Internationally, the two prongs to pinhooking involve the purchase of weanlings for later sale as yearlings, or the purchase of yearlings for ready-to-run auctions. Every practitioner of the dark art has stories of their greatest successes, whether turning a fabulous profit, or finding a graded stakes-winner.

Buying for RTR has been the dominant form of pinhooking in South Africa, with many opportunities to buy yearlings (although I found future Grade II stakes-winner Wonderwall on a broodmare sale). The weanling to yearling market has been much less active, but it has its own stories, none bigger than the purchase of Vercingetorix as a weanling by the Riverton grooms, and his sale as a yearling for R1.4 million.

This week’s CTS auction is an attempt to develop that market, both on the part of the sales company, and by the vendors. We don’t yet know if that market will ever grow to the level of pinhooking for RTR, but if we don’t make quality weanlings available, we’ll never know.

In my opinion, the weanlings on offer this week are a sincere attempt to do just that. Speaking as a vendor, I’ve selected weanlings at a variety of price levels, all the way up to select sale, to give the concept every chance of finding its natural place in the market. I believe that other vendors have done the same.

Purchases could be traders looking to turn a profit, or owners/trainers aiming to get top prospects at a reduced cost.

Beginning at the top of the heap, the Futura colt we’re offering this week has loads going for him. Firstly, he’s a good-sized, strong colt with real presence. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there’s his pedigree, which is extremely topical. He’s a half-brother to Grinkov, who is running in the Grade II Golden Horseshoe on VDJ day. Also a well above average two-year-old from the family is Return To Russia, who is out of his half-sister. His dam is a half-sister to Mother Russia, making his page jam-packed with seriously high-quality black type … and one that could grow in stature between now and sales time.

From the first crop of One World, we have an impressive looking colt out of a half-sister to Cape Flying Championship winner Sergeant Hardy. He’s got size, quality, scope, and he moves very well.

From tiny crops, Potala Palace has bred Grade I winners out of the worst mares in the Stud Book. We couldn’t be happier with the tall, scopey colt out of Prima Donna. With his dark colouring and high quality, he’s bound to make an impression in the sales ring as a yearling.

Also by Potala Palace is the first foal of a four-time winning What A Winter mare. He’s going to develop into an athletic, neat, high quality yearling.

We have one filly. She’s by Futura, the sire of first and second in the Grade II Track And Ball Oaks at Scottsville. She’s a backward November foal with loads of improvement to come.

Finally, there’s an Erupt colt out of a well-related Australian mare. He’s an absolute speedball; if he’d been foaled Down Under he’d be a Golden Slipper candidate. He’s from the immediate family of Champion Sire I Am Invincible. Erupt has made an auspicious start to his career, producing a surprising degree of early speed considering that he was a 2400m Grade I winner.

Of course, Vercingetorix was not the only future Champion Sire to be sold at this stage. The Devines bought Jet Master as a weanling for just R15 000. I’m not suggesting that Friday’s catalogue contains a future stallion, but it may be a profitable route to Grade I glory.