AFTER delays due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the 2020 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales will finally take place at the TBA complex in Germiston on Friday and Saturday.

Nobody really knows what to expect from this sale but while there are some outstanding lots for sale from a variety of vendors, many eyes will be on lot 185 – Celestial City – from Wilgerbosdrift, who will come under the hammer late on Friday.

He is by Silvano out of that brilliant broodmare, Halfway To Heaven, and is a full brother to Hawwaam, and a half-brother to Rainbow Bridge and Golden Ducat – all Grade 1 winners.

“Celestial City is definitely the eye-catching horse of the sale,” Jehan Malherbe, bloodstock agent for Wilgerbosdrift, told Danie Toerien of TAB News.

“Under normal circumstances, so would the expectation of the selling price. But with racing already under the cosh before the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen at the sale.

“Everyone’s going to have to rethink and recalibrate their value systems for this sale,” said Malherbe. “There’s no doubt that the state of the market and the state of the nation is going to affect the sale.

“To put a number on his head … South African horses very seldom make more than R2 million or R3 million. But those are very much the exceptions.

“I know we had a R9 million last year, but that was highly exceptional circumstances because two people who weren’t at the sale had instructed their buyers to buy it at any cost, so it got out of hand.

“It was lucky for the vendor, but that’s not the norm. So, I would think Celestial City will make a few million, but I don’t think we’ll get anywhere near the records we’ve seen in the past.”

Although there have been a number of withdrawals, there is still a wide array of brilliant breeding on offer.

Long time leading vendor, the Ascot Stud, will once again be offering a high-class draft at this years Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale.

Not only will Ascot will be offering 15 yearlings by resident stallion, and South Africas red hot first crop sire, Global View, their draft also includes yearlings sired by such notable horses as Gimmethegreenlight, Silvano, Soft Falling Rain and Twice Over.

Global Views imposing draft includes a colt (Lot 9) out of a three-parts sister to champion sire Captain Al, a filly (Lot 29) whose G3 winning dam is a half-sister to the Ascot Stud bred Cape Guineas hero Elusive Gold, a colt (Lot 128) out of Brazilian G2 winner Energia Elegante, and a colt (Lot 143) out of G1 Allan Robertson Championship runner up Fairy Queen.

Other appealing yearlings in this draft sired by Global View include the colt (Lot 158) whose dam is a full-sister to the G3 winning dam of this seasons Triple Tiara heroine Summer Pudding, the half-sister (Lot 355) to talented Dubai based galloper Bold Rex, and the full-brother to recent debut winner Global Ash.

Perhaps the pick of Ascots Global View yearlings, however, this year is Coral Dawn (Lot 93), with this filly being a half-sister to G1 Premiers Champions Challenge winner Coral Fever, and out of a half-sister to SA Derby winning sire Ravishing.

Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm offer a well-balanced draft is made up of yearlings sired by all of Futura, Louis The King, Rafeef, Red Ray, Silvano, Soft Falling Rain, and What A Winter, as well as by Avontuur’s inform resident stallions Oratorio and Var.

Oratorio, whose flag bearers this season include the graded stakes winners Capoeira, Divine Odyssey, Mardi Gras and Snapscan, has three lots in this draft, with the regally bred Ovation (Lot 276) a possible standout. A full-brother to the Hong Kong based G3 Godolphin Barb Stakes winner Cue The Music, Ovation is a half-brother to Equus Champion, and triple G1 winner, Val De Ra and three other stakes winners.

The sire is also responsible for a half-sister to the stakes placed Top Of The Class in the form of Gifted Gal (Lot 3), while State Your Case (Lot 264) is an Oratorio colt (bred on the same cross as multiple graded stakes winner Divine Odyssey) whose dam is a winning own sister to Horse Of The Year Legislate.

One of South Africa’s most successful stud-farms of the modern era, Mauritzfontein, whose recent National Sale graduates include the likes of Barahin, Celtic Sea, and Marinaresco, will be offering yearlings by such standout stallions as Dynasty, Gimmethegreenlight, Ideal World, Silvano, Var, What A Winter, and outstanding Ashford Stud sire Uncle Mo.
One colt sure to prove hugely popular in Mauritzfonteins draft is Vanderbilt (Lot 85). Not only is he a son of multiple Equus Champion and red hot stallion What A Winter, he is a half-brother to none other than this seasons Triple Tiara winner, and G1 Woolavington heroine, Summer Pudding. The regally bred Vanderbilt is not only a half brother to a multiple G1 winning champion, but his G3 Jacaranda Handicap winning dam Cherry On The Cake is herself a half-sister to another Triple Tiara winning champion in the form of Cherry On The Top.
The late Dynasty, one of the best stallions to stand in South Africa in the past two decades, has three yearlings in Mauritzfonteins National Sale draft. San Quintin (Lot 13) is a colt out of the Jet Master sired G1 Golden Slipper winner All Afire, while Flying Esteban (Lot 159) is a colt out of flying filly Franny, herself a half-sister to G1 Kings Stand Stakes third place-getter Sweet Sanette.
Sardinia (Lot 311) is the only Dynasty filly in this draft, and she is out of a 3 time winning half-sister to dual Guineas winner Noordhoek Flyer and to the dam of G3 Three Troikas Stakes winner Mount Laurel.
South Africa’s reigning champion sire, Silvano, has four impressive yearlings in this draft. Former G2 KRA Fillies Guineas winner Maybe Yes has a Silvano filly (Lot 273) on offer, as does Queen Of Persia (Lot 347), and the latter filly is a three-parts sister to the Silvano sired July winner Marinaresco. Castletown (Lot 349) is a half-brother to three smart winners, and this colt (bred on the same cross as G1 wnners Marinaresco and Nightingale) is out of Fort Woods dual G3 Yellowwood Handicap winner Queens Bay.
Members of the public can follow the sales live by going to and connect to the YouTube link from there.

Pic: WILGERBOSDRIFT manager Karel Frdericks with Lot 185 Celestial City.