FROM the Melbourne Premier Yearling sales at the end of February to last Saturday’s Newmarket Handicap meeting at Flemington, South Africans were making headlines in Australia’s racing and sporting capital, Melbourne, writes STEVE MORAN.
There is little doubt that Inglis would not have achieved a rise in gross and average again if it was not for the presence of trainers and agents from South Africa, while ex-pat jockey Glyn Schofield celebrated arguably the most significant win of his career aboard Hay List in the $1-million Newmarket Handicap. The Inglis sale in Melbourne recorded a third-straight rise in the average price following the 2008 global financial crisis, which no other major yearling auction has managed.
The 440 lots made Aus$31.9 million, which was a slight jump on the $30.7 million spent on 11 fewer yearlings last year. The median price of $60,000 was up 4.34%, which was also an increase for the third-straight year. Inglis was well pleased with the results in times that are still less than economically buoyant, and delighted with the support from many South Africans who have been actively courted in recent years. I’d be surprised if they won’t pick up your travel tab if you fancy coming next year!
Significantly, it was not just the 29 yearlings sold for $2.57 million to South Africa. The top end was stimulated as the 29 were bought at an average price of $88,655 – 23.75% above the select sale average. “I was concerned how the exchange rates might affect the South Africans but they were significant buyers and were under bidders on several of the high-priced lots, so it was very pleasing,’’ said Inglis director Peter Heagney.
Mike de Kock has relished training a previous Melbourne graduate, Igugu, but this was his first visit to the Melbourne Sales and he was active along with Jehan Malherbe (Form Bloodstock), Igugu’s purchaser Mick Goss (Livestock Traders – Summerhill), Andy Williams (World Wide Bloodstock), Markus Jooste’s Mayfair Speculators and Paul Guy, Heritage Bloodstock. “It was a great experience,’’ De Kock said. “Inglis are a very professional outfit. You won’t find a better-run sale than this one. Things just haven’t worked out time-wise for me to get here in the past but it’s always been in the diary, especially after Igugu was picked up quite cheaply.
“You could say now that the South African racing team is full of Aussies, a bit like the England cricket team being full of South Africans. We’ve had plenty of success with Australian-breds. You can buy a decent horse in Melbourne and they’re not going for ridiculous prices.’’ De Kock’s previous visit to Melbourne was with Greys Inn, who failed in the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup of 2005. “I’m keen to come back again with the right horse. Obviously we need the quarantine protocols to open up, which would allow me to do that and allow a horse like Igugu to strut the world stage. The restrictions on us are based on paranoia. African horse sickness is not a contagious disease and we take every measure to see it doesn’t happen,’’ he said. – from The Citizen’s Racing Express.