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wills racing writing awards
wills racing writing awards

Dermot and Meta Cantillon scored a major home-run this last month, when their eldest son, Jack, was a joint winner at the annual Martin Wills Racing Writing Awards.

Dermot is the manager for the Smurfitt family and continues to serve the racing and breeding industries in many other ways. Together with his wife Meta, he owns Tinnakill House Stud in County Laois, which they established in 2002.

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Of Charl Pretorius, Cocoa Rose and Jacuzzi's




When Cocoa Rose steamed home in the Juvenile event at Scottsville on Sunday, the fact she was Kahal’s second highlighted youngster winning on the weekend, was not the only remarkable thing about the race.

Cocoa Rose has run just three times following her purchase for R70,000 just a few months ago at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale. This victory and her close-up second to the Graded Stakes performer, Ashjaan, has already virtually repaid the outlay of her 10 owners.

The real fable here though, is that five of her owners are “first-timers”, converted to “victimhood” by none other than one of the great scribes of the game, Charl Pretorius (of Racingweb fame, seen here celebrating at an address we daren’t disclose, judging by his company in the Jacuzzi!

DEVON AIR’S Group 1 winning relative comes to Stud

She’s On Fire arrives at Summerhill Stud
(Photo : Leigh Wilson)


Durban July watchers will remember with great affection the escapades of the fine mare, Devon Air, who took Africa’s greatest horse race end-to-end, and then proceeded to pulverize a quality field in the Canon Gold Cup (Gr.1) over the marathon two mile trip at the Greyville circuit a month later. Toiling behind Devon Air on the first Saturday in July was a Summerhill-bred, Versailles, so for us, there was added significance in this grand dame’s victory.

This week, a Group One winning granddaughter (by Jet Master out of Cream Of The Crop, by Concertino out of Devon Air) arrived back for her new career at stud. 6:30pm Sunday evening, to be precise.

We need to be precise about these things, because these are momentous events on stud farms. There are precious few horses in the world that carry the title of “Group One winner”, and She’s On Fire is one of those, having distinguished herself not only at that level among her own sex, but having put up Grade One performances against the colts as well, notably in last year’s renewal of Africa’s richest race, the Gomma Gomma Challenge (Gr.1).

We’ve written about Team Valor’s Barry Irwin and his “picking” talents before and anyone looking at the photograph of She’s On Fire on arrival, will know what we ‘re talking about. And when they come from Ormond Ferraris you can see the hand of a maestro.

Michael Clower reviews Ready To Run Sale 2008

denis and gael evansDenis and Gael Evans
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

“Inspiration Bucks The Trend”
by Michael Clower
South African Bloodstock News
Issue 6 March 2009

michael clowerMichael Clower South African Bloodstock NewsIn the long history of the world’s bloodstock industry few men have been able to turn the market. The qualities required for this include immense drive, an inspired imagination and a dedicated determination to succeed no matter how insuperable the obstacles appear.

Not many people are blessed with all these attributes, and the bloodstock industry has only a small pool to draw on. A number of its people have tried to buck impossible-looking trends over the years but few have succeeded. However Mick Goss joined the elite band at Gosforth Park on the first Sunday in November.

The Summerhill Stud boss has been the main driving force behind the success of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale since its inception but, with thoroughbred sales round the world reeling under the impact of the global credit crunch, few expected the TBA’s fastest-rising sale to emerge unscathed.

Many were steeling themselves for a 20% drop yet Mick Goss kept up his artillery of relentless promotion as if, like a modern-day Napoleon, he was simply not going to allow defeat to enter his calculations. His boundless enthusiasm paid off with a 34% rise in the average price and a sense of well-being that spread through the country’s studs as if it was manna from heaven.

“The sale was a tribute to many more than myself,” said Mick Goss, attempting to divert the kudos. “It was a grand catalogue of fine horses, prepared by some serious horsemen, and I think the South African racing public deserve credit for their courage and foresight in supporting the sale.”

