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Ready To Run 2008


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horses running

(Photo : Leigh Willson)


13 AUGUST 2009

The 2009 Equus Awards, the “Oscars” of South African horseracing, will be presented by the Racing Association and Gold Circle at Emperors Palace in Gauteng on Thursday 13 August.

Apart from the prestigious awards made for outstanding equine and human achievement in the 2008/2009 racing season, the gala evening in the Theatre of Marcellus also features top-class entertainment in the form of musician extraordinaire Ian von Memerty in cabaret, rising star Dantaneo singing at the after-dinner party, and the Vienna String Quartet performing before and during dinner.

Athletics Superstar Oscar Pistorius will be Guest of Honour for the evening. Oscar entered the world of horseracing at the 2008 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale with the purchase of WATCHFUL by Kahal and the part purchase of INSASA by Galileo, both now in the stable of popular trainer Mike Azzie.

The master of ceremonies for the evening will be well-known racing filmmaker and television presenter Aiden Lithgow.

An important change to the 2009 awards is that both the 2008 and 2009 Canon Gold Cup results will be included in the judges’ deliberations.

The voting panel for the 2009 Equus Awards is as follows :

Colin Aitken

Jehan Malherbe

Mathew Lips

Roger Smith

Ken Nicol

Chad Cooke

Mel Kaplan

Nico Kritsiotis

Clyde Basel

Vee Moodley (non-voting chairperson)

The nominations for the 2009 Equus Awards are as follows :

Champion 2 year colt (distance immaterial)


Champion 2 year filly (distance immaterial)


Champion 3year old colt (distance immaterial)


Champion 3 year Filly (distance immaterial)


Champion older male (distance immaterial)


Champion Older filly/ mare (distance immaterial)


Champion sprinter (1000-1200 age/gender immaterial)


Champion middle distance horse (1400-2200 age/gender immaterial)


Champion stayer (2400 and up/ age/gender immaterial)


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BIG PRICES AND BIG HORSES : Often Uncommon Bedfellows

trafalgar legacy win
trafalgar legacy win
trafalgar legacy lead in
trafalgar legacy lead in

Trafalgar Legacy

(Photos : Gold Circle)

“Please click photos above to enlarge”


Because they occupy a rarefied space in racing’s pantheon, if only because of their limited numbers, the most expensive horses at sales auctions quite often fall short of expectations. Of course, there are those that will quickly point to the fact that, at $3,4 million, the American sales topper, Fusaichi Pegasus is a glaring example of a horse that not only went on to win America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby (Gr.1), but commanded the world’s biggest stallion syndication at close to US$100 million at the conclusion of his career.

Locally, we recall the name of Wonder Lawn, at R3,5 million, the most expensive yearling ever sold in South Africa, and who, despite the fact he is a multiple Graded Stakes winner, still falls somewhere short of retrieving his purchase consideration. That said, if he’d come off, the money he’d cost would’ve been of little account. Just ask the connections of Jet Master who’ve seen a R15000 initial investment to go on to eight Group One victories at the races, and now command a value of close to R80 million at stud.

So what’s this all about? Well, yesterday was something of a litmus test not only for top priced horses, but also for the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run sale and Summerhill’s attempt at providing variety for that very end through the importation of the progeny of some of the best stallions in the world. At R2,2 million, Trafalgar Legacy (by Rock Of Gibraltar) made his racecourse debut at Scottsville yesterday a winning one in impressive style. Obviously at sea and quite “green” after the bend, he took a little time to find his feet, but then strode away to eclipse a son of Kahal who’d been second on his racecourse debut.

This is not a big fellow, but he’s as well made as any racehorse could be, and he came through his first trial with aplomb. The plan of course is to turn him into a stallion prospect and while that’s a long way off, this is at least the best first step he could’ve taken. Nobody deserves this more than Denis and Gael Evans, who put their hands up in no uncertain manner at last year’s Ready To Run Sale, and who, with this single response, have vindicated the efforts we’ve made over the years in bringing some of the best “shuttle” blood in the world to these shores.

