HISTORY is what historians make it. Behind the tangled thorns the princess sleeps. Enter a prince. It little matters whether he comes by chance or in deliberate quest. Under his gaze the princess warms, the courtiers stir, the palace comes alive, a world awakens. That is the historian’s way, and history is what he makes of it. The narrative unfolds the plot, and it carries its own explanation. It’s a quote from a book review by Eugen Weber in the New York Times in 1984, oddly applicable to the 2014 CTS Cape Sale.
Three years ago the sales in the Cape….
….belonged to Vintage and the old ‘Goodwood’ Sale, traditionally run in January by BSA. Each with their own distinct mix. Vintage had some that might have made their mark at Nationals, but only some – as did ‘Goodwood’, the latter sale often with first season sires. For both sales the Big-Fish-in-small-pond was a reality, the one horse that stood out among the rest – physically outstanding, but without the pedigree needed to make it at a major sale like Nationals.
When the Big Fish at those Cape sales was spotted, buyer’s feeding frenzy ensued, raising the roof. “That was expensive” commentators would later say, forgetting that in the context of Nationals such prices relatively remained a bargain. It’s history now that all of Pocket Power (190k, Goodwood), Jay Peg (130k, Vintage) and Variety Club (425k, Vintage) were such ‘high priced’ Cape sale bargains. The Pocket and the Peg were both from the first crops of their sires.
And then the landscape changed.
Enter CTS, with the Book One sale in January, challenging the longstanding hegemony of Nationals’ super quality. Vintage disappeared when Lionel Cohen left for Australia.
A year later CTS launched a Book Two sale, and “Goodwood” fizzled out. Interestingly, the first results of the new Book Two sale mirrored that of Vintage and “Goodwood” combined. Different hat, same party.
Now the Million Dollar Race…
Book One and Book Two graduates only. Two very different sales. High priced quality vs. the great unknown opportunities.
Buyers at the very first Book Two sale hit paydirt!
With Equus champion 2yo colt Kochka (160k, by Black Minnaloushe) and 2yo Gr2 winning filly My Sanctuary (55k, by first-crop sire Antonius Pius), plus Listed winners Counts Rocket (200k, by Count duBois) and filly Omaticaya (80k, by Silvano), Gr3 runner-up Let’s Fly High (30k, filly by first crop sire Judpot) and Listed second Silk Road (50k, colt by Kabool). This against sale-median prices of 75k for colts and 55k for fillies. Graduates from that first Book Two sale still are only 3yo’s.
What to look for in the 2014 Book Two catalogue?
First crop sires, for sure. Great physiques. Underrated older sires. And in the context of the Million dollar race for 3yo’s over 1400m, consider distance suitability- it will matter when the sticks are out.
There are no less than eight first crop sires, between them fielding 47 of the 290 catalogued yearlings. Let’s take them one by one.
BANKABLE. Rated Timeform 122 as a 3yo, his first season to race, Bankable subsequently raced for Mike de Kock and Herman Brown in Dubai and Singapore, with in successive years having annual ratings of 118, 120 and 120. Bankable showed strong form from a mile to 2000m, but as a 6yo was fast enough to run to his rating when winning a Gr3 over 1200m at Meydan. He’s a son of Machiavellian stallion Medicean, out of a mare by Sadler’s Wells, the next dam by Irish River. Bankable, who stood at Summerhill, died suddenly in January 2012, and will have just a single crop to race.
BLUE TIGER. Merit rated 115, this Mike Bass trained grey proved his mettle mainly in sprints, from 2 to 6 years, but did stay a mile in top company. He’s a half brother to Gr1 sprinter Rodoille, out of a stakes placed half sister to champion filly Wainui. The latter is by Complete Warrior, also sire of Blue Tiger’s sire Counter Action.
GREAT BRITAIN. Highclass sprinter, who won up to 1400m, trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, and rated Timeform 118. He’s a full brother to successful sire Cape Cross, their dam Gr1 winner Park Appeal establishing a sire-producing female line (she’s grandam of Iffraaj, Diktat). There are plenty more sires under the second dam.
NOORDHOEK FLYER. Cape Guineas winner and Cape Derby runner-up, Merit rated 112. He’s a son of highclass English sire Pivotal, out of a mare by Kris, whose dam is half sister to Australasian multiple champion sire Volksraad.
QUERARI. Italian Gr1 winner over 2000m, trained in Germany, rated Timeform 121, and champion Older Horse in his homecountry at 4. He is a son of highclass sire Oasis Dream, a multiple champion racehorse at 2 and at 3, as was Querari’s German grandam Quebrada (by Devil’s Bag – full brother to the dam of sires Rahy, Rakeen and Singspiel).
ROCK OF ROCHELLE. Gr3 winning sprinter by champion racehorse and sire-of-sires Rock Of Gibraltar, rated Timeform 114. His American dam is a full sister to US G1 winner and sire Offlee Wild, the grandam a half sister (by Seattle Slew) to super-sire Dynaformer. He’s well represented with a dozen yearlings, including two out of Australian-bred Galileo mares – one of which a half sister to champion Sun Classique, the other from the female line of sire Snippets.
RUSSIAN SAGE. Multiple Gr1 winner (Cape Drby, Daily News 2000) by Jallad, and rated Timeform 122 in Dubai where he was Gr2 runner-up. His dam Sage Blue (by champion sire Badger Land) is half sister to SA Derby winner Silver Sliver, the pair out of a full sister to champion racemares Grey Sun and Cerulean Blue.
WARM WHITE NIGHT. Multiple Gr1 winning sprinter (by Western Winter) at 2 and at 4, Merit rated 114. His dam, stakes winner Thousand Nights, is a daughter of champion sire Foveros, and also produced champion stayer Highland Night and Gr1 placed Vogue, the dam of highclass Fort Vogue.
With eighteen catalogued yearlings the best represented new sire at this sale. Purely on the paper pedigree the yearling colt (#166) out of a winning full sister to Jet Explorer from the female line of Roland Gardens looks most interesting.
Among the market leaders, in stallion terms, all the usual suspects are represented: Captain Al, Dynasty, Silvano, Trippi, Var.
Then the young lions: Judpot, Antonius Pius. The hero from the first Book Two sale, Black Minnaloushe.
If you take a view on the market‘s underrated sires, there’s Count duBois, Tiger Ridge and Windrush – all capable of throwing international big race contenders if history is anything to go by.
And finally, the second crop sires whose first runners are current 2yo’s, putting them too in the realm of the unknown: Elusive Fort, Ideal World, King’s Apostle, Mambo In Seattle, Oracy, Seventh Rock.
How will the Million Dollar fairy tale unravel? Who will snare the March Hare, and at what price?
What we do know is what history shows: prices at the March sale will be more affordable than those at the January flagship sale.
The median price at the Book Two sale in 2013 was a modest R80k (100k for colts, 60k for fillies), with a dozen horses making R300k or more, and Trippi providing the sale topper at R575k. As fairy tale sales go, this one is the ultimate hunting ground!
* Sandown Stud – Cash In On Ashaawes
* Moutonshoek – Mambo – The Talk Of The Town
* Oldlands – Two Smart Fillies
* Klawervlei – The Source of Grade 1’s
* Var colt – What a Cracker!