At 5 pm on Wednesday evening we will be privileged to witness yet another ‘first’ in Dubai when Meydan Racecourse hosts the Dubai World Cup Breeze-Up Sale in association with Goffs and the Dubai Racing Club.
The historic auction will feature 69 thoroughbred two-year-olds who have been in training over the last few months to prepare them to come under the hammer.
Known in the USA as ‘Ready to Run sales’, they have become extremely popular over the last 20 years in Europe.
The yearlings start their early education and training in the autumn, thereby saving the trainer — who ultimately takes charge of them in the spring — the work of teaching them their job in life. Rather like a primary school before they move on to a big school. It is sadly a fact that modern-day racing staff contains less and less of the old school types who knew how to teach and bring along young horses, the primary school teachers. As these old-timers retire, the opportunities to pass on essential equine skills are lost and this, to the detriment of our sport.
Breeze Up Sales are very attractive to potential owners.
The more traditional method of selecting one’s future racing star is to attend the yearling sales which run from August through to December, which of course, means waiting all winter before having any indication whether one’s purchase is a goose or a swan.
The breeze up auction obviously short-circuits this system, as it is usually easier to select a swan when it looks more grown-up.
The slight downside, in my opinion, is the emphasis on speed with the sale value often determined by how fast the breeze is (a timed gallop over a set distance).
The culture is currently for a furlong in 9.4 seconds or less whereas the young horse with his immature frame is possibly more comfortable at 10 or 11 seconds a furlong.
Naturally, plenty of buyers understand this and are capable of visualising the potential for speed later on rather than the absolute necessity for it now.
I spoke to Tom Taaffe, the International Client Consultant for the world-renowned sales company Goffs. Taaffe has this to say on Dubai Breeze Up Sales, his brainchild: “Goffs and Henry Beeby (CEO) gave me an open hand to always be creative and improve our position in the market place. We started talks here about two years ago to have a sale of international horses in Dubai and they took a bit of time to digest it but when Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum became chairman of the Dubai Racing Club and we discussed it with Major General Mohammed Essa Al Adhab (Director General of DRC), it went ahead.
“We had 212 entries for 69 places (which is how many the plane holds) so we inspected them all to make our selection, we have a mixture of pedigrees — dirt and turf, very solid horses, all fantastic pedigrees, Frankel, American Pharoah, Dubawi, Night of Thunder, Kingman.” Taaffe said Goffs are proud of their association with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
“Goffs are very proud to have an association with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, who has been fantastic along with Sheikh Rashid and it’s a joy to have a relationship with them and build on something,” Taaffe said.
He continued to explain the buying process.
“Buyers must register online to bid and will be given a numbered paddle on the day and must use that to bid with. They cannot bid without a paddle,” Taaffe said.
Viewing takes place on Monday and Tuesday at the Meydan Training Track at 7.45 am.
The sale will take place at 5 pm on Wednesday in Meydan Parade Ring.
Go to www.goffs.com to register.