Please click thumbnails below to read

related articles from the 2008 Emperors Palace Ready To Run

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ready to run sale 1
ready to run sale 2
ready to run sale 2

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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!

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.

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.



New Zealand Ready To Run Sale defies odds

graeme rogersonLeading buyer Graeme Rogerson
(Athlone Thoroughbred Marketing)

New Zealand Bloodstock reports that the 2008 New Zealand Ready To Run Sale of two-year-olds which ended yesterday at Karaka, achieved solid results which largely defied the international financial crisis.

Both the sale median and average were only a shade off last year’s figures, with the median price reaching $60,366 (down just 1% from a record $61,134 in 2007) and the average $33,000 (down 8% from $36,000 in 2007).

The clearance rate climbed steadily throughout the day to finish at 67%, down from last year’s 70%, with 247 horses sold for $14,910,500, compared with $15,100,000 for the same number sold last year.

Tuesday’s top price of $400,000 for the Red Ransom colt from Lady Circles was not surpassed, with yesterday’s top lot knocked down for $360,000. The Zabeel colt from group one winner Surprize was purchased by Queensland bloodstock agent John Foote from Mark and Shelley Treweek’s Lyndhurst Farm.

“I’ve bought him for a Hong Kong client and as yet we haven’t decided whether he’ll race in Australia first or go straight to Hong Kong,” said John Foote last night.

“He’s a well-bred colt, a lovely type and breezed up with a good action. We’re hoping he’ll be as good as his mother and father.”

The Zabeel colt breezed up the 200m straight at Te Rapa racecourse on 20 October in a time of 11.72 seconds.

Of the 247 horses sold, 17 fetched $200,000 or more compared with 14 last year, showing the relative strength at the top of the market.

New Zealand Bloodstock’s sales and marketing manager Petrea Vela was very pleased with the results after uncertainty created by the financial crisis.

“In view of the challenges facing everyone in the current market conditions, the results of the past two days have really been well in excess of our expectations,” she said last night.

“Heading into this sale we were certain that results would be down on last year, but to see such strength from the market here has been a fantastic result.”

Leading the buyers was transtasman trainer Graeme Rogerson with eight horses purchased for $1,625,000. A total of 49 horses are destined for Singapore, including purchases by former Kiwi trainer Laurie Laxon, Michael Freedman, Stephen Gray and Soon Hock Lee, with another 18 bought for Hong Kong.

Fourteen headed to Malaysia and five to Macau. The Seoul Racehorse Owners Association bought a further six yesterday to bring its total to 16 horses now bound for Korea.

The leading vendor for the second year in a row was Mark and Shelley Treweek’s Lyndhurst Farm, with 11 of its 15 entries selling for $1,706,000 at an average of $155,091.




view_from_30000ftView from 30000ft
(Photo : Glen Jeffrys)

Any result that moved into positive territory within a few days of “Black Monday”, the world’s toughest day in financial markets in more than 70 years, was bound to provoke interest. But a racehorse sale posting a 48% increase over two prior years which were both more than 40% up on their predecessors, was quite something, “defying gravity” as Mala Mala’s Mike Rattray put it. That was the Emperor’s Palace Ready to Run Sale, 2nd November 2008.

In our own 30 years in the game, we’ve never known such generosity from the marketplace, with e-mails and SMS’s coming in every few minutes for a couple of days. Inevitably, as is the case with the head of any organisation, much of the credit has been laid at my personal door, yet as we’ve so often pointed out in the past, Summerhill’s is a uniquely team effort, where the space created by others doing their jobs especially well, makes it possible for the rest of us to focus intensely on the job at hand.

And of course, this was a job that did require an intensity of an unusual kind, but we were helped in our purpose by an unusually smart draft of horses; by the skills of an unusually talented team of horsemen, and by a nation whose countrymen are endowed with gifts of unusual courage and farsightedness, who know that there’s an end to this financial madness, and that next year there’ll still be big races to be won, and a World Cup to prepare for.

Yet here we were dealing in animals at the top end of the luxury goods business, and any result of this magnitude is a landmark of the trade. So it’s time again for our team at Summerhill to take another bow. It’s amazing what you can achieve when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.



