne

350,000

68

F

SADLER’S WELLS

Shastye

Newsells Park Stud

Jeremy Noseda, agt

330,000

79

C

SADLER’S WELLS

Smart ‘n Noble

Ballykillbride Stud

PFI Cole

320,000

186

C

DANSILI

Wrong Key

Castlemartin Stud

Shadwell Estate Co

300,000

39

F

MONSUN

Royal Dubai

Newsells Park Stud

John Ferguson B/S

300,000

221

C

SADLER’S WELLS

Ange Bleu

Watership Down Stud

Pegasus Farms

300,000

207

C

GALILEO

Alleluia

Airlie Stud

MH Goodbody

300,000

Extract from European Bloodstock News

Comment

TATTERSALLS OCTOBER YEARLING SALE KICKS OFF

tattersalls october yearling sale
tattersalls october yearling sale

(Photo : Tattersalls)

TATTERSALLS OCTOBER YEARLING SALE

2009

News from Newmarket yesterday was that the presence of both Sheikh Mohammed and his brother Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum had vendors heartened ahead of today’s Tattersalls’ October Yearling Sale.

The Thoroughbred Daily News reports that John Magnierand the Coolmore team were also in evidence, along with buyers from Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and the U.S. Also on the sales grounds were representatives of the likes of Sir Robert Ogden, Thomas Barr and Dubai-based Dr. Jim Hay, who have been among the biggest non-Maktoum or Coolmore spenders at the British and Irish sales over the last couple of years. This year’s 676-lot Book 1 catalogue - running from today through Thursday - has 65 more yearlings listed than 12 months ago, and has the added attraction of a series of eight attached sales races worth £1.75 million, something which sales company officials hope will bolster buyers’ enthusiasm.

“One thing everyone agrees on is that this is the strongest Book 1 since we went to this format in 2004,” said Tattersalls Marketing Director Jimmy George. “We’ve got own or half-brothers to 65 Group 1 or Classic winners, which is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the world’s leading buyers. One can also draw a certain amount of cautious optimism from some of the sales that have gone before us.” 

CORRECTIVE SURGERY - How far is too far?

foal
The Corrective Surgery Debate
(Photo : Annet Becker)

 

Early assessment and close monitoring of a foal’s conformation is crucial so that measures can be taken to improve any abnormalities. However, one particular treatment, ‘corrective surgery’, has become so commonly performed on even minor conformational imperfections that many are now questioning whether it is being carried out too frequently and whether its disclosure at the yearling sales should be mandatory.  James Tate BVMS MRCVS writes the following report for the UK’s Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder.

 

Knock-kneed or bow-legged
‘Angular limb deformities’ are conformational abnormalities seen most commonly in thoroughbred foals that require early recognition and treatment.

 

They occur more frequently in front legs, are seen when viewing the foal from the front or back and are broadly categorised into two types – ‘valgus’ and ‘varus’. A valgus conformation is where the limb deviates away from midline, for example, a foal with valgus conformation of its knees is often described as being ‘knock-kneed’. A varus conformation is where the limb deviates towards midline, for example, a foal with varus conformation of its knees is often described as being ‘bow-legged’.

 

Angular limb deformities occur most commonly at the knee (carpus) but also quite frequently at the fetlock joint or the hock. The degree of the deformity is usually evaluated by repeated visual examination but can also be measured and assessed using x-rays. The main problem is often an imbalance of growth in the growth plates. For example, if the outside of the growth plate just above the knee is growing slower than the inside, then the foal’s leg will deviate away from midline and so develop a carpal valgus conformation – knock-kneed.

 

Congenital and acquired deformities

These conformational deformities are broadly grouped into congenital or acquired forms, with congenital deformities being present at birth and acquired deformities usually appearing at a few weeks of age.


Congenital abnormalities are caused by either laxity of joint ligaments or incomplete formation of the small bones of the knee or hock. Careful palpation of joints should establish the presence of joint laxity and the conformation of such foals can usually be corrected successfully with conservative management, even in relatively severe cases.

 

Incomplete formation of the knee or hock bones is typically found in premature foals and so x-rays should be performed as a routine.

 

Conservative management of angular limb deformities is successful in most foals and, in fact, a degree of carpal valgus conformation is normal in a newborn foal.

