A million reasons why the Club are in control

Robin Parke

THE Jockey Club's select sale to coincide with International Races week in December looks like being a real success - but you can bet a million bucks not everybody is happy. Prospective buyers for the 25 two-year-olds on offer by the Commercial Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New South Wales are being asked by the Jockey Club to deposit HK$1 million not later than seven days before the December 7 sale. That puts this sale distinctly out of line with all other major sale rings in the world of bloodstock. There the purchaser pays at the fall of the hammer and if he or she doesn't have the money, the underbidder gets their chance or the horse is put through the ring again. The rationale behind the move seems to be that the Jockey Club would like to know the background of their prospective clients - although this is not a sale restricted to Hong Kong owners. There was an excellent turnout for a midweek pre-catalogue lunch but also a few murmurs of discontent over the million dollar stipulation.

'Can they really believe that anyone bidding at this sale would not have the money to cover what they buy? Ridiculous,' said a member. Of course, if the Jockey Club don't like the colour of a bidder's money they can refuse to accept the bid without assigning any reason. So between the million dollars deposit and this stipulation, the Jockey Club will be able to screen their prospective buyers. And we can't be too careful, can we? CARRY On Winning was retired yesterday after an illustrious Hong Kong career which saw the sprinter win more than $5 million in prizemoney - no mean feat as much of his success was achieved when purses were not so high as they are now. He competed for Hong Kong in the International Bowl and was the acknowledged star of the Wong Tang-ping stable, taking over that mantle from the mighty Co-Tack. His last run was on Wednesday night but the old zip was not there and Carry On Winning has earned honourable retirement.

The Irish-bred import was sold to trainer Wong by an old pal in Frank Carr. A MAJOR mover behind the December select sale is former Clerk of the Course, John Jeffs, who made a brief but welcome return to Sha Tin in midweek, prior to taking up a new job with the Australian Jockey Club. During his five-year tenure here JJ was never short of a word or a quip. But when it came to discussing the racetrack which he looked after when he was here, not a single comment was forthcoming - despite requests for an opinion. There are times, of course, when silence can be singularly eloquent. OWNERS and trainers strive to get their horses to win Black Type races. It enhances their worth when retired to stud - or when their racetrack exploits are used to advertise the sterling qualities of their sire or dam.

The pre-catalogue of the select sale is beautifully designed and produced but there is a distressing absence of Black Type. Not, it must be immediately added, that the families of those 25 on offer have not made their presence felt in Group and Listed Races. They certainly have - but their efforts are recorded in light upper case type in Hong Kong rather than Black Type.