The National Yearling Sale is in its final stages today and if the momentum and enthusiasm of the first two days is maintained, we are heading for close on a seven year high – a thought that would have been rejected as an April Fool’s funny had we predicted it on the first day of this month…
With the long dark Joostegate cloud still hanging ominously over the industry, it has been an acid test of a month with our two sales companies offering 869 yearlings in a fortnight – and having to find enough buyers with enough cash and sufficient will to put their hands up and pay reasonable prices.
After the relative gloom of the CTS April Yearling Sale, this National Yearling Sale has turned the ship around and broken cloud to expose a ray of sunshine not seen in a while.
“This is an honest sale. There is plenty of competition in the sales ring and we all want the million rand big buyers. But when the sun goes down and the red wine is in the glass, we can feel that the camaraderie and the vibe is back. It’s like the old days again,” said Carl de Vos of Varsfontein, who broke their own 2017 R5 million record with a R5,2 million Dynasty colt topseller so far. That is the new standard after 40 years.
On the aspect of Varsfontein having topped the charts for a second consecutive year, Carl said it was the product of much hard work and planning – and a lot of cash investment.
“The top end of the market remains stallion focussed. That’s not unusual. And then we keep our own and buy in the strong damlines. The quality must jump out of the page. Varsfontein has proven itself a nursery of champions. It’s the soil, the climate, the care and the passion. It’s pride in producing the right horse for the occasion. Things can always go wrong, but we work hard on getting it right more often than not,” he said.
Dean Kannemeyer, who has secured both of the top two lots so far, and who will train the new recordholder, endorsed Carl’s comments.
“It feels like 20 years ago. People are smiling again. Ironically, seeing the R5,2 milliion Dynasty colt took me back to the day my Dad, myself and John Freeman first saw Dynasty. My Dad put his hand on my shoulder and said : “Son, that’s the best horse on the sale. We have to have him. History shows that John Freeman signed for him on behalf of Fieldspring Racing and the rest is well documented,“ said Kannemeyer.
Another man who is on top of the world is Duncan Barry, who has been breeding horses out at Riverton Stud in Robertson for 35 years. He currently holds the honour of the highest priced filly on the sale.
Captain Al daughter Cousin Liz was bought by Kerry Jack Bloodstock at R2,9 million for Mario Ferreira. She will be trained by Candice Bass-Robinson. As if to celebrate the moment, her half-brother Gimme The Night (Gimmethegreenlight) won a nice race at Kenilworth on Wednesday.
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“Five minutes on Tuesday evening lifted the cloud of gloom and has changed our lives,” the veteran breeder of Gr1 Champions, whose previous highest price was R600 000, told the Sporting Post.
“The Captain Al’s have been so good to me. I bought the dam at Lammerskraal. She is all quality. When we took Cousin Liz out of her box on Tuesday evening I had a good feeling and told the team to go make it happen. And it did!”