"One sale which stacks the odds in favour of finding a serious racehorse that could change your life forever."
If you think that is an advert from Cape Thoroughbred Sales ahead of their Premier Yearling Sale in Cape Town on Saturday and Sunday, then you would be wrong. In fact, it is an editorial in the racing newspaper, The Sporting Post, signalling that it believes the sale is a must for owners and trainers.
The Sporting Post states: "How do we argue the Cape Premier Yearling Sale stats, patterns and history when they are patently consistent and verifiable? With difficulty.
"The cold numbers already tell us that there are 27 grade1 winners and counting from the six Cape Premier Yearling Sales to date. Overall, 85.9% of all lots catalogued since 2012 have made it to the racetrack, while 61.7% of all lots catalogued have won at least one race.
"This weekend’s book is a terrifically balanced catalogue too with 70 lots by SA’s top four sires, Captain Al, Dynasty, Silvano and Trippi, and 18 lots by global sires including the world-beating Frankel and Camelot.
"There are eight lots produced from grade1 winning mares and 14 siblings to grade1 winners. That’s quality."
The editorial does not tackle two important questions: will it be a battle to get near 2017’s outstanding average of R699,000 and how will the sale fare without the buying power of Mayfair Speculators? In 2017, Mayfair and the Magnier team spent R15m on yearlings — 10% of the final aggregate of R155m.
Wehaan Smith, CEO of Cape Thoroughbred Sales, was quoted in this newspaper on Tuesday as saying that representatives of the Coolmore team will be attending the sale and vendors will be hoping that — despite the Markus Jooste saga — they will again be putting their hands up for the best lots.
China Horse Club, which spent R7m a year ago, is expected to be a leading player again and there are reports
that — because of the much-publicised spat between Hong Kong and Australia — there will be increased interest in this sale from the former British colony.
We have already had evidence that Hong Kong holds our best thoroughbreds in high regard, with last season’s top three-year-old Edict Of Nantes being bought for a rumoured $800,000 to continue his career with Tony Millard.
Singapore Sling — a 2015 graduate of the sale formerly trained by Geoff Woodruff — won recently in Hong Kong while 2016 graduate Magical Wonderland boosted the sale when winning the Cartier Sceptre Stakes at Kenilworth.
Another huge plus for the two-day sale at the Cape Town International Convention Centre is the outstanding auctioneering team of John O’Kelly, Andrew Miller and Grant Burns.
O’Kelly is one of the world’s most respected auctioneers, Miller is a household name at South African auctions and both vendors and buyers were impressed by Burns’s expertise at the 2017 sale.
One lot Miller will be happy to have drawn is lot 102 — a Captain Al colt from Maine Chance Farms who is a half-brother to four-times grade1 winner Princess Victoria.