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Strong End To Keeneland September

8 - 21 September 2014

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale concluded its 13-day stand in Lexington Sunday with figures holding largely steady with last year’s powerful renewal of the auction. It was a very successful sale, Keeneland’s Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell summed up at the close of business Sunday afternoon. “We have had two Septembers that have had very large increases, so now we’ve had a good, stable market. And a solid market is where the industry needs to be at this stage”.

Of the 4,181 yearlings catalogued for the 13 day sale, 3,606 were offered and 2,819 sold for a gross of $279,960,500. That figure was off slightly from last year’s 12-day sale when 2,744 yearlings grossed $280,491,300. The average fell 2.8% to $99,312 and the median was unchanged at $50,000. The buy-back rate was 21.8%, compared to 19.9% a year ago.

The 2013 average was up 17% from 2012 and the $102,220 figure was the sales highest since 2006 and the third-highest in September sale history. The median was up 11.1%. With the last two years being up so dramatically, it wouldn’t be healthy in some regards for the market to go up by the same percentages again, Russell said. “We were looking for some stability and we got it.” Trade in the upper-middle market proved strong. With 113 fewer horses catalogued in Book 1 this year, 13 yearlings sold for $1 million or more, including two for the sale-topping price $2.2 million, compared to 18 last year. During Book 1 and Book 2, 121 yearlings brought $400,000 or more each, versus 105 sold in that price to the final day, with a pair of youngsters topping the $100,000 mark Sunday. The top price during last year’s final session was $65,000.

“It just proves there is money here every day for the top horses”, Russell said. “My overall view of the sale was that there was strong, competitive bidding from Day 1 to Day 13. I think the sale was very impressive in that regard. The 13 sessions of the September sale attracted an international mix of buyers. In addition to the U.S., Europe and Dubai, buyers from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Central and South America were active at the sale.

“We had very strong international participation, which is something we strive for here,” Russell confirmed. “Keeneland promotes the Thoroughbred industry 52 weeks a year to buyers in nearly every state and all four corners of the world. It’s a global strategy we’ve employed for many years to build and sustain relationships with horsemen. It’s very gratifying to see those efforts translate into huge crowds.”

The sales leading buyer was Darley bloodstock advisor John Ferguson, who bought 22 yearlings for $7.88 million. The second-leading buyer was Ben Glass, agent for Gary and Mary West, who purchased 29 horses for $7,805,000. Lane’s End was the sales leading consignor with 211 yearlings sold for $28,581,700. The sales leader board was dominated by progeny of leading sires War Front and Tapit and each stallion was represented by a co-topping $2.2-million yearling.

Overall, Russell said the September results were a positive for the entire industry and marked its continued rebound from the 2008 recession. “I think it is what the industry needed now”, Russell said. “My famous line is, the farther away we get from 2008, the better it is for everybody. We are another year away from it and we had two very good years behind us. Now we are maintaining that and I think that is good for the industry. It doesn’t have any inflationary aspect to it, which would then be passed on to higher production costs. So hopefully for the whole industry it is a very positive thing” Russell concluded.


Hartford House Celebrates American Express Platinum Award

American Express Fine Dining Awards 2015General Manager Duncan Bruce and Head Chef Travis Finch receive the American Express Platinum Restaurant Award on behalf of Hartford House from Yvonne Elford, American Express Regional Manager / American Express (p)


As hard as you try, there are no guarantees in life. Just ask Jacques Kallis and Morne Steyn, former icons of the Proteas cricket squad and the Springbok rugby team: we all, it seems, reach our sell-by date. It’s no different in the culinary world, where new blood is the infusion every table needs to sustain its currency, its freshness and its palate. Ten years is an awful long time at the top of the restaurant trade, and pushing the envelope is part of the trick in staying there. In Hartford’s case, there’s the added anxiety that comes to every establishment with the changing of the guard, and with Jackie Cameron’s departure into the world of teaching, the choice of her successor was always going to challenge the best of us. We shouldn’t have worried ourselves too much: history was with us, going back to the days of Aaron Maduna who started out as our “personal” cook when we lived at Hartford, and whom we sent on to become head chef at the world-renowned Mala Mala Game Reserve. His successor was Salmon Nell, who graduated to the post of housekeeper and personal chef to Bridget Oppenheimer; Floris Smith is the name behind Bushmanskloof’s reputation as a food haven, while Richard Carstens started his KZN sojourn as the head man at Hartford, before we installed him at our new venture, Lynton Hall, where he became Eat Out’s Chef Of The Year.

