• 226 of South Africa's elite bred yearlings will go on auction at this year's Cape Thoroughbred Sales’ Premier Yearling Sale. 
  • An average horse sells for around R550,000. 
  • New international buyers could break the record sale of R6 million.


An entire convention centre along Cape Town’s foreshore has been transformed into a stable as it plays host to this year’s Cape Thoroughbred Sales’ Premier Yearling Sale – you could say it’s one massive star stud affair.  

Here 226 of South Africa's elite bred yearlings, young race horses that have yet to turn 2 and the next generation of racing horses, will go under the gavel at a gala auction with some 800 attendees.

While it means shipping in truckloads of hay and shovelling out buckets of manure, the event is like no other around the world, being hosted inside a city and far from an outdoor arena, where horses are typically held.

With an average horse going for around R550,000 the organisers have a lot riding on the success of the event. According to Wehann Smith, CEO of Cape Thoroughbred Sales, they’re hoping international buyers from countries like Hong Kong could help break the record sale of R6 million.  

With starting bids of R50,000 a cheap rand makes these horses a favourable export for those unexpected bargain race winners.

“Typically, international breeds can sell by as much as ten times the value as here. We’re a good location to buy affordable best value for money racehorses,” he said.

On the floor the stud farmers are keen to show the best of what they’ve got, including 4 from Gary Players’ stud farm in the Karoo. 

“I’ve had horses in my life that they’ve said this is no good, and they’ve gone on to be group winners.  Others have been beautifully bred with a top father and a top mother and they’ve been useless.  That’s what makes the game fascinating, that it's not only the rich. I’ve seen a horse bought from this show that won the Durban July that cost R5,000. A poor man can come to this sale and get a few of his friends, put in R2,000 each and buy a champion,” said Player.

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