Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run Sale
(Photo : Gareth du Plessis)
“ALL OF THAT… AND A BIT MORE”
A year (and a change of scene) is an awfully long time in the horse business. In February last year, we took our first major consignment of “second stringers” to the Shongweni Horses-In-Training Sale, where ours were supposed to make up a separate feature of Ready To Run items. They got lost, plain and simple, and they averaged a miserable R18,000, or thereabouts. So we immediately hatched a plan to fall back on the home defences, turn the sale into a unique occasion, and host it in our School Of Excellence. Voila! The Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run was born with a bang, and reminded us all how much fun this game can be.
Remembering that this sale is made up of just about everything that’s left on the farm, representing an opportunity for everyone from polo players to serious horsemen, and includes those horses that were unwanted at previous auctions, the late maturers, the little ones, the injured, and those the good Lord had endowed with less than perfect engineering, the outcome was amazing. The average was up more than 350%, weighing in at just about R70,000, and while there will always be a few that didn’t make the money you might’ve expected, in broad terms, it was a raging success.
It was evident pretty early on in the day, when the smart cars started to pitch up, that we’d not only under-catered, but there was going to be more money than we originally thought. Remembering, the story about the loaves and the fishes, the catering problem was soon in hand, while racing fans had obviously read their catalogues, watched the DVD, and they knew there were some horses here. They also trusted their own instincts where the specimens were not flawless, looking to the gallops rather, for clues on the future. They know that Pierre Jourdan, Emperor Napoleon, Amphitheatre, Hear The Drums, Black Wing and Imperial Despatch, among the many stars bought off the farm, might not have been perfect in the way they were made, but they were all of that and sometimes a little better, when they hit the races.
The sale was notable for its revelations: a new “white knight”, Brian Burnard, blew in from the North Coast, toting a number of activities on his C.V, including the raising of a herd of “disease free” buffalo. Lasoo in hand, Gavin van Zyl pitched up with him, and at the pre-sale dinner on the Tuesday evening, Burnard announced he was “going wide” the next day, much as the Blue Bulls coach has often been heard to say about his charges.
Well, “wide” he went, to the degree that people like Alec Laird, who arrived at the sale with a fistful of money, bid almost a million Rand on the day and left empty-handed. Wally Brits and Roy Magner, while striking in the lower echelons, were unable to make an impression at the top, taking on variously “Buffalo Bill” and Keith Young, while Alesh Naidoo, indomitable as always, had to bow his head in the end for the big ones.
For a sale that took little more than R600,000 last year, to make more than R3 million this time, we’d have to say, “eish”. The venue was exceptional, as good as anything anywhere in the world, and it was set off by one of those days in the Midlands that make us remember how lucky we are to live here. Toss in the attendance of one of the nation’s top chefs, and Jackie Cameron and her team where always going to deliver. By the time the sun went down, there was obviously much to celebrate; the news this morning is that the party at Hartford House almost saw the sun come back.
Top 5 Lots :
Wishful To Reality
Reap The Rewards