8 May 2017

History was made when a Var filly was knocked down for R5 million on Friday, the final day of the 2017 National Yearling Sale.

The filly, named Goddess Var, is the most expensive yearling ever sold at BSA auction, surpassing the R4.75 million paid for Savannah Cat in 2015 and she was knocked down to Shadwell South Africa.

Consigned by Varsfontein Stud, Var Goddess was produced by the winning Captain Al mare Fidelity, a three parts sister to G3 East Cape Derby winner Captain Splendid and a half-sister to G2 winning sire Master Of My Fate and the four time stakes winner Justthewayyouare. Her second dam is Equus Champion Promisefrommyheart, whose six career wins included the G1 Triple Tiara 1600 and G1 SA Fillies Guineas.

Remarkably, the sales topper of the 2017 National Sale was exactly double the price of the 2016 top priced lot!

The sale proved highly favourable for buyers, with many picking up notable bargains at the sale, and a lack of middle market was once again in evidence at this sale. This is reflected in the sales' overall statistics.

While the aggregate of the 2017 National Sale rose from R106 885 000 to R112 075 000 (a rise of nearly 5%), both the average price and median dropped. The average fell from R320 015 to R303 726 (or 5%), while the median dropped from R200 000 to R175 000.

The number of horses failing to sell increased from 58 a year ago to 64 in 2017.

Jehan Malherbe of Form Bloodstock was by far and away the leading buyer at the National Sale this year, with Malherbe's 29 yearlings purchased grossing a total of R20.245 million. Next buyer on the list was Shadwell South Africa, whose five lots (grossing R9.2 million) included the R5 million Var filly and a R2.6 million Gimmethegreenlight colt.

Varsfontein Stud headed the vendors list, with 23 of their 27 lots offered grossing R15.495 million and averaging R673 696. Mauritzfontein, Wilgerbosdrift, Lammerskraal and Drakenstein Stud rounded off the top five vendors at the 2017 National Yearling Sale.

Proven stallions were very much the order of the day at the sale, with established sires Var, Silvano, Dynasty and Captain Al the top four stallions by aggregate. Var led the way, with his 23 yearlings to sell fetching R13.205 million. However, it was Captain Al who was the leading sire at the sale on average, with his 11 yearlings averaging an impressive R938 182.

The sale also saw the final crop of Mauritzfontein's legendary sire Fort Wood to grace the ring, with the great sire's top priced lot being a colt out of G2 winner Welwitschia which fetched R1.6 million.

CEO Michael Holmes said of the sale, "In the face of difficult trading conditions, the sale held up well. We are pleased with the aggregate increase, and, while the median is down, the overall result was commendable given the current economic climate. The clearance rate is higher than 2016 and we plan on improving it further over the coming years. The market remains very quality conscious and lacks depth, a fact which is reflected in the results. Thanks again to our loyal buyers and breeders, who continue to support Bloodstock South Africa."

A full list of results and statistics for the 2017 National Yearling Sale can be viewed online at