It was a grand catalogue and there is no doubt that it read a good deal stronger than in previous years. There is still improvement to be made before the overall level reaches that of the National Yearling Sale and, if this can be achieved, there is every reason for the graph to continue to climb.

A new Ready To Run record top price was set when Basil Marcus went to R2,2million for an Australian-bred colt by seven-time Group One winner Rock Of Gibraltar (sire of Eagle Mountain) from a strong American family.

“I saw him at the Summerhill Gallops and also on the farm before that,” said Basil Marcus. “He was the one I wanted to buy. He had everything in the right place, he was very well balanced and he had a beautiful action.”

Basil Marcus was acting for Denis and Gael Evans, Johannesburg-based owners who “have a lot of young horses with me.” Their sale-topper had been purchased eight months earlier for A$75,000 (approximately R500,000) at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

As last year, Australian-breds sold well and they accounted for four of the top seven prices. Marlon Aronstam’s two Brazilian imports also fared well.

Oscar Pistorius’ decision to get involved could have far-reaching benefits for racing and breeding. The brilliant athlete bought the Kahal filly Watchful for R200,000 and is involved in the syndicate that purchased the second-highest priced lot, the Galileo filly Insasa, for R1,5million. Mike Azzie will train both.

There is a close correlation between the athletics track and the racetrack and, if either of these two fillies do well, racing will be propelled into the limelight, other stars will see the appeal of owning racehorses and the public will want to go and watch.

RICHARD MAPONYA : Spirit of African Entrepreneurship

richard maponya and shemaghRichard Maponya and Shemagh
(Realtime/Maponya Mall/Summerhill)


A new book on remarkable achievement has just been released, and interestingly, Richard Branson wrote the foreword. In it, he says “that across Africa, the spirit of entrepreneurship is very much alive, leaving me constantly amazed by the incredible energy and determination and innovation coming from entrepreneurs across the continent”.

Acknowledging Pliny The Elder’s Latin statement : ex Africa semper aliquid novi, (out of Africa there is always something new), the Nigerian born author, Moki Miqura identifies sixteen dynamic and outstandingly daring African men, who’ve built sustainable enterprises which can be benchmarked alongside the best in the world. The author tells us that these men have worked ingeniously within the context of the historical, economic and political climates of their respective countries; manoeuvred their way through hostile business environments, antagonistic governments, repressive systems, personal poverty and even a lack of education, to be counted among some of the world’s most formidable giants of business.

One of these sixteen achievers is South Africa’s Richard Maponya, who against all odds and obstacles presented by the apartheid government, is today one of the most celebrated and respected entrepreneurs in South Africa. Maponya succeeded in achieving many firsts in South Africa. He was the first person to open a dairy shop and milk delivery service in Soweto. He also brought the township its first grocery store which grew into a lucrative chain of eight Soweto-based discount supermarkets, making him (at one time) the single largest employer in Soweto.

In 2007 Richard’s long-lived dream finally came true when he opened Maponya Mall, the country’s first mega-mall to be built in a township. His simple statement on his latest achievement is “Sowetans deserve the best”, and in his recent acquisition of Shemagh (by Malhub out of the Northern Guest mare Dress Code) at November’s Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Sale, we’d like to think that Richard Maponya, in his own right, deserves the best. Well done, Michael Azzie, for bringing this struggle icon back into the game.


zimbabwe 10 trillion dollars10 Trillion Zimbabwe Dollars

The once proud country of Zimbabwe took another tragic step this weekend, with the passing of the newly-installed Prime Minster, Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife following a head-on collision. There’s all sorts of speculation in the press as to whether this was contrived or pure accident, and that debate, no doubt, will rage for some time yet.

