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“This must have been the first thoroughbred sale in the world with a near 100% clearance rate,” enthused Summerhill Stud’s Mick Goss after 59 of 60 two-year-old passed through the ring was sold at the farm’s 2017 Ready To Run Sale on Wednesday, 25 October,

The sale reached an aggregate of R4 145 000. The average was R69 083 and a top price of R380 000 paid by Bobby Rajhuhanan for a beautiful Visionaire colt.

While Goss regarded the turnover as average, he was encouraged by a number of factors and said:  “Best of all was the spirit among buyers. There was a rare feeling of unity among a really varied buyer’s bench.

“They came from all over the country, big buyers and small buyers and we handed out a record 120 buyers’ cards, which showed that there is still plenty of interest out there, including sales to and enquiries from from new names.

“Hartford House catered for the occasion as usual, but the turnout was so good we had to order additional stacks of pizzas from Mooi River to feed the flock. It was like the fish and loaves story. We announced a “full house” last Monday, standing room was taken up and some buyers had to sit on bails.”

The sale’s “feel-good” atmosphere was enhanced by the attendance of Chris van Niekerk and Adrian Todd of the Horse Import Export Task Team (HIETT) and Goss explained: “Chris and Adrian were here as a show of support and good faith, Chris bought a few two-year-olds too, but I gave them a chance to brief our audience on the latest progress made with the protocols they’ve been working so hard to open up for us.

“I am truly confident that by next year at this time we’ll be preparing for the imminent lifting of protocols. We are heading towards it faster than we think. I believe by June next year we’ll have confirmation already. I told our buyers that this will be one of the last sales at which they’ll be able to secure good quality horses for a measly R10,000, like many of them did.

“I think with exports opening up the low R10,000 bracket will go up to around R100,000, and the middle market will establish itself between R500,000 and R2-million. This level is where I believe a new host of overseas buyers will be focusing on.

“Presently we’re exporting between 100-130 horses a year to Mauritius and elsewhere, this number could easily go up to as high as 400. Sales are likely to become more competitive. In all, we can look forward to 2018 and, I hope, better sales for all involved. It may well be safe to say that our sale this week was the last sale in the “downturn” phase we’ve experienced over the last few years.”