The auctioneering team of John O’Kelly, Andrew Miller and Grant Burns will ensure things go smoothly at Thursday’s CTS Premier Yearling Sale at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, but in the early evening the spotlight will be on Burns.
The New Zealander will be on the rostrum for lot 174 which is a half-brother to last Saturday’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner Vardy. The son of Gimmethegreenlight has been consigned by Klawevlei Stud (as agent).
The dam of this unnamed yearling — perhaps Leicester would be a good name as that’s the team which footballer Jamie Vardy plays for — never ran but she is well-related being a sister to Ebony Flyer. She is also the dam of the four-time winner Eros’s Girl.
At the beginning of the sale, Burns will be selling the well-named Futura colt Spielberg and two lots after this sale a filly — with the unexciting name of Gimme Mist — who is an early foal and a full-sister to the three-time winner Green Haze.
Six lots later Ridgemont Highlands will be offering another of Gimmethegreenlight’s progeny, a bay colt named Silent War. He makes plenty of appeal on pedigree as he is a half-brother to the three-time winner Pretty Young Thing.
Irishman O’Kelly has been with this sale from the outset and — in a previous interview — said: “Every year come October, one is already looking forward to January in the Cape. Where else would you rather be in January?”
O’Kelly does his homework before any sale. “I need to see every horse before I sell it. There are different types and different families and different things one looks for in each. There are very few horses which don’t merit being at this sale.”
Perhaps the yearling O’Kelly is most looking forward to selling is a daughter of Zoffany consigned by Klawervlei Stud (as agent). The stallion ran second to Frankel in the St James Palace Stakes at Ascot and this unnamed filly is a half-sister to Hollywood Gold Cup winner Rail Trip. A name worth considering could be Ride The Blue Train.
Another lot which should keep O’Kelly on his toes is a daughter of Silvano out of the six-time winner Thunder Dance. This is her third foal and she has already produced the two-time winner Love Supreme.
Miller began his involvement in racing with the TBA in 1986 and he is now a household name on the auctioneering circuit. On his fourth stint on the rostrum, he will be selling another well-named colt from Avontuur Farm called West Point. This yearling is the sixth foal of the eight-time winner A Daughters Legacy.
Two lots later, Miller can expect spirited bidding for Lammerskraal Stud's Gimmethegreenlight filly Dancetildaylight. She is a half-sister to Capetown Noir and 11-time winner Across The Ice.
Of the trio of auctioneers, Burns may have drawn the plum lots this time as — towards the end of the sale — he is selling Ridgemont Highlands Dynasty colt Carl Vinson. An early foal born in mid-August, this yearling is a half-brother to two top performers in six-time winner The Hangman, and nine-time winner Trip To Heaven.
O’Kelly is 100% correct. There are few in the 232-strong catalogue who do not merit being at Thursday's venue.
1st Race: (1) War Room (6) Promise To Dream (7) South East (4) Karnallie
2nd Race: (1) Miracle Flight (4) Dubawi Princess (5) Elusive Woman (3) Brooklyn Bridge
3rd Race: (1) Viper Jet (15) Solarize (16) Var Aglow (3) Wharra Wharra
4th Race: (11) Fire Flower (2) Little Rain (1) Leading Fast (13) Manaquera
5th Race: (1) Eden Roc (2) Carbon Atom (7) Isle De France (3) Fitzwilliam
6th Race: (1) Van Halen (5) Mr Flood (3) Rebel's Champ (8) Schippers
7th Race: (8) Littlewood (12) Oh Mercy Me (13) Three Peaks (4) Sally Called
8th Race: (3) Evening Bell (4) Moroccan Flame (11) Plum Field (14) Hawthorn