THE inaugural GrandWest Yearling Sale is expected to break all previous records set by the auction it replaces – the Cape Summer Yearling Sale.
Considered the Western Cape’s strongest catalogue in two decades, industry experts are pointing to the progeny of Western Winter and Fort Wood as the likely sales topper when bidding gets underway at GrandWest Casino at 7pm this Saturday when yearlings by first and second season sires are showcased.
Progeny by established sires will pass through the Market Hall auction ring from 2pm on Sunday.
Fort Wood, who has produced a host of champions including Horse Chestnut and Dynasty and whose progeny averaged R530 000 at last year’s National Yearling Sale, is represented by two lots on the 239-strong catalogue.
The pick of Fort Wood’s pair on pedigree is filly Diamond Fortress (lot 120) whose dam won six races including the Grade 3 Kenilworth Fillies Nursery and is an own sister to Equus Champion Tara’s Touch. The other Fort Wood filly, Oneuponedown (lot 126), scored high on the conformation rankings and is out of three-time winning Home Guard mare Dream Home.
Last season’s champion sire Western Winter has three chances of topping the sale with Lily Of The Valley (lot 139), Nania (lot 173) and Saint Stephen (lot 194) – all presented by Lammerskraal Stud. Bay colt Saint Stephen is out of dual listed race winner Saintly Soul, who has already produced two winners from just three runners, and is among the favourites to head the sales’ top purchases. Western Winter’s 25 representatives averaged R443 000 at Nationals, second only behind Fort Wood.
An interesting inclusion is Ring Of Destiny (lot 169), the only imported yearling on the sale. The bay colt is by Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner Helissio, a shuttle stallion that produced Australian Champion Helleness.
Jet Master’s progeny continue to bring home the bacon on the racetrack, which should translate into spirited bidding for his eight youngsters.
Wilgerbosdrift can expect Tan Can (lot 85), a chestnut colt by Silvano, to be viewed on numerous occasions by potential buyers. He is a half brother to Corne Spies-trained Sun Screen who has won five races in succession by a combined margin of 32 lengths. Another Silvano yearling expected to attract attention is Girly Hair (lot 27), a half-sister to recent Grade 3 Prix Du Cap victress Golden Shina, trained by Joey Ramsden. Girly Hair is out of Grade 3 winning mare Golden Braids, who also finished a close third behind Donatella in the 1999 Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes.
Graduates from the GrandWest Yearling Sale stand in line to win R4 million in incentives for their owners and breeders in a series of nine races during their two and three-year-old careers. It is the biggest incentive of its kind in South Africa and is generously underwritten by GrandWest Casino And Entertainment World.
Byron Kennedy, BloodStock SA’s marketing manager, is confident that the previous records attained at the Cape Yearling Sale will be comfortably surpassed. “Considering the GrandWest Yearling Sale is an innovative concept housed at a quality venue that has attracted a strong entry, it is difficult to draw comparisons with BSA’s previous efforts in the Western Cape. Suffice to say that we would be extremely disappointed if the previous highs aren’t surpassed.”
He adds: “It’s a sale where there will be something for everybody. The showcase of first and second season sires gives buyers the opportunity to try their hand at finding the next Jet Master or Captain Al before they become more popular and with it more expensive. Then there’s the tried-and-tested National Yearling Sale-type pedigrees that will satisfy the top end of the market.”
Buyers that gave the Cape Yearling Sale a bye in 2004 will have passed up the opportunity of buying high-class fillies Alexandra Rose and Starlit at bargain prices of R30 000 and R40 000 respectively. Both three-year-olds have earned R432 000 and R392 000 respectively and seemingly poised to add significantly to that tally at this relatively early stage of their careers.
Top Gun is the highest priced yearling to be sold at the Cape Yearling Sale at R325 000 in 2000, the same year that the aggregate topped R6,72 million.