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DUKE OF MARMALADE confirmed for Juddmonte International Stakes

duke of marmalade racehorseDuke of Marmalade
(le cheval bleu)

Heavy rain drenched York on Monday morning with forecasters predicting scattered showers leading up to today’s Juddmonte International Stakes (G1).

Ron Parker writes for the Thoroughbred Times that the course was deluged with rain on Saturday night, and Racing Post reported the ground is rated as heavy but holding up well.

Susan Magnier’s and Michael Tabor’s Duke of Marmalade, winner of four consecutive Group 1 races, was considered questionable for the Juddmonte International due to soft ground. But on Monday, trainer Aidan O’Brien said the Danehill colt will run in the about 1 5/16-mile race.

Duke of Marmalade (Danehill) has recorded Group 1 wins in England, France, and Ireland this season, including a win on yielding turf in the Prix Ganay-Grand Prix du 40th Anniversaire Air Mauritius (G1) on April 27 at Longchamp. He enters the Juddmonte International off a half-length win in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) on July 26 at Ascot.

“Conditions will be far from ideal for him but the owners are prepared to let him take his chance,” Aidan O’Brien told Racing Post.

That decision sets up a much anticipated meeting between Duke of Marmalade and New Approach, winner of the Vodafone Epsom Derby (G1) on June 7 at Epsom Downs.

An excellent workout on Friday convinced trainer Jim Bolger that the Galileo (Ire) colt was ready for the challenge and that the testing ground will present no problems for New Approach (Galileo).

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute said multiple Group 1 winner Linngari is doubtful for the race.

Catch all the action on Tellytrack (DSTV Channel 232).



Weather a factor in Juddmonte International

aidan_o_brienAidan O’Brien
(Go Racing/Dan Shirley)

Aidan O’Brien last night predicted that the eagerly awaited clash between Epsom Derby winner New Approach (Galileo) and Duke Of Marmalade (Danehill) in the Juddmonte International tomorrow is in serious doubt following the news that York’s ground is heavy after 25mm of rain over the weekend.

The Guardian reports this morning that a decision is likely today once the Ballydoyle trainer has discussed the situation with owners John Magnier and Michael Tabor. “The ground is heavy and very deep. He’s in now, but he has to be a doubt,” said Aidan O’Brien. “It’s far from ideal and will be totally against him, but knowing the horse he is, the lads might let him run. We’ll talk about it tomorrow and make a decision.”

New Approach’s trainer Jim Bolger suffered a serious setback yesterday when his 1,000 Guineas candidate Cuis Ghaire (Galileo) ran an uncharacteristic stinker at Leopardstown but not surprisingly punters were putting their faith in the Derby winner after news filtered through about the radical change in ground conditions.

Jockey Johnny Murtagh, though, was certainly refusing to countenance defeat for his mount when questioned at Leopardstown. “Duke Of Marmalade is a good horse and I firmly believe that a good horse will go on any ground,” argued Johnny Murtagh. “He is tough and genuine and will give 110%. He’s a horse that will die for you. He can overcome difficulties and though it’s a hot contest I don’t fear anything in the race,” he added.



Summerhill Sires Brochure Launch

summerhill stud staffTarryn Liebenberg, Annet Becker, Douw Coetzee, Robert Mbhele and Prince Mdunjane
(Grant Norval)

This past Friday saw the launch of the 2008/2009 edition of the Summerhill Sires brochure. This is the 20th anniversary of the brochure with Mick Goss at the helm, and the 10th year that Xpressions Advertising & Design has headed up the creative team.

Mick and Cheryl Goss celebrated the occasion with all senior Summerhill, Vuma and Hartford staff in the Summerhill Stud boardroom. Also present were Rob Caskie of Fugitives Drift Lodge and Karen de Haan, previously of Hartford but now also at Fugitives. Karen celebrates her 50th birthday this week - congratulations Karen.

As Felicity Hayward, CEO of Xpressions, presented the first brochures, she mentioned that this year’s edition is really “home-grown”, with significant photographic contributions being made by members of the Summerhill Team. This edition of the Sires brochure is as grand and exciting as we have come to expect, with a moody, textured look and brimming with stories, ideas and tributes. The cover is a work of art in itself; finished with the finest quality matt lamination, gold foiling and spot UV varnish.

Brochures will be mailed to all clients and connections of Summerhill within the next couple of weeks, and we do hope you get months of enjoyment from your original. 

Should you not be on our mailing list and would like your own personal copy, please contact us at



Launch of Summerhill Sires Brochure 2008/2009


Today marks an historic day for Team Summerhill with the official launch this afternoon of the much anticipated, and eagerly awaited, 2008/2009 edition of the Summerhill Sires Brochure.

