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MICK KINANE : "MALESH NARREDU could be the Secret Weapon"

mick kinaneMick Kinane
(Hong Kong Jockey Club)

Malesh Narredu, champion jockey of India, could very well be the International Team’s “secret weapon” in Saturday’s International Jockeys’ Challenge between South Africa and the “Rest of the World” at Turffontein.

David Mollet writes in the Business Day that this is the view of world-renowned rider Mick Kinane, who is the oldest and most experienced jockey in the international team. “I have ridden against Malesh and he’s a really talented guy - his record in his home country speaks for itself,” said Mick Kinane.

Interestingly, Malesh Narredu has won exactly the same number of jockey titles - 11 - as former South African champion Michael Muis Roberts, who will be the manager of the South African side on Saturday.

Malesh Narredu’s big race wins include 115 graded races, 41 Group One events and 53 classics. These include 11 derbies and India’s Triple Crown.

Nevertheless, even that record is dwarfed by that of 49-year-old Mick Kinane, who can boast more than 160 Gr1 victories all over the world including the Melbourne Cup on Dermot Weld’s stayer, Vintage Crop.

“That will always remain one of the great moments in my career as it was the first success by an international rider in Australia’s most important race,” said Mick Kinane.

The much admired Irishman said he was delighted to be back in South Africa after riding in the last International Challenge here 22 years ago.

Australia is represented in Saturday’s international team by Damien Oliver, who knows all about Cup day at Melbourne. He has won the marathon race twice and remains the only apprentice to have won the AJC Derby, Australia’s premier three-year-old race.

Malesh Narredu’s rides in the four international races are Chariots of Fire for Geoff Woodruff, Acheron for Sean Tarry, Twilights Rush for Ormond Ferraris and Single Minded for Stuart Pettigrew. While Chariots of Fire may battle against the likes of stable companion Kingdom Come and KZN raider Citizen Dante, Twilights Rush is a decent sort on his day and could have a say in the finish of the 1600m Lufthansa Handicap.

Mick Kinane’s four mounts in the international races are Keat’s Drift for Charles Laird, Sunny Jim for Geoff Woodruff, Flight Queen for Dennis Drier and Battle Hero for Paul Matchett.

Although Flight Queen has to concede weight all round in the Racing Association Handicap, she has an each-way chance but it seems likely she could find one too smart for her in Frankie Dettori’s mount, On The Bluff.

Frankie Dettori will be the big attraction at the city track as he is arguably the best known jockey in the sport. His affable attitude and big race successes have kept him in the media spotlight for the past two decades.”




japan globeJapan Grand Slam
(Photo : Emanuele Vezzaro)

There are several outstanding features of a visit to any of the Yoshida farms. Firstly, each of the brothers operates an independent breeding entity, all fiercely competitive. At the same time, Shadai Stallion Station is a co-operative venture between the three brothers, and amazingly every one of the top ten slots on the Japanese sires log is occupied by a Shadai stallion. Now that beats both Coolmore and Summerhill for national stallion dominance!

Just as remarkable in my opinion though, is the fact that very few of the 48 resident stallions at Shadai, are imported (in stark contrast to a decade ago) and they’re unsurprisingly strongly represented by descendants of the phenomenal SUNDAY SILENCE.

But what absolutely fascinated me was the size of these beasts. There’s a new “size” in vogue in Australia these days, where just about every stallion somehow measures 16.1hh, but they’re “midget” by comparison. I must’ve seen twenty of Shadai’s most fashionable horses, and the bulk of them are tending more in the direction of 17hh, which tells us this is more of a trend than a coincidence, considering that they represent many of Japanese racing’s Champions of the recent past.

Now SUNDAY SILENCE was a good sized horse, but he was nowhere near 17hh, so it seems in their attempt to compliment his rather light frame and his own lack of skeletal bulk, the super-sire was bred to some seriously big mares. This point is born out by the fact that the only two mares I inspected, both Champion race fillies by SUNDAY SILENCE, were big strong-boned individuals.

And if the success of this pattern of breeding has now manifested itself into an irreversible fashion, it seems to me that in the same way as cattle breeders have had to find cows capable of producing ever larger calves, horse breeders (in Japan at least) will need to develop a sort of super-mare with the capacity to carry foals exceeding 70kgs at birth. Otherwise their reproductive organs are likely to be seriously compromised, with a corresponding reduction in breeding longevity.

