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Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

Had the yearling Hope and Dreams been an actor and not a racehorse he would have been given red-carpet treatment on his arrival at the TBA complex in Germiston on Wednesday.

The colt — consigned by Wilgerbosdrift — is the star attraction at the 2022 National Yearling Sale when 451 youngsters will come under the hammer of New Zealander Steve Davis and SA stalwart Andrew Miller. The sale takes place on April 28 and 29.

The reason for the spotlight falling on Hope and Dreams? He is the sixth produce of the mare Halfway to Heaven, who just happens to have captured the Equus Champion Broodmare award for the past three years.

Many actors and actresses have famous parents. For example, the mother of Mariska Hargitay (who has starred as Olivia Benson in the Law & Order show since 1999) is Jayne Mansfield.

Hope and Dreams has some big shoes to fill as two of his half-brothers, Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam, have hogged the racing headlines in recent years. The former winner of 11 races including four grade 1s (the Met, twice), Gold Challenge and Champions Cup was originally bought by Chris Gerber and then by recently deceased Mike Rattray.  

Hawwaam, now a stablemate of Fire Away, won one race fewer than Rainbow Bridge. Mike de Kock described him as “an outstanding physical specimen” and did a great job with a horse who fell into the “highly strung” category. He cost R1m at the 2017 Yearling Sales and his yet-to-race full-brother Celestial City R7m last year. So will the big hitters be putting up their hands when Hope and Dreams enters the ring towards the end of the sale on Friday April 29?

Certainly the dam side can’t be faulted, but what about the colt’s sire? Fire Away is an American bred who won seven races including the grade 3 Dixie Stakes. That doesn’t jump off the page, but clearly Mary Slack bought the horse because he is a son of prolific stallion War Front.

War Front, a son of Danzig, is the sire of several top-class performers — including American Patriot, Brave Anna, Declaration of War, Omaha Beach and Lancaster Bomber —  and who has 34 yearlings on the sale.

What became evident in my many years of reporting on sales is that the top buyers like to play safe. They stick to established sires such as Dynasty (now deceased), Gimmethegreenlight, Silvano (now deceased), Vercingetorix and What A Winter.

The name, Hope and Dreams, isn’t as strong as Rainbow Bridge and — with Fire Away in the pedigree — one route the stud could have taken would have something to do with space. Possibilities: JFK Space Centre, Nasa and Rocket Launch.

If one of our big owners such as Mario Ferreira, Nic Jonsson, Justin Snaith’s client Bjorn Nielsen or leading bloodstock consultant John Freeman get into a bidding battle with an overseas buyer, we could see fireworks.

And yet, taking into account the safe route big buyers prefer, sister stud Mauritzfontein may get a bigger price for lot 435, a Gimmethegreenlight colt who is a half-brother to 12-time winner Celtic Sea.

This colt — born nine weeks before Hope and Dreams — is sure to be closely inspected by trainer Sean Tarry whose handling of the daughter of Captain Al was first class. Could his new client, Hollywoodbets, be interested here?

While on the subject of big prices, Klawervlei Stud have a first-day offering which should get the catalogues waving. Lot 150 is a full-brother to six-time winner Seeking The Stars whom Vaughan Marshall is aiming at some of the big races during the upcoming KwaZulu-Natal season including the Golden Horse Sprint and Gold Challenge.

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