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TOP Cape breeders Avontuur dominated the Emperors Palace Select Yearling Sale held at the popular Johannesburg hotel and casino complex on Friday, producing the top three lots from just five in their quality draft.

Their outstanding strike-rate is thought to be something of a major sales world record and is a massive market thumbs-up for a farm that has consistently aimed at quality above all else.

Avontuur sold their five at an extraordinary average of R1 965 000 with an aggregate achieved of R9 825 000.

Their two magnificent Oratorio colts were joint sales-toppers at R3,2 million and the demand for the internationally proven son of Danehill’s progeny is expected to continue at the National Yearling Sale at the end of the month, where 15 more Oratorio’s are offered.

Champion SA owners Mayfair Speculators picked up the beautiful Mardi Gras (a son of Gr1 winner Sarabande) while Triple Crown pretender Abashiri’s owner Adriaan van Vuuren got Graduate, out of the Var mare Varsity Queen, from the family of Gr1 performer Schiffer and Dubai winner, Mastermind.

Mayfair Speculators also took home the third highest priced lot.

They paid R3 million for Talk Of The Town, a son of Var out of a Street Cry mare – a fellow with a stallion pedigree if ever we have seen one.

Avontuur General Manager Pippa Mickleburgh was overwhelmed by the results, yet not completely surprised as she had been trumping the quality of her draft as ‘absolutely superb’ in the build-up.

Asked about her  memorable day, Mickleburgh commented: “Selling racehorses is not unlike training them. The fundamentals have to be in place and the stock is important. Programming and placement at sales is also key. Pushing horses that are not ready can only put you on the back foot. I think the stars were simply aligned on Friday and everything fell so neatly into place.”

The results are hardly surprising given Avontuur’s time honoured philosophy of sending the best to the best, world-class farm management and providing the pastoral environmental platform for the launch of their fine wines and fast horses.

“How does one explain it without sounding a little arrogant? Var has been our mainstay for years and Oratorio has introduced a classic new dimension. And let’s face it, a lot of money and time has been spent on ensuring we get the quality mares. We also don’t waiver from an approach of doing business with non negotiable standards of integrity, while always maintaining excellent relationships with all of our stakeholders and customers. There has to be transparency and communication and everybody in our team knows what is required,” said South Africa’s leading female breeder – a person known for her no-nonsense approach.

“I am the captain of the ship, and a bit of a tough one at that! But it really is a team effort – from the farriers to the vets to each one of our staff. We do the job properly and have the quality merchandise that underscores our values and principles to aim to produce the best. This strategy has taken years to build and to put in place. Buy hey, I have to move the ship across to the TBA now for the National Sale and we start all over again,” she laughed

167 of the 199 lots were sold at an aggregate of R 63 085 000. The average was R377 754 with the median at R 225 000.

Klawervlei , with 36 lots sold, topped the vendor’s log with R17 925 000 grossed at an average of R497 916.

Photo: Lot 193, Graduate (Oratorio), joint sales-topper.