Hong Kong Jockey Club Acquire Maine Chance Sale Topper

'A great start' - Justin Vermaak

Hosting only their second auction, Cape Racing’s recently established Thoroughbred Sales Division celebrated a successful return after a two year absence to the inner-city environs of the Mother City for the Cape Premier Yearling Sale, powered for the 2023 renewal by Tattersalls, on a windy Thursday afternoon.

A sale with a colourful, and at times dramatic history, that includes a temporary relocation to a rural environment, being held over two days, and the establishment of a new SA record at the time for a yearling when the Silvano colt Silver Coin  was knocked down in 2016 to Mayfair Speculators for R6 million, the Cape Premier Yearling Sale clearly has a character and appeal all of its own, and the outlook for the future looks bright after a successful just over four hours of hustle and bustle in the ring.

The sale got underway on a high with Klawervlei’s (as agent) Trippi filly selling for R1 100 000 (Pic – Troy Finch)

The unique cosmopolitan urban ambiance of Cape Town provides something of an inspirational feel-good backdrop to the serious business of buying future champions.

And with a high-class catalogue courtesy of the return of many of the leading farms, the foreign currency-powered international buyers, coupled with the wide spectrum of local buyers, that included trainers from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, were keen to find a winner of the inaugural R1,25 million Cape Racing Slipper, which will be run on Met day 2024.

Greg Bortz (Pic - Troy Finch)

Greg Bortz – encouraging positivity to open sale – and he bought a few (Pic – Troy Finch)

When charismatic Kenilworth Racing Chairman Greg Bortz opened proceedings shortly after the very apt strains of the New Radicals’ ‘You Get What You Give’ (most of us know the song as the Dreamers Disease) faded out, he was greeted by a round of applause after asking prospective buyers ‘not to be shy’ as all profits go straight back into the sport of horseracing.

The Bortz speech, delivered with characteristic confidence, proudly underscored the reality that racing in the Cape is going in the right direction and in the hands of people that care quite a bit.

“Our biggest achievement is our team. And just to illustrate that we must be doing something right, betting nationally on the tote is 13% down countrywide since August 2022, while in the Cape we are up 9% – and that’s with 15% fewer races. Thanks to Tattersalls for their involvement today. We are privileged to be flying the flag under an international sales company that has been around since the 18th century! A word of thanks to Gaynor Rupert and Avontuur for the wine on the tables too,” he added.

Top-priced lot of the day was the R3 800 000 paid for Maine Chance Farm’s Valley Of the Kings (#107) by Justin Vermaak, who was bidding on the line with the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s International Sale Manager Danny Rolston.

Justin Vermaak – ‘great start for the new-look Premier sale’

Vermaak said that it had been a pleasure dealing with Danny Rolston and the HKJC’s Southern Hemisphere agent Craig Rounsefell, who is currently at Magic Millions. The enthusiastic Vermaak labelled the sale ‘a great start’.

An exceptionally handsome son of past champion sire Gimmethegreenlight (More Than Ready) out of Captain Al’s stakes winning daughter, Victoria Lavelle, the sales-topper’s first two dams are stakes winning daughters of Captain Al and Western Winter, respectively.

All the results will be published once available.

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