Southland and West Otago standardbred breeders again promise to be major contributors to the two-day New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale starting in Christchurch today.
Former Winton woman Rachel Deegan, Sale Day administration officer for auctioneers PGG Wrightson, and senior representative Peter Lagan both emphasized the quality of the Southland and West Otago drafts that totals at least 50 yearlings.
''With 352 lots catalogued and 18 withdrawn, making 334 to be offered, we are slightly up in total on last year for the two days Ms Deegan said.
''Many northerners involved with recent promotional bus tours of the Southland and West Otago drafts spoke in glowing terms of the southern yearlings in terms of type and presentation,'' senior PGG Wrightson representative Kerry Shaw said.
His PGG Wrightson associates also pointed out that the exceptional Australian form of horses with southern backgrounds, particularly in West Australia, had resulted in a bigger than usual buying bench from Perth on hand this year.
The 24 Aucklanders and Cantabrians who inspected the southern offerings on recent organised tours, included Tony Herlihy, Ray Green, ''Bunty'' Hughes, Neil Pilcher, Gavin Smith, Terry Chmiel, Ray Jenkins, Jason Lethaby and Laurence Hanrahan.
Greg Payne (Canterbury) who sold the top-priced $115,000 lot at the Sydney Ready To Run Sale last in December, was another high-profile horseman on the lookout for good yearlings down south.
The legendry Cummings and Stiven families of Lawrence and Tapanui, respectively, who command International reputations for horses they breed, will be represented by their usual quality lots over the next two days.
They will be complemented by those offered by leading Southland vendors Shard Farm, David Kennedy, Macca Lodge, Highview Standardbreds, Tony Barron, Diane Cournane, Stephen Baucke, Denario Breeding (O'Connor family) and Phil Creighton of Glenbrook Park, Mosgiel.
Representatives of the auctioneers confidently expect an enhanced tone to the Premier sale with no South Island lots offered at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale in Auckland yesterday.
''The Auckland sale caters more for movie star types of yearlings and there is always the question of increased travel costs and risk of injury crossing to the North Island,'' Lagan said.
''It doesn't matter where a horse is sold. . . if it is in the top bracket, you could sell it on the side of the road on a wet day and it would still bring big money,'' he quipped.
Lagan and Deegan identified a special factor that might help boost the tone of the two-day Christchurch sale.
Detailed analysis of the catalogue strongly identified a market for all levels of buyers, Lagan said.
''There will be something for everybody. There have been plenty of horsemen in evidence from all tiers on the lookout for suitable horses throughout the catalogue to suit their purses and wants,'' he
Experts predicted that vendors with stock by Art Major and Bettors Delight to sell might be in for a windfall result this year.
Amazingly, juveniles by Art Major, a noted sire of precocious youngsters, filled the first four placings in the recent New Zealand Sapling Stakes at Ashburton.
Similarly, champion sire Bettors Delight was represented by the first five home in the 3-year-old colts and geldings edition of the 2013 Jewels at Ashburton last June.
- The Southland Times