Meanwhile, we had the pleasure of a visit from an ex-Zimbabwean in the form of legendary bloodstocker, Robin Bruss and his wife, Jane, this weekend, and Robin told us he won a race in Zimbabwe last weekend worth Z$50 trillion to the winner. As the cash is almost worthless, owners are allowed to trade the prize money for petrol coupons, which Robin is unlikely to be able to use in the foreseeable future. Talk about racing for the love of the game. Hats off to the Zimbos – they’d race in hell if they had to!

He gave us a Z$10 trillion note, which he tells us would scarcely buy us a newspaper today, notwithstanding the fact they’ve already taken 12 zeros off the amount already. Ironically, the note is adorned with two of Africa’s most sacred emblems, one the rocks of the Matopos Hills (which enchanted Cecil John Rhodes to the point that he insisted on being buried there,) and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, a poignant reminder of an earlier phenomenal civilization. Alongside the picture of Great Zimbabwe is an almost tragic depiction of the Reserve Bank of that country, a fine edifice by any modern standards, yet one which has presided over a currency which has quite the worst history of any currency anywhere.


seven network and karis teetanSeven Network with Karis Teetan aboard
(Photo : Gold Circle)

A Malhub colt, Seven Network, topped the Michael Holmes Bloodstock Shongweni February Sale held last week.

Seven Network is a two-year-old colt who has had 3 runs; finishing runner-up in his second start and winning his last start in fine style at Clairwood Racecourse on the 15 February. The colt was bred by neighbouring stud, Spring Valley Stud (Bruce and Nadine Le Roux), who are also the breeders of multiple Group 1 winner, Buy And Sell.

The Malhub colt was sold for R180,000 to James Goodman and looks like a horse that is improving with every run. Definitely one to look out for in the future.


commander john ford and alec fosterCommander John Ford and Alec Foster
(Summerhill Stud)

We have as guests at Hartford House a rather rare species, in the form of a church bell ringer. Commander John & Mrs. Anne Ford have been clients of Summerhill for more than a decade now, and they’re residents, in their normal lives, of a small village called Blakesley in Northamptonshire, UK. They’ve kept mares with us for throughout this time, and they make an annual pilgrimage, having a deep and lasting affinity for this part of southern Africa.

However, it is in another of her capacities that we pen this note, as Anne teamed up with a compatriot from the same village in a bell-ringing exercise at St.George’s Cathedral in Cape Town last Sunday. Her fellow campanologist was no less than the Honourable Gillian Foster, wife of yet another very long serving client of Summerhill. Alec Foster has been associated with us for just about all of the thirty years we’ve been in business at Summerhill, first as a client of Mick Goss’ law practice, and for at least the past two decades, as a keeper of his mares on the farm.

At this time of year, our friends come in every shape and size and from every corner of the world, yet this was an unlikely duo, in an unusual exercise at the southernmost tip of what the civilized world still calls the “Darkest Continent”.

Could this be "Die Groot Trek"?

ox wagonThe Great Trek?

Anyone visiting Summerhill this week could be forgiven for thinking they were witnessing a pilgrimage. While there will no doubt be others who pitch randomly, already we are expecting visitors from several different directions of the world.

The English are here in force, headed by Sir Bruce and Lady Hester Martin, Stuart and Adele Silvey, Commander and Mrs John Ford, while the Welsh, who lowered the English flag at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, are represented by the Mercers and the Dawsons of Usk Valley Stud Farm. Gold Circle are here with an Mpumalanga delegation on Thursday, local trainers Mike Miller, Garth Puller, Dennis Drier and their respective spouses were here on Monday.

Riding legend Michael Roberts and his wife Verna were diners at Hartford the same day. Summerhill stalwart Steve Sturlese was accompanied by his racing manager, Peter de Marigny and his newly acquired son-in-law, top jockey Brandon Lerena, whilst shipping supremo, Brian Roux, Arthur and Vynette van der Heijden and Standard Bank will all have darkened the portals of the farm before the week is out.