 

Therapy consists of restricting exercise to box rest with a limited turnout period per day, providing a firm bedding and turnout pasture, as well as corrective hoof trimming and, if necessary, the use of glue-on extensions that force the foal to straighten its legs. This allows the growth plates to be stimulated but prevents stress and compression on the affected side of the growth plate. If the affected limb of a newborn foal can be manually ‘straightened’ because it is being caused by joint laxity, then conservative management will usually be successful. More severe cases are treated with splints or limb casts, but these should be used with caution and changed regularly to avoid skin rubs.

 

Acquired angular limb deformities are caused by asymmetrical bone growth from the growth plate, with one side of the growth plate growing faster than the other. Sometimes the cause of such deformities is not known, but it can be the result of injury to one side of the growth plate, uneven loading on one leg due to lameness of the other leg, inappropriate nutrition (for example, too much nutrition or an incorrect calcium/phosphorous ratio), excessive exercise, or improper foot-trimming.

 

Whilst affected foals can also be treated conservatively, this is when many foals are booked in for surgery.

 

Corrective surgery – more now than ever

There are two surgical treatments that should be used for the more severe cases but which are now being used more than ever.

 

Both techniques depend on continued growth in order to straighten the leg and so should ideally be carried out before the foal is two months old (especially in fetlock deformities) and in severe cases the techniques can be performed together.

 

The first surgical technique is a periosteal elevation, which is carried out on the side of the growth plate that is not growing fast enough and its aim is to stimulate growth on this side of the growth plate. The outer surface of the bone (the periosteum) is thought to have a restraining influence on growth and by removing a strip of periosteum over the slow-growing side of the growth plate, growth is stimulated. For example, periosteal elevations are performed on the outside of the knee in a foal with carpal valgus, or the inside of the knee in a foal with carpal varus. An inverted ‘T-shaped’ incision is usually made approximately 2.5cm above the growth plate and its maximum effect is seen after approximately two months.

 

It has a few advantages over the second surgical technique described below in that it is a one-off surgery, it is minimally invasive and there appears to be little risk of over-correction, although some argue that this is because it is not that effective. Indeed, recent research has suggested that foals with the mild deformities currently treated by periosteal elevation generally improve without the need for surgery if treated with box rest and corrective farriery alone.

 

The second surgical technique works in the opposite way to a periosteal elevation, in that it slows down the side of the growth plate that is growing too fast.

 

Temporary transphyseal bridging is the insertion of metal implants to slow down

the growth of one side of the growth plate to allow the other side to catch up.

 

Traditionally, a staple is inserted over the growth plate or two screws are placed either side of the growth plate and either wires or plates join them together.

 

However, more recently, a new method of inserting a single screw across the growth plate has been developed, as it has the advantage of a better cosmetic result. All of these methods are very effective.

 

However, the metal implants must be removed as soon as the leg is straight, otherwise over-correction and deviation in the opposite direction may occur.

 

There is no doubt that, if left untreated, severe angular limb deformities cause big problems for horses and the result is often osteoarthritis of the joints which have been put under excessive pressure by the poorly balanced limb.

 

Veterinary surgeons have become so proficient at these corrective surgeries that they are becoming very widely used, even for minor conformational abnormalities. Therefore, the possible disadvantages must be discussed.

 

Are there any downsides to such surgery?

In 2006, Santschi et al reported on their findings from studying the conformation of 199 thoroughbred foals from birth to yearling auction age, and found that knee and fetlock conformations change greatly with foals, generally becoming less carpal valgus and more fetlock varus as they become older.

 

This could lead the reader to suggest that it may be difficult to ‘correct’ a foal’s conformation to exactly the right degree as its conformation is likely to alter after corrective surgery has had its effect. However, in reality veterinary surgeons are now so good at judging these corrective surgeries that this is rarely a problem. The only significant practical downside of the surgeries seems to be the minimal scars and white hairs that can be left after the procedures, if the breeder is unlucky – although one or two do attempt to fix this with a little boot polish at the sales!

 

From an auction sale point of view, these corrective surgeries are excellent and have very few disadvantages.

 

However, the final important issue is whether performing all of these corrective surgeries is good for the racing careers of the horses concerned or, indeed, the breed as a whole.

 

In 2004, Anderson, McIlwraith and Douay published a paper in the Equine Veterinary Journal on the role of conformation in musculoskeletal problems in the racing thoroughbred, and the highly-respected Professor Wayne McIlwraith presented his findings at the Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding Seminar at Cheltenham racecourse.


