The Jockey Club's international sale last Friday night was certainly a great success, with an average price of $1.66 million for the 26 horses sold. Having watched the breeze-ups and witnessed the two-year-olds walking around the sale ring, it's clear the club has done a great job in selecting quality young horses who measure up to the highest levels of general soundness and veterinary scrutiny. But the reality is that this sale has one overwhelming limitation - that only persons lucky enough to be holding a current permit are eligible to buy a horse. And thereby hangs a tantalising thread of opportunity. For next year, why could the Jockey Club not make (about) 30 permits available and have them attached to the horses, rather than the potential owners? Would-be buyers would have to register with the Club beforehand - as they do with sales companies around the world anyway - and successful registration would depend on their being cleared for Jockey Club membership, as well as their financials checking out as expected. Suddenly, we have a real sale on our hands, with a significantly expanded potential buying bench and therefore a far greater base for local interest. Under those circumstances, the number of horses sold could even be increased. This one change to the permit system, which effects less than 10 per cent of all permits, would have a hugely stimulating effect on the sale and would draw in some valuable new patrons to the racing business. And one of the champagne events of international week would suddenly become substantially bigger.