A half-brother to Jay Peg topped the Cape Town yearling salePICTURE: Singapore Turf Club
Clearance rate the only blip at new SA auction
CAPE TOWN's inaugural premier yearling sale ended its opening day with nine one-million-rand or more purchases, a top price of R2.5 million (£221,581/€256,271) for a half-brother to South Africa's record money-earner Jay Peg, and a below-expectations clearance rate of 68 per cent, from 105 lots out of 150 originally catalogued.
Session-topper One Sunday Morning, whose half-brother helped to put South Africa on the world horseracing map by winning the Dubai Duty Free and Singapore International Cup from Herman Brown's Dubai base, has reintroduced Ebrahim Khan to the ranks of owners.
Khan's colours were carried to Group 1 success by such as Elusive Fort, who is back in South Africa after a spell in the States, but have been missing for a number of years.
However, furniture magnate Khan bounced back at the top, after a sustained duel for the pick of a strong contingent from Klawervlei Stud, the Western Cape's leading breeders and stallion masters, whose directors, including Marcus Jooste, Bernard Kantor and MD John Koster, have been prime movers behind the sale.
One Sunday Morning, a son of champion sire Jet Master, is expected to join Khan's longtime trainer Geoff Woodruff, along with two other purchases, including a sister to Saturday's J&B Met contender Rushing Wind, bought for R1.5m.
The million-rand barrier was broken for the first time when Lot 14, a Western Winter colt appropriately named Epic Tale, took to the lofty stage.
The fifth foal of SAFillies' Guineas runner-up Classique Story left to a bid of R1.050m from leading trainer Mike Bass, and a round of applause from around 2,000 people gathered for the evening in the innovative, city-centre convention hall venue.
The first major South African sale held outside Johannesburg has been put together by Bloodstock South Africa, the promotional arm of the national Thoroughbred Breeders Association, with primary assistance from Klawervlei Stud.
The indoor, waterfront venue, where lots paraded above a shirt-sleeved crowd seated round wine- and snack-filled tables, made for a spectacular occasion, whose importance to the region was emphasised by its pre-start rendition of Special Star and the national anthem by top recording artist Claire Johnston and the official opening by Western Cape premier Helen Zille.
Location and timing were deliberate, playing on the combination of South Africa's internationally-favourable racing costs and Cape Town's peak tourist season as the lure for overseas interests.
Visitors from a dozen countries have answered the call, but those with local interests made the most prominent running on the first day of two.
Angus Gold, bidding for Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell South Africa division, made four purchases, who will go into training with Mike de Kock's yard with the aim of proving good enough to take to Dubai.
Top price among the batch was R1.7m for Lord Windsor, a Silvano third foal out of a winner and sister to Group 1 winner Lady Brompton.
Gold said: "He's an attractive, classy little horse whose sire is doing very well at stud in South Africa.
"Mike de Kock said he's a dead ringer for his good horse Bold Silvano, and that's the sort of horse we're looking to buy for Sheikh Hamdan - able to race in South Africa and then if they're good enough, to go to Dubai for the Carnival.
"By international standards, horses here are good value, so the idea makes sense."
The project has made a quick start, with Zanzamar opening the Sheikh Hamdan-de Kock combination's account in the UAE 2,000Guineas trial earlier this month.
Gold also paid R900,000 for Deux Fabuleax, a colt by Prix de l'Abbaye winner Var out of a sister to the J&B Met winner La Fabulous, and R500,000 for Klawervlei's son of new US import Trippi, named In Eighty Days.
De Kock will also take charge of four horses whose eventual destination could be Singapore, after their purchase by South African Patrick Shaw, whose training career in the Far East has been highlighted by the efforts of top sprinter Rocket Man.
Shaw's top purchase was Tequila Sunrise, a Captain Al colt out of a sister to Group 1 winner Talahatchie, who cost R2m. He and the rest of the batch will race for de Kock, and if good enough, will head for Singapore.
Trippi, sire of Queen Mary Stakes winner Jealous Again, is expected to make a name for himself after his importation in 2008, and Blandford Bloodstock partner Tom Goff was delighted to buy his daughter To The Light for R300,000 among four purchases for his longtime local patrons the Beck family.
Top price in the Goff group was R500,000 for a Dylan Thomas filly from the family of Daggers Drawn and Count Dubois.
Crispin de Moubray was also on the mark for overseas buyers, signing the ticket at R600,000 on behalf of Main Chance Farm owner Andreas Jacobs for a Captain Al filly out of Cry For the Lion, dam of Summer Cup winner Aslan, who will race in South Africa.
De Moubray said: "For the equivalent of about €62,000, to buy a half-sister to a Group 1 winner and sister to a Group-placed horse is extremely good value.
"The quality of horses in the sale is pretty high, and I've seen a dozenlots that would be eligible for a premier sale in Europe. You have to remember that this is the equivalent of a June sale in England, so the horses are incredibly mature."
Not sold: 32 (32%)