Sweet reward from top buck

STANDING TALL: Top Deck, a white saddleback blesbuck, is king of the hill at a Karoo game farm
STANDING TALL: Top Deck, a white saddleback blesbuck, is king of the hill at a Karoo game farm

AN Eastern Cape game farmer is hoping his prized antelope, named Top Deck, will attract big buyers to the Kirkwood Game Auction later this month.

Petri Snyman bought Top Deck, a white saddleback blesbuck, about 18 months ago, and was criticised for paying too much (R230000) for him.

But now Snyman is smiling broadly as Top Deck’s brother, Mnumzane, sold for R4.2 million at a game auction in Limpopo last month.

The rare breed of blesbuck is white with reddish-brown colouring along its neck and back, which looks like a saddle. Snyman believes there could be as few as 50 of them in South Africa.

“When the ram arrived at our farm one of our workers said he looks just like a ‘Top Deck chocolate’, and the name stuck.”

Top Deck is kept in his own camp at Kroonkop Farms, between Cradock and Somerset East, where he is fed only the best feed and has his pick of breeding partners. “He isn’t some kind of Casanova that would mate with just any ewe. He is quite fussy, and checks his partners out very carefully before he decides to breed with them.”

Snyman was recently offered R2.5-million for Top Deck. He declined the offer because he would like to see what the antelope would fetch at an Eastern Cape auction. The Kirkwood auction is on June 27. – Riaan Marais

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