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South African Racing

ANTHONY DELPECH : A Star in Racing's Firmament

There are not many of us who understand what it takes to be a world-class race jockey. One man who’s had an almost uncanny association with the best horses from Summerhill, is Anthony Delpech.

THE COMPUTAFORM SPRINT

“COULD THIS DECIDE THE SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP?”
If you take a walk down memory lane, you’ll very quickly reach the conclusion that the Computaform Sprint is in all probability the defining race on the South African sprinting calendar. In the last ten years alone, the names of Tommy Hotspur and Golden Loom (2 x’s) precede a succession of quite the most outstanding sextet of sprinters imaginable. Starting in 2002 with Laisserfaire, National Currency, Cataloochee (who had to get past six times Equus Awards nominee, Nhlavini to take the honours,) National Colour, Mythical Flight and J.J.The Jet Plane, you’re quick to realise what kind of a contest we’re in for.

This year is no different, as the horse who’s constantly had to take on these famous exponents of the art of sprinting, the Summerhill-bred Rebel King, is among those going to post, and he really is the one carrying the standard for the older brigade, though the second highest rated of the older horses is another graduate of our paddocks, Battlestar Express.

That said, the talk is about the youngsters right now, and here Warm White Night and Private Jet carry the tag of the young pretenders. Interestingly, stable jockey Anton Marcus has opted for the mount on Warm White Night, while Andrew Fortune is aboard our gladiator. They’ll have to be good, we think, as a win here for Rebel King would almost certainly close the door on the sprinters’ championship.

THE SA DERBY : SA's richest event for three-year-olds

“THE JEWEL IN THE THREE YEAR OLD CROWN”

The South African Derby has a rich tradition of producing great horses, and they’re not just great for winning this race, but they have to have the stamina, the talent and the guts, (and plenty of it) to prevail here. Turffontein is renowned as one of the toughest tracks in the world, and especially for its murderous 800m strait, which has broken more hearts than you’d care to remember.

Don’t forget too, that when they’ve repulsed all foes of the conventional Derby distance, (2400m) at Turffontein they’ve still got to find another fifty, for some odd reason, and Saturday won’t necessarily be the first time the lead changes two or three times again in that space.

For the three-year-olds walloping themselves down the lung-busting stretch for R1.5 million on Saturday, anything can happen, since none of them have been tested at the distance, and it’s all up in the air. You’d have to say though, that on class, the obvious horses are Cherise Cherry and Sporting Boy, especially with the withdrawal (sold to Hong Kong) of Mount Hood. We’d not be dismissive though, of the claims of Labeeb’s son, Magical, winner of his last three in a row including the Derby Trial, or Fenerbahce for that matter, who at his best has shown himself entitled to be ranked with the better three-year-olds in the nation. He’s been below par in his last two though, and something’s been amiss, though it comes as a considerable reassurance to see Andrew Fortune claiming the ride. For the record, he was a R425,000 graduate of the Summerhill 2007 2007 Ready To Run draft.

The other Summerhill engage, Mr Softee, comes off a gallant second to Magical in the Derby Trial at his first attempt beyond 1600m, and it may just be that he’s been waiting for this moment to show his best. Curiously, top jockey Sean Cormack takes the ride.

THE CHAMPIONS MEETING : A Big Day for Summerhill

 

There can’t be too many race meetings in the world that boast eight Graded Stakes races, yet that’s what racegoers can look forward to Saturday at Turffontein, and if the last few months are anything to go by, we can count on some big hitting contests. For Summerhill, we have sixteen footsoldiers on duty in the Graded races, but for the time being, we’ll concentrate our comments on the three Grade Ones, kicking off with the top-biller, the Champions Challenge (Gr.1) for all of R2 million.

There are a lot of pundits who would make the quartet of Smart Banker, Likeithot, Senor Versace and Crown Of Power from the Charles Laird stable a “shoe-in” for the laurels, but we’re not sure it’s that cut and dried. Much will be claimed by the connections of Buy And Sell, Surfin’ USA (whose mother Fenn Tarbitt-owned Palm Beach Gold is a resident mare at Summerhill), Forest Path and Zirconium, while Ormond Ferraris will be hoping that his gallant mare, She’s On Fire, is able to reproduce the run which carried her into second spot last year.