He made two significant points. First, he came to the slightly unexpected conclusion that a degree of carpal valgus, which many are currently ‘correcting’, is actually a good thing and may serve as a protective mechanism for soundness.

 

Second, he argued that we should try to “manipulate Mother Nature” when we need to and suggested that corrective surgery is not always helpful and can actually contribute to unsoundness.

 

Widespread use does spark some concerns

In summary, corrective surgeries are excellent procedures for the treatment of extreme angular limb deformities. However, their widespread use leads everyone involved in the thoroughbred industry to have two serious concerns.

 

First, is it correct to be performing so many surgeries? Second, should vendors be made to disclose which yearlings at the auction sales have had such corrective surgeries?

 

The second concern is exactly what the North American Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association have been suggesting for some time.

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A few National Sales comments...

pen and handwriting

BARRY IRWIN : TEAM VALOR INTERNATIONAL

barry irwinBarry IrwinTeam Valor’s Barry Irwin is famous for having proclaimed South Africa “the best kept secret in the racing game. “You’ve raised world-class horses in a world-class environment, and you have some of the world’s best horsemen”. About this year’s sale, Barry fingered the draft in general as the best by some stretch he had encountered. Some statement from one of the world’s greatest “pickers”. We often wonder whether the partners in Team Valor appreciate the talents of this man, who has separated himself from virtually every yearling selector we know, in achieving the hit rates for which Team Valor has become renowned. He’s not only a good picker though, he’s a supreme strategist, places his horses in the right places at the right time, and he seldom misses an opportunity.

 

 

Peter DoylePETER DOYLE : ARGUABLY IRELAND’S TOP BLOODSTOCK AGENT

Summerhill’s draft was outstanding, in what was the most outstanding collection of horses I’ve seen in nine visits to South Africa’s National Yearling showpiece”.

 

 

 

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LINDSAY PARK STUD : The Extension of a Legend

sam hayes national yearling sale (heather morkel)Sam Hayes
(Photo : Heather Morkel)

One of the associations in which we take great delight, is with the legendary Lindsay Park Stud in the vicinity of the famed Barossa wine growing region of South Australia. Lindsay Park was founded by one of Australia’s training icons, the late Colin Hayes, father of Australia’s leading trainer of the present era, David Hayes and grandfather to Sam Hayes, who has taken over the stud breeding operations at the property.

Lindsay Park has many things in common with Summerhill, not the least of which is its isolation from the mainstream of Australian breeding, the Hunter Valley. Like us in KwaZulu Natal, South Australia is off the beaten track in breeding terms, yet it continues to produce a stream of top quality horses, despite its removal from the location of the nations top stallions. Only recently, it has produced the likes of the celebrated Grade One winners, Niconero and Nicconi (winner of last weekend’s Galaxy Stakes Gr1). From all accounts, Sam enjoyed his trip to us last week. With his permission we quote from his note penned on the way home.

………………………………………………………………………………………….

Dear Mick and Cheryl,

I am currently flying from Johannesburg to Sydney and reflecting on the last ten days.

I would like to sincerely thank you both for your wonderful hospitality in Johannesburg, at Hartford House and at Summerhill Stud.

The South African experience in general was everything that I had hoped it would be (and more!). The results of the National Sale were encouragingly strong in the face of a decline in world confidence. I was most impressed by the sale ground facilities and permanent hospitality areas within each barn (not to mention Linda’s chicken rolls… one of many highlights!)

The trip from Johannesburg to Natal with the stopover at Clarens provided for a great opportunity to view the South African landscape. Thanks for letting me travel with you.

Hartford House is a very special place. It is a credit to your imagination and sense of style Cheryl. The decor, delicious food, excellent service, warm hospitality and Zulu dancing will not be forgotten. It is a world class venue. Congratulations!

Summerhill Stud was quite inspirational. Seeing the Summerhill Stud graduates winning Group races at Turffontien on Saturday and then witnessing the top filly and colt being sold from your draft was only the beginning! Being able to observe your farm and your team at the top of its game was a real treat.

It was motivational to see first hand what can be achieved with hard work, optimism and persistence. The vision that your team has for Summerhill has largely been realized and to see a business modeled so meticulously on the template of one’s vision was most inspiring.

The things that stand out in my mind are the proactive initiatives to train and educate your staff (not only with work skills but general life skills as well). The genuine focus on clients. The effective diversification of your business through insurance and feed divisions and the development of organic pasture management practices.

