One of Tom Jones' greatest hits was the “Green, Green Grass of Home” and buyers at the forthcoming Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Sale might be humming those lyrics as they drive through the entrance of Summerhill Stud later this month.
It’s inevitable really, and it just lends credence to the old belief in racing that when you lose a stallion, you can bet he’s on his way to stardom. That looks very much like the story of Await The Dawn, who was tragically lost in a freak accident halfway through his second season at Summerhill.
Like anything worth savouring, it pays to sometimes keep your best for last; this applies to racehorse sales as much as it does to dessert. If it were otherwise, the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale would not have arrived at its status as one of the world’s fastest growing Thoroughbred vendues in the first dozen years of the new millennium.
Let’s face it, it was tough going at the National Yearling Sale, more so on the third day. There were those who complained that the market could not take more than 600 horses in a matter of a fortnight, and there was probably some truth in it. Others complained about the sale being sandwiched between an extra-long weekend and a big race meeting, and there may be a modicum of validity there as well.
When you don’t have the dough, you simply have to make a plan, which means “innovate” in modern speak. That’s been the story of ten times champion breeders Summerhill Stud for as long as they’ve been in business, and it’s served them well to this day.
It’s an indisputable fact that Anant Singh is South Africa’s greatest ever movie maker. And while his other love in life, horseracing, has been kind to him in his association with several outstanding performers, yesterday he revealed another dimension to his extensive retinue of “gongs”.
You’d expect it of a farm that has been at the head of the nation’s breeding affairs for most of the new millennium, yet it would be remiss of Summerhill if it didn’t share its faith in the horses it’s just sent to Jo’burg.
It's all very well talking about the cost of racehorses. But it sometimes helps to talk return, too. Not only the 27 millionaires, but the cash our Ready To Run "value buys" have generated in the past several seasons.
These “cheapies” join the likes of Lebeoana (cost R40k, 10 wins to date) by A.P. Arrow, I Got You Babe (cost R7k, 7 wins) by Solskjaer and Ginger Biscuit (cost R20k, 4 wins to date) by Admire Main. And let’s not forget, they don’t always have to be the height of fashion. South Africa’s winning-most racehorse of all times Hear The Drums (cost R42k, by Gold Press) visited the winner's enclosure 34 times, while Imbongi (Russian Revival), Pierre Jourdan (Parade Leader) and Paris Perfect (3rd in the Dubai World Cup Gr.1) were all sold off the farm and all scooped north of R5million each at the races.
Nobody knows the Summerhill horses better than our “boys in green”, the young men who ride these magnificent beasts we call thoroughbreds out in the early hours of the morning while “normal” people are still enjoying the blissful tranquillity of slumber. We’ve proclaimed the talents of these horsemen on numerous occasions, and the lead-up to this year’s Summer Ready To Run is no different.