Destiny fulfilled as Dynasty colt sets new National Yearling Sale record
James Thomas reports from day two in Johannesburg
Bloodstock South Africa's National Yearling Sale reached new heights on Wednesday as the select session of the catalogue closed with 19 seven-figure lots and a new auction-record price.
The session got off to a barnstorming start, with five of the first 20 lots fetching seven-figure sums. That quintet were headed by a Dynasty colt named Track Attack who was knocked down to Form Bloodstock's Jehan Malherbe for an auction-record R5.2 million (£299,440/€342,370).
The colt, offered by Varsfontein Stud, is out of the Listed-placed Al Mufti mare Little Indian, whose four winners include the Jet Master colt Yorker, who was named champion older male in 2014 after wins in the Group 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes and President's Champions Challenge.
"The horse will be trained by Dean Kannemeyer for one of his international clients," said Malherbe. "He's a very nice horse, very well-grown and the dam has done it already. I thought he would be one of the sale-toppers so we were prepared to go to that kind of level but obviously one doesn't like spending that sort of money."
National Sale: new top lot as Form Bloodstock’s Jehan Malherbe goes to R5.2 million for a Dynasty colt offered by Varsfontein Stud pic.twitter.com/UoNx7mtXUt— RP Bloodstock (@rpbloodstock) April 25, 2018
The recording-breaking lot was the culmination of a productive morning for Varsfontein Stud, who also sold colts by Captain Al and Silvano for R3.6m and R2.8m (£161,170/€184,340) respectively. Both colts were signed for by World Wide Bloodstock, having been knocked down to Hong Kong-based trainer Tony Millard.
"He was a lovely horse and there was a lot of interest in him, but you just never know," said Varsfontein farm manager Carl de Vos of the sale-topping colt.
"I wasn't expecting anything like that, we hoped he'd make a million but beyond that you don't know how far they can go. It's been a brilliant morning, we sold the two to Tony and now this one. You have to have the right horse by the right sire though."
Malherbe doubles up
Just two lots before the session-topper, Malherbe went to R4.5m to secure another son of Dynasty on behalf of Michael Javett and Mary Slack.
"This colt will make seven figures all day long," announced auctioneer Steve Davis as the well-related youngster entered the ring, and it did not take long for his prediction to be proved correct as the bid board quickly rolled through the millions until Malherbe delivered a decisive nod of the head from the back of the ring.
The Drakenstein Stud-consigned colt is the fifth foal produced by Lady Windermere, a daughter of Western Winter who landed a brace of Group 1s and was named champion three-year-old filly in 2009.
Lady Windermere has produced two minor winners from three runners, with both - Lord Windermere and Fantastic Trip - being by Trippi.
"Dynasty is the best sire in South Africa and the dam was a champion," said Malherbe. "She's not done it as a broodmare yet but I really like this colt and Dynasty might just be what she was looking for.
"Everyone dreams of having a horse good enough to go to stud one day and this horse has a stallion's pedigree, but he has to be a racehorse first so we hope we've got a runner.
"The top end is very strong, the same as everywhere in the world," added Malherbe. "It's been a fantastic sale to date and I think it's exceed everyone's expectations, especially after the Markus Jooste affair. There isn't one man here pulling the strings, it's a very broad buying bench which is very healthy."
Fast start for de Kock
Day two picked up precisely where day one left off, with Mike de Kock signing for the very first lot through the ring, a son of Captain Al, at R2.6m.
Offered by the Birch Brothers from Vogel Vlei Stud, the colt is the third foal of In The Shade, a Fort Wood sister to champion older female stayer Monyela and from the family of champion colt and influential sire Horse Chestnut.
"I like to stick to families I know and this is certainly one of those," said de Kock, before running his finger down the catalogue page as far as the third dam. "I trained Monyela, Cape Badger, Mr Brock, Moon Storm, Horse Chestnut, Cork Wood.
The Captain Al show continues as Mike de Kock goes to R2.6 million for the first lot on day two of the Bloodstock South Africa National Yearling Sale pic.twitter.com/nI17pLNG6t— RP Bloodstock (@rpbloodstock) April 25, 2018
"Captain Al has been a great sire and I think Fort Wood is a fantastic broodmare sire. I'd expect this colt to be a miler, but he should have a lot of speed too, even though there's a bit of stamina in the female line.
"He's an outstanding colt and he comes from a stud that don't overdo their horses so there should be a lot of improvement to come from him."
The positive figures generated by the reformatted select session of the National Yearling Sale will have made for pleasant reading for the almost all concerned, particularly with the auction taking place at a turbulent time for the South African industry.
In total 163 lots sold for turnover of R98.035m (£5,635,765/€6,454,425), an average of R601,440 (£34,590/€39,600) and a median of R350,000 (£20,120/€23,045). The clearance rate stood at 78 per cent.
"Most sales in the world have a select session so we wanted to fall in line with that," said Bloodstock South Africa's Gary Grant. "And because of the size of the sale we wanted to keep momentum up, so if you had seven-figure lot you weren't then followed by one that made the minimum bid. I think that suits the top players too, now they're not having to wait for the last day.
"I think the market has held up very well," he continued. "Last year was characterised by a very brittle market with little depth and vendors really had to be on point when they set their reserves. There's been much more depth these last two days, which is surprising on the back of events in the last few months."
Despite the fall out from the Markus Jooste scandal and Tuesday's news that Barry Irwin would be withdrawing from the South African industry, many on the ground in Johannesburg felt the sale showcased the positive side of the country's racing and breeding industry to maximum effect.
One of the leading players to sing the sales praises was Mike de Kock, who said: "It's been a very good sale. It's fantastic the way the sale has stood up and the positive sentiment is fantastic despite those out there doing their best to create a negative vibe."