Charles Laird may well have four aspirants engaged in the big one, but we’re not without our own hopes, headed up by the horse that managed second place in the event a year ago, Catmandu, on-fire Thandolwami, and the heroine of the prestigious Gerald Rosenberg Stakes at her last start, Spring Garland, while Steve Sturlese’s El Padrino rounds it out. There are some doubts about the stamina limitations of Thandolwami and El Padrino, but the former has managed a decent draw for the first time in heavens-knows-how long, and he seems to have a love for Turffontein and its long strait. How many times has this fellow been beaten by the fact that he’s run out of space at Greyville, and we only have to go back to November to see him running within a quarter length of Likeithot on precisely the same weight terms as they meet on Saturday? For what it’s worth, Hartford hosted Champion Jockey, Anthony Delpech over the Election holiday, and he believes only altitude can deny Thandolwami his due. Some recommendation from a world class rider.

The fact is, Summerhill graduates make up 25% of the field in what is one of the richest races in the nation, and that tells you all you need to know about their upbringings.

THE CHAMPIONS MILE (Gr.1) : Sunday dawns in Hong Kong

Imbongi 23 April 2009
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

You can go into any worthwhile website on racing anywhere in the world right now, and you can pick up news of this weekend’s big events in Hong Kong, including the Champions Mile. However, the one thing you won’t get is a statement from the horse’s mouth, so we thought we’d bring you news of our most recent bulletin from Mike de Kock, who sends our home-bred, Imbongi to post on Sunday.

Anyone hoping to make any sort of impression in this race would have to take history into account in their calculations, knowing that in all its time, the Hong Kong Champions Mile has yet to witness a placed runner among its foreign raiders, and that last year’s spectacular hero, Good Ba Ba reached the post in an amazing 1min 31.3 secs, and you know what you’re up against.

However, Mike de Kock is of the firm view that Imbongi is a real contender, provided he is over the troubles which confronted so many of the Mike de Kock stable in Dubai over the World Cup, and if Imbongi can get back to a modicum of the form which carried him to stardom in two Guineas and a triumph over Horse Of The Year, Pocket Power ans well as four other Grade One winners in the Drill Hall last season. Mike tells us though, that Imbongi managed an official “bullet” 21,5 secs for the last 400m of his final workout on Tuesday. If that’s not notice he’s ready to run for his life, tell us what is?

Keep your heads down, there could be an explosion Sunday morning (9:55 am our time).

SUNDAY SILENCE : The Undying Legacy

Sunday Silence
(Photo : Jockey Site)

There’s a battle royal on the boil between the respective farms of the Yoshida brothers in Japan, Shadai Farm and Northern Farm for the Breeders’ Championship of the nation.

These two giants of the Japanese domestic breeding scene have been banging it out, hammer and tongs, for years now, with Northern Farm leading the march for five consecutive seasons. However, it seems this year, they have their hands full with brother Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai, who leads the list by a relatively comfortable margin at the time of writing. The last couple of weeks have witnessed something of a turnaround though, and this weekend’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) was the best illustration of the saying “it’s never over till the fat lady sings”.

While the hot favourite for the event, the hitherto unbeaten Logi Universe (by Neo Universe, by Sunday Silence) went off a warm favourite, he had no answer for the closing rush of his paternal half-brother Unrivalled (also by Neo Universe) who prevailed by 1,5 lengths from another grandson of Sunday Silence (by Special Week,) Triumph March. Given his interminable dominance, it may have seemed surprising the third horse across the line Selun Wonder, was not descended in male line from the “Emperor” of Japanese stallions, but the “wonder” arises at the revelation: that his dam is by none other than, (you must have guessed it,) Sunday Silence himself. The first two across the line were both bred by Northern Farm, and strung together more than ¥180 million in the process. As a matter of curiosity, both descended from Northern Dancer-line mares, in the one case ex a daughter of Sadler’s Wells, the other a mare by Dancing Brave.

It’s perhaps something of a commentary on how slowly we occasionally react in this country to the obvious, that we have as yet no son of Sunday Silence in our stallion ranks, especially as the youngest of his remaining progeny at the races is now six years old. That’s something we intend to remedy at Summerhill, so we would advise our readers to keep on reading.

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A few National Sales comments...

pen and handwriting

BARRY IRWIN : TEAM VALOR INTERNATIONAL

barry irwinBarry IrwinTeam Valor’s Barry Irwin is famous for having proclaimed South Africa “the best kept secret in the racing game. “You’ve raised world-class horses in a world-class environment, and you have some of the world’s best horsemen”. About this year’s sale, Barry fingered the draft in general as the best by some stretch he had encountered. Some statement from one of the world’s greatest “pickers”. We often wonder whether the partners in Team Valor appreciate the talents of this man, who has separated himself from virtually every yearling selector we know, in achieving the hit rates for which Team Valor has become renowned. He’s not only a good picker though, he’s a supreme strategist, places his horses in the right places at the right time, and he seldom misses an opportunity.

