Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Champion trainer Sean Tarry always looks to the future and he will be hoping he has found another top-class performer in two-year-old Track Commander who made top price of R2.4m at the Cape Thoroughbred Sales (CTS) Ready-to-Run Sale at Durbanville racecourse on Friday night.

Consigned by Soetendal Estate (as agent), the Gimmethegreenlight colt is the first produce of the Horse Chestnut mare Cherry Orchard. She is a half-sister to the grade 2 winner Red Dor.

Andrew Miller was on the rostrum to take Tarry’s final bid and it took the Randjesfontein trainer’s purchases to five with an outlay of R3.57m.

Close behind Tarry in the buyers’ list was bloodstock consultant John Freeman, who bought eight lots for a total of R3.2m.

The top lot ensured Gimmethegreenlight, the first three-year-old in 40 years to win the Queen’s Plate and sire of recent Australian winner Surcharge, emerged leading sire with 13 of his progeny averaging R359,230.

Deceased champion sire Captain Al was represented by just two lots and the duo sold for an average of R690,000. Querari was represented by 12 lots and they returned an average of R107,272.

Given the tough economic climate CTS will be happy enough with the turnover with 136 of the 162 lots offered grossing R23.13m at an average of R170,111. The average at the recent Ready-to-Run Sale at Germiston was R128,125.

Julia Pilbeam’s Soetendal Estate were certain to emerge top vendors with their large draft and the Wellington-based operation sold 34 lots for R8.59m at an average of R252,647.

One of the lots offered by Soetendal as agent for Stone Hill Stud was a Var filly out of the five-time winner Pure Power. An early foal, she was the top female on the sale and was knocked down to Vermaak Equine for R475,000.

Leading owner Chris van Niekerk, chair of CTS, is always a major player at sales countrywide and his Rainbow Beach Trading operation secured seven lots for R1.4m.

The next CTS sale is the 10th anniversary of the Cape Premier Yearling Sale scheduled to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on January 16.

Meanwhile, tributes are pouring in on social media after the death of legendary trainer Terrance Millard last week at the age of 89.

Though the word “legend” is overused, it certainly applies to Millard who won over 2,500 races, 117 grade 1 events and six Durban Julys.

Tellytrack presenter Stan Elley made an interesting observation on Saturday when he stated he felt Millard’s greatest feat was winning the grade 1 Paddock Stakes 16 times.

“To win that race so many times is mind-boggling,” said Elley.

Racing newspaper The Sporting Post said “SA is mourning the passing of our greatest trainer of the 20th century”.

Another website comment stated: “Mr Millard was a magician. So many good horses became great horses under his tenure.”