No wonder we know so few people in the neighbourhood! Yet we wouldn’t trade it for anything: these are the people that bring the colour to our lives.

MALIYAKHE : If at first you don't succeed...

maliyakhe and karl neisusMaliyakhe and Karl Neisus
(Gold Circle)

megan romeynMegan RomeynTuesday at Kenilworth saw the rise to form of Summerhill 2007 National Yearling Sales Graduate Maliyakhe, when he ran out a comfortable winner in the Avant-Guard Maiden Plate over 1200m. Following two places from two races, jockey Karl Neisus and his mount sealed the deal by powering to an impressive two length victory over runner-up, Ubizo.

Maliyakhe is a son of Muhtafal out of the Northern Guest mare, Snooty Lady, who is in turn an own sister to J&B Met winner, Angus. Maliyakhe is the full brother to undoubtedly one of the land’s most promising three-year-olds of 2008, Lostintranslation, who died tragically last year following a severe bout of Laminitis.

Snooty Lady is owned by old friends of the farm, Messers Rodney Thorpe and Roger Zeeman.

ADENA SPRINGS named US Champion Breeder


Adena Springs has topped the list of leading individual breeders in North America in 2008, for the sixth consecutive year.


Congratulations must go to Frank and Andy Stronach and the Champion Adena Springs Team.


The Thoroughbred Daily News reports that according to figures released by The Jockey Club Information Systems, Inc. on Tuesday, Adena Springs bred the winners of 603 races from 3,671 starts. Stonerside Stable, which bred the winners of 98 races from 518 starts for earnings of $7,433,027 to is second on the list. Adena Springs also heads the breeders’ list which includes partnership, with Stonerside second on that list as well. Completing the list of top 10 individual breeders (with earnings):


Eugene Melnyk ($6,410,230);
Brereton C Jones ($6,339,254);
WinStar Farm LLC ($5,460,005);

Juddmonte Farms Inc. ($4,924,494);
Sherman Family Thoroughbreds LLC ($4,839,702);
Sez Who Thoroughbreds ($4,780,068);
Padua Stables ($4,773,351); and

Everst Stables Inc. ($3,966,631).

Rounding out the list of top 10 breeders which includes partnerships are:

W. S. Farish, Brereton Jones, Eugene Melnyk, WinStar Farm, Sherman Family Thoroughbreds, Sez Who Thoroughbreds, Juddmonte Farms and Padua Stables.


PS. You may recall that Andy Stronach, on the back of his attending the Summerhill Stallion Day last year, bought four mares at the Sibaya Broodmare Sale, with a view to supporting the DANEHILL stallions standing at Summerhill.

SEA COTTAGE STAKES : Tribute to a Grand Old Man

sea cottageSea Cottage
(Summerhill Stud Library)

When the handicappers of South Africa met in 2000, to pick the best horse of the previous century, they settled on the names of Sea Cottage, Mowgli, Colorado King, Hawaii and Horse Chestnut. While Hartford-born Mowgli was the only one to garner two votes (and might, for obvious reasons, be our sentimental favourite) there’s no denying, that for us at any rate, the best we’ve known was Sea Cottage.

That he’s been demeaned in having a race of only Listed status bestowed upon him, doesn’t detract from the merit of Fenerbahce’s sterling victory in Sunday’s renewal of the race that takes its name from the legend. A creditable second for this R425,000 graduate of the Emperors Palace Ready to Run Sale in November’s Ready to Run Cup, Fenerbahce showed admirable improvement in getting up to beat the Dingaans Gr2 second, Captain’s Table, while the fourth horse home in that event, Broadsword, finished third. The result franked the best form of Gauteng’s top three-year-olds of this season, and with Fenerbahce looking like a horse with improvement to come, and still racing a little green, Andrew Fortune may well be right in his post race interview, in proclaiming this a Derby horse.