Have you ever been to Summerhill?

Our Zulu Dance Troupe performing on Stallion Day
(Summerhill Stud)

There are those who’ll tell you it’s one of the rare places on earth.

That it has a soul so deep and so spectacularly surprising. That its originality and its history are defining dimensions.

That for all its “busyness”, it also has its sanctuaries, hideouts and nesting places for our wild friends and their natural habitats. Places we look after by leaving them strictly alone.

And then there are things we never let go, like .

For those of our pals with the frenetic timetables, of the civilized, increasingly crowded and belligerent world, who “visit” us for their daily rush of racing’s news, views and the business of breeding, we’ve installed the most advanced therapy in the technological world.

Many will tell you that if you’ve never been to Summerhill, you’ve hardly been anywhere. Imagine the stories you could tell if you had. And while you can never beat the real thing in the real world, the virtual one will do for now.

It’s a little known fact that following the alarming events which ensued in South Africa in the latter part of 1989, with the collapse of the Rand on the default of the nation’s international debt repayments, that the enterprise of this business initiated a delegation to England to attract people into racing and breeding in South Africa.

Such a success was the visit that among those who were lured to the southernmost tip of what our civilized neighbours to the north call the “darkest continent”, were the Maktoum family, whose association with this farm celebrates 20 years next March.

Besides the horses belonging to Dubai Rulers, Summerhill has become home to more than 300 thoroughbreds belonging to friends and investors spanning seven time zones, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Dubai (of course), Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Monaco, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

It’s remarkable what you can achieve when you’re desperate, and today it’s a source of pride at the farm to know that this is the largest concentration of foreign owned thoroughbreds on any one property, anywhere in the world.

You’d sometimes have to ask yourself (if not pinch yourself) what it is that attracts these people into keeping their horses here so far from their homes, and it’s probably an answer that lies in the long history of the province of KwaZulu Natal. Let’s not forget that the Zulus who populated this area almost 1300 years ago, fought tooth and nail, in the first instance to amalgamate their own nation, and thereafter to preserve the territory they owned, against all odds. In the early 1800’s with the influx of European migrants principally from Britain and Holland (in the form of the Boers,) dominion over what was seen as some of the finest and most productive farm land in the world suddenly become an issue, to the extent that three nations (the British, the Boers and the Zulus) witnessed the greatest moments in their respective military histories within two hours of Summerhill.

The great battles of Isandlwana and Hlobane, Rorke’s Drift, Colenso, Majuba and Spioenkop sit deep in the breasts of these people, while its an intriguing fact of history that the greatest Englishman of all-time, Winston Churchill and the greatest African of all time, Nelson Mandela, were both captured within half an hour of Summerhill in 1899 and 1961 respectively. Don’t forget though, the liberator of India, Mohandas Ghandi, spent 22 years in this province, and that he turned up the battle of Spioenkop as a stretcher bearer in a scrap he had nothing to do with.

What was it then, in the subconscious of these people that attracted them here, and continues to tug at the heartstrings of the many who are part of the Summerhill story these days? We guess it must have something to do with the splendour of our environment, one of the best climates in the world, and of course, the people who live and work here. The Zulus are some of the most enchanting, respectful and hard-working people in the world, and it’s a tribute to their creativity and their appreciation of the performing arts that our little dance troupe, which has already ranked second and third respectively in the World Traditional Championships in Tokyo and Hong Kong that they’re off to the United States towards the end of the year as cultural ambassadors for South Africa. This time, though, we think they could come home the World Champions.

Until we meet again.




Mike de Kock on Breeders' Cup Map with EAGLE MOUNTAIN

eagle mountain and kevin sheaEagle Mountain and Kevin Shea at Santa Anita
(Harry How/Getty)

South African trainer Mike de Kock will saddle his first Breeders’ Cup starter Saturday, but it won’t be any of the horses he expected earlier in the year would make it to championship weekend reports the Thoroughbred Daily News.

