Cheers, Hisses & Tears

  • Garrick
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1 month 4 weeks ago - 1 month 4 weeks ago #776244 by Garrick
Cheers, Hisses & Tears was created by Garrick
The 2019 Ready To Run Sale has come and gone. I needed the weekend to sober up (literally) and shake off all the bullshit that had attached itself to me as a result of having attended yet another horse sale.

In the weeks leading up to sale we were assailed by all number of experts (sic) happy to regale us with any number of reasons why we should all be queueing up to purchase a horse. All we then needed to do was throw a saddle over the poor unfortunate creature and possibly even race it a mere 6 weeks or so from date of purchase. Really?

One of the terms which recurred quite often was the suggestion that buying at this sale was a ‘no brainer’. With respect – buying at almost any sale can hardly be described as an act of any great intelligence so is possibly best suited to someone with no brain.

None of the abovementioned enthusiasts made any reference to the following :

1.) Stakes have been reduced from unsustainable to disastrous levels. But not, apparently, have the salaries of those who have guided us unerringly over the cliff.
2.) What effect does preparing these young horses to race as juveniles have on their long term welfare? And why do vets grin when I pose this question?
3.) Will we even have an operator by the end of November and what impact might that have on the sport? (or ‘game’ if you prefer…..).

However – snake oil salesmen and the usual rogues aside – horse sales offer the last opportunity to socialise in the style that used to characterise the industry and which contributed in no small way to its success.

They say that you learn something whenever you attend an event. I would like to credit Mike De Kock (who shows me f-a-r more courtesy and friendliness than I deserve ) for providing the gem of the evening. He attributed some of the decline in racecourse attendance to the ‘private suite’ syndrome. In his opinion this has distanced the industry professionals from their fan base (the racegoers, members and other owners) and promotes a separatist, elitist group dislocated from their customers. Struck a resonant note with me.

The actual sale itself was like a curate’s egg – good in parts. That also depends upon whose view you ascribe to. For breeders it gyrated between ‘WTF’ and ‘Oh Yeah!’. And once again we were reminded of the following : The middle market (schmucks like me!) is dead and buried.

When I eventually righted my mental ship on Sunday I went back and did what I like to do – I actually analysed some past results. Duh? Bear this in mind when next you consult with a self proclaimed industry ‘expert’.

For my model I chose (randomly) the 2014 CTS Premier Sale. Why? Because by now many of them should have reached the end of their careers and allow us to review their financial performances rationally. It makes for utterly horrific reading :

The model I chose was the top group of 12 where the lots each sold for R2 million or more in 2014. These, on every known measurement, should have been the lots most likely to succeed based on pedigree, conformation et al. And let’s not forget to add ‘graft’ to the list!

Cumulatively they cost an eye watering R 33,550,000.

Let’s start off with the ‘good news’. Although many of these horses (aged 7) are surprisingly still active they have together amassed gross (emphasis on ‘gross’) stakes amounting to an almost unbelievably paltry R 2,463,400. That’s a recovery of 7,3% of their combined purchase prices. A lot less once you deduct the deductions levied against stakes earned.

Even the top performing lot only managed to recoup R584,975. The laggard managed just R 13,425.

Shall I mention the keep and vets bills as well? Perhaps not.

Keep this in mind before you go to the next sale :

Nobody really knows with absolute certainty what comprises a champion horse. You are likely to have almost as much success using a dart as you will with a catalogue.
Last edit: 1 month 4 weeks ago by Garrick.

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1 month 4 weeks ago #776247 by Frodo
Frodo on topic Cheers, Hisses & Tears
Interesting stats - but not really surprising :unsure:
For the sake of completeness, (but I'm too lazy to repeat Garrick's effort), maybe if we could be enlightened as to the 'achievements' of the 'bottom' group (where maybe the selling price was less that R100k) - my guess is they would still me making a loss, but nothing near to the disastrous 7% recovery. And then how did the 'median' group perform?

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  • Garrick
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1 month 4 weeks ago - 1 month 4 weeks ago #776249 by Garrick
Garrick on topic Cheers, Hisses & Tears
Frodo - I did that exercise with the bottom group vs the top group a couple of years ago. (If you care to search my older posts I am sure you will find it). There was a tiny difference in earnings so the recovery from cheaper horses was much better although, to be fair, they were out there racing well before some of the heavyweight purchases.

I would imagine that merit ratings coupled to race programming make it a better proposition to actually aim at acquiring a 'less sexy' horse rather than a 'classic' contender.
Last edit: 1 month 4 weeks ago by Garrick.
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1 month 4 weeks ago #776250 by Bob Brogan
Bob Brogan on topic Cheers, Hisses & Tears
Elmers post on the other thread is very interesting




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