CTS Yearling inspectors John Kramer, Kerry Jack and Ric Wylie on Friday completed a two-week journey through the Western Cape and the Karoo, scoring yearlings for the 2020 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, scheduled for 16 January, a week after the running of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
The inspecting trio visited 32 farms in total, sometimes five on a day, and dropped by all the big and smaller farms supporting CPYS 2020.
New Zealander Wylie, well known for his horsemanship and bloodstock consultancy services in his home country and around the world, described his experience as “manna from heaven” and “most definitely an eye-opener”.
Speaking on Sunday, Wylie commented: “I’ve seen racing and breeding industries around the world and this was a rare first opportunity for me to see your industry in South Africa and to meet your breeders and racing people. It was glorious indeed.”
He said that he was impressed by the way the young horses were looked after and prepared at every farm visited. “The yearlings we scored were well grown, athletic and with good bone. I was impressed by the organisational acumen, you have some wonderful establishments here.”
He noted Klawervlei Stud, Maine Chance, Ascot and Lammerskraal as particularly impressive and said: “John Koster was great to talk to, a knowledgeable man and I was taken by the first crop of William Longsword, they are magnificent.
“Twice Over is one of my old favourites, I was working for Juddmonte in the Southern Hemisphere when he was in his prime and took a big interest in his career. To see the support and success he has enjoyed in South Africa is heart-warming.
He was also impressed by Silvano at Maine Chance and said: “I can see why he has done so well here. His yearlings have a European touch, athletic and well boned. He is magnificent.”
At Drakenstein Stud, What A Winter caught his eye and he noted: “He is physically fantastic and his offspring are equally impressive. I also liked Rafeef, at Highlands.
Wylie had an opportunity to meet Gary Player and said: “What an honour, and he showed us three really nice foals, one is a late foal that was especially nice and Mr Player doesn’t mind sending it to the Sale.”
On the aspect of late foals, he said: “In Australia and New Zealand we don’t have a choice. Many of our foals on the January sale are late foals and this is an aspect that hasn’t taken on in South Africa but I would recommend that the breeders start considering sending their late foals to the early sales too.
“Any horsemen worth their salt will be able to spot athletic yearlings with scope. They may not look as progressive as the earlier foals, but they are horsemen’s horses and represent value for buyers. Trainers and bloodstock agents know what they are doing. They should be buying the later foals too. You have a culture here that doesn’t support that, but it can change and it should.”
He spoke in high regard of his fellow-inspectors. “I learnt plenty from John Kramer, he and Kerry were extremely helpful and filled in the gaps where I needed them to. Our scoring was also on a par, we agreed on most of our scores.”
What is he taking away to New Zealand?
“Well, I’d say I have a lot to report. If I have to single out one thing it is the size and scope of your industry. You know, in New Zealand we have only 4,1-million people but we have many more racecourses. You have many millions more, which gives you an opportunity to grow your industry to great levels.
“You have not been immune to changes and dwindling crowds, but we have the same problems elsewhere too and they are not insurmountable. I always say, ‘get the girls to go racing and they will bring the boys!’ We have established in Australia and New Zealand a culture of enjoyment of the sport, a love for horses and racing has become a nice day out, an entertainment thing.
“I know there are things to do here, you have to get your house in order but so do racing jurisdictions around the world, we are all in the same boat and it can be done!”