“I had three others that I was planning to come here with and things didn’t turn out that way, Mike de Kock said. “[G2 UAE Derby winner] Honour Devil (Arg) (Honour and Glory) was going to come out for the Dirt Mile; [G1 Dubai World Cup runner-up] Asiatic Boy (Arg) (Not For Sale {Arg}) maybe for the Classic. But they just didn’t do well in England. They had really tough campaigns in Dubai. We took them to England and their coats never got good, they never ate well, never worked well. You can’t flog a dead horse, you know. You don’t want to come here just to be a number.”

Meanwhile, while his stablemates were excelling in Dubai, G1 Turf hopeful Eagle Mountain (GB) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}) was spending a year on the sidelines recovering from a fractured pelvis. The four-year-old, who was second in last year’s G1 Epsom Derby and G1 Champion Stakes and third in the G1 Irish Derby, seemed a longshot to make it to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup. But he proved he was back in top shape in his comeback effort, winning Newmarket’s one-mile October 3 G3 Joel Stakes in course-record time in his only start this term.

“We didn’t think we were on target for the Breeders’ Cup, but his last one showed that he was,” Mike de Kock explained. “So we were able to switch plans. We were lucky that we had a backup with this horse.” The trainer is not concerned that Eagle Mountain’s light campaign will hurt him Saturday. “He’s got a good five or six months of hard work under the belt,” Mike de Kock said. “He’s done a lot of miles. He’s ready for it.”

Catch all the Breeders’ Cup action on Tellytrack, DSTV channel 232.



The World is Watching.


Eamonn Cullen
(Heather Morkel/Barun Patro)

It’s always interesting (and often flattering) to know that, at the southernmost tip of what the civilized world calls the “Darkest Continent”, there’s something which may intrigue those in supposedly more civilized climes. We’ve noticed from those that visit our website, that auction companies of the eminence of Keeneland in the United States, Inglis and Magic Millions in Australia and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (obviously in Ireland), are regular visitors, curious as to how we go about marketing the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale.

One of the principal cogs in the Irish wheel, Marketing Manager Eamonn Cullen, confessed yesterday that he visits us twice a week for his “fix” on what we’re up to, and he’s been genuinely generous in his admiration.

While we think we’re making a fair job of it, there are always new depths to plumb and new lessons to be learnt, and if any of our readers have any ideas for us, we’d be more than delighted to hear from you.






The KwaZulu-Natal Owners and Trainers Awards for the 2007/2008 racing season were held at a Dinner Dance occasion at Greyville after the day-night meeting on Saturday.

The evening was co-hosted by Graeme Hawkins and James Goodman and was well attended by trainers, owners and other members of the racing fraternity.

David Thiselton writes that the Horse of the Year was awarded to Imbongi, who was trained by the Trainer of the Year, Mike de Kock, and bred by the Breeder of the Year, Summerhill Stud. Imbongi’s second stint in KZN followed his surprise win in the Grade 2 Gauteng Guineas but he then proved himself a top class horse, Mike de Kock having said during the season that the Russian Revival chestnut improved tremendously with gelding.

He won the Grade 2 KZN Guineas in brilliant fashion after being squeezed not much more than 100m from home and then became the first three-year-old of the season to beat older horses when landing the Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes over 1 400m against a star-studded field that included the likes of Pocket Power.

He then beat Pocket Power again when finishing second to Dancer’s Daughter in the Grade I Gold Challenge over 1600m at Clairwood, a race that was billed “the Race of the Season”.

was also crowned Champion three-year-old colt, while his groom, Goodman Bhuku, was named Groom of The Year.

The announcement of the Sean Tarry-trained Wendywood as the Champion three-year-old filly was accompanied by some sadness as the Grade I Woolavington winner died of colic recently after her amazing career of just three runs, culminating in a respectable effort in the Vodacom Durban July. Assistant trainer, Deshone Steyn, received the award on Sean Tarry’s behalf. |

Champion two-year-old filly went to the Grade I Thekwini Fillies Stakes winner, the Duncan Howells-trained Gypsy’s Warning, and Champion two-year-old colt went to the Grade I Premier’s Champion Stakes winner, the Mike de Kock-trained Rocks Off.

