vangelis horse and robert muir
vangelis horse and robert muir

Vangelis and Robert Muir

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)


Some years ago we arrived at work on an early October morning to the news of the arrival of a lovely big colt, bred on what is now one of the most revered crosses in South African breeding, Kahal on a Northern Guest mare. This fellow was out of a Group placed sister to Equus Champion, Travel North, and so his pedigree was deep enough to suggest that he might be good, and the specimen reinforced our hopes.

But this is a game, as we all know, which can sometimes test not only your patience, but the outer extremities of one’s resilience, and the colt went dead lame on us for more than a year shortly after he was weaned. In fact, the conventional wisdom among the veterinary community, even those with the “big” equipment in Pretoria, was that he was unlikely to test the judge at any racecourse, let alone get to hear the roar of the crowd.

Vangelis by name, we eventually decided to give him a go, and pretty much since the day we sent him to the Hartford tracks, he’s screamed at us as one we could reckon with. Earlier this week, he came home lonely for the ninth time in his life, which gives him a 50% hit rate in terms of victories to starts. He’s only missed a cheque on two or three occasions, and he’s thrilled us all, as anything because of his great triumph over what seemed to be impossible odds.

Summerhill’s partner in this horse is the well-known American owner, Robert Muir, who happened to take up 50% in the horse from the estate of the late Colly Fram, who was responsible for the location of National Emblem to Summerhilll when he first retired to stud. On that same visit to the farm, Robert was offered another half interest in a bright chestnut son of Russian Revival, but we suspect he thought he was becoming the victim of some smart salesmanship! After mulling it over, and hearing the advice of some who would damn him, Robert was advised to give Russian Revival a wide berth.

That fellow turned out to be Imbongi, Champion Three-Year-Old Miler of his year and winner of the biggest race of that particular weekend in England a month ago. Robert’s had more than his fair share of luck in this game though, his C.V. as an owner replete in big names like: The Sheik, Cataloochee, Ravishing and Candidato Roy. Having said that, it would have been quite nice though ………!