The Jackie Cameron story is universally told, and now we have Travis Finch, whom Jackie praised in her final appearance here as the young man she insisted we take on at all costs, because she didn’t want him cooking for anyone else! High praise from the high priestess.

That was a long-drawn out prologue in getting to the point of this article. The Hartford team, chef Travis Finch, “G.M” Duncan Bruce and garden guru, Sonia van der Merwe, clambered aboard SA 525 last Monday morning, harbouring the butterflies you would expect of a number three batsman on test debut. Their mission was to attend the annual American Express Fine Dining Awards in Cape Town where, as it turns out this year, 46 of the best eateries nationally were applauded for their excellence. Three of them were up for special recognition as the only restaurants to have garnered ten consecutive honours in this category, one the world “top fifty” establishment, Le Quartier Francais, another the widely-acclaimed The Greenhouse restaurant at the Cellars-Honenhort, and the third our own little champion, Hartford House. The Carol Boyes ice buckets commemorating the “tenth” are the ornamentally unique pieces you’d find at a king’s banquet, and befitting of an occasion of such august participants. A timely boost too, for a young team raring to show the world the fresh breeze that blows at Hartford.

Editor’s note: You might wonder, why the “garden” delegate at a culinary celebration. Those who’ve rea Frank Chemaly’s crit following his and Anne Stephens’ restaurant visit in last week’s Mercury, will know that there are big things in the air in the Hartford and the Summerhill gardens at the moment. The idea is the transformation of what is already one of the province’s floral showpieces, into a magnet of a dimension and magnificence irresistible to N3 “too-ers” and “fro-ers” on their way to the coast. The team spent the “morning after” at Babloynstoren, where Koos and Karen Becker of Naspers fame have built a garden and scale of a beauty replicated in few parts of the world. While ours is an altogether different concept (we don’t “own”Naspers, we’re only tiny shareholders!) there are plant species and techniques common to both environs, and any collaboration with the expertise at the disposal of Babloynstoren, will save a few headaches on the road ahead.

KZN Hotel & Restaurant


Misty Winter strikes for Mike Azzie

misty winter horseMisty Winter - 2013 Summerhill Ready To Run Graduate / JC Photos (p)


Western Winter (USA) - Maritime Mist by Parade Leader (USA)
3 Year-Old Chestnut Filly

Owners : Mr A & Mrs F J Van Vuuren
Trainer : Mike Azzie
Jockey : Piere Strydom
Breeder : Summerhill Stud

MISTY WINTER is a graduate from the Summerhill draft
of the 2013 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale.

For Maiden Fillies and Mares
Vaal, Turf, 1200m
16 September 2014

# Horse Jockey Trainer MR Kg Draw Lengths
1 MISTY WINTER P Strydom Mike Azzie 65 58 5 0.00
2 CAPE MARIGOLD C Little Lucky Houdalakis 0 58 4 0.50
3 CHILI CHOCOLATE W Marwing Johan Janse van Vuuren 0 58 1 2.25
4 KALANCHOE S Khumalo Sean Tarry 0 58 14 2.50
5 BAMBINO * K Ramsamy (-4kg) David Rahilly 0 58 8 3.00
6 BUDDY’S FALCON F Naude Bradley Maroun 49 60 3 7.25
7 IRISH GRACE *J Penny (-2.5kg) Dianne Stenger 0 60 13 11.25
8 CUPID’S GOLD K Zechner Roy Magner 0 58 9 11.75
9 BLAZING SADDLE J Greyling Leon Erasmus 0 58 10 13.00
10 BLUE’S ROMANCE R Simons Grant Maroun 0 58 2 13.75
11 FIRE FINCH G Wrogemann Stephen Moffatt 0 60 12 14.00
12 ISIKHATI L Bester Stephen Moffatt 0 58 11 15.25
13 DEVIL’S ADVOCATE B Dean Craig Mayhew 0 58 7 30.50
14 LUNA AZUL F Herholdt Paul Matchett 0 60 6 99.99

summerhill stud

Enquiries :
Tarryn Liebenberg +27 (0) 83 787 1982
or email


Taso The Sailor Masters Maiden for Paul Peter

taso the sailor horseTaso The Sailor - 2013 Summerhill Ready To Run Graduate / JC Photos (p)