Mike De Kock also scooped both the Champion Older Horse and Champion Stayer awards, with Canon Gold Cup winner Thundering Star, and the Champion Sprinter Award with SA Fillies Sprint winner, Rat Burana.

The Mike Miller-trained Garden Province winner, Outcome, won the Champion Older Female award.

Mike de Kock’s Award for Champion Trainer was, unbeknown to many, a close shave as he only had a single winner more than the perennial winner of the award, Dennis Drier, on KZN racetracks.

Brandon Lerena was Champion Apprentice for the third year running while Champion jockey went to the evergreen Robbie Hill.

Markus Jooste was Champion owner while Moga Pillay won the Anita Akal Award, which honours those who go beyond their call of duty in serving the horseracing industry.

Mike de Kock’s
many awards were received by his assistant John Buckler, as the maestro trainer is currently in the US preparing Eagle Mountain for the Breeders’ Cup.



NEW APPROACH retired after victory in Champion Stakes

kevin manning and new approach
Kevin Manning celebrates aboard New Approach

Princess Haya of Jordan’s New Approach (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) became the first G1 Epsom Derby winner to follow up in the G1 Emirates Airline Champion Stakes in the same year since the 1968 hero Sir Ivor with an emphatic six-length success on Saturday.

The Thoroughbred Daily News reports that capping a memorable afternoon for Jim Bolger following the surprise win of Intense Focus (Giant’s Causeway) in the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes a half hour earlier, the 6-5 crowd’s choice opened up when committed by Kevin Manning with three furlongs remaining and by the time he reached the line, he had smashed the previous track record set by Palace Music in this race 24 years ago.

“Everything went according to plan,” his typically understated jockey commented afterwards. “He really impressed me today and of all his wins, I’ve no doubt that today was his best.”

Khalid Abdullah’s Twice Over ran second and previous Herman Brown inmate, Linngari, ran a very creditable 3rd.

New Approach has been retired to stud and will stand at Dalham Hall.




MUHTAFAL : Stallion Profile


“If we were going to war, he’d be our General.”

Those are the words of Summerhill stud master Mick Goss, who has never been shy of singing the praises of Mr Prospector’s son Muhtafal, now firmly ensconced as the leading stallion standing in KwaZulu-Natal. The farm’s stalwart has been making steady progress up the stallion ranks over the past few seasons and has reached another important milestone - he cracked fifth place on the General Sires list in 2007.

Ranked 17th in 2004, tenth in 2005 and sixth in 2006, the now 16-year-old sire enjoyed a stellar season which yielded six stakes winners and culminated in total progeny earnings of more than R8.1 million, placing him behind only ‘big guns’ Jet Master, Western Winter, Jallad and Fort Wood.

This achievement has resulted in a significant revision to his service fee and the chestnut will command a fee of R60,000 in 2008, up from a previous high of R40,000.


Muhtafal was bred for success - he is a full-brother to Canadian Horse of the Year and Champion three-year-old Afleet and is out of 1988 Canadian Broodmare of the Year Polite Lady, who in turn is out of another Broodmare of the Year, Friendly Ways. Free of Northern Dancer blood, his pedigree carries duplications of both Bull Dog and Nasrullah in the fifth remove.

Muhtafal raced in the colours of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and such were the expectations for the son of Mr Prospector that in his debut outing, he was pitched against allowance company at Churchill Downs. The result, a facile victory recorded in a time just outside of the 1200m track record. Another victory followed, this time at Keeneland when powering home by five lengths in what was then the fastest six-furlong time ever recorded by a sophomore at the historic track. On the strength of such form, the colt started favourite for the Gr.3 Kentucky Derby Trial, but suffered a leg injury which ultimately put paid to his racing career. Following two unsuccessful starts at four, the chestnut was retired to his owner’s Shadwell Stud in Kentucky in 1997. From two relatively small crops, he sired stakes winners Charmu, Polite Lil Lady, Winter Leaf and X Country.

