Tim Macpesh : Tim is in the process of doing his third Ready to Run stint at Summerhill, and he is a highly accomplished competition rider in his own right. He graduated from Treverton College three years ago and is currently studying for a B.Compt degree at the University of South Africa. Two seasons ago, his work mate was the SA Guineas winner Dynamite Mike (conqueror of dual Classic winner Jay Peg), whom he labeled at Ready to Run time as a big race sort. His pick of the horses at this early stage is the National Emblem colt out of Glitz, (a half brother to Stakes winner Nondweni), and the Albarahin filly out of the four time Stakes placed winner Particular Passion (by Rambo Dancer).
John Motaung : John has been at Summerhill for six years now and is a graduate of our international scholarship programme, having done a season at the late Sheikh Maktoum’s Gainsborough Farm in the United States. A natural horseman and an elegant and sympathetic rider of young horses, John has climbed through the ranks of Summerhill in meteoric fashion. His perceptions on the horses have been advantageously used by several buyers over the years, and Bill Strydom will attest to the fact that it was John who pointed him in the direction of the outstanding sprinter, Fanyana, whom John rode in the lead-up to the Ready to Run sale. Fanyana is remembered for the fact that he broke his maiden within 10 days of the Ready to Run sale, by an increasing three and a half lengths. Fanyana went on to win ten races before the end of his three year old career, and has been off for some six months carrying an injury. Assuming he gets back to his best, he will be one of the nation’s top sprinters this year, having twice been Group One placed as a three year old.
John’s early picks included the Labeeb colt out of Idle Song (from the famous Hartford family of Magic Mirror, Amaze, Cosmonaut, Alhambra and J&B Met second, Flying Promise).
Michael Booysen : Here is a man who is a walking legend at Summerhill, having been pretty much born, bred and raised on the property. A naughty little devil as a youngster, it wasn’t easy to get him to attend school, and he dropped out before the end of his second year. However, he is as street smart as anyone ever to set foot on the place, and he has progressed through the ranks through his own phenomenal talents as a leader, his great sense of balance and fairness, and an outstanding instinct with horses. Today he is co-manager of the Ready to Run division, and is a graduate of a scholarship stint at Sheikh Hamdan’s Derrinstown Stud. If ever there was an example of a man who has taken his chances in life, and has proven that a lack of education is no bar to a man going to the top, then Michael Booysen is your man.
While Michael has picked many a top horse out of the Ready to Run string, he is most famously remembered for the fact that he never lost faith in Amphitheatre, who for some remarkable reason never quite appealed to the buyers’ sense of value. Amphitheatre was taken to the Ready to Run as a two year old with an upset price of R30 000, and was passed out of the ring without a single bid (yes, not even R5 000).
Michael kept him in training on the farm throughout this two year old career, and the horse was re-entered at the Ready to Run (there was a single dispensation one year) as a three year old, and once again, off a reserve price of R20 000, he was rejected by all and sundry. Michael kept encouraging us to keep going with the horse on the farm, because he believed he would become a serious racehorse and told us he could win a Gold Cup, little realizing just how accurate his prophecy might turn out to be.
In the end, we kept Amphitheatre at a time when we desperately needed the earnings, and he went to work for us, picking up R1.4 million in a quite remarkable career, which included Group One performances from a mile to two miles, and two titles as Champion Stayer.
If a farm can be associated with one horse of this sort in its lifetime, it’s been blessed, and the same applies to Michael Booysen. He’s been an example to everyone here, and one of our most prized staff members.
Monday’s edition will tell you where Michael’s eyes are gazing at the moment.