The decision to move one of SA’s top bloodstock sales — the CTS Premier Yearling Sale — from the centre of Cape Town to a wine farm can only be described as a cost-saving masterstroke.

This was the path taken by CTS (Cape Thoroughbred Sales) chair Chris van Niekerk, moving his sale from the expensive location of the Cape Town International Convention Centre to the De Grendel wine estate on the slopes of Tygerberg Hill.

In a way, Van Niekerk was following his own doctrine. In his speech as leading owner at the 2019 Equus awards, he said: “We humans seem to have got this unfortunate trait — we think negatively and, as a result, what transpires is only negative. We need to get to the real issues — there are always solutions to be found.”

The solution for his company’s balance sheet was a change of location and everything was in place for 185 quality yearlings to come under the hammer of auctioneers John O’Kelly and Andrew Miller at De Grendel on January 28.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 and its new restrictions have thrown a hammer in the works of this unique occasion just two days before the running of the Cape Met at Kenilworth. The decision has been made to move the sale to March 14.

De Villiers Graaff of De Grendel Estate said he was “disappointed” at having to wait a few weeks longer for the event, but fully supported the decision. “It is the responsible thing to do and we look forward to hosting the 2021 CPYS sale in March,” he said.

Grant Knowles, marketing and bloodstock director of CTS, said: “This has taken a great deal of thought and consideration. After consulting with the majority of vendors, I believe it is in everyone’s best interest to postpone our sale for roughly six weeks.

“We anticipate further restrictions on gatherings both indoor and outdoor affecting capacity and the De Grendel restaurant and sales marquee. Additionally, we have concerns about grooms from 28 individual vendors at the sales venue,” Knowles added.

One of those vendors is Klawervlei Stud which has entered 33 yearlings and will be selling another 11 as agent. Klawervlei’s John Koster, said: “Sales companies always act in the best interests of vendors and buyers. While this [postponement] is not ideal, it is the logical thing to do.”

Drakenstein Stud has a draft of 10 yearlings — and two as agent — for the sale and spokesperson Kevin Sommerville said: “We fully support the decision in light of what has transpired recently. It is in the interest of the industry as a whole.”

The big carrot being dangled in front of buyers in March is the CTS Gold Rush which the company announced late in 2020. The concept is to stage a R7.5m race for 2021 Cape Premier Sale graduates, with a winning purse of R5m.

A total of 14 slots will be sold for R400,000 each prior to the sale with two lots reserved for “buy-ins” at R600,000 each.

Prospectors (ticket holders) have a right to the 16 slots in the race irrespective of who owns the horse. This allows for the 16 prospectors to negotiate outright purchases, partnership or lease deals with any potential contending sales graduate creating opportunities for each and every CTS buyer.


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