mike de kock
Mike de Kock (hkjc)

You might’ve thought the most famous South African on Sunday was Mike de Kock, following yet another staggering international victory in Hong Kong with Archipenko. You would’ve thought he might find the “small beer” we all savoured with Imbongi’s win in the KZN Guineas at Greyville on Saturday, somewhat trifling.

Not a bit of it. Speaking to Mike yesterday, he said he was just as thrilled with the outcome of the Guineas as he was with the Queen Elizabeth II Cup victory, as it heralded a new beginning, and a promise of much bigger things to come. When we ventured that Imbongi could be the nation’s best three year old miler right now, de Kock shot back unhesitatingly with the view that he could be the best three year old. Period.

The horse’s connections face a new dilemma. Do they take on the older Horse of the Year, Pocket Power in the Drill Hall Stakes G2 (1400m at Greyville) and then proceed to battle the same formidable rival in the Gold Challenge G1 (both at Weight For Age) or do they test Imbongi’s stamina once again, by asking him to engage his contemporaries over 2000 metres in the Daily News G1, in the hope that he gets the trip and progresses to the Vodacom July?

While we both agree (Mike and ourselves) that he may have the speed of his former stablemate, Kildonan, to compete with the country’s top sprinters, we also have to question the view (though neither of us were convinced), that he may not have seen out the trip in the SA Classic G1, where he hit the front a furlong and a half out, and then faded the last bit, leaving the impression he may not have stayed. In mitigation, he was drawn sixteen out of sixteen, he came from fifteen lengths back, and he did so up the middle of the track, when the inside appeared to offer the best going on the day.

In the end though, there are much greater mortals capable of making this judgment than ourselves, and who better than Imbongi’s trainer and those who counsel him.

Click here to watch video of Imbongi winning the KZN Guineas 2008. 

Below are some of the kind notes of congratulations that we have received following Imbongi’s win.

Thanks for the hospitality on Saturday and for breeding a horse like Imbongi and selling him to us.Having been around racing for 35 years I realize that it must be as close as you can come to a miracle to get a horse like this as your first horse and at the price at which we got him.
From Michael Fleischer

Dear Mick ,
Great win on Saturday. Well done . Two stakes wins now. He’s done you proud.
Alec Foster
HIM Capital Limited, United Kingdom

Dear All
Well done everyone! A great and very exciting win - even from this side of the Globe! Thanks to all concerned.
I wish I could share the celebrations with you. Thank you.
All the best.
Barry and Liz Clements
Perth, Australia


Well done. Great horse, great victory.
Stephen Gill, CEO Sheikh Mohammed’s Rabah Bloodstock, United Kingdom

Well done, a thrilling win. The Summerhill roll seems endless
Peter and Val Fenix, South Africa

Great stuff with Imbongi. You would’ve run first and second if Thandolwami had drawn well, I’m sure. He ran the fastest last 400m.
Craig Eudey
Trainer, South Africa

Well done with Imbongi. Summerhill goes from strength to strength.
Owen Liebbrandt
Veteran Racehorse Owner, South Africa

This is a great little horse and Summerhill is the “real deal”.
Michael Fleischer
Executive Vice President General Counsel
Gold Fields, Johannesburg, South Africa