By Sarah Whitelaw
A Giant's Causeway filly shared the top price paid during the first day of the 2014 Cape Premier yearling sale that ended with an aggregate of 45,975,000 rands (US$4,200,510). The average after the first day of Cape Town, South Africa's boutique yearling sale, was a healthy 489,096 rands ($44,686).
The two-day sale is hosted by Cape Thoroughbred Sales and is in its fourth year. However the 2014 sale had a different angle from previous years, with graduates potentially in line for a rich pay-off.
The yearlings purchased at this sale, as well as CTS's March yearling sale, will all automatically qualify for (after buyers buy in at 5,000 rands per horse) for the first $1 million race ever run in South Africa. This race, open only to these aforementioned sales graduates, will be run over 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs) in 2016.
A quality, but small, catalog of 202 horses was offered originally for the 2014 Cape Premier Sale, and the total of yearlings offered fell to 187 following 15 last minute withdrawals.
Just two horses failed to reach their reserve on day one, with most breeders seemingly setting more realistic prices than in previous years.
Two yearlings—the Giant's Causeway filly named Song of Happiness and a colt named Zud Wes—each made 3.2 million rands ($292,368) on day one, to jointly top the first session of trading.
Few fillies sported a more fashionable pedigree in the catalog than Song of Happiness, who was consigned by Gaynor Rupert's Drakenstein Stud. By Giant's Causeway (whose South African-based offspring include the group I winner Our Giant), the bay is out of former South African champion Captain's Lover. The latter won the group I Cape Fillies Guineas and added international wins to her resume by landing France's group III Prix du Pin and the Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Song of Happiness, consigned on behalf of Rupert and Team Valor International and was purchased by Grant Pritchard-Gordon, has clearly plenty of potential paddock value to match future racing credentials. According to Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin, Captain's Lover was purchased for $27,000 and is one of 15 broodmares in South Africa for Team Valor, which markets most of their produce.
There was plenty of pre-sale interest in lot 28, a colt who looked a dead ringer for his sire, the former champion—and recently deceased—stallion Western Winter. Consigned by the Robertson-based Maine Chance Farms and owned by Dr. Andreas Jacobs, the colt is the second foal produced by former group I South African Fillies Classic winner Zaitoon (by Count Dubois). The dark brown colt was knocked to leading owner Marsh Shirtliff, whose colors have previously been carried by champions Pocket Power and Jay Peg. The colt, who hails from the same family as North American champions Chief's Crown and Winning Colors, has been named Zud Wes.
Nine yearlings fetched more than 1 million rands on the first day of the sale, including a Distorted Humor filly, which was sold to leading trainer Gavin Van Zyl for 2.75 million rands ($251,254).
CTS's Adrian Todd was delighted with the way the sale had unfolded on the first of the two-day event.
Following the day's conclusion, Todd admitted to being, "ecstatic with the sale. We are hoping to continue with the sale's great result tomorrow, but already last year's sale top lot (3.2 million rands) has been equalled by two lots. The 2014 sale could not have gotten off to a better start, and long may the success continue."