FROM our interview series, ‘Seven Questions’ (Turf Talk Newsletter), here is a talk with Bloodstock SA Executive Gary Grant, ahead of the 2019 National Yearling Sale.

Two years on, Equine Sales has settled as managers of the BloodStock SA Sales. Tell us about the experience so far.

With hindsight, I don’t think we realized the size and complexity of the task  we were taking on.  We have learnt a lot and I believe we are improving with each sale.  The atmosphere at the 2018 NYS was nostalgic of the relaxed, fun times people used to have at sales.  We expect this to carry over into this year’s sale.

You’ve had several pleasing results in a generally depressed market. What do you attribute this to?

The resilience of the market over the past year or so has been amazing.  It’s difficult to identify the reason, I would suggest that we have created an environment where both vendors and buyers have felt very comfortable to trade.

This year’s sale comes right after Easter. Do you think this will have an effect on attendance/sales figures?

The international sales and racing calendar is so congested that once you pick a sales date you need to be consistent and maintain your slot on the international circuit.  It is unfortunate that Easter moves as it does.  I don’t believe this quality catalogue will be affected by Easter.

Gary Grant, BSA.
Gary Grant, BSA.

Tell how you foresee international participation at NYS this year.

Given the current export impasse, the export market is limited. There may be fewer exports from this year’s sale, however, I believe that there will still be a strong foreign spend, and as usual, I expect the top end of the market will be buoyant.

We’re seeing a return to the sale of a number of vendors who have sold mainly at CTS in the last several years, including Klawervlei. Does that signal greater cooperation between the  two major sales companies?

There has been a rationalisation of sales over the past year and I think the SA sales calendar is now settled and the timing of sales is far better.  Competition is good for the market and I believe the sales companies have mutual respect for each other.

Tell us about this year’s catalogue, your highlights?

In short, it’s a high quality catalogue with great depth.  The focus at NYS is on quality and we have an abundance of it this year.  The depth of the catalogue suits the full range of buyers and  if you have done your homework there are many yearlings that offer exceptional value.  The fact that the NYS currently has four horses in the top fifteen in the world, is an outstanding tribute to the sale, our vendors and trainers.  As a buyer, I don’t think you need to look further than that to decide on where you should be shopping.

Horse racing is going through a testing time worldwide. What is your medium-term forecast for the industry-at-large?

In South Africa,  we have never had a better opportunity to consolidate, rationalise and unify the industry.  If we can achieve this and solve the export impasse, then there is plenty to look forward to.