Next Igugu may be waiting for you
A dopey-looking creature standing in a stable in deepest Germiston could be your ticket to fortune - both monetary and emotional.
All you need do is go there and buy him or her.
Of course, you have to find the right one from among 200 thoroughbreds, all standing gazing at the summer sky, munching teff, stomping hooves and generally pretending not to be superstars.
These two-year-olds will be sold at next weekend's Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale. And, statistically, at least one has a good chance of becoming a champion - even of winning the Durban July.
Actually, quite a few will be exceptional racehorses. So if you don't pick out the real bomb, you might still end up with a crackerjack.
Igugu, winner of both the July and the Met, sloped around this very Gosforth Park sales ring in 2009 and was snaffled for R1-million by Andre MacDonald, a some-time electrician. The filly is now worth R20-million and is in quarantine ahead of a bid to become a global star.
Also sold here was Pierre Jourdan, second to Igugu in the 2010 July, to a bid of just R60000.
Another July second-placer, Smanjemanje, went for R210000 at the Ready To Run and has since amassed R1.6-million in prize money. Other good 'uns include Hear The Drums (R42000), Mannequin (R80000) and Amphitheatre (R30000).
Imbongi left the Ready To Run unsold, having failed to make a modest reserve of R60000.
He was later sold privately and turned out to be a phenomenal miler, winning in South Africa, Dubai and England and retiring with R8-million in his owners' kitty.
If these numbers don't turn the head of anyone vaguely interested in buying a racehorse, nothing will. The marketing bumph says, pound for pound, on past record, this is the best value-for-money racehorse sale in the world. But how do you find the right one? Relax, help is at hand.
The term "ready to run" means just that. Sale lots have been prepared to race and all galloped in public breeze-ups last week. With the sale catalogue comes a DVD with footage of each gallop - at full speed and in slow-mo.
Also, a panel of eight experts, including champion trainer Mike de Kock and Japanese breeder Yusuke Tsukahara, watched the gallops and selected six each.
Favourite panel picks this year include: lot 88, Ilitshe, a Fastnet Rock colt; lot 157, Die Kat, a Tale Of The Cat colt; and lot 47, Mystical Star, a Jet Master filly.
But it might well be that a less fancied, much cheaper, lot is the next Igugu.
Oh, another thing: only the 200 graduates of this sale are eligible to run in next year's Ready To Run Cup, a race that is now the second-richest in the country with a stake of R2.5-million.
Work out those odds and then tell me Lotto's a better bet.
TURFFONTEIN, TOMORROW: PA - 6,10 x 2 x 5,6 x 4,12,14 x 1,5,6,10 x 8,10,11 x 9 (R96)