See our men; Albarahin, Cataloochee, Hobb Alwahtan, Kahal, Malhub, Muhtafal, Mullins Bay, Ravishing, Solskjaer, Stronghold and Way West as they’ve never been seen before, get an insight into the talented and dedicated individuals that make up Team Summerhill and see stunning images of arguably the most beautiful thoroughbred estate in Africa, which we are honoured and privileged to call home.

If you are already on our mailing list, we will be sending you your personal copy of this exquisite publication next week. If you’re not, we invite you to email us your details and we’ll ensure that you don’t miss out :



DANEHILL : Another Emphatic Statement

duke of marmaladeDuke of Marmalade

Andrew Caulfield writes for the Thoroughbred Daily News that thanks to the omnipresence of his descendants on big race days, it seems hardly credible that it is now more than five years since the mighty Danehill died at the age of 17. By the time of his death, Danehill was the highest-priced stallion in Europe, with his status boosted to new heights by the 2002 Group 1 victories of Rock of Gibraltar, Landseer, Banks Hill, Aquarelliste, Fine Motion, Spartacus and Dress to Thrill. Needless to say, the book of mares he was covering at the time of his death was in very different league from those he’d attracted when his fee was as low as IR9,000gns in his fourth and fifth seasons. Even when his fee was low, Danehill was still capable of siring performers of the calibre of Desert King and Tiger Hill, so what might he achieve with many of the best mares in Europe?

The answer is that - from a crop of around 100 - he has so far sired nine group winners, five listed winners and another eight which have been group-placed. Altogether 25 have earned black type. Five of the group winners have collectively won 13 Group 1 events, with Duke of Marmalade’s epic King George IV & Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory making him the second to complete a sequence of four Group 1 triumphs, following Peeping Fawn.

The group winners from Danehill’s final crop encapsulate the full range of his extraordinary talents. At one end of the spectrum there is Holy Roman Emperor, a fast and precocious colt who was officially rated the second-best European juvenile of 2006 (when another of Danehill’s Group 1 winners, Simply Perfect, ranked third among the juvenile fillies). Peeping Fawn was far from precocious (it took her four starts to break her maiden at three), but she developed into Europe’s best middle-distance three-year-old filly, with two Group 1 victories over 13 miles, including the Pretty Polly Stakes, and another two over 12 miles. Unfortunately, she hasn’t raced this year, but the Pretty Polly Stakes fell to Promising Lead, another of Danehill’s daughters, and Duke of Marmalade has also excelled, with Group 1 victories in France, Ireland and England.

Duke of Marmalade’s magnificent sequence inevitably makes one wonder what he might have achieved but for fracturing a pastern when narrowly defeated at Goodwood two years ago. Although he was officially rated just 9lb below the best of his age group after a winless campaign at three, the subsequent removal of the screws from his old injury has helped transform him. He is now a worthy replacement for the year-older Dylan Thomas, the rock-hard colt who provided Danehill with his first King George success a year ago.

A day after the King George we saw another aspect of Danehill’s talents in the Phoenix Stakes, a Group 1 juvenile event which has fallen to four of Danehill’s sons. One of the four, Danehill Dancer, was responsible for Mastercraftsman, who won impressively to end the unbeaten record of Art Connoisseur, a colt out of a Danehill mare. Third place went to Bushranger, another grandson of Danehill.

Duke of Marmalade will eventually be a very welcome addition to the Coolmore roster, as he comes from a female line with a big reputation for producing stallions.

You can gauge the family’s reputation from the fact that Duke of Marmalade’s dam, Love Me True, cost $1.35 million as a yearling-and from the fact that she was bought on behalf of Susan Magnier. Aidan O’Brien, with his quaint belief that racehorses are for racing if they are fit and well, certainly didn’t let the filly’s price affect his handling of this daughter of Kingmambo.

It was only on her 11th start that Love Me True finally recorded her first victory, in a mile maiden at Naas, by which time she had been third in the G3 Killavullan Stakes at two and had acted as a pacemaker for her stablemate Imagine in the Irish 1000 Guineas. Incidentally, of the 16 contestants in that 2001 classic, as many as four have already produced a top-class son, namely Imagine (Horatio Nelson), Sequoyah (Henrythenavigator), Speirbhean (Teofilo) and Love Me True (Duke of Marmalade). Two of the others have 2008 stakes winners by Danehill Dancer, one being the Irish 1000 Guineas third Carribean Sunset. This suggests strongly that breeders with sufficient resources could do far worse than get themselves a speedy classic filly to breed from.