900 hectares 1300 hectares
1200 horses 800 horses
400 broodmares 340 broodmares
80 daughters of SUNDAY SILENCE 32 daughters of NORTHERN GUEST
48 stallions 16 stallions under management
300 horses in pre-training 170 horses in pre-training
Three 8-900 metre covered tracks and three all-weather tracks Two 14- 2500 metre grass and two 1600 metre sand tracks, all uncovered
400 staff members 360 staff
Purchase/imports all feed requirements Manufactures/grows the bulk of its own through Vuma Horse Feeds
Insures certain of its bloodstock abroad Insures all horses through in-house brokerage, Goss & Co
50,000 visitors annually 30,000 visitors to Summerhill, Hartford, Vuma
Northern Horse Park (theme park) featuring horses of many kinds, tours etc including three restaurants Hartford House featuring 15-suite boutique hotel and leading national restaurant.
Hall of Fame shrine commemorating the achievement of the late Zenya Yoshida and Shadai Champions. Al Maktoum School of Management Excellence in planning stages, incorporating commemorative theatre with Hall of Fame and schooling facilities.



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.




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.




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.





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.



Pedigree Focus by Tony Morris

European Bloodstock News

When, some four and a half years ago, I chose the title for this feature, I was extremely conscious of its ambiguity; in fact, it was my deliberate intention that it should be open to two interpretations.

This was to be a slot where emphasis was generally placed on the distaff side of pedigrees – a weekly dissertation on some aspects of a female family that had become topical by virtue of a recent result in a major race.

But I did not mean to promote the view that pedigrees should be interpreted solely in terms of female lines. It stands to reason that a proper reading of any pedigree should give due weight to all its component parts; when science tells us that, at every mating, each parent contributes equally to the genetic make-up of their product, we are on dodgy ground if we choose to believe in direct lines as crucial to the inheritance of characteristics.

Indeed, we do not even need the evidence supplied by Mendel, and the many eminent authorities who have supplemented the knowledge that he imparted. Any amateur student of the Thoroughbred has long been able to recognise, by dint of minimal research, that male lines tend to flourish for a while, then fall into decline. It is not necessary to go back into ancient history to establish that fact; it suffices just to know how potent the lines descending from such as Hyperion and Tourbillon were 30 or 40 years ago, and to realise what is now left of them.

Similarly, it is common knowledge that female lines tend not to thrive consistently over long periods; their fortunes fluctuate, and frequently deteriorate when access to successful sires is denied them.

Furthermore, in a breeding regime which generally permits only a tiny percentage of males – those who are proven successful athletes – to procreate, but which provides that opportunity to almost all females, regardless of their performance on the racecourse, we kid ourselves when we claim that the Thoroughbred of today is the product of three centuries of selective breeding. We have selected the males for logical reasons, with performance as the chief criterion; the females have never been selected on that basis.

In truth, when we use the term ‘family matters’ in its other sense, suggesting that it has genuine importance, it is most often applicable only in terms of the commercial market. The convention of displaying catalogue pedigrees as we do has evolved precisely because the bottom line in any pedigree tends to be its weakest area. All the mares in other positions are there by reason of success in production, through descendants who have earned a right to breed; that is not necessarily the case in the direct female line, hence the need for catalogues to attempt to show just cause for those mares to feature in the breeding population.

And nobody need doubt that catalogue entries have tremendous influence on the perceptions of buyers. The amount of black type displayed on the page may make a huge difference to the value of any animal. Without question, in that sense, family matters.

In order to acquire a firm conviction that family truly matters to events on the racecourse, we probably need more weekends like the one just gone, when several big race results lent substance to the belief.

There was a Group 3 winner out of a mare who won the Oaks. Another was the third individual Pattern winner for her dam. A Group 2 winner was the second from his dam to have won at Pattern level this year.

Another successful at that level became the sixth major winner out of his dam, herself a victress of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. No less wondrous was the fact that the two Group 1 winners at Ascot were closely related in the female line – and only in the female line – the dam of one being full sister to the grand-dam of the other.

So, let’s hear it for the females of the species! Oaks heroine Love Devine’s St Leger-winning son Sixties Icon (Galileo) notched the sixth Pattern victory of a stellar career in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes. Sadima, already with Group 1-winning colts in Youmzain (Sinndar) and Creachadoir (King’s Best) to her credit, was responsible for her third notable scorer in as many years when her daughter Shreyas (Dalakhani) won the Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes at Gowran Park.

