The inaugural Emperors Palace CTS Select sale kicked off in Johannesburg on Saturday, 18 April. With an ambitious and brand new venue, an exciting catalogue handpicked by yearling supremo John Kramer and the last opportunity to purchase a qualifier for the CTS million dollar day, it promised to be an adventure.
A portion of the Emperors Palace parking lot was transformed into a stabling complex and the Emperor’s Palace team had had to drain the D’Oreale fountain in order for the sales hub to be constructed in the gardens. A Bedouin tent has successfully been employed at previous CTS sales and again made for a very convenient, all-under-one-roof arrangement. As always, the CTS team put on a slick and coordinated effort, ensuring that everything ran like clockwork. Even the weather held and the predicted showers found somewhere else to be.
The evening preliminaries opened at 5pm, allowing enough time for everyone to make their way back from the day’s racing. Neatly liveried, smiling waitrons were on hand to press welcome drinks into the hands of arrivals and direct people to their tables. A polished promotional video set the tone and without too many additional preliminaries, the first horse was led into the ring promptly at 6pm, going under the hammer for R100k.
The Summerhill draft are always eye catching in their lovely sales bridles with the smart gold piping and they get extra credit for following the European trend of using snaffles, rather than those horrid chifneys.
The CTS website and on-site IT features were a joy to use, with the sales results being posted lightning fast and the handy summary screens flashing up to the minute updates of the sales stats were a very nice feature. The hospitality was lavish as always and everyone was most thoroughly fed and hydrated.
Although bidding seemed a little tentative to begin with, the auctioneering team of Andrew Miller and John O’Kelly soon got the tempo up. The first lot to really quicken buyers’ pulses was Lot 20, a Sebring filly consigned by Hemel ‘n Aarde Stud as agent for Nadeson Stud. The unnamed filly’s apparent displeasure at the sales ring did nothing to deter buyers and she was knocked down to Mayfair Speculators for R1.2 million. A delighted Hassen Adams said that the filly had been purchased from the 2014 Magic Millions National Weanling Sale and that Widden Stud-based Sebring had become all the rage in the interim – so much so that he’d found it impossible to purchase any more on his last buying expedition. Asked what had made him speculate on Sebring, Hassen answers simply, “He’s a son of More Than Ready”. Sebring’s sensational son Criterion has underlined his sire’s credentials as a rising stud heavyweight by winning the $4million Queen Elizabeth over 2000m at Randwick less than a week ago. “How is that for luck?” chuckled Hassen. He was also keen to talk about his new stallion import, Time Thief (Redoute’s Choice – Procrastinate) who will shortly be arriving to join the Hemel ‘n Aarde stallion roster.
Other individuals to catch the eye included Lot 27, a Trippi filly out of a half sister to Pocket Power, who was consigned by Hemel ‘n Aarde and went the way of Adriaan van Vuuren for R300k. Lot 51, a colt out of a half-sister to National Colour, fetched R300k for Klawervlei Stud from Equine Traders.
Pathfork continues to impress with very imposing stock and I am looking forward to seeing these on the track. Another sire whose progeny really caught the eye, is the beautifully bred Great Britain, who recently got off the mark with Roy’s Goddess) and Grey’s Inn also had a very consistent draft, with Mayfair Speculators going to R1million to secure the very impressive Lot 55.
The hammer fell at R300k for Lot 62, a Dynasty filly out of Dancer’s Daughter, who sold to Collins Stud Farm; Peter de Beyer went to R700k for Lot 67, a Var half brother to Big City Life from Klawervlei Stud; and Adriaan van Vuuren snapped up Lot 69, a Silvano half brother to Go Indigo consigned by Oldlands Stud, for R600k. Chris van Niekerk’s Rainbow Beach Trading procured Lot 93, a half sister to Whiteline Fever by Silvano consigned by Daytona Stud for R400k; Lot 94, Klawervlei’s first foal from Hollywoodboulevard by Trippi fetched R900k from Charles Laird; and I loved Highlands’ imposing Lot 111, a Toreador colt out of a half sister to Jet Master, who went to Sean Tarry for R200k. Mayfair Speculators also went to R1,1 million for Lot 115, Normandy Stud’s full brother to Bravura, who did such wonderful service in those green and yellow silks.
