The welfare of the thoroughbred was in the hands of the British aristocracy for the first three centuries of its existence. They bred horses for the right reasons: it was all about the sport, about one nobleman beating another. What we see now is what they selected for then: grace, nobility, intelligence, courage, speed, stamina, mental toughness and physical durability.
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Mick Goss presents the Summerhill Stud Stallions for the 2009 - 2010 season. The lineup includes AP Arrow, Admire Main, Malhub, Stronghold, Solskjaer, Ravishing, Kahal, Muhtafal, Mullins Bay and Way West.
The Goss Family
(Summerhill Sires Brochure 2008/2009)
The tradition of producing quality racehorses goes back almost eight decades among the Gosses. But their admiration for horses as a family has its origins in ancient Ireland, before the Battle of Boyne.
Ever since, they’ve held a warm affection for the sport of horseracing, and especially for the animals at the heart of it. The custodianship of that association was never more proudly revered than under the stewardships of Mick’s great grandfather, Edward, his grandfather Pat, and his own father Bryan, and today the manifestation of their obsession lies in everything you see at Summerhill.
It is true that in modern times, “Summerhill” is a splendid, much-envied brand. Because in the eighty years since they first started breeding racehorses on a tiny scale at The Springs in east Griqualand, the Goss family have never breached the founding principles of excellence and audaciousness, laid down by the man who embodied them.
What you’re looking at here, all over again, is history. And more history, in the making. And you’re more than welcome to join us in making some of your own. Because there’s one thing that’s as true today as it was at the Battle of Boyne. We only win if you do.
Broodmare Manager, Annet Becker, with Broodmare Of The Year Aspirant, Cousin Linda, dam of this year’s Cape Flying Championship (Gr.1) Ace, Rebel King and top colt at the NYS, and nightwatch supervisor, Sizwe Ndledla with the dam of Canon Gold Cup (Gr.1) hero, Desert Links (Selborne Park). As Annet said, “It’s a great shot of them both – as well as the mares!”
(Photo : Leigh Wilson)
Our Bloodstock and Broodmare, Foal and Yearling Sales Managers, together with Assistant Managers Richard Hlongwane and Thulani Mnguni, have been scouring the paddocks during the last few weeks, alongside Mick Goss and photographer Leigh Wilson, scrutinizing the weanlings from last season as well as their mothers, with a view to the lengthy deliberations regarding the latter’s stallion mates for the forthcoming year.
This is a painstaking affair, with every detail being noted concerning the mares’ breeding histories, the progeny they’ve already produced, the trainers and the work rider’s views, and now of course, with the benefit of hindsight, we’re looking to the future.
Summerhill farm clients know that over the next few months, they’ll be receiving the first of the proposals from our mating team, whose work spans the wee hours of May, June and July.
There’s a reason why we get so many horses to the races, and why so many train on well into their sixth, seventh and eighth years, and that’s because of the work that gets done in such detail right now.
(Photo : Heather Morkel)
One of the associations in which we take great delight, is with the legendary Lindsay Park Stud in the vicinity of the famed Barossa wine growing region of South Australia. Lindsay Park was founded by one of Australia’s training icons, the late Colin Hayes, father of Australia’s leading trainer of the present era, David Hayes and grandfather to Sam Hayes, who has taken over the stud breeding operations at the property.
Lindsay Park has many things in common with Summerhill, not the least of which is its isolation from the mainstream of Australian breeding, the Hunter Valley. Like us in KwaZulu Natal, South Australia is off the beaten track in breeding terms, yet it continues to produce a stream of top quality horses, despite its removal from the location of the nations top stallions. Only recently, it has produced the likes of the celebrated Grade One winners, Niconero and Nicconi (winner of last weekend’s Galaxy Stakes Gr1). From all accounts, Sam enjoyed his trip to us last week. With his permission we quote from his note penned on the way home.
Dear Mick and Cheryl,
I am currently flying from Johannesburg to Sydney and reflecting on the last ten days.
I would like to sincerely thank you both for your wonderful hospitality in Johannesburg, at Hartford House and at Summerhill Stud.