Mare aux Fees , who produced this year’s Prix Vanteaux winner in Belle Allure (Numerous), doubled her Pattern score for 2008 when Jukebox Jury (Montjeu) took the Royal Lodge Stakes, both having arrived in her late teenage years. And the celebrated

Urban Sea, last of her sex to have recorded a “triomphe” in the Arc, added to her outstanding record as a broodmare – exemplified by Urban Ocean (Bering), Galileo, Black Sam Bellamy, All Too Beautiful (all by Sadler’s Wells) and My Typhoon (Giant’s Causeway) – when Sea the Stars (Cape Cross) staked a claim for consideration for 2009’s Classics with his victory in the Beresford Stakes on the Curragh.

But it was surely no less remarkable that Raven’s Pass (Elusive Quality), now rated Europe’s champion miler after his dismissal of Henrythenavigator and Tamayuz in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and Rainbow View (Dynaformer), Britain’s undefeated and undisputed champion juvenile filly after her triumph in the Fillies’ Mile, should share such a close connection in the female line.

The honours in the case of the Gosden-trained duo belong to sisters Words of War and Ascutney, respectively the 1989 and 1994 products of matings involving Lord At War (a male line grandson of the great Brigadier Gerard) and Right Word, a daughter of Verbatim from a family previously renowned for Grade 1 winners such as Danzig Connection and Pine Circle.

Right Word, who died in 2005 at the age of 23, was no great shakes as a runner herself, managing only one second place from six starts, but Words of War was a tough stakes-winner, placed twice at Grade 3 level, and Ascutney had a Grade 3 win in the Miesque Stakes to her credit. Words of War made her name as a broodmare swiftly, as her first-born was No Matter What (Nureyev), successful in the Del Mar Oaks, and next came E Dubai (Mr Prospector), a Grade 2 winner, Grade 1-placed in the Travers and Super Derby, and already a noted sire.

Ascutney already had a Grade 3 winner in Gigawatt (Wild Again) under her name before Raven’s Pass came along, while No Matter What had just one minor scorer on her CV before the emergence of the exciting Rainbow View.


1 Comment


diane stenger race horse trainerDiane Stenger
(Summerhill Stud)

kerry jack summerhill bloodstock and racing managerKerry Jack Summerhill Bloodstock & Racing ManagerDorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) is a condition not uncommon in racehorses and causes upper airway obstruction and poor performance. It occurs when the soft palate (the rear roof of the mouth) moves up and over the airway and is similar to sleep apnoea (snoring) in people, where the palate billows in the airway and obstructs the airway during exhalation. Surgery is the conventional solution, but is costly, risky and often unsuccessful.

The Cornell Collar has been developed by an equine hospital in New York as a non-surgical solution - it straps around the horse’s neck with a small lifting mechanism under the throat which prevents the larynx from retracting backwards, thus preventing the occurrence of DDSP. It is a simple, inexpensive gadget and treadmill studies have shown that it is over 90% effective, more effective than any other treatment so far developed for the condition. This collar is licensed by racing authorities in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the US and now also South Africa.

Earlier this week Paradise Alley returned to the racecourse wearing the Cornell Collar and won impressively by 4,5 lengths for trainer Diane Stenger and owners Ronnie Napier, Dr Barry Clements, Len Konar and Summerhill Stud. After a promising start on the track, Paradise Alley was found to have DDSP and was unable to perform at her best.

Dr Barry Clements
discovered the Cornell Collar in Australia and thanks to the patience, persistence and ingenuity of her connections, this filly looks to be capable of fulfilling her maximum potential.

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MELBOURNE CUP : Yeats heads the weights

solskjaer stallionSolskjaer
(John Lewis)

Summerhill stallion Solskjaer’s illustrious brother, Yeats, has been allocated the top weight for the Emirates Melbourne Cup to be run over 3200m at Flemington  on 4 November.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Yeats was allocated 59 kilograms, marking the third year in succession that the eight-year-old had been saddled with the highest handicap for the $5.65 million race.

Yeats’ stablemate, Septimus, who was crowned Europe’s champion stayer in 2007, has been given the second top weight of 58kg. Last year’s winner Efficient was handed 58kgs.

“The best three staying performances of the last year were by Yeats, Septimus and Efficient so they will head the weights.” said Chief handicapper Greg Carpenter.

The final field of 24 will be determined three days before the race on 4 November with around six foreign-trained runners expected to make it to the barriers.



Stallion Success and the Age Bar

mr prospector

Mr Prospector
(Claiborne Farm)

It is a well-known fact that stallions of advanced age tend not to get high-class stock; there is ample evidence to prove the point. But if we infer from that knowledge that it is never a good idea to patronise an old horse, we infer too much.

