In its heyday as home to more than 900 horses belonging to owners across 22 timezones from Japan to the United States, Summerhill Stud and its associated hotel, Hartford House, was the Midlands’ most visited tourist destination. An average of 60-70 people signed the visitors’ roster at its historic main gate on a daily basis, and while that number included the plumber, the electrician and delivery vehicles, the principal magnet was its horses and its hospitality.
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School Of Management Excellence
When William Shakespeare recorded the standout event in the reign of Richard III, he couldn’t possibly have foreseen a replay almost half a millennium later in little old Mooi River. Students of literature will recall that it was on Bosworth Field that England’s good king had offered up his kingdom for a horse, and if it weren’t for the fact that the auctioneer missed his bid, we’d have no Princes William and Harry today.
This is a story about triumph. Napoleon erected the Arc de Triomphe at the top end of the Champs Elysees to commemorate the most prosperous period in French military history. In 1920 the French racing authorities inaugurated the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in salute to the pinnacle of Continental horse racing; on Sunday, what has become Europe’s premier racing contest was renewed for the 96th time, and what a triumph it was.
If there’s one fellow attendees at the world’s biggest gathering of our sports aficionados that doesn’t need an introduction, it is Andrew Harding, Director, Racing Authority of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and convenor of the Asian Racing Conference.
"It’s never easy to admit to the ravages of age, so I’ll confine myself to a confession that horses have been a part of my life since the day I was born, and that this is my 40th year in the commercial stud business." - Mick Goss / Summerhill CEO
Jet Ski Lady, the daughter of Nelson Bunker Hunt’s celebrated stallion, Vaguely Noble, from the immediate family of a one-time resident of the Summerhill stallion barn, Desert Team, passed away Saturday morning aged 28.
While it does not speak of the money which characterizes the more elaborate establishments, there are few more soulful places built in honour of the thoroughbred than Summerhill. Besides, when you’re dealing with Summerhill, you’re dealing in history.
We are sad to report that with the considerable pressure on government finances for universities following the “Fees Must Fall” campaign, educational support for other institutions (all SETAS) including the CATHSSETA which has been a major provider of funds not only for our Winter Workshop, but principally for our annual scholarships, have fallen away.
While you wouldn't want to compare it with the scarcity of the police-escorted arrival of American Pharoah at Coolmore's Ashford division in Lexington Kentucky on Tuesday, our "out-of-the-blue" happening involved the delivery of a man we've had our eyes on for a while as a young stallion prospect of the future.
On the eve of our graduation ceremony and in the company of the governors of our School of Management Excellence, the air was full of talk of the calibre of the fifth student intake.
It's what led to the establishment of the only School Of Equine Management Excellence in the southern hemisphere. And through the largesse of the Childwick Trust and the generosity of a few other "angels", it's what made it possible for our graduates Thabani Nzimande, John Motaung and Ashlee Hammond to top their respective classes at the English National Stud for the third time in four years.
John Slade was a speaker at the Summerhill Winter Workshop held at the stud farm's renowned School Of Excellence this week, a few days after Maine Chance likely achieved a world first by breeding the one-two-three of the country's premier race, the Vodacom Durban July.
One can see why Mick speaks so passionately about his farm when you wake up to the view of the Giant's Castle. If that and a Hartford breakfast aren't enough to chase you out of bed, then the prospect of the 2015 Stallion Day, and the 5th annual Winter Workshop was sure to do the trick.
One of the most fascinating lectures at the 2015 Winter Workshop was delivered by Ireland’s Dr Emmeline Hill, who is the co-founder and chairman of Equinome. This company was launched in the wake of the discovery of the “speed gene”.
Mick Goss, of South Africa's Summerhill Stud in KwaZulu-Natal, fizzes with an energy that finds time for interrogation by a trio of journalists from the UK, USA and New Zealand before leaping in his car, racing to the farm and donning his master of ceremonies' hat.
"This is the story of a valley. It is a valley that has sometimes known flood and fire, but seldom famine. For it is a valley of lush, green springs and golden summers. Its sweet waters, its abundant pastures and sheltered timber are ringed about by steep ramparts. Winter cannot disturb its calm. One could search the world for such a place.
On Sunday, Summerhill held its 32nd annual Stallion Day at the School of Equine Management Excellence, and the occasion was dignified by the presence of heads of state, cabinet ministers, representatives of two royal families, close on 20 different countries and the usual multitude of guests.
For a miraculous third year in four, Ashlee Hammond advertised the virtues of our School Of Management Excellence as the English National Stud's top Academic Student of the Year.
The breeding game has never been more competitive, which means that to play a winning hand, you need to hold the aces. All of them.
Black type performances in eight different countries.