Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S
Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S

The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s motto “Riding High Together” perfectly sums up racing in the former British colony in 2018.

Cape Thoroughbred Sales (CTS) will be hoping to take a slice of that cake with buyers from Hong Kong attending Wednesday’s Premier Yearling Sale at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre (with a 2pm start).

“Yes, the indication is that we’ll be welcoming buyers from Hong Kong — in fact, it is fair to say that this year will exceed all previous years in terms of international interest,” said the CEO of CTS Wehann Smith.

A total of 226 choicely bred yearlings will come under the hammer and 54 are out of black type mares and 43 are siblings to stakes winners.

Global sires such as Frankel, Camelot, Uncle Mo and Zoffany will be of particular interest to overseas buyers while leading stallions from SA, Captain Al, Silvano, Dynasty and Trippi will be well represented.

“I feel there could be some sentimental buying of the nine yearlings by Captain Al as this is the last time they will be offered at the Premier Sale,” said Smith.

Hong Kong has become a powerhouse in racing with its two big meetings in April and December attracting overseas runners from all over the world.

The annual programme consists of 12 grade 1, seven grade 2 and 12 grade 3 races with prize money for the grades ranging from $1.27m to $3.57m.

This has resulted in record tote turnovers — for example the Derby meeting in March grossed $210m. Hong Kong also hold its own bloodstock sales and this year the top lot was $1.4m for a son of Holy Roman Emperor with 11 more lots making $640,00 or more.

The unresolved spat between Hong Kong and Australia regarding the movement of horses between the two countries has played into SA hands and so despite our current protocol difficulties our horses are still regarded as the best value for money on the worldwide bloodstock market.

What makes Smith optimistic about some solid buying on Wednesday is the current strength of the bloodstock markets with the Gold Coast Yearling Sale in Australia posting a record turnover of $129m.

A total of 11 yearlings made $7.9m, or more, with a top price of $1.22m bid for a colt by I Am Invincible. China Horse Club was a prominent buyer outlaying $3.8m on 12 lots.

The Gold Coast sale had a clearance rate of 86% and in contrast to the National Yearling Sale in April when a number of lots were either withdrawn or not sold there is every reason to expect few yearlings will be returning home.

In its sale supplement, the Sporting Post comments in an editorial that “the sale — now in its eighth year — has become a fixture on the international sales diary for leading buyers locally and abroad, and history suggests it is the one place you could pick up that one horse that could prove a life changer”.

A leading global buyer told the Sporting Post about this sale last year: “They are well raised and, in most instances, well presented. There’s nowhere on earth I can go and get horses of this quality for $25,000 to $50,000. In the US, horses like this would cost five times that.

Vaal selections:

1st Race: (3) Senor’s Guest (4) Chief Black Horse (1) Gaelebale (10) Generoso

2nd Race: (15) Hareer (12) Miss Jagger (16) Plum Field (7) Pigeon Post

3rd Race: (1) Pilou (4) Greek Fire (7) Morning Catch (8) Nordic Rebel

4th Race: (11) Rockstar Child (2)Well Connected (7) Jagesa Jagesa (5) Sammi Moosa

5th Race: (3) Monopolize (8) Blonde Vision (1) Mighty Valdie (4) Desert Oasis

6th Race: (10) Kentucky Blue (5) Nicky Noo (1) Ancient Spirit (9) Che Bella

7th Race: (4) Carbon Atom (3) Whitehaven (8) Sporting Monarch (7) Greasepaint

8th Race: (6) Flirty Girty (7) Eternal Summer (15) Laconia (9) Poison Ivy