Tony Morris writes for the European Bloodstock News that it is not reasonable to suppose that a horse in his 20’s will retain all the vigour that he exhibited in his youth, but if he remains healthy and continues to produce viable sperm, he is essentially the same horse that he was when he came out of training. His body will have undergone a few changes along the way, but his genetic make-up is as it always was, and if he was capable of getting distinguished runners in the past, he retains the potential to do so again.

But it takes two to tango, and no stallion, at whatever age, can sire top athletes without the right partners. And therein lies the answer as to why the records of most stallions deteriorate in their later years. Breeders are reluctant to commit their better mares to aged horses whose fertility may be on the wane, and besides, as the commercial market is obsessed with the progeny of the newest recruits to the ranks, it often makes a lot of sense to go that route.

Even the proven supersires tend to lack chances in their old age – inevitably in terms of quantity as their workload is reduced, but often in terms of quality as well. All the same, it is not hard to identify examples of high-class runners by aged sires; afforded appropriate opportunities, the old guard may still produce the goods.

One of the earliest examples concerns Matchem, grandson of the Godolphin Arabian, who raced until he was ten, started at stud at a fee of five guineas a year later, and was 16 years old when he had his first runner. He was 24 when he first headed the sires’ list, and 27 when his fee rose to its highest peak of 50gns, and he was advertised to cover only 25 mares, besides those of his owner. Aged 28, he was mated with a half-sister to the illustrious Herod, and the outcome was Tetotum, winner of the 1780 Oaks.

Rather closer to our own time, Hyperion continued in service until he was 29 years, latterly covering very limited books. At 27 he had only ten visitors, but he sent them all away in foal, and one of them, Martine, who had been a half-length runner-up in the 1955 Irish 1,000 Guineas, duly produced Opaline, winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes, acknowledged as the best two-year-old filly in Europe in 1960.

The most extreme example that America has to offer is that of our first Derby winner, Diomed, who was sent to Virginia when 21 years old, and at 27 got Sir Archy, an outstanding runner who became no less distinguished at stud. Through Timoleon and Boston, Sir Archy became great-grandsire of Lexington, the leading sire in North America 16 times, 14 of them consecutively.

But one from our own era runs Diomed close, as Mr Prospector was 26 years old, still active with a book of 49 mares and fertile enough for a crop of 46 to result, when he got a colt who sold for $3 million as a yearling and later earned fame as Fusaichi Pegasus, hero of the Kentucky Derby in 2000. The son of Raise a Native served quality mares to the end, his last major star being out of Angel Fever (Danzig), a stakes-placed sister to Preakness Stakes victor Pine Bluff and half-sister to fellow Grade 1 scorer Demons Begone (Elocutionist). Mr Prospector started at stud as a five-year-old, getting Fusaichi Pegasus  in his 22nd crop, and there had been at least one Group 1 or Grade 1 winner from each of his seasons at stud bar two up to that point. His counterpart on this side of the Atlantic, compiling a very similar record, has been Sadler’s Wells, who was taken out of stud service earlier this year at the age of 27.

Having started at Coolmore as a four-year-old, Sadler’s Wells covered for 24 seasons, and there was always at least one Group 1 winner from the first 18 of them; indeed, they generally came in multiples, with 1987 (Salsabil) and 2002 (Playful Act) as the only years when just a single product reached that standard. Remarkably, none of his current four-year olds has yet won above Group 3, but Listen was an early addition to the Group 1 achievers from the 2005 crop, and on Saturday he was represented by a Group 3 winner in Fantasia, who surely has Group 1 aspirations.

Of course, for much of his career Sadler’s Wells was favoured by huge books, but it is still a fabulous achievement to have got Pattern winners from every one of his first 21 crops. We have a while to wait to see if he can complete a full house, with yearlings, foals and his final products in utero yet to come. It would seem unwise to bet against that eventuality, because the long-time champion never lacked for quality in his books up to the end, though by then he was competing against three of his own highly fashionable sons in Montjeu, Galileo and High Chaparral.

Fantasia makes that point well, for she is out of a winning daughter of Darshaan, and thus represents the same sire/broodmare sire cross that has provided Group 1 winners in Ebadiyla, Greek Dance, High Chaparral, Islington, Milan, Quarter Moon and Yesterday. What is more, her dam Blue Symphony is out of Blue Duster, a daughter of Danzig who ruled as Europe’s champion two-year-old filly in 1995, when she won the Cheveley Park Stakes, who was a full-sister to the Middle Park Stakes winner Zieten, the pair featuring among 11 winners among the brood produced by Blue Note (Habitat), who had the Prix Maurice de Gheest among her own five racecourse triumphs.

