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Tayla McCourt with Act Of War. Image: Candiese Lenferna

You might have expected it in normal times when a major stud farm was disposing of its stock, but in what has been dubbed “South Africa’s deepest online sale of Thoroughbreds”, you would be pleasantly encouraged by the scale of the internet traffic the Summerhill dispersal has attracted, more so with the government’s opening of the e-commerce sector. 

Of course it’s bargain time, and those who have taken cheer from the gesture to racing of Mary Oppenheimer and Daughters financial support of Phumelela have obviously been emboldened by what lies ahead. There are predictions doing the rounds that this year’s foal crop will be significantly reduced, and that those with the stock to supply the market when things adopt a modicum of normality, will be the ones to prosper. 

As recently as Sunday, the Business Times front page featured an interview with one of Mary Slack’s principal advisers, Charles Savage, who disclosed that their investment business had seen a 300% growth in new investors piling into the value stocks on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in anticipation of a return to the “new normal”.

Speaking from Summerhill, Mick Goss said that while opening bids were on the modest side, there had been a surprising level of interest, including many making use of local judges to vet horses for them, including Jane Thomas, Bruce Le Roux and Peter Choice, who’s very well connected in the polo and leisure horse worlds. 

Summerhill Stud at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale 2019. Image: Candiese Lenferna

“There has been an encouraging level of interest in the yearlings and weanlings as well, as trainers and speculators seek out what could turn out to be one of the opportunities of their lives in stocking up their yards or in the case of the speculators, having the stock on hand when things make a turn for the better”.

And who would disagree with that? The families that delivered 10 Breeders championships, Group One-producing daughters of Galileo; a Black type Giant’s Causeway, and established producers of top performers by Kingmambo, PivotalFusaichi Pegasus and Mastercraftsman, and a cluster of Classic heroines and Group-winning or Stakes-producing mares, as well as yearling and weanling siblings to 4 Group One winners.

On the administration side, the vendors will take care of the stallion fees in respect of the mares. The vast bulk of foals in South Africa at present have yet to be registered on account of the pandemic’s intervention, but those acquiring foals can do so in the knowledge they are acquired free of encumbrance, other than the need to pay the newly announced registration fee of approximately R1100, a healthy drop from last year.

“We know that the current email system of submitting offers is cumbersome, but we have someone who will be dealing with it hourly going forward. Hopefully, that will make it a bit more interactive. We have also decided to extend the deadline for offers to the close of business on Monday 25th, so at to enable people to deal with their “business” on a business day.”

Link HERE to the full PDF catalogue online.

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