The biggest Sale of its type in the world – Turf Talk: 24 October 2016

Some consignments at the Horses in Training Sale are still ridden in the pre-parade as evening closes in.

Some consignments at the Horses in Training Sale are still ridden in the pre-parade as evening closes in.

THE UK and Irish Yearling Sales season has ended except for a couple of smaller events. Several thousand have gone through the ring. The next intensive series of sales running one into the other will be the Foal and Mare/Filly Sales at Goffs and Tattersalls, mid-November/early December.

Sandwiched in between (a doorstop of a huge sandwich), starting today when you read this, is Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale, the largest such sale in the world attended by something like 35 nationalities or their UK representatives on their behalf.

1,515 Lots are catalogued to sell Monday to Thursday. Richard Hannon offers 77; Ballydoyle 31; Juddmonte drawn from various trainers 39; Mark Johnston and William Haggas each about 45;and Shadwell 60 amongst 180 individual consigners.

Selling starts every day at 0930 with inspections carrying on continuously with much rushing back to the ring. On the first day there are 412 lots which might take 14-16 hours to sell.

But they won?t. 120 of Monday?s are already withdrawn. There will be more. Thus only 10 or 11 hours per day of selling – not unusual. Withdrawals on other days are building.

Why? Let?s first look at the impact.

The research in this catalogue is more arduous than most – watching replays of dozens races, interpreting all the form and suitability for various surfaces in various countries, grading and provisionally  budgeting – before getting to inspecting (walking and trotting) on the sale ground and updating the analysis before crucial vettings.

As readers of this column will know, you only go into the ring when you need to be there. Owners at home and abroad rarely attend, so busy are their professionals, but if they do it is for a visit during the hectic week.

So why so many withdrawals? How can all that work be put at a 30% risk of waste? Why must we watch the Withdrawals List on-line day by day, hour by hour? A support staff helps!

In UK and Ireland, yearlings are entered in July for the September/October Sales. May/June will havebeen seen visits to studs by sales company executives, all bloodstock experts consulting and competing.

Thereafter, not before, you choose your sale and often your day without paying anything until a deduction from sales proceeds. Thereafter there is nothing to stand in the way of the great majority appearing at the designated sale.

With Horses in Training, entries are made in early August, earlier in relation to a sale starting on 24th October, because the cataloguing is so complex: arranged by consigner, placing on days and times largely determined by their longevity at Tatts.

Within a consignment there are separations. A big outfit offering (say) 60 horses can sell 3×20 consecutive lots through the ring having dozens of staff, but many need them broken down into smaller groups. Grading comes into it across each group and the whole sale. It is a monumental task.

The turf season continues full on until after the sale.

Many entries are made “in case of need”. Owners and managers may take up the option or decide to keep based on performances. Tattersalls, therefore, can plan selling days and movements for 30% withdrawals or more.

In the actual market place, perhaps the most interesting equation at stronger levels is where three distinct buyer categories compete for the same horse: for going jumping where there is no shortage of sporting money, for going to Australia for their Cup races or for the Dubai Carnival.

Not long ago 11 of the first 14 home in the Melbourne Cup were bred in UK or Ireland. Broadly, they want a UK 3 year old that stays a mile and a quarter and is rated in the 90s or better with improvement in him.

The same horse if a robust sort will attract six figures for going hurdling, less for lower ratings. The perfect demonstration of this dual-purpose interest was the more highly rated Purple Moon topping the sale.

Bought for 440,000 guineas initially to go hurdling, he won then returned to the flat winning the historic Ebor at York, ran 2nd in the Melbourne Cup and ran well around the world.

Prices start at 800 guineas (R15,000 now, 19,000 not long ago). The top is the top but the overall median is around 12,000 guineas (R220k). For that price last year, JET SETTING was bought from the Hannon consignment. She then beat the superb MINDING in the Irish Guineas and sold soon afterwards at Goffs London for £1,300,000 or around R8 million now, closer to 10 million then.

Allan Bloodlines has bought here over the years for Ireland, Japan, Dubai, Czech Republic, Russia and for long-term Kazakh clients who race in Germany and Czech as well as at home where “we” hold every track record. This year, for Russia, Kazakhstan and perhaps for Sri Lanka.

Our few buys here for South Africa have won but South African buyers for Horses in Training are largely in their shell. However….this is the place to buy something to try to win the Met – and we can avoid the Aussie and jumping competition! – tt.

Kazakh Champion with Allan Bloodlines origin.

Kazakh Champion with Allan Bloodlines origin.