So long as an old horse has mares of that calibre among his mates, there is no reason to doubt his capacity to deliver high-quality stock. It will be fascinating to see whether Sadler’s Wells can emulate Hyperion (who features twice in his pedigree background) by getting a champion at the age of 27.



"Inbreeding to the great DANZIG" by Andrew Caulfield

danzig stallionDanzig
(Shaun Faust)

A few years ago, when discussing the concept of inbreeding to the great Danzig, I wrote: “The potential problem of inbreeding to Danzig, of course, was one of soundness, or the lack of it. Remember, Danzig’s exciting debut victory in the June of his two-year-old season was immediately followed by the discovery of bone chips. Away from the races for over 10 months, Danzig returned the following May to record two impressive allowance victories. Unfortunately, X-rays taken after his third success revealed that a slab fracture was developing in a knee and Danzig was forced into retirement before he had tackled stakes company.”

I was quick to point out that Danzig’s progeny have a reputation for being sounder than their sire - as you can see from Danzig’s up-to-date statistics, which show that 77 percent of his 1074 named foals made it to the races and around 62 percent made it into the winner’s circle. More to the point, more than 18 percent of Danzig’s foals became stakes winners, with this extraordinary percentage representing a huge incentive for trying to reinforce his influence by inbreeding.

Inbreeding to Danzig is likely to become quite widespread in Europe, where the Thoroughbred population is steeped in the blood of the Claiborne Farm superstar. The main European standard bearers of the Danzig male line have been Danehill and Green Desert, both of whom are developed thriving male lines. Fortunately, the racing records of both these stallions were reassuringly free of the soundness problems which beset their sire.

Despite being almost back at the knee, Danehill was sound enough to win the G1 Sprint Cup on his ninth and final appearance. Aidan O’Brien was asked to summarise the main virtues of Danehill’s stock after Duke of Marmalade had recorded his fifth consecutive Group 1 victory in the Juddmonte International three days ago.

“I suppose it’s their constitution - their toughness and their speed and their strength,” he said. “They’re three massive things - strength physically as well as mentally.”

When prompted by the interviewer to add soundness to the list, Aidan O’Brien agreed: “Obviously soundness. This horse (Duke of Marmalade) is a testimony to that, but that comes with strength.”

Green Desert was another individual whose career was comparatively problem free. Sufficiently forward to make his juvenile debut in May, he was racing for the 14th time when he failed to handle the dirt in the following year’s Breeder’s Cup Sprint. Oddly, there were some distinct parallels between his career and that of Danehill a few years later. Both won the Free Handicap over seven furlongs before reaching the first three in the 2000 Guineas. Subsequent efforts over a mile convinced both sets of connections to return their Danzig colts to sprint distances and both collected a pair of important victories, including one in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.

With unsoundness apparently not a serious concern, breeders have been quick to try combining Danehill and Green Desert, and last week’s results suggest that we will see much more of this inbreeding to Danzig in the future. Two of Europe’s important juvenile events fell to colts which have sons of Danehill as their sire and daughters of Green Desert as their second dam, creating 3x4 inbreeding to Danzig.

Firstly, we saw Dansili’s son Shaweel run over a clear-cut winner of the G2 Gimcrack Stakes, and then Bushranger  provided Danetime with his second successive victory in the G1 Prix Morny.

This type of cross had also hit the jackpot earlier this year when the G1 Coral-Eclipse was won narrowly by Mount Nelson. This four-year-old is by Rock of Gibraltar, another son of Danehill, and his third dam is by Green Desert.

In view of the concerns about soundness involved in inbreeding to Danzig, it is worth pointing out that the sires of these three group winners were all sound enough to undergo a thorough testing on the track, with Dansili, Danetime and Rock of Gibraltar respectively being veterans of 14, 15 and 13 races. The reverse cross - a Green Desert stallion on mares with Danehill blood - is also sure to become popular.

Cape Cross has already sired three stakes winners from his first five foals out of Danehill’s daughters, these stakes winners being inbred 3x3 to Danzig. Arguably the best of them is Able One, a New Zealand-bred who won the G1 Champions Mile in Hong Kong last year, but the English-trained Crosspeace was much better than his listed winner-status suggests, as he achieved annual Timeform ratings of 116 and 118.

Cape Cross’ talented miler Sentinelese is another inbred 3x3 to Danzig, but his second line comes via Polish Patriot rather than Danehill, and his Group 1- placed son Charlie Farnsbarns is inbred 3x4 to Danzig, his second line coming through Chief’s Crown.

