Magnificent result’ achieved in Cape Town
By Howard Wright in South Africa 5:58PM 28 JAN 2011
PROMOTERS of the inaugural Cape Town Premier Yearling sale, held in the unconventional surroundings of the city’s waterfront international convention centre, closed the books on Friday evening with the feeling of a job well done.
With precious few comparisons to call on, all returns were record highs for a yearling auction in the province – top price of R2.5 million (£219,161/€255,405), achieved twice; aggregate of R87.9m; average of R410,748 (£36,008/€41,963).
However, impressions could be measured, and Robin Bruss, council member of the TBA of South Africa and chairman of the organising team, summed up by saying: “I think we’ve achieved a magnificent result.”
Expectations appeared to run slightly ahead of reality on the opening day, but Friday’s session restored international normality, and the sale ended with nearly 80 per cent of lots finding buyers, including what appeared to be a relatively low number of buy-backs, and 18 fetching for R1m or more.
The day’s top lot, named Alexandra Palace, helped longtime local favourite Jet Master to the head of the sires’ aggregate table with 21 lots sold for R15.585m. He was bought by South African, Singapore-based trainer Patrick Shaw, who will send the half-brother to SA Derby runner-up Pavlovich to be trained by Mike de Kock, with a view to heading to the Far East if he proves good enough.
Shaw said: “Horses like him, out of a very good mare, are hard to find. I’ve been very impressed by the sale. It had a different atmosphere from most, and I’ve seen a lot of new people here.”
Star sprinter Rocket Man’s trainer Shaw, who bought two of the first day’s nine million-rand-plus lots, signed for five lots in all, for an aggregate of R7.25m, and helped to reinforce one of the sale’s trends – buying to feed the home market, but with an eye on overseas riches.
European-based buyers, present in decent numbers, were largely conspicuous by their absence from the buyers’ list, but Angus Gold continued to build up his patron Sheikh Hamdan’s presence in the de Kock yard, with future participation in Dubai in mind.
Gold took his total spending to R5m for six lots when paying R1.2m for the Western Winter filly Grasslands, whose sister On Her Toes numbered the Grade 1 Allan Robertson Fillies Championship among her five wins.
Underbidder was UK-based Crispin de Moubray, who commented ruefully: “I found what I thought was the most attractive filly in the sale, and had to give way to Angus Gold. It’s just like being at Newmarket!”
However, de Moubray, who came out in front for his other choice lot on the first day, added: “I still have to be pleased. At least I wasn’t wrong in my judgement.”
De Kock, who trains Saturday’s J&B Met hot favourite Mother Russia, will now have her yearling sister in his yard, after she was sold for R1.4m to Mary Slack, the doyenne of South African racing and breeding, after agent Jehan Malherbe signed the docket.
By Windrush out of the moderate racemare Russian Muse, the filly will fit into the bargain category if her sister justifies stable confidence and short odds in Cape Town’s most famous race, after her Queen’s Plate success a fortnight ago.
Slack said: “She’s very like Mother Russia, but bigger and stronger. I know that people say, ‘If you’ve been to the wedding, why go to the funeral?’ But that’s not my way.
“And just look at her paddock value, whatever she does on the racecourse.”
Malherbe pushed Shaw into second place in the aggregate buyers table, but had to sign for 16 lots for a total of R8.970m to do so.
Not all the overseas involvement had a For Potential Export tag attached. Retired businessman Tom Clarke rolled over some of his earnings from Cape-trained Grade 2 winner Townsend by paying R650,000, on the advice of local agent Jeremy Nelson, for a Jet Master colt whose dam Subyan Dreams was a winner in Britain and finished third in the Washington Singer Stakes.
He will go into training with Justin Snaith, owned in partnership by Clarke, whose best horses in the UK, including Cretan Gift, have been trained by Nick Littmoden, and fellow Cheshire-based owner Peter Foden.
And not all the action among overseas interests came in the on-stage version of the sale ring.
UK-based David Allan, whose Allan Bloodlines has been a prominent syndicate player in South Africa for a number of years, made the most of Thursday’s inaction to secure a Tiger Ridge filly out of a sister to Sheikh Albadou.
Underbidder when the filly failed to make her reserve, Allan stepped in with a compromise offer of R175,000, and rated his purchase a “value for money” investment.
Allan supported the sale organisers’ promotion to overseas potential by arranging a party of a dozen visitors.
Not sold: 25 (18.8%)
Final sale statistics
Not sold: 56 (20.7%)