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

In these tough economic times, Cape Thoroughbred Sales (CTS) has implemented a plan that makes the saying — “to kill two birds with one stone” — highly appropriate.

The end of January is the scheduled date for the CTS Premier Yearling Sale and, in recent years, the event has been held at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre.

While the venue and location was excellent and drew praise from overseas visitors, it also came with a hefty price tag. So CTS’s decision to move the 2021 sale to the De Grendel wine farm in the Plattekloof region of Cape Town will benefit their balance sheet immensely.

Speaking to Business Day, CTS chair Chris van Niekerk would not be drawn on the figure the company might be saving with this move.

“I don’t want to speculate on the savings at this stage, but, of course, there will be [savings]. More pertinent is that Covid-19 and its ramifications necessitated the search for a different venue and we seem to have found a gem,” said Van Niekerk.

“The pandemic has been the catalyst for much change in business and other practices, much of it for the better.” 

The sale will take place on January 27 and 28, just a few days before the Sun Met at Kenilworth, scheduled for January 30. In January 2020, the sale realised an aggregate of R56.4m with an average per lot of R326,531.

De Villiers Graaff, owner of De Grendel farm, said: “We are excited about the venture with CTS because there is a synergy in quality and objectives. The view from our farm is breathtaking as it covers Table Mountain and the stunning Tyger farm 350m above sea level — arguably the best view in the Cape winelands.”

Grant Knowles, bloodstock and marketing director for CTS, said: “This is possibly the most exciting partnership in racing, combining two powerful brands with respective strengths to elevate an already legendary sale to a whole new level. It will be an occasion not to be missed.”

Amanda Carey, sales director at CTS, said: “The synergy between horse racing, wine and tradition makes this the perfect venue. De Grendel is steeped in history. We thank the Graaff family for this opportunity.”

Meanwhile, in Ireland, a rise in Covid-19 cases has resulted in owners once again being barred from attending race meetings.

It was feared that racing might face a full shutdown if the government moved to level 5 lockdown, but only level 3 restrictions have been put in place countrywide.

Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “The important thing is to keep racing. It’s unfortunate for the owners, but hopefully the national picture will improve.”

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