While we are on the subject of Cape Cross, he added another group winner to his collection when Russian Cross took Saturday’s G2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano and he was a bit unlucky not to add another group success the following day, when Treat Gently as second after being hampered in the Prix de la Nonette. The Darley stallion’s fee jumped from Eur20,000 to Eur50,000 in 2005, so his current crop of juveniles is the subject of high expectations. It is encouraging that two of his sons - Sea The Stars and War Native - recently achieved “TDN Rising Star” status.

Another of Green Desert stallions, Kheleyf, is also likely to have his fee raised substantially after the success he has enjoyed with his first runners. He currently heads the British and Irish freshman sires’ table both by number of winners and prize money.

With Oasis Dream maintaining his position as one of the most successful second-crop sires, with five first-crop group winners, Green Desert has a powerful team of young stallion sons, which also includes Invincible Spirit. This Irish National Stud resident did so well with his early crops that his fee now stands at Eur75,000. Yet another son, the undervalued Desert Style, is again demonstrating his ability to come up with the occasional top performer, this time with the impressive seven-furlong specialist Paco Boy.

Perhaps these sons have taken some of the attention away from Green Desert, whose fee was as high as Eur85,000 in 2004 (when he was 21) and 2005. Whatever the reason, he appears to be another of those stallions whose results have declined in old age. His last Group 1 winners, Oasis Dream and Desert Lord, were born in 2000 and his last five crops of racing age have so far produced nothing more than a pair of Group 3 winners. But we can happily forgive him those recent failings in view of his growing impact as a sire of sires.



International Jockeys' Challenge... South Africa vs The World

south african horse racingInternational Jockeys’ Challenge

Freeracer reports that Frankie Dettori and Mick Kinane, two of the biggest names in horseracing, are among the six international jockeys who will clash with South Africa’s top riders in the International Jockeys’ Challenge at the Steinhoff International Summer Cup race meeting at Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg on Saturday 29 November.

The international team contains champions from several countries including the UK, France and Australia. The full team is Frankie Dettori (England), Mick Kinane (Ireland), Ryan Moore (England), Damien Oliver (Australia), Srinath Surender (India) and Christophe Soumillon (France).

Italian-born Frankie Dettori has become a legend in his own lifetime and is the most famous jockey in the world. He is the retained rider for Godolphin, the banner under which the rulers of Dubai race, and has won virtually every major race in the world including the Epsom Derby, the Dubai World Cup, the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the USA, the Japan Cup and the Arc de Triomphe.

Like Frankie Dettori, Irish-born Mick Kinane has long been regarded as one of the best jockeys on the planet and has won the Irish Jockeys’ Championship a record 13 times. He, too, has won major races in a string of countries including the Epsom Derby twice, the Arc de Triomphe, the Belmont Stakes and the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous race,

Ryan Moore was champion apprentice in the UK in 2003 and went on to clinch the British Jockeys’ Championship in 2006, when he booted home 180 winners. Injury put paid to his chances of retaining the title last year, but he currently holds a commanding lead in the race for this year’s UK jockeys’ title.

Belgium-born Christophe Soumillon has been a dominant figure in French racing for years. He was champion apprentice there in 1999 and won the French Jockeys’ Championship in 2003 with 207 winners. His major successes include the Arc de Triomphe, the Breeders’ Cup Turf, the Dubai Duty Free and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in England.

Srinath Surender has won the jockeys’ title in India no fewer than five times and has won virtually all the major races in that country. He has ridden over 900 winners from 2800 rides, including some 40 successes in Macau.

Damien Oliver is a household name in Australia and has won 80 Group 1 races, including the Melbourne Cup  twice, four Caulfield Cups, two Cox Plates and a Golden Slipper to complete the Grand Slam of Australian Racing. He has won the Melbourne Jockeys’ Premiership on seven occasions and ridden with success in New Zealand, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Japan, Ireland and England.

The international riders will compete against South Africa’s best jockeys in a thrilling four-race challenge on Steinhoff Summer Cup day. It will be the first international jockeys’ contest in South Africa in some 20 years and JSE-listed Phumelela, which operates horseracing and/or tote betting in seven of South Africa’s nine provinces, is proud to have been able to secure such a formidable international team.

The riders to represent South Africa will be selected in the near future. Phumelela has asked the National Horseracing Authority, an autonomous national body that is responsible for ensuring that all races are run according to the rules of horseracing, to choose the team.

