TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, South Africa
TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, South Africa

TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, South Africa

(Photo : Heather Morkel)


15 - 17 April 2011

Mike Moon
Mike Moon

Mike Moon

The TimesIf you want to see very rich people splurging shedloads of money on luxury goods, head east of Joburg this weekend.

We’re not talking about the East Rand Mall on Saturday arvie, but something rather more rarefied.

Wallet-enhanced individuals will gather to raise their hands in willing and sacramental forfeiture of millions and millions of bucks. In return, they get a smelly horse or two. More important, they get a dream.

It’s a dream of glory, a dream of these horses carrying colours to victory, with the adulation and envy of multitudes raining like manna upon the clever clogs what bought ‘em. There by Germiston.

That’s where the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale starts this afternoon.

No one knows how market winds will blow at the country’s premier thoroughbred sale.

Racehorse sales in South Africa have done comparatively well in the teeth of the recession gale of recent years. This is partly due to overseas interest in South African-bred horses because of their international successes. And there’s been the strong rand, and other factors.

But it’s feared that this year’s sale will be down.

One concern is that the new Cape Yearling Sale earlier in the year drew considerable fire from the local racing industry’s buying arsenal.

The Cape sale averaged R404,000 a horse, whereas last year’s Germiston sale had a R324,500 mean.

Of course, a drop in prices is good for buyers - aka racehorse owners. And I hear it being said that vendors - aka thoroughbred breeders - have been in clover for years and must now just grin and bear it.

One thing is certain: mega money will still be spent. These are theoretically the best 600 yearlings in the country - hand-picked for looks and pedigree.

Will the sale record of R4million for a yearling be broken? Will we match the 22 lots of R1million-plus achieved in 2010?

South Africa’s big spenders - such as Markus Jooste, Hassan Adams and Marsh Shirtliff - will rub shoulders with Barry Irwin, of America’s Team Valor, and advisors to the Arab sheiks. None of them come for East Rand scenery.

But the real stars of the show won’t be there at all.

Stallions and broodmares, on whose reputations fortunes are spent, stay in a rural idyll far from the machine-gun patter of auctioneers and the cauldron of excited bidding.

Topping the bill is champion sire Jet Master, with 44 foals catalogued.

But his supremacy is challenged by the likes of Trippi, reckoned to be the most valuable stallion in South Africa now because of recent stellar performances of his progeny in the US, where he stood as a sire before being snapped up by the Western Cape’s Drakenstein Stud.

The sale is at the TBA sales complex at Gosforth Park. Today, 250 lots will be sold from 1pm. Tomorrow’s shorter session starts at 5pm, and Sunday’s extended one at 10am.

Extract from The Times

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