If you’re in the sales business, the one thing you need to convince customers to come back is a big horse first time around. There are few people in the sport of horseracing these days who don’t know Brian Burnard, better known as “Buffalo Bill”, who was christened that way after his buying debut at the inaugural Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run at Summerhill. There was no mucking about that day for “Buff” though, green as he was when he took on the lofty likes of Alesh Naidoo and the late, intrepid Glanville Gardner for the right to own a burly chestnut son of Kahal out of the East Cape Horse of the Year, Coastal Waltz.
It’s inevitable really, and it just lends credence to the old belief in racing that when you lose a stallion, you can bet he’s on his way to stardom. That looks very much like the story of Await The Dawn, who was tragically lost in a freak accident halfway through his second season at Summerhill.
Like anything worth savouring, it pays to sometimes keep your best for last; this applies to racehorse sales as much as it does to dessert. If it were otherwise, the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale would not have arrived at its status as one of the world’s fastest growing Thoroughbred vendues in the first dozen years of the new millennium.
The standard-setters among European sires are without question Galileo and Dubawi. As well as posting phenomenally high ratios of black-type winners and group or graded winners, both sires clearly demonstrate their sire power by upgrading their mares. Upgrading mares that are already good is no small achievement.
We all know things are tight, tighter than they’ve been in a very long time. And if it weren’t for the expectation of the normalisation of our export protocols in the reasonably near future, the breeding landscape would be a bleak place indeed. With that in mind, we’ve spent a good deal of time pleading the case of broodmare owners across the board with our stallion principals, and they’re not only sympathetic but they’re as determined as we are to play their part in contributing towards the future viability of our customers’ operations.
Let’s face it, it was tough going at the National Yearling Sale, more so on the third day. There were those who complained that the market could not take more than 600 horses in a matter of a fortnight, and there was probably some truth in it. Others complained about the sale being sandwiched between an extra-long weekend and a big race meeting, and there may be a modicum of validity there as well.
You’d expect it of a farm that has been at the head of the nation’s breeding affairs for most of the new millennium, yet it would be remiss of Summerhill if it didn’t share its faith in the horses it’s just sent to Jo’burg.
Well, at least something is rising! The past fortnight has felt a little like Armageddon, though South Africans can hardly say it’s unique; this country of ours has come back from the brink so many times, it’s almost as if political events are sent to test us.