One thing we’ve learnt about staging a horse sale, as we did on Sunday, is that you should consult not only the stars but the social calendar before you nominate a date.
Most farmers know that if there’s going to be rain, it will be around the full moon, and every man worth his salt should remember Mother’s Day, writes Mick Goss.
Age, I’m afraid, caused me to overlook both, and somehow those two imposters conspired against us. That notwithstanding, a solid body of brave souls pitched up and took on not only the elements but also the political and economic shenanigans that blight the South African landscape of the moment.
It was a tough day for us, not only for the challenges of the era, but more so for the sentiment involved in selling the families that have brought local and international recognition to Summerhill, that have taken my wife and I and many of our staff to most parts of the Thoroughbred world, and that delivered up our championships of the past decade and a bit.
There was also a bit of sentiment in the fellows that graced the rostrum: Clive Gardner, the most recognised South African in international auctioneering circles; Brandon Leer, the man who famously sold a buffalo bull for R168million, and the former Inglis (Australia) executive, Stephanie Grentell, who did a man’s job in sheep’s clothing when it was her turn to take up the gavel.
As you might’ve expected in the wake of a series of spotty sales this year, there were always going to be gaps in the catalogue, but there was a spirited atmosphere in the auditorium, housed as it was in the School of Management, and as we’ve come to expect from the bloodstock industry, there was good money for the better lots.
History tells us though, that it’s not only those mares that are likely to deliver the goods; its been part of the Summerhill story that good horses come from unexpected quarters, and one day we’ll look back with amusement upon yesterday’s events as to how many came from the less expensive buys.
Top of the pops, predictably, was Rabada’s ‘mum’ Jordie, followed by Intergalatic’s dam Nojoom (a daughter no less of Galileo), the ‘Rosenberg’ heroines Fisani and Checcetti, and the dam of Royal Pleasure.
A number of others drew bids from Hong Kong, Australia, the UK and Mauritius. In the end, the sale served its purpose: we said all along that it was our intention to ‘tidy up the numbers’, and that objective was broadly achieved. Gratifyingly, enterprise was the incentive behind the formation of several new consortiums, bent on exploiting the opportunities which the normalisation of South Africa’s protocols will bring, and the anticipation that when that happens, yesterday’s purchases will double, if not treble in value in the years ahead.
One comfort for us, lay in those who attended and put up their hands: it was apparent that they had one thing in common: they bought the ones they loved. Which, in brief terms, means they’re going to good homes.
Good luck to them going forward: we’ll happily surrender the number one box to any horse that accrues from yesterday’s events.
The 119 lots sold achieved an aggregate of R8 614 000 at an average of R70 367.