AT the start of today’s 2018 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale at the TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, Gary Grant of BloodStock SA is taken with what he terms, “A Happy Place”.

The sentiments on the sales grounds are all positive, like in the glory days. The mood is jovial and the atmosphere is relaxed, like it hasn’t been in a while. We’re hoping this is going to translate into a good sale.”

Grant said that in his few days spent at the complex he has seen a good flow of prospective buyers and their comments have been good. “The general feeling is that this is a better catalogue than the one we had last year.”

Grant, his Equine Group partner Chris Haynes and BSA CEO Michael Holmes have swung the balance sheet from a loss of R6-million in the 2016 financial year to a R2 million profit for 2017. 

He said: “It’s vital that Bloodstock SA makes a profit because this is where the TBA gets their funding which enables them to make contributions to the industry. We are also giving cash back to breeders with reduced levies and commissions and reduced entries and acceptance fees.  

“Now, more than ever believe in looking after our vendors. If they are not happy, everything is affected and we will lose business. As things stand now, 80% is being paid at 30 days and by 60 days, we’re up to 90-95%.” They haven’t written anything off and have collected every cent so far.

“As I said to another publication the other day, we are making strides and we believe we’re improving with each sale. We’d like to improve more, we are not the finished article.”

Grant said that buyers are also important to the team.

BSA offer bonuses for selected Gr1’s and Gr2’s and have implemented a series of maiden juvenile bonuses.  “We offered a maiden juvenile bonus of R40k for 2017 sales graduates which we are bumping up to R50k for 2018 and they have been very well received. 

“It’s quite a nice injection for those owners and nice for them to get cash back early.  If you look at the price range of horses that qualified, many have more than paid back their purchase price already, so I think it’s working well. 

“I think we’re seeing bigger juvenile fields and hopefully the stakes bonus is part of the reason for that.  If we can help new buyers have quick return, they may look at buying a classic horse a little further down the line.”

Grant predicts that the top end of the sale will be strong, and that there will be plenty of  value for buyers in the other sessions.

“Last year we had more money than horses at the top end of the market and I think breeders took note of that, which has helped form a strong catalogue.”

“It’s going to be difficult to compare because of the split catalogue, but if you asked for my dream result, it would be an increase in the median and clearance rate.  We wish everyone a great sale and an enjoyable time with us.”

-From Turf Talk Newsletter.