There will be a draw for mounts in each of the challenge races and the runners will be seeded beforehand in order to equalise the chances of the two teams as much as is possible.

The International Jockeys’ Challenge will be one of the highlights of a glorious afternoon of horseracing action on 29 November. The R2-million Steinhoff Summer Cup, one of the most famous races on the South African racing calendar, is the headline event and is certain to produce a memorable battle between many of the best thoroughbreds in the country.

Several other major races will also be run and there’s no doubt that the afternoon will live up to its billing of “Joburg’s Golden Event”.

“We are excited with the big names we have secured for the international team and are grateful to the Racing Association for their assistance and support,” said Phumelela’s Group CEO Rian du Plessis.

Larry Wainstein, chairman of the Racing Association that represents the interests of racehorse owners in Phumelela in making the International Jockeys’ Challenge a reality and believe that the day will quickly become a mega event on Joburg’s sporting calendar.”

Derrik Matthew, Marketing Executive of Steinhoff International Group Services, said: “It is a privilege to be associated with the Summer Cup - an event which is more than 100 years old. With the initiatives undertaken and the commitment shown by all concerned we are excited that this event will receive the prestigious recognition it deserves and be established as an annual event not to be missed!”

The International Jockeys’ Challenge will incorporate several co-sponsors. Lufthansa has already come on board as the official carrier and will be flying the international jockeys to South Africa “Steinhoff is one of Lufthansa’s leading clients in South Africa and by co-sponsoring this prestigious event we are emphasising our commitment to this partnership” explains Gabriel Leupold, Director Southern Eastern Africa. “With Lufthansa’s extensive international route network feeding into our daily flights from Frankfurt to Johannesburg, we are ideal partners that can add value to the International Jockeys’ Challenge by flying in the jockeys”

Phumelela’s General Manager Marketing and Communications, Robert Garner, said the jockeys’ challenge would capture the imagination of horseracing fans and the general public alike.

“It’s South Africa versus the world and brings international horseracing to our shores, something that has been lacking for years,” said Robert Garner. “Our jockeys have been champions across the globe from Michael Roberts in the UK to Bartie Leisher, Basil Marcus and Douglas Whyte in Hong Kong, and we believe the whole country will get behind our jockeys on the big day.” regulations make it extremely difficult to stage an international horse race in South Africa currently, so instead we have gone for an international jockeys challenge. It should be a fabulous afternoon and we are delighted to be staging the event in conjunction with regions, said: “We are delighted to have been able to assist



Patinack Farm acquires Swettenham Stud

nathan tinklerNathan Tinkler, Chairman of Patinack Farm
(Courier Mail)

Australia & New Zealand Bloodstock News reports that Nathan Tinkler has continued his financial commitment to the industry with the purchase of Swettenham Stud in the Hunter Valley.

Announcing the purchase yesterday, Patinack Farm Chairman, Nathan Tinkler said, “This property enjoys a well deserved reputation for rearing champions and we are looking forward to continuing this tradition. We look forward to working with the existing team and breeding many Group 1 winners in the years to come.”

This purchase gives Patinack Farm an established breeding property to run their broodmare band, which now stands at over 250, and sits alongside their initial purchase of the Alanbridge Stud, now known as Patinack Farm Segenhoe Valley, which will continue to be managed as a stallion complex, home to first-season sires Casino Prince and Husson (Chi) along with the proven Beautiful Crown (USA).

Nathan Tinkler has also spread the love in Victoria, with Patinack Farm entering into a sponsorship partnership with the Victoria Racing Club (VRC). Patinack Farm has signed an agreement to sponsor four Group races run at Flemington across both the spring and autumn seasons.

The races involved and their new names are:

• Patinack Let’s Elope Stakes (G3) – to be run on 6 September,

• Patinack Turnbull Stakes (G1) – to be run on 4 October

• Patinack Farm Classic (G1) – to be run on 8 November

• Patinack Farm Stakes (G3) – to be run on 14 March, 2009

The Victoria Racing Club’s General Manager Sponsorship & Corporate Development Brendan Ford said the Club was delighted to welcome “the new kid on the block” to its stable of sponsors.

Patinack has made a huge impact in a short period of time and we are delighted that they have chosen to join in a partnership with us. They are doing things in a fresh new way and what better place than Flemington to make their mark in Victoria,” Brendan Ford said.

“As Patinack Farm continues to build a solid base for our future, we are looking forward to a long association with the VRC, one of the premier Racing Clubs in Australia,” added Nathan Tinkler.