Muhtafal exchanged the Kentucky bluegrass for the lush green hills of KwaZulu-Natal and arrived at Summerhill Stud in time for the 1998 breeding season, boasting credentials tailor made for South Africa: he was a son of the great Mr Prospector, a full brother to a champion and successful sire in Afleet, and most important, he possessed brilliant speed.


Muhtafal was quick off the mark with his first South African-conceived crop, which yielded three stakes winners. Tuscan Elegance clearly inherited her sire’s brilliant speed, winning six races over the minimum trip, including the Gr.3 Southern Cross Stakes, the Goldfields Sprint and the Gardenia Handicap. Side By Side won the Gr.3 Umzimkhulu Handicap, while The Waltz improved with age to end his career a ten-time winner, which included two runnings of the Gr.3 Christmas Handicap.

Muhtafal’s first Gr.1 winner emerged from his second crop in the shape of Disappear, who defeated the mighty Nhlavini in the 2005 Mercury Sprint at Clairwood. Also a winner of the Gr.2 Post Merchants, this fine sprinter has likewise proven to be a durable performer, for he is still in training and has amassed stakes just short of the million Rand mark.

Muhtafal sired yet another Gr.1 winner in Let’s Rock’N Roll, a foal of 2002, whose victory in the Gr.1 Golden Horse Casino Sprint earned him the title of Champion three-year-old male sprinter.

Four-year-old daughter Outcome became her sire’s third Gr.1 winner with a handsome victory in the prestigious Garden Province Stakes at Greyville on July day.

Muhtafal was expected to deliver stock noted more for speed than stamina and results have indicated that his progeny generally take after their sire, carrying their speed up to 1600m, with the notable exception being Veiled Essence, who scored a come-from-behind victory in the 2006 Gr.2 Gold Circle Oaks.

Muhtafal has to date shown a preference for mares from the Northern Dancer tribe - Gr.1 winner Outcome and Mauritian stakes winner Flaminglight are both out of Elliodor mares, while Gr.3 winning sprinter Fair Brutus, dual stakes winner Nottgalashia and Battlestar Express were bred from daughters of Danzig’s son National Assembly. As expected, he is proving to be a perfect foil for the daughters of Summerhill foundation stallion, Northern Guest, a son of Northern Dancer. All of Let’s Rock’N Roll, Side By Side, The Waltz, Hot Reception and Alejate are out of mares by the multiple champion broodmare sire.

Muhtafal has also sired Disappear, Umngazi and Mzwilili out of daughters of his former stud compatriot Coastal, giving linebreeding to Raise A Native.

Racing South Africa



Solid opener at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale


The Thoroughbred Daily News reports that while there was another day of turmoil in the economic market in Britain on Tuesday, trading at the opening session to TattersallsOctober Yearling Sale was remarkably resilient, thanks in no small part to Sheikh Mohammed, who bought 17 lots for 3,085,000gns through John Ferguson.

With this year’s sale reduced from four days to three, Tattersalls did not issue comparative figures, but the 114,227gns average was down just one percent on last year’s opening day with a larger catalogue.

The 80,000gns median fell by 7.5 percent and the 15,078,000gns turnover rose by 3.5 percent.

An Oasis Dream half-brother to dual 1000 Guineas heroine Finsceal Beo (Mr. Greeley) topped the Sheikh’s spending when making 500,000gns.

Three of the top 10 lots were by Galileo.



GALILEO colt heralds biggest Australian success for Darley Stud

peter snowdenTrainer Peter Snowden with wife Lyn and daughter Lisa
(Jenny Evans)

On Saturday, Randwick’s Spring Champion Stakes G1 over 2000m, heralded Darley Stud’s biggest racetrack success in Australia to date.

The hero was the Galileo colt, Sousa, who romped home to win by an emphatic six lengths for trainer Peter Snowden, taking Galileo’s tally for the year to 18 stakes winners.

Sousa was purchased by Woodlands Stud for A$420,000 at the 2007 Inglis Easter Sale and was one of hundreds of horses to pass into Sheikh Mohammed’s ownership following the purchase of Ingham Bloodstock earlier this year.