Fenerbahce is among five smart purchases for our Turkish friends Fedai Kahraman and Berdan Yerlikaya, and he is the second decent Summerhill winner this week for the Gary Alexander stables, following Bhekinkhosi’s win in the top-liner at Turffontein mid-week.

FAMILY BUILDING : Don't ever shut the door

stallion albarahinSire of Mystic, Albarahin
(Photo : John Lewis)

The outcome of Thursday’s main event at the Vaal was a timely reminder that us breeders often appear to have a short-sighted vision, driven no doubt by the commercial imperatives of the desire to cull. All too soon, we’re often guilty of prejudging a family’s destiny, based most times on a perception of the saleability of a mare’s progeny. The result is, by the time the subject mare has had as few as three or four foals, and the commercial returns have not quite met expectations, we quickly resort to the chopping block, forgetting just as suddenly, all the good reasons for the mare’s acquisition in the first place.

Mystic’s lightening closure for victory in the 7th on Thursday; recalled the value of patience and the underlying purpose of family-building. We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating; at Summerhill our mating policies are not driven by commercial outcomes alone. Truth is, they never enter our thoughts. Rather, we prefer the process of trying to breed a racehorse first, and then trusting the market to respect the result by paying a fair price for the progeny.

While there is a possibility this policy can cost you in the sales ring to a certain degree, there is little doubt of its contribution to the respect you earn when you breed a Champion.

Returning to Mystic, he’s a son of a bread-and-butter stallion (Albarahin), out of a mare (Vanish, by Coastal) who herself was the subject of some derision as a foal and as a weanling, when some of our number at the time doubted her value as a prospective runner, let alone a broodmare. But we’d ventured this far for a reason, and Vanish’s dam, the Lyphard mare Cahard, like her own sire, (a diminutive, natty little model of a horse,) had been bought out of the memorable Nelson Bunker Hunt dispersal, with the long road in mind. Here she was, producing an equally diminutive result, (notwithstanding Coastal’s 16.1 ½ h.h,) in the effort to get something with range and scope.

Vanish was spared the “knackers” and leased to an erstwhile customer of Summerhill, Brian Burgess, where she displayed the lion-heart at the races, accumulating four victories in fairly competitive company, despite her “tinyness”. The rest is of course, a matter of history.

Besides Mystic, she’s produced 100% winners from runners, including the 9 time Group One winner Disappear, who was the first to get the ball rolling in what has become a celebrated affair between Muhtafal and Coastal mares.

So where is the parable? Breeding is a long term process and it demands endless patience. The reality though, is that with few exceptions, with the benefit of judicious selection, quality stockmanship and proper husbandry, you can get a respectable response from most mares and we’re reminded at this time of a conversation we shared with Lionel Cohen a few years back on this topic. You see, we’ve a common thread with Lionel on this score, and in a discussion about flawed physical specimens in the broodmare population, he simply said “we can always breed this out, can’t we?” Applying this principle, the rare likes of Lionel have produced one good horse after another for so long now, no-one can gainsay the weight that accrues from great stockmanship.


hanging stirrups and helmets

During what has been a relatively quiet time for Summerhill-breds on the racetrack, Mystic kept the flag flying for us at the Vaal yesterday. Running like a horse possessed he dug deep in the Merit rated 92 Handicap over 1450m on the sand to beat Argo Bay, Infinite Spirit (a R700 000 purchase and G1 placed) and The Giant (a AUS$ 200 000 australian import).

This little horse with a big heart is yet another success story from the Ready to Run sale. He was bought for R90 000, has now earned a tad over R280 000 and looks to have a few more in the tank.

Congratulations to all the connections: Sean Tarry, Scott Kenny, Devon Habib, Greg Blank, S Appanna, D Yutar, HN Yutar and AR Burke.

