17th Oct 2012
It has been many years since we entered the yearling sales season without the unwelcome backdrop of calamity. For many years it seemed that the Maximum Lawman was trying to tell us something, with earthquake, terrorist attack or just plain old Stock Market crash as the precursor to our attempts to purvey dreams of glory. This year we just had the long satisfying tale of a season containing so many highlights and so many stars that it is no wonder so many people are prepared to unlock their vault and join in.
In a week in which so many gorged themselves on Galileos, Sheikh Mohammed finished it with the proud ownership of the winners of the two most significant two-year-old races. The superpower was quietly back on top. In a post-race interview more jaunty than usual we heard him say the marvellous catchphrase ‘we can change’. Any Darwinians will know that this is the only key to survival.
The Sales paddocks again have many stories of goose-like foals turning into majestic and lucrative swans. Each story probably launches a hundred raids on the ensuing foal sales. For the breeders who have endured the long-lasting downturn many got their rewards, especially those who chose the right sires. It is great to hear much positive noise for a change, though not everybody prospered. In fact it is likely that more than half the individual transactions involved losses for somebody. The point is that the vendors are sustained by hope as much as the purchasers are, even if hope doesn’t feed the kids.
Big number sales tend to be translated into ‘all’s well in the world’ headlines which are irritating when we know that much is far from well. However most industries would be delighted to feel some sense of relief from the icy blasts. With Frankel and Sir Henry in the Sunday Times magazine, we have more than one reason to be cheerful.