Art Of War winning the Wheels 2000 at Nad Al Sheba

When Imbongi, Desert Links, Art Of War and Galant Gagnant became the targets of international offers and ambitions, we knew that our Breeder’s Championship aspirations for 2009 were likely to be imperilled. These, after all, were among Summerhill’s best performers of the last season, and while the likes of Rebel King and Outcome have since provided some local reassurance in the Grade One victories they’ve delivered in the interim, the earnings of horses of this ilk would’ve been material, no matter your perspective.

The consolation then, lies in the performances that led them to the faraway lands they now populate, and last night, in the sands of Dubai, Art Of War delivered his own compliment to Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum’s wisdom in taking him out for the Carnival.

His swansong in South Africa was a seven length victory over 1600m in the Vaal sand, and it was reasonable to expect that a repeat of that margin of victory was unlikely. Yet, in the full glare of last evening’s international television audience, Art Of War didn’t only take on a decent field of horses drawn from across the globe, he pretty much annihilated them, cruising away by 8.5 lengths.

Like Imbongi, Desert Links and Galant Gagnant, Art Of War was yet another graduate of Summerhill’s Ready To Run programme, Sheikh Mohammed splashing out R360 000 to acquire the son of Kahal. In another repeat, Art Of War is a product of the now famous cross of Kahal on Northern Guest mares, his dam being the once raced Cariad, whose only performance at the races yielded an excellent second in the colours of Rodney Thorpe and Roger Zeeman at Greyville. Cariad has a Malhub colt on the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales in April.