 

 

Peter DoylePETER DOYLE : ARGUABLY IRELAND’S TOP BLOODSTOCK AGENT

Summerhill’s draft was outstanding, in what was the most outstanding collection of horses I’ve seen in nine visits to South Africa’s National Yearling showpiece”.

 

 

 

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HONG KONG BECKONS : SUMMERHILL WILL BE THERE

hong kong horse racingScenes from Hong Kong
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

“A piece from Mick Goss”

Growing up in one of the remotest parts of the world as the son of a Pondo trader, I never imagined myself as the owner of an international class racehorse, let alone partnering a member of a nation’s ruling family and running for R14million, at Group One level. Yet that is what Imbongi has done for Summerhill Stud, and next weekend he gets his chance to take on some of the world’s best milers in the Hong Kong Mile (Gr.1). His travel mate, Archipenko, showered himself in glory as the hero of last year’s Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Gr.1), and he returns this year to defend his crown.

Hard on the heels of Summerhill-bred, raised and educated Paris Perfect’s $600,000 romp in the Dubai World Cup (Gr.1), and Art Of War’s stand out billing from Mike de Kock as the “biggest surprise of the Dubai Carnival”, Imbongi now gets his chance to show to the world what made him the most formidable three-year-old miler in South Africa last year.

Keep a check on Mike de Kock’s website for all the latest news from Hong Kong.

Visit
www.mikedekockracing.com

Archipenko and Imbongi arrive in Hong Kong

Imbongi arrives in Hong Kong
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

News from Mike de Kock is that Archipenko and Imbongi have arrived safely in Hong Kong where they are set to do battle in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup and Champions Mile respectively.

With combined stakes of HK$26million, these two Group 1 races will witness an international field of top-class horses, come Sunday 26 April at Sha Tin racecourse.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club reports that, “this year’s renewal of the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup will feature two former champions in Archipenko and Viva Pataca and we are also delighted to have leading competitors from Australia, France, Great Britain, South Africa and the United States.”

“In the Champions Mile, we are delighted that increasing the race’s purse by 50 per cent to HK$12million has resulted in its strongest ever field. Four very interesting runners representing Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates will try to break a local stranglehold in this race but Good Ba Ba, the reigning champion and Horse of the Year, still appears the one to beat.”

Audemars Piguet has been a terrific supporter of Hong Kong racing. This, in fact, is the 11th year for our partners, the master Swiss watchmakers, to sponsor the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup, the season’s springtime showcase,” said Mr William A Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director of Racing. This meeting has clearly become a very important day of international racing which, I’m sure, will enthrall fans from around the world.”

Audemars Piguet QEII Cup Gr1
2000m
HK$14million (approximately US$1.8million)
Ratings Order

Viva Pataca - Six-time Gr.1 winner, including a comfortable success in this race in 2007. Completed his preparation for this event with a sound third-placed run from top weight in last weekend’s Chairman’s Trophy (HK Gr.2).

Archipenko - Scored readily in this race last year to precede a Gr.2 win in England and an unlucky reverse in the Arlington Million. Started favourite for the Dubai Duty Free last month but was never dangerous in sixth.

Presvis - Capped a fine Dubai International Carnival with a fine runners-up finish in the Dubai Duty Free from a wide barrier and looks to be still on the upgrade.

Niconero - Veteran winner of five Gr.1 races is in the form of his life. Has twice collected at the highest level and finished a creditable fourth in the Dubai Duty Free in recent weeks.

Packing Winner - HK Gr.1 winner of the Citi Champions & Chater Cup last year from Viva Pataca having run fourth in this event.

Artiste Royal - American-trained Gr.1 winner who was not tested when hemmed in on the rails in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup last December. Has since won at Gr.2 level in California.

Chinchon- Three times placed in French Pattern events, including once last year in front of Collection, the subsequent Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby champion.

Thumbs Up - Triumphant in the HK Gr.1 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile in January and runner-up to Collection in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby last month.

Bullish Cash - Triumphant in the HK Gr.3 Premier Plate last season and placed in the same race last month.

Viva Macau - Dual winner of the Ladies’ Purse (Class 1) and Gr.1 placed both locally and in France.

Roma Pegasus - Fifth in both the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas in Australia before similar finishes in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile, Derby Trial and Derby.