Two colts ended the evening at the top of the log. Lot 57, a son of New Approach out of the Redoute’s Choice mare, Come Sunday consigned by Highlands Stud as agent. James Goodman was the brains behind this one and explained that pinhooking weanlings was something he was getting into more and more. “Bill Henderson is a mate of mine in Australia. We were chatting one day and he was telling me that he just seems to pay money into horses and wanted to know if there’s any way to make money from horses. I said the only way is buying and selling and I recommend weanlings. He said ‘Fine, I’ll back you’ and that was it really. We spent about a million and bought three on last year’s Magic Millions weanling sale. We sold two very well in Adelaide and brought this one to South Africa. Mike (Sharkey) and I go way back, so I sent the colt to Mike to be prepped and he did a magnificent job. He was originally entered on the Cape Premier Sale in January, but contracted a virus and had to be withdrawn. He’s a wonderful colt and has really developed well. It was the right horse on the right sale and we’re really pleased. We wish Markus and his team all the very best with him. Pinhooking weanlings is a line I’m going to get more involved in. I’ve done about 7 or 8 weanlings now and I’m putting together a syndicate and we’re going to go and buy a few more.”
The New Approach colt shared the honours with Lot 86, a More Than Ready Colt out of the Perugino mare Gina Lollawitcha from Summerhill Stud, both fetching R2 million from Mayfair Speculators. The fillies weren’t far behind, with the top price going to Lot 58, a Captain Al filly out of the Spectrum mare Cordial Report, who was consigned by Klawervlei Stud and knocked down to Charles Laird for R1,9 million. Goodhope Racing signed over R1,8 million for Lot 103, an exceptionally quality looking half-sister to Jay Peg by Silvano.
There were one or two minor hiccups, with a few lots needing to be led through the ring again, but generally the sale was conducted efficiently and seemed to be a hit with buyers and vendors alike.
Of 123 lots catalogued, 107 were sold for an aggregate of R44 450 000. The average was an impressive R415 421 with the median an equally pleasing R300 000. Mayfair Speculators were the leading buyer, going home with 15 lots, accounting for a total of R13 125 000 and the top vendor was Klawervlei Stud, taking home R12 975 000 for 26 lots. A number of imported individuals attracted a lot of interest and presented excellent value, considering the stud fees and our local exchange rate, but local sires held their own with Silvano, Captain Al and Count Dubois returning healthy averages.
Boss of leading vendors Klawervlei Stud, John Koster said he’d had a few anxious moments to begin with, but was extremely happy with the final results of the sale.
CEO Adrian Todd was equally happy, paying tribute to Bob Yearham and the Emperors Palace team, who had been “an absolute pleasure to work with. It’s a very nice venue and the results speak for themselves,” he continued, adding that average and median prices made their inaugural Select Sale effort one of the strongest sale results in South Africa, behind their Premier Sale.
From the buying bench, a few people admitted that they had anticipated prices to be higher and were pleasantly surprised by the value on offer. Mayfair Speculators’ Derek Brugman was highly complimentary about the consistency of the catalogue overall, stating that there was not much difference in quality between the top and bottom lots. He was particularly pleased with their purchases, citing the Captain Al (lot 44), the New Approach (lot 57), and the Seventh Rock (lot 104) as standout colts and among the fillies, he was particularly pleased to have secured the Sebring filly (lot 20), the Dynasty (lot 45) and the Var (lot 110).
Chairman Chris van Niekerk, who also occupied the second spot on the buyer’s log, was very satisfied with the sales results and the efforts of his team. He wouldn’t be drawn too much on his purchases (“Sean does all that”), but was very proud of Sean’s unerring ability to ferret out quality horses at good value for money. In fact, they averaged a little over R400k for each of his seven purchases. “Now I just wait for the result!” he quipped.