But what I loved most was the burning desire you all had to become South Africa’s leading breeders, backed by a steadfast belief that you would one day get there despite not having the monetary backing or the perceived geographical advantage of your rivals. You are reaping the benefits of doing what you love. That really does inspire me.

Naturally I found so many parallels with what we are hoping to achieve at Lindsay Park Stud. I can’t wait to get back to work. I know, with time, we can do the same.

Thanks also for giving me an insight into how you run your monthly accounts. Those templates will be very useful in helping us to re-design our financial reporting.

The whole experience was an absolute privilege that I sincerely appreciate. Not even watching the Australians loosing the one dayer in Cape Town was going to dampen my spirits!

Please pass on my thanks to all the team, especially Heather, Linda, Kerry, Annet, Tarryn and Marlene.

Long may your success continue!

Warm Regards
Sam Hayes

Summerhill Stud’s Australian Ambassador!

ARROWFIELD STUD : A world leader leads the way

Redoute’s Choice
(Photo : Arrowfield Stud)

Events at Sydney’s Easter Sale, showcase of Australia’s Thoroughbred industry, have prompted a major re-think on stallion fees by that country’s marquee farms. John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud, has headed the change with its announcement of fees for the forthcoming season, largely characterised by dramatic reductions. Of course, most of Arrowfield’s stallions come off a very substantial base, and in the current climate this would not be sustainable. Public spiritedness has brought about the revision.

“We have elected to fully recognise the current market situation, occasioned by the global financial crisis and to adjust our fees to levels which will ensure breeders can achieve profitable outcomes by using Arrowfield’s first class stallion line-up,” John Messara said. “While the Easter yearling average was down about a third on the 2008 figure, it should be remembered that the service fees at the time of conception of these yearlings made a lot of the Easter trade quite profitable.”

“The other factor that breeders should consider is that the 2009 conceptions will not be sold until the 2012 yearling sales, by which time it is hoped the economy will have recovered.”

Redoute’s Choice fee for 2009 will now be $198,000 (inc GST), down from $330,000. Going against the trend is the country’s leading first season sire by earnings, Charge Forward, which will stand at $27,000, an increase of 11 per cent.”

The new Arrowfield fees:

Charge Forward $27,500 (inc GST) up 11%
Danzero $22,000 (inc GST) down 20%
Flying Spur $82,500 (inc GST) down 40%
Hussonet (USA) $71,500 (inc GST) down 48%
Not A Single Doubt $13,750 (inc GST) unchanged
Redoute’s Choice $198,000 (inc GST) down 40%
Snitzel $22,000 (inc GST) down 33%
Starcraft (NZ) $22,000 (inc GST) down 33%

Karel Miedema reviews National Yearling Sale 2009

Uncle Tommy
(Photo : Jean Stanley)

karel miedemaKarel Miedema Sporting PostThe world can look in wonder at South Africa’s flagship National Sale, the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. True, the sale’s aggregate and average price followed world-wide trends downward, but closer scrutiny tells a remarkable story, writes Karel Miedema for the Sporting Post.

 

“The sale as a whole was down on the 2008 record breaker. Last year 501 lots accumulated a total of R200million, compared to 490 lots for R152million this time round. That’s a drop of R48million. Taking the top 10% of lots by sex for 2009, we find 26 colts selling for R750k or more, totaling R29million.

 

Similarly, 24 fillies sold for R500k or more, totaling R18million. Added together this gives R47million. Last year 40 colts went for R750k or more, and 43 fillies for R500k and up. Together they made for a total of R93million. The difference between these two top 10% totals is R46million – just about the amount by which the sale went down. In other words, the drop in R47million aggregate can be entirely attributed to the pricedrop amongst the top 10% of lots sold.

 

Median prices by sex tell their story, too. The median price is the mid-point between highest and lowest price, and in the case of horse auctions tells a truer story than a straight average would, because the high (extreme) prices have a lesser effect. The median price for colts in 2009 was R250k, down only 9% from R275k in 2008. As was predicted based on what happened at previous yearling sales this year, demand for fillies fell through the floor. The 2009 median for the weaker sex was R200k, down 20% versus the R250k in 2008. The overall median was down 15%, to R220k from R260k last year.

 

Given this background, the conclusion must be that South Africa is still on a high and that pre-sale doomsayers are eating humble pie, indeed. The future looks rosy.