Muhtafal (USA) - Mediterranean by Saumarez (GB)
3 Year-Old Chestnut Colt

Owners : Messrs Jamal Farah, Eric Lazarides & George Nichas
Trainer : Paul Peter
Jockey : Calvin Habib
Breeder : Summerhill Stud

TASO THE SAILOR is a graduate from the Summerhill draft
of the 2013 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale.

For All Maidens
Vaal, Turf, 1200m
16 September 2014

# Horse Jockey Trainer MR Kg Draw Lengths
1 TASO THE SAILOR *C Habib Paul Peter 0 58 5 0.00
2 HEYWOT *M Duba Craig Mayhew 54 60 10 0.50
3 WOTTAHOTTIE *I Lukhele Dominic Zaki 0 58 6 1.75
4 PARADE PRANCER *J Gwingwizha St John Gray 0 60 7 4.00
5 RED HAZE *D De Gouvela Lucky Houdalakis 0 58 3 5.25
6 BLACK MACK *C Ndlovu Chris Erasmus 0 58 1 7.25
7 LIKE AN ARROW *F Semela Stephen Moffatt 0 58 11 9.50
8 NOBLE JOURNEY *S Mosia Weiho Marwing 50 60 13 11.75
9 SNOW CLAD ODESSA *P Jevu Tyrone Zackey 0 58 4 12.50
10 GREY ALAMI *B Mundlovu Craig Mayhew 0 58 14 13.75
11 MR LATINO *D Mazule Lucky Houdalakis 0 58 8 15.25
12 CEDAR WOOD *L Hewitson Sean Tarry 65 58 9 15.30
13 OCEAN’S BLITZ *P Maluka Leon Erasmus 37 58 12 15.50
14 BRISTOL BULLDOG *C Mabaya Mike de Kock 0 58 2 16.25

summerhill stud

Enquiries :
Tarryn Liebenberg +27 (0) 83 787 1982
or email


Keeneland September Continues to Roll

keeneland septemeber yearling saleKeeneland September Yearling Sale / Keeneland (p)

8 - 21 September 2014

Closing out its 10th day of selling, Keeneland realized increases for the fifth consecutive session of the September Yearling Sale in Lexington Thursday. During the second and final session of Book 4,276 horses sold for $9,376,000, a 3.7% increase over the gross of $9,038,600 for 291 horses sold last year. The average increased 9.3%, from $31,060 to $33,971. The median price of $25,000 remained the same as in 2013.

Topping the 10th day was Hip 3024, a colt from the family of GI Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird (Birdstone) and multiple Grade I winner Dullahan (Even the Score). Consigned by Betz Thoroughbreds Inc, agent, the chestnut was secured by Midwest Thoroughbreds for $200,000. The colt is out of the
Mr. Greeley mare Aspen Whisper, whose half-sister Mining My Own produced Mine That Bird and Dullahan, winner of Keeneland’s GI Toyota Blue Grass Stakes in 2012.

Also bringing some action the ring was Hip 3051, a colt by Yes It’s True out of the Brahms mare Brahms Allegro. From the family of Grade I winners Stellar Jayne (Wild Rush) and Starrer (Dynaformer), the grey brought $180,000 from agent Garry Simms. The colt was consigned by Van Meter Sales.

Since the first day of selling September 8, a total of 2,153 yearlings sold for $268,795,000, down slightly from 2013 when 2,313 yearlings sold for $273,475,100. The average of $124,847 rose 5.6% from $118,234 last year, while the median increased 10.8%, from $65,000 to $72,000.

Warrendale Sales was Thursday’s top consignor, selling 25 yearlings for $949,500, while the leading buyer honors went to Carl R. Moore Management LLC, which paid $227,000 for three horses.

The sale continues today and runs through Sunday.

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