TALK to the retailers and the racing and casino operators, and they’ll all tell you there are signs of an imminent uptick in economic activity. In the world of racehorses, the outcomes at the recently concluded major sales in America and England were quite astonishing, with increases in the median and average between 30% and 40%. There is a point, it seems, beneath which horsemen with an appreciation for the inherent value of a thoroughbred, will not permit prices to descend.
This Sunday witnesses the 24th renewal of what is today appropriately named the “Field of Dreams”, the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale. Remarkably, for a sale which has averaged fewer than 150 entries, it has posted some landmark achievements particularly in the last decade. I was one of several thousand recent visitors to the pioneering farm, Summerhill’s website again this week, and apart from the many fascinating Ready To Run stories on the blog (blog.summerhill.co.za), I was amazed to scan their Ready To Run roll of honour, or put another way, the endless list of horses that had returned many times their purchase prices. Among them are 18 millionaires, six of them multi-millionaires, and just a handful cost R100,000 or more, proof, if it was needed, that there genuinely is “a horse for everyone at the Ready To Run Sale”.
Besides posting the top South African earners of both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, the Ready To Run has spawned the winners of four Gauteng Guineas in the past three years, Imbongi (2009) and Pierre Jourdan (2010) the Colt’s versions, and Fisani and Igugu the Fillies’.
Speaking to Summerhill’s Mick Goss, he was his usual optimistic self about the interest in the sale. “We’ve been as active as ever in the visitors to the farm, and our website is cooking. Our fellow consignors have decent drafts too, and I’m sure they’ve been busy. It’s certainly the strongest catalogue we’ve seen to date, and I have great faith in the farsightedness and the enterprise of South Africans. They know how this sale has performed, and how difficult it is to get a runner in the other R2 million plus races in the land. You have to be in the top 1% of horses to get a line-up for the Vodacom Durban July, the J&B Met or the Sansui Summer Cup, but for our race, one in seven or eight gets to start, and next year’s event could rival the Met for prize money”.
In the end though, the stakeholders have always said “the Ready To Run is all about fun”. You only have to hear the buzz and see the faces of the connections in the parade ring before they line up for the R2 million prize and the best trophies in the game, to know they got this one right.
The sale takes place at Bloodstock South Africa’s TBA grounds at Gosforth Park from 1400 this Sunday 6th November.
Photo courtesy Leigh Wilson (summerhill.co.za).
For online catalogue, go to www.tba.co.za/catalogue.php?url=2011rtr