SOME thirty years ago, the southern hemisphere’s first concept of a Ready To Run sale was born of a collaboration between Summerhill Stud and a relic of the auction trade, Chris Smith Bloodstock. This year’s Emperors Ready To Run Sale will take place at the School Of Excellence, Summerhill Stud, on Wednesday, 25 October, just 10 days before the 12th renewal of the R2.5million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup.
Selling racehorses at the gallop directly off the farm was pioneered by horsemen in Florida, USA, and the Ready To Run sale as we know it today was a collective embellishment by South Africans on the same theme. The inaugural sale was held at Summerhill in 1987, where its attendees, all twenty of them, included an august audience of Gary Player, famous cricketing all-rounders Mike Proctor and Johnny Watkins and former Miss World, Penny Coelen and her husband Johnny Rey.
While the idea soon took root in various parts of the world, South Africa remained at the forefront of its innovation, and by the late 1990s the local version was already attracting an international audience, with a buying bench especially well populated by Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East. Through the first decade of the new century, it was one of the fastest growing sales in the world, its stature as a producer of champions and millionaires matching the best, pound-for-pound.
The withdrawal recently of Cape Thoroughbred Sales from the Gauteng auction scene left the Ready To Run without a Joburg champion, though followers of the Stellenbosch-based sales company’s website will recall a statement earlier in the year to the effect that the Ready To Run would be reverting to its spiritual home, Summerhill.
History has a habit of repeating itself, and in staging the sale back in the KZN Midlands, the organisers are saluting not only a national institution, but also the feats of a further 18 major race-winners in 2016/17 alone. These luminaries include Horse Of Fortune (in Hong Kong), Brave Mary, Rabada, Purple Diamond, Champagne Haze, Africa Rising, Witchcraft, Anna Pavlova, Intergalactic, The Elmo Effect, Heaps Of Fun, Comanche Brave, Easy Street, Illtshe, Wukkin’ Up, Belle Rose, Purely Atomic and No Worries.
SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, 25 October.