BLOODSTOCK SA’s CEO, Tom Callaghan, reviews 2012, a year in breeding, and looks ahead at 2013.
He writes: Keeping in mind we are not through the worst of the global economic downturn, and South Africa has been beset by all sorts of challenges this year, the love of the horse, the love of the game of horse racing, and the passion and commitment of some devoted horsemen and racing lovers has ensured that we have had an excellent year as a sales company.
We celebrated our 92nd year in existence as the TBA this year, and I am sure that it has never been tougher to exist as a breeder, trainer, or buyer for that matter, with rising costs, tough economic conditions and a raft of other challenges. But you carry on regardless, and that shows the true character of all of you, and I have to say makes me rather proudly South African, and extremely proud to be part of this business.
2012 has been a year of significant change and progress for the TBA, with staff changes, Council changes and a positive attitude change which all of you are benefitting from.
We have run record breaking sales that have shown that our market can be stimulated with the right bloodstock and marketing offer – the Suncoast Casino KZN Yearling Sale nearly doubled in revenue, whilst the Emperors Palace Ready to Run Sale showed a 29% average price increase. This is in line with the uptick in the market in recent sales overseas which bodes very well for the sport of horse racing locally. Don’t forget our flagship sale the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale held its own in extremely tough trading conditions, whilst our National 2 year old sale showed an average price increase of nearly 20%.
As you have experienced this year the pay-outs to studs have improved considerably and our collection performance is set to improve even further in 2013. I must thank the whole TBA team for pulling together in what has been a tough year to help us raise the bar in the running of your association.
What 2013 holds in store:
You will find a motivated, streamlined team who are long standing servants of the TBA offering you better service than ever before – we are passionate about what we do and being part of the future TBA success, and will continue to step up our service levels and productivity.
We will look at ways to increase our revenue, and to grow our market through a greater effort to get new owners and buyers into the sport. This involves a collaborative marketing programme with all racing bodies as we try and market the sport of horse racing better.
We will market our sales and bloodstock to the local market and try and encourage new buyers to our sales, as well as target specific overseas markets as they open up to us post May.
We will continue to improve our upfront credit control and collections and pay-outs to breeders. I am aiming for 35 days payment and hope that our buyers can help us achieve this.
We are looking at setting up a Breeders Conference as part of enhancing our Breed Affairs offering to the industry, but once again we need to run profitable sales so that we can invest into industry initiatives such as this.
It was proved this year that “the right horse at the right sale” strategy really works, with some excellent results at the KZN Yearling Sale, the National 2 year old Sale and of course the Ready to Run Sale.
After some excellent weanling sales in 2012 we want to try and build on this success and stimulate the weanling and mare market at our regional sales, and encourage all pinhookers to support these sales. We would also like to encourage Horses In Training and Fillies for Stud entries at the regional mixed sales, as well as at the National 2 year old sale.
We are giving our Value Added Stakes programme a facelift as we try to incentivise buyers and breeders on a wider scale. Details of this to follow in the New Year.
We have had to increase our contributions to Racing SA from R1m to R1.7m as they ramp up their efforts to change our export protocols. This is the key to unlocking growth in our industry and hence we are funding them in this fashion. Imagine the day we can export horses freely to the world, race internationally on a fair basis, and enjoy other benefits such as shuttle stallions and being able to import bloodlines into the country easily. This is our holy grail and we have to crack the code at all costs.
All stakeholders have committed to increase their spending and their efforts to help Racing SA achieve their goals of exporting horses by mid- year 2013. Every horse you sell through our sale ring helps fund this cause and we need all the help we can get.
Our entries for NYS 2013 have been excellent so far, thank you very much for your support with what looks on paper to be a record sale. John Kramer and Kerry Jack will be inspecting yearlings mid- January, and the selection panel will sit as soon as they are done so that we can give you feedback as early as possible. Kerry forms part of our succession planning for John and he will be passing on his invaluable experience to her over the next couple of years.
Please note our late entries for Nationals close on February 1st.
I just wanted to extend a personal thank you to all you loyal breeders who continue to support us with bloodstock, and to all our buyers who have made this year so successful for us. I have enjoyed meeting you all and working with you, and cherish some of the friends I have made so far, and the great racing moments I have experienced up close and personal.
I am a perfectionist and passionate about what I do, and am on a mission to continue the TBA’s legacy, and to ensure we are around for another 100 years.
My prediction for the New Year is that we are in for a special year – we will start exporting horses with relaxed protocols and Mike De Kock, the Great South African Racing Ambassador, is going to clean up in Dubai with some of the great horses in his string over there. We are going to have one of the best years ever which build on the strong sales we have had this year, and we will see a lot more foreign buyers starting to buy at our sales as our market uptick continues.
It would be remiss of me not to thank our sponsors Emperors Palace, led by Bob Yearham, they provide excellent accommodation for our out of town buyers and make a trip to Gauteng a lot more fun.
With warmest regards from the team at the TBA – Happy Racing over the Sizzling Summer Season!
Please note the TBA offices will be closed from Tuesday18th December to Wednesday 2nd January.
All staff will be contactable should you need any assistance.