THE team at BloodStock SA worked their merry butts off in a memorable sales week in which the proverbial “ebb and flow” came to mind.

There were notably dull periods, including the first two hours on Wednesday and a proportion of Friday, when faces around the ring were expressionless and visions of catastrophe were briefly shared by sellers and some executives.

But as if someone had lit a number of firecrackers, the TBA complex woke up after lunch on Wednesday and for several hours thereafter an amazing buzz occurred; figures were scrolling rapidly into millions on the display boards placed around the complex, transfixing those watching and scribbling down prices in their catalogues as the lots flew by.

Suddenly a R2,2-million lot had passed through the ring, followed by 4.2, 4,3 and 4.4-million lots and it was as if the old Germiston landmark had caught fire. People were streaming into the Winner’s Bar, where for a long time Kelvin Haarhoff and his staff couldn’t keep up with orders.

When the day drew to a close and we thought it was all over, a group of big hitters took each other on for Lot 184, arguably not the prettiest yearling anyone had ever seen but in frighteningly high demand among those in the know. Auctioneer Graeme Hawkins must’ve said, ‘I sell’, a dozen or more times before his hammer fell on R9-million for this colt by Silvano, the bidders’ war won by Mike de Kock.

Day Two was marked by steady trade, most buyers nursing hangovers but not of the heaviest kind, they could raise hands high enough to secure their wanted lots, and another handful of young horses fetched R1-million or more.

The action on Day Three was, again from one point of view, markedly slower than the first two days, for various obvious reasons including perhaps fading budgets, and one veteran remarked: “I saw some well-bred yearlings go for well below their worth here today, if they were sold on the first day, different story!”

In all, NYS 2019 was a remarkable and memorable sale in which the industry came together to market and support this great traditional event.

The final aggregate of R139,030-million was just a split percentage down on 2018, the highest price paid was an all-time record which got worldwide attention and the clearance rate was excellent.

Gary Grant of BloodStock SA commented: “Any sale with a clearance rate of more than 80% is a solid sale. The sale was underpinned by significant international participation. We are grateful too to our local buyers who support us year in and year out. Our vendors presented us with a magnificent draft and prices were probably suppressed by the trying economic climate and the political uncertainty of the pending election.”

After this sale, we realise again that we’re in a tenacious industry, an exciting business full of die-hards and bitter enders, and with positive new blood coming through. We may already be halfway through the battle. Chances are, we’re going to pull through and then the rosy times will be back!



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