Raymond Ellis receiving the 1947 King’s Cup
(Photo : Summerhill Stud Archives)
SOUTH AFRICAN HORSERACING SEASON
1 August 2009 - 31 July 2010
Africa’s first Fifa World Cup is not the only reason we’ll remember 2010. For Summerhill, it marked the greatest year in our history, and if you take that back to the founding of the farm in 1875, we’re talking of 135 years. There are deep layers of consequential history in the Summerhill and Hartford stories, and one of them, from the horse perspective, dates to the point at which the mighty Ellis machine first rolled into action.
Sir Mordaunt Miller recognised the feats of Raymond Ellis and his team in his writings which saluted the great owner-breeders of their era, including the Aga Khan and Lord Derby, the Frenchman Boussac, the Italian Tesio, the Americans Phipps and Hancock, and the Claiborne and Calumet farms. In the same breath, he spoke of A.R. Ellis of Hartford, the only farm on the African continent to warrant a mention.
When we came here, we inherited the responsibility of trying to fill the biggest shoes South African racing had known, and there was a symbolic dimension that marked the beginning of that awesome era. There is a sculpture in the Hartford garden, a creation of da Vinci’s mentor, Verrocchio which dates to the 1420’s. It owes its presence to a former Tesio head groom, who spent his prisoner-of-war incarceration on the property. The arrival of this sculpture in 1945 heralded the beginning of the trente glorieuses, the three decades of unprecedented Ellis prosperity on South Africa’s racecourses. While the names and the faces have changed, the sculpture is still there, presiding over a new period of prosperity.
With the conclusion of the 2010 racing season on Saturday, Summerhill became the only entity in Arcsa and Equus Awards history to garner six consecutive championships in any category. The same day, Northern Guest surged to his ninth Broodmare Sires’ title; equalling the great Mr. Prospector’s world record, while Pierre Jourdan became the season’s biggest stakes earner with R3,175million. If that wasn’t enough, Hear The Drums’ 33rd victory last week, made him the winningmost racehorse of all time. Summerhill’s almost R19 million in stakes earnings constituted a new and significant record for any one stud in any season, with a margin between ourselves and the runners-up of more than R10 million.
Among trainers, Mike de Kock, already recognised as one of, if not thebest trainer in the world, pushed his stable’s earnings past R21 million with a memorable one-two in Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July. There’s not much more this man can do domestically, but his ambitions and talents are limitless, and no doubt, there’s far more to this story than we already know.
On the jockey’s front, Anton Marcus’ world class professionalism guaranteed him the championship in thoroughly deserving style, while the indefatigable Jet Master grabbed yet another sires’ title.
From one Champion team to our Champion colleagues, well done. Relish the moment. This is the mountain top.
LEADING TRAINERS BY STAKES
Mike de Kock
LEADING JOCKEYS BY WINS
LEADING BREEDERS BY STAKES
D Cohen & Sons
LEADING SIRES BY STAKES
LEADING BROODMARE SIRES BY STAKES
Figures courtesy of Sporting Post as at 31 July 2010