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A Focus On The Fairer Sex

Breeders will be closely watching yearling sale results

Recent bloodstock sales, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been vibrant at the top end.

Even allowing for the depressed South African market for yearlings and two-year-olds, which is now showing some signs of life, the disparity with our market is striking.

In July, Cape Thoroughbred Sales held a Select Fillies for Stud online sale.

Oscar Foulkes writes that the result provides some kind of guide, although this type of sale is not (yet) a regular on the calendar, so any conclusions one draws may not be entirely fair.

However, the high-level view is that fillies with good race records sold for the price of average yearlings. The irony is that one could end up paying more for the unraced yearling sisters and half-sisters to these well-performed fillies.

Third Runway – very smart filly (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

The sale topper, at R500 000, was the Grade II winner Third Runway.

At first glance, this is a good premium on the R200 000 she cost as a yearling, and when one considers the cash flow cycle from purchase of mare to the sale of the first yearling three years’ hence, it’s a lumpy up-front investment for an uncertain payback.

Of course, the issue is that professional breeders have been through a punishing time. Any bloodstock purchases have to be made from retained profits. Investments are going to be measured against anticipated yearling prices.

Even so, Flichity By Far (R180 000), La Bella Mia (R225 000) and Hello Winter Hello (R275 000) looked to be really well bought.

La Bella Mia after her Gr2 Post Merchants victory in 2019 (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

A factor that should be considered in valuing these fillies is one of availability.

The majority of the fillies winning listed and graded races are owned by large breeders i.e. Drakenstein, Ridgemont Highlands, Maine Chance Farms, Varsfontein, Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein.

These fillies are not for sale at any price, nor are the ones owned by owner-breeders like the Wernars or Sabine Plattner. Others are owned by people who just don’t sell their best fillies.

So, the pool of availability is extremely limited, which makes the auction prices of these fillies appear to be even better value.

Looking more broadly at knock-on effects, limited upside on the sale of fillies for stud must impact on prices for yearling fillies, which are generally less than those for colts. However, this could also be a consequence of Mauritius buying colts and geldings, but no fillies. Relatively underpriced fillies must represent an opportunity for the smart money.

Returning to the vibrant northern hemisphere market for good racefillies, it’s easy to see the rationale for Team Valor’s purchase of top-class fillies for export.

In The Congo (Snitzel x Via Africa) enjoys international Gr1 success

Of course, they weren’t bought as breeding prospects, but while the bloodstock market is strong, there is a base to their value if their international racing campaigns don’t turn out as expected. And, if a few more repeat the performance of Via Africa, in producing international graded stakes-winners, it could impact on demand.

The biggest boost, though, would be a result of all-round improvement in domestic market conditions, through the combined effect of improved stakes, increased yearling prices, and broodmares once more being in demand as breeders plan for an increase in foal numbers.

It goes without saying that breeders will be closely watching yearling sale results. As a lagging indicator, fillies for stud auctions will also be of interest.

Bring on 2022!

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