Sales legwork in a festival atmosphere with a winner in between- Turf Talk: 23 January 2017
DEADLINES sometimes create themselves. Columns have been written not so much to fit a deadline but in “gaps” forced into busy sales schedules. For example, one of the four selling days at Tattersalls Foals ran over 12 hours and others 11 point something. That massive sale was sandwiched in between Goffs week of foals and breeding stock and Tattersalls own Mares and Fil-lies Sale that started at 0930 on the Monday follow-ing the Saturday afternoon finish of Foals.
In Cape Town this weekend, the sale to which I regularly refer as a logistical masterpiece occupied Saturday and Sunday evenings. The “gap” between those two sessions is enormous. A catalogue of 237 horses would be sold in a day in Europe or USA, even in elite sales or those into which previous elite sales have morphed. But the Cape Premier Yearling Sale is a unique Festival, increasingly international, with extraordinarily generous hospitality and space created for visitors from northern climes to grab some sun or head for Camps Bay for lunch. Regulars and locals can chill for a few hours on Sunday.
I saw every horse in the sale by 3.30 pm on Thursday, covering approximately 12 kilometres walking in so doing and there has been little time for chilling. Right now, I am writing before (admittedly) sneaking off for Sunday Lunch.
On Saturday, we went racing. And we had a winner which always lifts the spirits.
Hintlesham Racing is the vehicle that we use for inviting others to participate in racing with us. Sometimes partnerships are formed in the conven-tional manner, buying into a horse and paying fixed costs. Or, as with yesterday’s winning team, part-ners pay nothing up front and come in for the racing career, also paying a fixed sum and of course shar-ing winnings pro rata with important cost controls.
In the latter case – based on four fillies – we do not ask people to start paying at the yearling stage with a yawning gap until anything happens. We develop and pre-train the horses ourselves so that the costs for partners do not kick until in full training. If a filly has a problem, we take her out and reduce partners’ costs pending a replacement. Fortunately that has only happened once in the current case but the partners were not asked to shoulder her costs when unable to be trained, irrespective of a fixed period. If a filly needs a spell out of training in the winter growing phase, the costs go down.
The other three in this present group have all won. Yay!! Initially a 3 year old filly SECRET PLAN (a Cape Premier Yearling Sales graduate) flew the flag, winning almost as soon as the present group had started and placing three times. With her job done and limits probably reached, she was withdrawn from the cost base.
Then our ORACY filly, a big attractive girl from a staying family ostensibly needing time stepped up and won her maiden. She (GLENNIE) was well prepared by Vaughan Marshall to surprise us slightly by winning at 1200 metres but is now waiting for ease in the ground and longer trips. I sold, as consultant, ORACY himself to a place where – like many – two-year-old year old racing does not really feature, believing that he would have a good chance siring non-precocious types wanting a trip. Like GLENNIE. Her half-sister CHICK WITH STICK will join the team next month.
And yesterday a real-pretty HORSE CHESTNUT filly named BUSHY PARK (not for the PE district but for the amazing avenue of horse chestnut trees in that park, adjacent to Hampton Court Palace) reproduced her progressive form of two races ago and made all the running to stretch home by a comfortable three quarters of a length. The combination of MJ Byleveld and Vaughan Marshall got that job done “spot on”. A nice filly who fiddles around in anticipation of running but sticks her neck out when it counts.
On course were partners Johan Blom and Marie Chin representing International Racehorse Maga-zine with whom we do business and pleasure. They brought friends which is EXACTLY what we advo-cate as an important way to “spread the word” in a nation that is largely apathetic towards horse racing.
The public is rarely urged to participate on the basis of joyous moments training and racing a nearly 500kg athlete who usually tries his or her heart out for you and deserves a proper pat on the neck, win lose or draw. Our team on course broke the sound barrier as BUSHY PARK and MJ got down in the drive and made sure to repel any boarders be-hind.
Three others were watching on Live Streaming TV: one in England, one in France and one in Ireland. WhatsApp and SMS fizzed with delight. Many Thumbs Up and Applause emojis!
Then back across town we went to CTICC to see if we could buy for clients something as good as or better than these, whether for a few hundred thousand or a couple of million, depending on the client.
Never a dull moment. – tt