Love Me True was later third in a listed race over a mile and ran well enough in one of her starts over 13 miles to suggest she stayed that far. It is worth pointing out that Love Me True’s three parts brother Lemon Drop Kid stayed well enough to win the GI Belmont Stakes, so there is the degree of stamina here which Danehill normally needed to get a mile-and-a-half horse.

Love Me True also proved her toughness, racing 15 times in less than 14 months, even though she is inbred 3x3 to the famously fragile Raise A Native, and toughness is also one of the main assets of Duke of Marmalade (whose five-generation pedigree includes two lines apiece to Northern Dancer, Buckpasser and Natalma and four lines to Native Dancer).

Two of Love Me True’s half-brothers, Bite the Bullet and Shuailaan, were stakes winners, but the most important aspect of her pedigree is that she is a granddaughter of the blue hen Lassie Dear. Perhaps all I need to say about this family is that it has produced five stallions good enough to sire a winner on Breeders’ Cup Day, with A.P. Indy being responsible for Tempera, Summer Squall for Storm Song, Honor Grades for Adoration, Deerhound for Countess Diana and Kipling for Kip Deville.

This family has achieved so much in the USA that the Coolmore team should perhaps consider basing Duke of Marmalade at Ashford, where there are no sons of Danehill, rather than Coolmore, where he would become one of seven Group 1-winning sons of Danehill. After all, Love Me True was relocated to Kentucky, where she produced foals to Storm Cat in 2006 and 2007. However, the continued uncertainty about how many tracks will be converted to synthetic surfaces must make it more likely that Ireland will become Duke of Marmalade’s base.

The fact that he is by Danehill and has a Kingmambo mare as his dam will make him an automatic choice for many breeders with daughters of the champion broodmare sire Sadler’s Wells. It was Sadler’s Wells mares which produced Peeping Fawn and Horatio Nelson to Danehill, and Danehill’s daughters are currently doing very well with Sadler’s Wells son Galileo. Combining Sadler’s Wells with Kingmambo is also very much in vogue, Henrythenavigator and the Group 2 winner Campanologist being the latest advertisements for this.



DANEHILL... the most irresistible secret in breeding.

danehill stallionDanehill
(Summerhill Sire’s Brochure 2008/2009)

“No stallion in modern times has stamped his authority on international breeding like Danehill. And no stallion of such impeccable provenance has been more neglected by South Africans than Danehill.

There’s no country in the world that bears a closer resemblance to our racing model than Australia, and a look at their Sires’ Premiership makes startling reading. For any number of seasons now, the outstanding feature has been the emphatic dominance of the Danehill tribe.

The one thing these men have in common is class, and by that we mean racing class. Without exception, they were quality runners, and without exception, they all had speed.

The adage that patience looks after those that wait, was never more apt than in Summerhill’s case. Ten years of perseverance has rewarded us with Africa’s three most gifted sons of the Southern Hemisphere’s most gifted sire.

Analysis after analysis kept providing the self same answers: Danehill was the next big thing, the sire colossus-in-waiting, and the most irresistible secret in breeding.

And now we have them. STRONGHOLD and SOLSKJAER, both with Timeform ratings of 120lbs, both ranked in the top 1/4% of racehorses worldwide. The one a Champion, the other worthy of the name of the best footballer in the world. In Australia, WAY WEST rated with the fastest juveniles of his generation. A bolt of lightning in a speed crazy country.

As for family, these guys are Royalty. For all his illustrious mates, Danehill could scarcely have served anything of greater genetic distinction. Old Europe would’ve been pleased to know them.

And what about the specimens? We think their Dad would’ve been more than proud of them.

Don’t take our word for it, though. You’ll never know till you’ve satisfied your own eyes.”

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Group winning Danehill son travels West to South Africa

The news of the acquisition of another son of Danehill - WAY WEST - by Champion Breeders, Summerhill Stud, comes hard on the back on their recent purchase of Solskjaer, the only 120 Timeform-rated son of Danehill in Africa.

Speaking from the KZN farm, Stallion Bookings Manager Linda Norval, had this to say: “Almost a decade ago, the farm started it’s search for a son of Danehill. What became increasingly evident to us was there were several factors in common that worked particularly well, if the evidence of his three champion sire sons in Australia was anything to go by. The first was juvenile precocity, the second was, all three were especially well bred, and the third was they came with a good dose of speed. But the one thing that really stood out was that they all carried the Blue Diamond “ticket” on their C.V’s. Flying Spur won the Blue Diamond Prelude, Danzero won the Blue Diamond Prelude, and Redoute’s Choice won the Blue Diamond.”