South African Bloodstock and Cazador
South African Bloodstock and Cazador

South African Bloodstock Industry

(Image : GeneEngNews/FWP/SAStamp)

“The industry is bigger than all of us.”

There has been any amount of conjecture about the Cape Premier Sale, and the company behind it, Cazador, reminiscent of the times when Chris Smith Bloodstock’s venture into major sales polarized the breeding industry twenty years ago. South Africa cannot afford a revisitation of those days, particularly not in our financial climate, and it’s important that we keep cool heads. The grapevine is a terrifying thing sometimes, and without the facts and the assurances, breeders had legitimate concerns about where sales were going, and in particular, in the wake of last year’s outcomes, what impact the Cape Premier Sale would have on the broader programme.

Summerhill has stayed outside the debate, preferring to keep a balanced counsel on the matter, while encouraging both sides in their attempts to find one another. By “sides”, we mean Cazador and Bloodstock South Africa, the parent body of which we are all members.

It seems there may even have been reservations needing answers within the “big five” camp in Cazador, but on the back of conversations we’ve held in the wake of their meeting on Monday, it would appear that these have been put to rest, and that they’ve all agreed to be part of the party. Among the outcomes is the fact that the shares in Cazador will be held by a trust, the beneficiaries of which would be the South African breeding industry, an admirable enough gesture. In addition, the participation on the board of members beyond the confines of the Western Cape, would be solicited, and to that end, Dr. Ashley Parker and Summerhill’s Mick Goss, were approached.

Summerhill’s position on industry matters is well known. We’ve always adopted the view that the industry is bigger than all of us, and its interests should be served first. What’s good for the breed should be put ahead of all other considerations when it comes to breeding matters, and what’s good for sales should be put on the front burner when it comes to the commercial aspects of our lives. The interests of the broader community can only be served by an even-handed approach to all these things, and both Ashley and our own man have taken the view that joining the Cazador board is a step in the industry’s best interests.

There is a parallel case in Australia, where the major commercial breeders formed a body which ultimately became known as Aushorse, and for some years they operated independently of their own breed society. In the end, the interests of the two bodies have been merged for the betterment of the industry, the one serving the members and the breed, and the other their mutual commercial interests. Whether this is a model for South Africa, remains to be seen, but what we do know about the Australian model, is that it’s enormously successful. What Australia does have though (and which doesn’t apply here), is the benefit of two major rival sales companies, both independent, to stimulate the sales market, which keeps both of them on their toes. That is good for the breeders and good for their customers, and therefore good for Australia.

Bloodstock SA has a proud record in the promotion of its sales, particularly the three it hosts at “home”, yet the regional options in the Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have, for a long time, been rather “iffy” affairs. The Cape Premier Sale last year was a rousing marketing success, and while it may not have brought about every result its promoters would have wished for in its inaugural year, the truth is that it did much for the consciousness of the world when it comes to South Africa, our horses and our marketing capabilities.

There is an opportunity now for Cazador to press on and do its best with the Cape Premier Sale, while Bloodstock SA gives the Ready To Run and the National Sale (its next two biggest assignments,) everything it has.

We live in interesting times, and readers of these columns can be assured, Summerhill will continue to act in the only interests it knows how to serve: those of the industry, and we will work to ensure the preservation of harmony which we’re told, both BSA and Cazador are anxious to achieve.

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