Danesis- Runner-up in his last start in the HKGr.3 Premier Plate to leap to a triple figure HK rating.

Champions Mile Gr1
1600m
HK$12million (approximately US$1.54million)
Ratings Order

Good BaBa- Six-time Gr.1 winner, current Horse of the Year and defending champion of this race. His international rating of 124 for winning the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile is the highest ever accorded to a Hong Kong horse.

Egyptian Ra - Only two horses are rated higher in Hong Kong after his all-the-way success in the HK Gr.1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup from Good Ba Ba. He won the HK Gr.2 Cathay Pacific International Mile Trial in similar fashion.

More Bountiful - Shot up by 21lbs in the ratings - a record rise this decade - in the wake of his authoritative success in the Chairman’s Trophy (HK Gr.2) last time.

Alexandros- Career best performance last time out when third in the Dubai Duty Free on the back of two earlier wins at the Dubai International Carnival for Godolphin.

Armada- Former Champion Miler for winning the HK Gr.1 Stewards’ Cup in 2007. Runner-up in both this race and the Yasuda Kinen last year.

Fellowship - Placed in his last three starts, two of those at the highest level and knocking on the door of his maiden HK Gr.1 victory.

Imbongi- Dual Gr.2 winner and also Gr.1 runner-up in South Africa.

Collection - The new star of Hong Kong racing after his terrific triumph in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby. Drops back in distance here.

Sight Winner - Most Improved Horse in Hong Kong last season and his consistency in the best local races has maintained the upward curve this season.

Dao Dao - Four wins last season for John Size in Hong Kong and a Listed winner in Sydney last weekend for his former trainer, John Hawkes.

Sir Slick - Six-time Gr.1 winner in New Zealand where he is known as the ‘People’s Champion’.

Unique Jewellery - Winner of the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby Trial and a commendable fourth in the Classic itself.

Gem Of Chiu Ton - Listed placed in England before arriving in Hong Kong where he appears on the verge of a breakthrough success.

Karel Miedema reviews National Yearling Sale 2009

Uncle Tommy
(Photo : Jean Stanley)

karel miedemaKarel Miedema Sporting PostThe world can look in wonder at South Africa’s flagship National Sale, the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. True, the sale’s aggregate and average price followed world-wide trends downward, but closer scrutiny tells a remarkable story, writes Karel Miedema for the Sporting Post.

 

“The sale as a whole was down on the 2008 record breaker. Last year 501 lots accumulated a total of R200million, compared to 490 lots for R152million this time round. That’s a drop of R48million. Taking the top 10% of lots by sex for 2009, we find 26 colts selling for R750k or more, totaling R29million.

 

Similarly, 24 fillies sold for R500k or more, totaling R18million. Added together this gives R47million. Last year 40 colts went for R750k or more, and 43 fillies for R500k and up. Together they made for a total of R93million. The difference between these two top 10% totals is R46million – just about the amount by which the sale went down. In other words, the drop in R47million aggregate can be entirely attributed to the pricedrop amongst the top 10% of lots sold.

 

Median prices by sex tell their story, too. The median price is the mid-point between highest and lowest price, and in the case of horse auctions tells a truer story than a straight average would, because the high (extreme) prices have a lesser effect. The median price for colts in 2009 was R250k, down only 9% from R275k in 2008. As was predicted based on what happened at previous yearling sales this year, demand for fillies fell through the floor. The 2009 median for the weaker sex was R200k, down 20% versus the R250k in 2008. The overall median was down 15%, to R220k from R260k last year.

 

Given this background, the conclusion must be that South Africa is still on a high and that pre-sale doomsayers are eating humble pie, indeed. The future looks rosy.

 

Post sale comments from visitors echoed these sentiments. “In the current economic climate the South African National Yearling Sale is without a doubt the best performing thoroughbred sale in the world,’’ said Australian buyer Paul Guy, echoing auctioneer Steve Davis’ earlier assessment that this was his “strongest sale in the last six’’ he’d conducted around the globe.

Team Valor International’s Barry Irwin, on his fifth successive visit, secured eight foals and summed up the event, saying, “The value here is superb, it is a joy to come to this sale and I’ll be booking for next year.’’

 

Barry Irwin, renowned as one of the shrewdest buyers on the planet, described his purchase of Klawervlei Stud’s Lot 587, a daughter of Captain Al from Grade 1 winner Roxanne, as “incredible, because I would have gone to well over R1million for her and paid only R600k.’’ He added: “She’s probably the nicest looking filly I’ve seen. They don’t come better looking than this.’’

