A Beginners Guide to Horse Sales

There are several opportunities throughout the year to get involved in purchasing horses to race in South Africa. 

When it comes to the various yearling sales, these are horses that are a year old, there is always extra excitement given the elements of the unknowns. 

Hours can be spent poring over the sales catalogue, this is a book filled with the family history and pedigree of each horse on the sale, and there will be numerous inspections where factors like how a horse stands, walks and trots up are considered. There will be vet checks and final notes before a decision starts.

And then electricity fills the air as the first lot makes its way into the sales ring and things get under way with the bidding process. There is always an element of the unknown. Buying horses is not an exact science, there’s risk involved but there can also be great reward. 

For those new to horseracing and the process involved it can be daunting. What do the terms on the pages of the catalogue mean? We’ve broken some of them down to give you a better understanding of how it all works. 

Ok so here goes. Follow the numbers on the left side of the image below and we’ll break it down for you.

Sales Guide

1 –  This is an easy one, this is the name of the horse being offered for sale. Sometimes a horse does not yet have a name by the time it is put up on auction which means some fun for the new owners in trying to come up with something clever.

2 – This is information that details the colour and sex of the horse, it also tells us that this is the fourth foal out of this mare and includes the foaling date. The foaling date isn’t the horse’s birthday though, all horses in the Southern Hemisphere turn a year older on 1 August, when the new racing season starts.

3 – This is a sibling of the horse being offered for sale. In this case, the horse Puget Sound is a full brother (you will notice that Sail From Seattle is in the brackets to indicate the sire) and this is identical to the breeding of Che Bella, the horse listed on the pages.

4 – The reference to the second dam is, to simplify things, the grandmother of the horse on sale.

5 – This would then refer to the great-grandmother. On this particular page there is a lot of bold, black type out of the third dam. In sales speak, this means that the family has a history of star performers with bold black type indicating success in any race that is afforded listed status and upwards to Group One races. 

The family tree is there to see at the top of the page. It starts on the left side with the horse on offer and works backwards through the generations. 

 Images below courtesy of Thoroughbred Breeders Association of South Africa

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