THE TAPESTRY OF LIFE: Always Rich in the Silly Season

richard haynes and mick gossRichard Haynes and Mick Goss

It’s one of the great pleasures of working at Summerhill that our lives are brightened by the regular visits of people from all over the world. Those that read these columns will remember that on Stallion Day this year, we were honoured by the attendance of people from 14 different nations, and while that’s probably a record of its own for any one day, it’s a fact of life here that we have people from all corners of the globe calling on us at different times of the year.

Linda Norval and her cohorts entertain people every day of the year (yes, somehow Christmas and Good Friday included) at the Summerhill Visitor’s complex, and often enough, a visit includes at least tea, if not a fine lunch.

Many of these people stay over, enjoying the wonders of Hartford House, and soaking up the atmosphere of an authentic African farm. At lunch earlier in the week, we had our long-time friend, Wayne Aldridge from Sydney (Wayne was the founder of the Equine Insurance Group when it previously traded as Delta Bloodstock), Richard Haynes from New Zealand Bloodstock, Dick and Anne Pemberton from East England, while the evening before we hosted South Africa’s favourite investor, Jim Hay’s English trainer Tom Tate and his lovely wife Hazel. Tom is a past trainer representative in the UK on the British Horseracing Board. For the record, Hazel, a talented trainer in her own right, is the sister of Michael Dickinson, the only man to saddle the first five home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and both of them descend from one of England’s most famous dynasties.

Last Tuesday we were on duty again with Peter and Alison Brown, breeders of Outcome (crowned Champion Filly at the KZN Breeding Awards last weekend), ex CNA boss, Ian Outram and his wife Deidre, and Tony and Dale Feasey, buyers of last year’s top lot at the Ready To Run sale.

Just a few days ago, we were honoured with a visit by two legends of Australia, Antony Thompson of the spectacularly famous Widden Stud (at the top end of the Hunter Valley), and fourth generation success, John Kelly of the celebrated Newhaven Park Stud, where the likes of Wilkes, Luscan Star and Marauding made their names as the resident sires.

Students of the breeding game will tell you that there are very few farms anywhere that have survived successfully for more than three generations, yet Australia seems to be the gleaming exception, certainly in the case of these two properties.

Antony and John were here as ambassadors of Aushorse, the marketing arm of the Australian TBA, where Antony is the successor to John Messara as chairman, and John serves on the board of directors. We’re always honoured when men of this calibre visit us, and we always feel the wealthier (and indeed, smarter) for what they leave behind.

(Photo kindly supplied by Richard Haynes)


surfin usa and piere strydomSurfin’ USA and jockey Piere Strydom
(Gold Circle)

After a spate of rather disappointing results against minor fields, Surfin’ USA, the 5 year old gelding by Modern Day, finally showed his class with a hard fought victory in the R300K Midmar Premier Trophy (Grade 2) on Sunday at Kenilworth.

Jockey Piere Strydom certainly coaxed the best from his mercurial mount by patiently biding his time as the field settled. Then by leaving his charge until the very last moment, Surfin’ USA was able to just shade Vision Of Grandeur on the line for honours.

Congratulations must go to all the winning connections including Surfin’ USA’s breeder, our good friend and client of Summerhill, Fenn Tarbitt.


sangoma and lettuceCelebrating a successful first crop

The Irish, the English, the Australians and the Argentineans are all well known for their close identity with horses in general, and with racing in particular. Yet there can be few nations anywhere whose culture is more deeply linked to the horse, and the use of the horse, than that of the Kingdom of Lesotho. The full expression of the Basotho people’s obsession with horses could be no more evident than in their Monarch, King Letsie III’s “detour” to Summerhill this morning, enroute from Maseru to Johannesburg. Anyone familiar with the route will tell you there are much quicker ways of reaching Johannesburg from the Mountain Kingdom, yet His Majesty just had to see his new SOLSKJAER foal, and his new broodmare acquisition.

In fine form, His Majesty and his entourage were guests of the team at lunch, and there’s nothing that makes the Royal heart more jovial than a discussion about horses.

