Average Surges at Cape Town Yearling Sale

Average improved nearly 25% on the first day of the Cape Premier Yearling Sale.

By Sarah Whitelaw

During a day of high prices that helped lift average, a son of successful South African sire Silvano topped the opening session of the 2013 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, the first sale of the year in South Africa.

The good prices reflected a catalog that contained numerous high quality and fashionable pedigrees. Yearlings by proven stallions continued to be in great demand.

The sale grossed R51,740,000 (US$5,843,091) for the first session up 3.5% compared with last year's first day total of R50,000,000 ($5,646,590). Average increased 24.5% to R507,255 ($57,285).

Nine yearlings sold for R1,000,000 ($112,932) or more and two colts surpassed R3,000,000 ($338,795).

The day's proceedings got off to a flying start when the first lot, a Western Winter colt consigned by Lammerskraal Stud fetched R1.5 million ($169,398). The colt, named Brutal Force, was knocked down to South Africa's leading owner Markus Jooste, who campaigns Horse of the Year Variety Club.

The session's top-priced yearling came early on, when lot 27 caught the eye of leading trainer Mike Azzie. Azzie was taken with the good-looking colt consigned by Maine Chance Farms, named Racing Free, and advised client Adriaan Van Vuuren to buy him. However, Van Vuuren had to go to R3.25 million ($367,029) to obtain Racing Free, who is a full brother to the classy sprinter Romantic Moon.

"He has the look of eagles about him," Azzie said. "Racing Free is deep girthed, with a terrific walk, and has the wow factor about him. He took my breath away."

A daughter of Trippi (lot 12) was the top-priced female on the first day. Consigned by Klawervlei, the filly was purchased by Form Bloodstock for R2.7 million ($304,916). She is out of a Fort Wood half sister to UAE Derby (UAE-II) winner and leading South African sire Victory Moon (Al Mufti).

A number of international buyers were active, including Ed Dunlop, Grant Pritchard-Gordon, Kip Elser, Peter Doyle, and Shadwell Stables buying at least one horse apiece. Kirkwood Stables' Kip Elser purchased lot 84, a colt named Malta Rocks from the first crop of former South African group I winner Seventh Rock (Rock of Gibraltar) out of the group I-placed mare Valeta (Var).

Elser found the market in South Africa to be following general trends.

"The sale seems strong," Elser said. "The interim averages are up. In South Africa it is the same story as throughout the world. The racehorse is an international commodity, and as the supply has shrunk, demand has risen."

Form Bloodstock's Jehan Malherbe was among the day's active buyers. Malherbe purchased three lots, including a Dynasty colt for R3,000,000 and the Trippi filly.

"It was a very strong sale, and the top horses produced top prices," Malherbe said. "The right horses continue to make money. The South African market reflects current world trends."

The sale continues at 5:30 local time Friday, Jan. 25.