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Thoroughbred Sales, how does it all go down?

The Cape Thoroughbred Sales (CTS) and Bloodstock South Africa (BSA) had around 1200 new yearlings (18month old, turning 2 on the 1st August) that were sold between January to April 2018. All horses in the southern hemisphere celebrate their birthdays on the 1st August, whereas the northern hemisphere celebrate on the 1st January. These yearlings have gone on to start their careers as the beautiful horses we will see on the track as early as December 2018. Some may be early starters, whereas others might just take a bit more time to find their feet. 

Many have made their way back to the farms, to spend a few more months playing in the fields and generally “having a ball” whilst others have already gone in to the training yards where they will spend most days in the paddocks, going for hand walks around the training tracks to familiarise them to the area before they will start their backing regime (learning to accept a saddle, a bit in their mouth and ultimately a rider on their back). Remember, none of them know how they look or what was paid for them- but they know what they were bred to do- and that is RUN!!!

For most buyers, it all begins with working through the catalogue (a booklet which is published a few weeks ahead of the sale). This book gives a breakdown of the Stud Farms selling (vendors), the Stallion (sire/ father of each horse) as well as the dam (mother). Each horse consigned to the sale will have a pedigree page in the catalogue.

The trainers/ agents or “experts” study the catalogue intensely- in particular the pedigree and form of the dam (mother) as well as the rest of the family. From here, a short list is made of the horses they will want to see.

The stud farms start arriving at the sales venue around a week before the sale commences and this is when the breeders are literally run off their feet.

Buyers will go through their lists and examine each horse in the flesh, there are also a lot of buyers that will look at every horse on the sale.

Conformation (the straightness of the legs, the quality of the hooves, the balance of the body/ proportions etc) are the most important aspect in determining whether it may have the ability to be a top class athlete. Some also take temperament and walk/ action in to consideration. Of course there is no exact science to buying a horse. The price of a horse doesn’t mean that it will be a Champion and many have been proved to be a “fool” when passing on a horse due to poor conformation and it’s gone on to be a great athlete.

A list of pros and cons will be made by the buyers and in all likelihood a limit as to what they are prepared to bid up to. Some horses may even have a minimum reserve price.

Kwa-Zulu Natal will be home to the last yearling sale of the season. This takes place on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th July preceding the well attended Vodacom Durban July which takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday, 7th.

Make a long weekend of it and join us at Sibaya Casino- you may just find the next Vodacom Durban July winner……..

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