Galileo missed out on a Group 1 double on the same Randwick card when David Payne’s Gallant Tess was beaten by less than two lengths into third in the Epsom Handicap.

Unbelievably, there are 3 lots by Galileo on this year’s Emperors Palace Ready To Run sale to be held at the TBA Complex on  2nd November.

You can see these spectacularly animals strutting their stuff here at the Summerhill Ready To Run Gallops on 17 October.




EAGLE MOUNTAIN bound for Breeders' Cup

mike de kockMike de Kock
(John Lewis)

charl pretoriusCharl Pretorius Freeracer Mike de Kock is set to write another new chapter in the history books by becoming the first South African to saddle a runner at the US Breeders’ Cup World Championships meeting at Santa Anita near Los Angeles, California, on 25 October.

Mike de Kock announced on Monday, 6 October, that Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s four-year-old, a Group 3 winner in his comeback run last week, will be entered for and pointed at the 2008 Breeders Cup Turf over 2400m.

Eagle Mountain
, a son of Rock Of Gibraltar, won last Friday’s Group 3 Nayef Joel Stakes over 1600m after a year’s layoff, setting a track record. Mike de Kock said: “This was a meritorious win considering that he (Eagle Mountain) came back from a serious pelvic injury and over a trip too short. He is at a high level of fitness and is eligible for the Breeders Cup. I consulted with Sheikh Mohammed and we made a decision to pencil his name in when entries fall due on 14 October. With three weeks to go, we will be focusing fully on the race in his preparation.

Previous winners of the illustrious Breeders Cup Turf include In The Wings, Daylami, Fantastic Light and High Chaparral.



ZARKAVA wins Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

prix de l'arc de triomphe winnersPrincess Zahra, His Highness The Aga Khan, Christophe Soumillon, Alain de Royer Dupre
(Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty)

The Aga Khan’s homebred filly Zarkava (Ire) (Zamindar) had Longchamp holding its breath when making it a magnificent seven career wins and a fifth at the highest level in yesterday’s G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the world’s richest race on turf with a stake of 4 million euro.

Despite the disappointment of rain at Longchamp, and a few doubts about the filly being drawn on the inside and having her first run against colts in such an important event, she powered to victory from Youmzain (Sinndar), who filled the runner-up spot for the second consecutive year.

The punters’ patriotic bets saw her start as the even-money favorite - but she almost threw away their cash when jinking right when exiting the stalls, almost losing jockey Christophe Soumillon. Soon recovering, the bay found the gaps when it mattered and delivered her trademark acceleration to lead with a furlong remaining and surge clear under a hand ride.

Zarkava remains unbeaten in 7 starts and is the first filly to win the Arc since Urban Sea (dam of Galileo), who took the honours in 1993.

youtube link

Watch Zarkava winning the 2008 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe





rock of gibraltarRock Of Gibraltar

EAGLE MOUNTAIN returned to the track in fine style on the weekend winning the G3 Joel Stakes in Newmarket, England for South African champion trainer Mike de Kock. It was an incredible training feat for Mike and his team as this son of ROCK OF GIBRALTAR had suffered a pelvic injury earlier in the year and had been off the track for 349 days.

Previously trained by Aidan O’Brien, he was second to Authorized in the G1 Epsom Derby and runner up to Literato in the G1 Champion Stakes.

Coolmore’s Rock of Gibraltar (or ‘The Rock’, as he has become known) was a machine of a racehorse winning 7 consecutive Group Ones. He shuttles to Australia where he is standing for A$82 500 this season and has produced stakes winners in USA, England, Ireland, France, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, including multiple G1 winner MOUNT NELSON and G1 Gold Medallion winner, SEVENTH ROCK.

Amongst the exceptional draft of two year olds on offer at the Ready to Run sale on 2nd November is a good looking son of ‘The Rock’ who is catching the eye here on the Summerhill tracks. Come and see him in action as well as sons and daughters of GALILEO, ROYAL ACADEMY, FLYING SPUR, CAPE CROSS, MUHTAFAL and KAHAL at the Ready to Run gallops at Summerhill on 17 October.