 

South Africa’s Champion breeders Summerhill Stud reaped the rewards for their great achievements of the last few years, selling the top-priced colt and filly at the sale. The Kahal colt, Uncle Tommy, a half-brother to Rebel King, was knocked down to Mike Bass for R2.4 million, while Team Valor bought first-season sire Solskjaer’s daughter Matara Garden for R1.5 million.”

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ORMOND FERRARIS : Doyen of South African Trainers

ormond ferraris (heather morkel)Ormond Ferraris
(Photo : Heather Morkel)

“Millionaire’s Row”

It’s a well documented fact that Summerhill was the last of the big farms in South Africa to register it’s first million Rand deal at the sales. Whether that’s a reflection of a lack of marketing finesse, or a sense of treating the market with respect, will forever be a matter of debate. But what is so, is that all of a sudden it’s “raining” millionaires at Summerhill.

We kicked off at the Ready to Run Sale in November, with a ROCK OF GIBRALTAR colt registering R2.2million, a GALILEO filly R1.5million, and a MUHTAFAL colt at R1million, and coupled with Sunday’s R2.4million and R1.5million respectively, that’s five in the space of as many months.

Whether he read our adverts, proclaiming the Summerhill racehorse the Toyota of the South African industry, is difficult to say, but it seems the doyen of our trainers, Ormond Ferraris, must have at least cast his eyes over the ad. A man who, in common with the best of his countrymen, respects excellent quality, unparalleled dependability and outstanding value, as much as any, the attributes for which Toyota has become famous, are exactly what Ormond must have seen in this draft. Signing as he did on Sunday for no fewer than four (25%) of the horses put through the ring. So for us the consolation lies not only in the value he got, but also in where they’re going.

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The El Padrino’s of the Game

emperors palace sale (michael nefdt)

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales 2009

If you’re a Summerhill devotee, you’d have to be more than satisfied at this weekend’s events. Both the top colt and top filly of the sale, were graduates of our draft. With IMBONGI’s sister, a stunning daughter of debutante sire, SOLSKJAER, bewitching the attention of no less an investor than Team Valor’s Barry Irwin, who had to fend off two bouts of international competition to claim his prize at R1.5million.

In as classic an event as any breeder could wish for, three “patron saints” of the game clashed in a mighty battle for the right to own UNCLE TOMMY, a strikingly good-looking son of KAHAL, and half brother to aspiring Sprint champion, REBEL KING.

The early stages witnessed a sparring match between the incorrigible Markus Jooste and his right-hand man, Charles Laird, located high up and out of sight, in what might be called the ”Gods”, an appropriate station for two men who wagered as much as they did on the day’s trade.

Just outside the Equine Insurance cubicle, Mike de Kock took up position for Dubai’s Deputy Ruler, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whose eagerness to acquire this son of his own stallion, was evidenced in the rapidity with which Mike answered Charles Laird’s bidding.

The time came though when Mike called it a day, and just as it looked as though the Jooste team might fire the winning salvo, POCKET POWER’S conditioner Mike Bass, joined the fray with a determination that looked likely to prevail. And prevail it did. But not without one helluva scrap, as the two teams traded their way through the R2million barrier and onwards to R2.4million.

So who was it behind Mike Bass? No less a man than one of the EL PADRINO’S of the game, Graham Beck, who has terrorised under-bidders for decades now. These two, Jooste and Beck, have ascended the stairs to the loftiest of stations, willing to put their money and their reputations on the line for the sake of a racehorse, and the honour of beating all-comers when the chips are down.

In the end that’s what this sport is all about, and it’s thanks to them that the drama of the sales ring remains one of the most exhilarating contests of our game.

South African Resilience Dictates National Sales

south african fight (michael nefdt)“…it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale
“Tommy” Tops the Trade

Readers of the Summerhill Sire’s Brochure last year, will recall the statement “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”, that probably sums up the resilience of South Africans. And if ever you needed evidence of it, you’d have wanted a seat at the ringside at Sunday’s proceedings.

An average price of R321,000 after three hundred Lots had been traded, and an aggregate closing on R80million, tells it’s own story, with every indication the aggregate would sail past the R100million mark by the end of yesterday. Stories of trade 40% down at Sydney’s Easter Sales (running concurrently), might have had most people quivering in their boots. But South Africans, with a history of dealing with adversity in so many different shapes and forms, can always be relied upon to exhibit their standard traits of courage and foresight, and their looking forward rather than behind them. That goes for a number of our overseas adherents too, who make the pilgrimage each year.