 

Post sale comments from visitors echoed these sentiments. “In the current economic climate the South African National Yearling Sale is without a doubt the best performing thoroughbred sale in the world,’’ said Australian buyer Paul Guy, echoing auctioneer Steve Davis’ earlier assessment that this was his “strongest sale in the last six’’ he’d conducted around the globe.

Team Valor International’s Barry Irwin, on his fifth successive visit, secured eight foals and summed up the event, saying, “The value here is superb, it is a joy to come to this sale and I’ll be booking for next year.’’

 

Barry Irwin, renowned as one of the shrewdest buyers on the planet, described his purchase of Klawervlei Stud’s Lot 587, a daughter of Captain Al from Grade 1 winner Roxanne, as “incredible, because I would have gone to well over R1million for her and paid only R600k.’’ He added: “She’s probably the nicest looking filly I’ve seen. They don’t come better looking than this.’’

 

South Africa’s Champion breeders Summerhill Stud reaped the rewards for their great achievements of the last few years, selling the top-priced colt and filly at the sale. The Kahal colt, Uncle Tommy, a half-brother to Rebel King, was knocked down to Mike Bass for R2.4 million, while Team Valor bought first-season sire Solskjaer’s daughter Matara Garden for R1.5 million.”

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ORMOND FERRARIS : Doyen of South African Trainers

ormond ferraris (heather morkel)Ormond Ferraris
(Photo : Heather Morkel)

“Millionaire’s Row”

It’s a well documented fact that Summerhill was the last of the big farms in South Africa to register it’s first million Rand deal at the sales. Whether that’s a reflection of a lack of marketing finesse, or a sense of treating the market with respect, will forever be a matter of debate. But what is so, is that all of a sudden it’s “raining” millionaires at Summerhill.

We kicked off at the Ready to Run Sale in November, with a ROCK OF GIBRALTAR colt registering R2.2million, a GALILEO filly R1.5million, and a MUHTAFAL colt at R1million, and coupled with Sunday’s R2.4million and R1.5million respectively, that’s five in the space of as many months.

Whether he read our adverts, proclaiming the Summerhill racehorse the Toyota of the South African industry, is difficult to say, but it seems the doyen of our trainers, Ormond Ferraris, must have at least cast his eyes over the ad. A man who, in common with the best of his countrymen, respects excellent quality, unparalleled dependability and outstanding value, as much as any, the attributes for which Toyota has become famous, are exactly what Ormond must have seen in this draft. Signing as he did on Sunday for no fewer than four (25%) of the horses put through the ring. So for us the consolation lies not only in the value he got, but also in where they’re going.

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The El Padrino’s of the Game

emperors palace sale (michael nefdt)

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales 2009

If you’re a Summerhill devotee, you’d have to be more than satisfied at this weekend’s events. Both the top colt and top filly of the sale, were graduates of our draft. With IMBONGI’s sister, a stunning daughter of debutante sire, SOLSKJAER, bewitching the attention of no less an investor than Team Valor’s Barry Irwin, who had to fend off two bouts of international competition to claim his prize at R1.5million.

In as classic an event as any breeder could wish for, three “patron saints” of the game clashed in a mighty battle for the right to own UNCLE TOMMY, a strikingly good-looking son of KAHAL, and half brother to aspiring Sprint champion, REBEL KING.

The early stages witnessed a sparring match between the incorrigible Markus Jooste and his right-hand man, Charles Laird, located high up and out of sight, in what might be called the ”Gods”, an appropriate station for two men who wagered as much as they did on the day’s trade.

Just outside the Equine Insurance cubicle, Mike de Kock took up position for Dubai’s Deputy Ruler, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whose eagerness to acquire this son of his own stallion, was evidenced in the rapidity with which Mike answered Charles Laird’s bidding.

The time came though when Mike called it a day, and just as it looked as though the Jooste team might fire the winning salvo, POCKET POWER’S conditioner Mike Bass, joined the fray with a determination that looked likely to prevail. And prevail it did. But not without one helluva scrap, as the two teams traded their way through the R2million barrier and onwards to R2.4million.

So who was it behind Mike Bass? No less a man than one of the EL PADRINO’S of the game, Graham Beck, who has terrorised under-bidders for decades now. These two, Jooste and Beck, have ascended the stairs to the loftiest of stations, willing to put their money and their reputations on the line for the sake of a racehorse, and the honour of beating all-comers when the chips are down.

In the end that’s what this sport is all about, and it’s thanks to them that the drama of the sales ring remains one of the most exhilarating contests of our game.