The South African experience in general was everything that I had hoped it would be (and more!). The results of the National Sale were encouragingly strong in the face of a decline in world confidence. I was most impressed by the sale ground facilities and permanent hospitality areas within each barn (not to mention Linda’s chicken rolls… one of many highlights!)
The trip from Johannesburg to Natal with the stopover at Clarens provided for a great opportunity to view the South African landscape. Thanks for letting me travel with you.
Hartford House is a very special place. It is a credit to your imagination and sense of style Cheryl. The decor, delicious food, excellent service, warm hospitality and Zulu dancing will not be forgotten. It is a world class venue. Congratulations!
Summerhill Stud was quite inspirational. Seeing the Summerhill Stud graduates winning Group races at Turffontien on Saturday and then witnessing the top filly and colt being sold from your draft was only the beginning! Being able to observe your farm and your team at the top of its game was a real treat.
It was motivational to see first hand what can be achieved with hard work, optimism and persistence. The vision that your team has for Summerhill has largely been realized and to see a business modeled so meticulously on the template of one’s vision was most inspiring.
The things that stand out in my mind are the proactive initiatives to train and educate your staff (not only with work skills but general life skills as well). The genuine focus on clients. The effective diversification of your business through insurance and feed divisions and the development of organic pasture management practices.
But what I loved most was the burning desire you all had to become South Africa’s leading breeders, backed by a steadfast belief that you would one day get there despite not having the monetary backing or the perceived geographical advantage of your rivals. You are reaping the benefits of doing what you love. That really does inspire me.
Naturally I found so many parallels with what we are hoping to achieve at Lindsay Park Stud. I can’t wait to get back to work. I know, with time, we can do the same.
Thanks also for giving me an insight into how you run your monthly accounts. Those templates will be very useful in helping us to re-design our financial reporting.
The whole experience was an absolute privilege that I sincerely appreciate. Not even watching the Australians loosing the one dayer in Cape Town was going to dampen my spirits!
Please pass on my thanks to all the team, especially Heather, Linda, Kerry, Annet, Tarryn and Marlene.
Long may your success continue!
Summerhill Stud’s Australian Ambassador!
Charles Laird at the TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, Johannesburg
(Photo : Heather Morkel)
“AS THINGS STAND, THIS WAS A GOOD RESULT”
Look, let’s not forget, this is only a news flash reflecting just one night’s business, but on the face of things, a horse sale which is only 21,7% off last year’s record highs, given the state of the international economy, has to be a good result.
With international bourses down 40-50% and our own stock market in a 30% retreat, you’d have expected at least a similar outcome at the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. But those who tuned in to Alec Hogg’s interview with Summerhill’s Mick Goss on Moneyweb’s business affairs programme last evening, would have been buoyed by the news of the number of “wannabe” buyers parading through the TBA’s sales complex at Gosforth Park, in the days leading into the sale, and his prediction that the “ponies” would outperform the market.
Like the three kings of biblical fame, they’ve come from the UK, the USA, Hong Kong, Australia, France and Singapore, to pay their respects to the cream of South African breeding, and from what we’ve heard, they’ve not been disappointed at what’s on show.
In the end, an average of R306 500 was a pleasing return, especially in the light of the fact there were only three millionaires in the evening to influence matters, and nothing approaching R2million.
Battle of the night, despite a top price of R1,5million, was the right to own the Spectrum half sister to Warm White Night and dual Gold Cup hero, Highland Night, in which the formidable combination of Markus Jooste and Charles Laird finally prevailed at R1,3million.
What is evident thus far, is that the gap between the progeny of the big three sires and those of the next tier, is no longer so glaringly apparent. Emerging sires Kahal, Muhtafal, National Emblem and Captain Al are growing in popularity with every sale, which the Summerhill team has to be delighted with the first showing of Cataloochees (2 fillies at R350k and R210k respectively), while Solskjaer is expected to kickoff in a big way Sunday.
Highlights of Summerhill’s evening were a R450k Kahal, brother to Gold Cup winner, Desert Links, (sold for the late Sheikh Maktoum’s Financial Director Stephen Gill, and Greig and Michelle Muir’s Muhtafal own sister to Alejate, at a cool R425k from the indomitable Michael Azzie.