The Best Ready To Run draft ever

Nobody worth his salt in the sport of racing needs an introduction to Pat Shaw – he’s as much a totem of the game in South Africa as Vincent O’ Brien was to Ireland and Bob Baffert to America. You don’t reach those heights as a racehorse trainer without a gifted eye, an abiding intuition and dare we say it, a smattering of courage and “chutzpah”. While some of those legends might’ve chosen to be excluded from the latter category, there’s no escaping it for Mr Shaw.

So when Pat Shaw, both an avid player and a close observer of the Ready To Run for close on three decades, rocks up at Summerhill and says unequivocally that this year’s draft trumps all others, you must know he’s making a big statement.

Don’t worry, he’s not suffering from amnesia. He’s keenly aware that last season’s three year olds included an unprecedented three Group One winning graduates of the sale, and that the latest crop of juveniles already counts Chesney Van Zyl’s  Group One performer, Railtrip in its number.

Yet he’s adamant, there’s never been better. And for those who hibernate in the lee of the Hottentots Holland, there’s comfort in Pat’s admiration of the first crop of Capetown Noirs “Strong, athletic horses, very much in the mould of their grandfather Western Winter, and my goodness, great movers”. For those with aspiring candidates for this year’s tenth edition of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, here’s the latest log from the NHRA.