Nobody is more conscious of the impact which the global financial turmoil is having on the world, than we are. Long before its onset, and against the backdrop of spiralling food costs, we embarked on a programme to encourage our people to be as self-sufficient as possible. The first fruits of the new campaign are just being harvested, and nobody’s done better than Ida Nkabinde (one of nine from this family in the service of Summerhill) who arrived with these freshly cut lettuces, all organically produced, of course.

For those who don’t know, Ida is also one of our resident “Sangomas” (traditional healers,) and it seems some of the ancestors were alongside her in this endeavour. Eat your heart out Woolworths!

The Power of the Positive


It’s been a helluva year for Summerhill. New records at the races, new benchmarks for the trade, and a brand new Breeder’s Championship, for the fourth consecutive year. You’d think we’d be quite pleased with ourselves, and we’d be kidding if we didn’t admit to feeling a bit lucky.

Yet this is the time to give credit where credit is due. As a business, we‘re more dependent on people than most. Mainly because we started with nothing, and without relationships, we’d have ended with nothing. We owe everything to the people around us. Our customers, those that keep their horses with us, and those that support our sales. Our suppliers, our advisers, our bankers. Our trainers, our jockeys, our agents. Those that promote our sport in the media, and the fellows that lay on the show. The fans in the stands, and the punters at the rail. To our colleagues, the breeders, who kept us at our game, and played it the way it should be. Thank you. We re proud to call you our friends.

And then finally, to our own team, and the horses they’ve raised. You’ve set new standards in the way things are done. Encore for your dedication, your integrity and your decency, and as much as anything, your ingenuity. You’re the reason we get up in the mornings.


SOUTH AFRICA : Unshakeable, Untameable, Unbeatable


“Click image above to view full screen”

As the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale approached, we repeatedly spoke of our unshakeable belief in the courage and foresight of our fellow South Africans.

There were many who might’ve felt we were overly optimistic. But overcoming adversity is not new to our countrymen. We’ve had to deal with major crises in the past, and we know what it takes.

While the outcome of the Sale exceeded our expectations, it was just another great case of South Africa at work. People looking forward, knowing that next year is next year, that there’ll still be Julys, Mets and Summer Cups to be won.

People with vision, with guts and a love of our game. Like few others anywhere.

Racing people appreciating good horses, fine horsemanship and relishing the challenge. For the lion’s share of the spoils at next year’s “Emperors Cup”. For a million and a half.

So from the Number One Farm in South Africa to the Number One Nation on Earth, Thank You.




michael_muis_robertsMichael “Muis” Roberts - South Africa Team Manager
(TAB/Summerhill Stud)

A long overdue honour has been bestowed upon arguably South Africa’s greatest former jockey, Michael “Muis” Roberts.

In Johannesburg last week, Michael Roberts was named manager of the South African team that will line up against the cream of the world’s top jockeys for Saturday’s International Jockeys’ Challenge at Turffontein. He was awarded his South African national colours along with the nation’s best jockey talent.

Michael Roberts,  the 11 time Champion jockey of South Africa and 1992 Champion jockey of Britain, is now a racehorse trainer in the Karkloof Kwa-Zulu Natal where he trains 65 horses for owners, including Fieldspring Racing and Sydney Cassell.

Michael Roberts has himself competed in a number of international jockey “Tests” staged in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. He has also managed international jockey teams in Royal Ascot’s Shergar Cup competition.

Frankie Dettori of Italy, captain of the international team is an old friend of Michael Roberts.

“When I was riding in the UK he was an apprentice, and too young to drive, so I often gave him a lift to the races,” recalls Michael Roberts. “He used to chow sweets in the back of the car with my daughters and practise his English on them.”

A neck injury resulting from a fall in the UK in 2001 led Michael Roberts to retire from riding at the age of 48. “I was still enjoying racing; if I hadn’t been injured I’d probably still be riding.” he said.

Summerhill wishes Michael Roberts and Team South Africa every success this weekend.