SUMMERHILL’S 4TH CHAMPIONSHIP : Another ground-breaker.

team summerhill stud equus awardsMick and Cheryl Goss with (from top) Greig Muir, Michael Booysen, Velaphi Mbanjwa,
Linda Norval, Catherine Hartley, Siyabonga Mlaba, John Motaung, Kerry Jack,
Heather Morkel, Doug Couperthwaite, Marlene Breed and Tarryn Liebenberg
(JC Photographics)

When Summerhill first aspired to the coveted title of South Africa’s Champion Breeder, it became only the sixth entity in history to do so.

For the first time, the most tightly-held trophy in racing found its home on the eastern side of the Drakensberg, and in a sense, the centre of the universe moved a little to the right, if you’re thinking of horses. On Thursday evening at Emperors Palace, Summerhill was acknowledged as the first awardee to receive four consecutive Championships in any category, since the inception of the Equus Awards.

But what really was significant, was the number of people that shared in its celebration. Summerhill is not about one man or one family’s ambitions. It has raised generations, educated children, staffed other farms and opened the world to many who might not’ve known life otherwise. It’s a monument to hard work, sacrifice and innovation.

Besides those that earn their crust at Summerhill, on the podium we shared the joys of the Premiership with at least 300 others, those who work alongside us, and those who partnered us in the horses that took us there. Without them, we’d still be running for place money.

To show how much it meant to all of us, we painted the City of Gold in a colour which matched this morning’s sunrise, just to let them know the Summerhill team had been visiting.

After four consecutive visits, we’re getting to know our way around Jo’burg too. It’s one helluva town, if our memories serve us properly.

Remember this though, if you want to join the party, it’s never too late.

Just dial the Champions.



HOT off the Press

parade at the ekkaParade at the Ekka
(Patria Jannides)

Yes, even though he’s in Australia the boss is sending through articles for the blog. His judging experience was a very memorable and stimulating one and he reports that it was a valuable experience which he considers a privilege to have been part of. “The Royal Queensland Show is up there with the best in the world” he said.

He reported there were over 190 entries in the Thoroughbred classes alone and the “EkkA” is the biggest Thoroughbred show in the world. Among the talented people he shared the day with was fellow judge, Her Royal Highness Princess Teresa de Borbon of Spain (world expert on Arabian horses), who judged the non-Thoroughbred classes.

The Chief Steward was David Chester (CEO of Magic Millions) who was especially magnanimous in his praise of Summerhill as one of the world’s great breeding institutions, and for its ambassadorial role in international breeding and racing. Other luminaries were Terry Spargo, one of racing’s best known voices who called the World Cup in Dubai last year, and Bart Sinclair, Australia’s leading racing journalist and a celebrated international raconteur.

Ironically, the horse which won the Champion Thoroughbred Gelding, was a grey, Argentinian-bred son of Ringaro, by the name of Karacola. This horse once raced for Geoff Woodruff in South Africa, and made his way to Australia via a racing career in Hong Kong, where he raced for Tony Millard.



Visit to Plaintree Farm

david and heather pascoe of plaintree farmDr David Pascoe and Heather Pascoe
(Plaintree Farm)

Mick reports that he spent a very stimulating day at Plaintree Farm with two of the most vital people in the industry, anywhere. David Pascoe is an internationally acknowledged expert on reproduction and fertility in the Thoroughbred and his wife Heather was one of Australia’s most respected journalists when she was at The Australian newspaper. Heather comes from a very distinguished cattle ranching family and earned her stripes as one of the world’s best breeders of stock horses. Heather’s parting shot was “It’s a pity they don’t live up the road from us”, a sentiment echoed by Mick.

Visit Plaintree Farm’s website :



Mick... Our Man Abroad

Views from The Royal Queensland Show

Mick‘s trip to Australia is going well and he’s managed to visit Plaintree Farm and Glenlogan Stud, as well as judging at the “EkkA” (alias the Royal Queensland Show) in Brisbane.

As usual, he’s been in regular contact with the office and we await his phone calls eagerly for the next installment of the life of a traveling “judge”. His views on the Australian Thoroughbred classes should be particularly interesting, especially as this aspect of equestrian sport is far removed from our usual breeding and racing operation.

Mick’s trips abroad are never complete unless he receives the latest news from the farm, and at this time of the year the momentum is picking up as the early foals arrive. Of course local racing news is also of great importance, so he gets his daily update on this too.

The “team” will be meeting up with Mick in Johannesburg for the annual Equus Awards, where Summerhill will take the accolade for South African Champion Breeder, for the fourth consecutive year.



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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