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GRAHAM BECK SECURES TOP KAHAL

graham beck brut“We toasted the town, the team, and our buyers with a couple bottles of Graham Beck Brut…”

“BIG SALE DIARIES” - Part 2

Uncle Tommy (Kahal out of Cousin Linda, half brother to Rebel King) did us proud yesterday, topping the first and second sessions with a heart-stopping, whopping R2.4million bid by Mike Bass for Graham Beck. Underbidders Mike de Kock and Markus Jooste carried him there, and our partners Mike and Marty Meredith, Mick and the team were ecstatic. In a fairly solid session we also sold, among others, Matara Garden (Solskjaer out of Garden Verse, half sister to Imbongi and Spring Garland) for R1.5million to Barry Irwin’s Team Valor.

We toasted the town, the team, and our buyers with a couple bottles of Graham Beck Brut – a fitting finish to yet another of those grand days at the office!

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National Yearling Sales : What a Sunday!

“BIG SALE DIARIES - Part 1”

As big days go, it doesn’t get much better, especially if you’re in the Summerhill corner. Two Group winners, three Group seconds, and an impressive juvenile in the second all added up to something approaching R600,000 accumulative earnings for the day. It could’ve been better though, as one wag commented, “If only the wind had been blowing our way, and the three seconds had made it home!”

On a day in which fortunes might have been made, if our Australian, French and English friends had kept the faith (but typically deserted us for those raised in “greener” pastures) there were a number of notable performances:

o LABEEB finally came home, notching up a consecutive treble including a double in the Derby and Oaks Trials for the one man who put his hand up very early on, Ormonde Ferraris.

o Charles Laird and Markus Jooste achieved an historic trifecta with a one-two-three in the R1million Horse Chestnut Stakes, only to notch up another graded stakes victory in the next event with Rebel King.

o If your business is selling horses, having a graded stakes winner related to one of your entries on the eve of its appearance in the ring hopefully contributes a little extra to the bottom line, so Rebel King’s swoop in the dying stages of the Senor Santa not only took him another step closer to Champion Sprinter honours, but also added value to his yearling brother Uncle Tommy, who became the sales-topper (first and second sessions) yesterday afternoon – more on that later.

o That’s not the lot though, as Lot 305, Imbongi’s half sister by Solskjaer saw her page significantly lifted this weekend with juvenile Mahubo’s Grade 3 third on debut, and Spring Garland’s magnificent defeat of the nation’s second-rated female runner, She’s On Fire in the time-honoured Gerald Rosenberg Stakes G2.

o Not to be outdone, the evening meeting at Greyville kicked off with a trifecta straightliner for KAHAL, who notched up three in rapid succession.

Another great day at the office….

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“PARIS” almost PERFECT in Dubai

Paris Perfect (Muhtafal)
(Photo : Robin Bruss/Summerhill)

For all the big race action back home, the performance of the weekend, at least from a Summerhill perspective, belonged to Muhtafal’s son, Paris Perfect, in the Dubai World Cup (Gr.1) proper. In stark contrast to earlier years, his 3rd to Well Armed in the richest race on earth was a powerful tribute to his sire as well as his breeder, Gail Fabricius, not to mention the exertions of the Bruss brothers, Robin and Neil, who got him there for Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

Astonishing isn’t it, that a little fellow who started out life on a farm 10kms outside the shabbiest little dorp in the Midlands, then earned his laurels in comparatively modest Port Elizabeth, should stand up when the heat of battle calls, and say “count on me”.

As we’ve so often said, “if we were going to war, Muhtafal would be our general”.

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NO PLAY WITHOUT PUNCH

chris van niekerk (summerhill stud)Chris van Niekerk
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

Anyone reckoning on counting Summerhill out of the “Big Race” picture this weekend though, was going to get his nose bloodied in emphatic style. Peter Fabricius millionaire, Hear The Drums, came home for his 21st victory in the East Cape Sprint (Listed), while a masterful ride from one of the world’s best pilots, Felix Coetzee, got seven year old Bayete coasting in the Caradoc Gold Cup (Gr.3). That Bayete gets better with age is a tribute to patience and perseverance, and this fellow’s lucky to belong to Chris van Niekerk and to be trained by Sean Tarry.

Greyville’s King’s Cup (Gr.3) very nearly witnessed a Summerhill hat trick as the luckless Thandolwami, Tap Tap and El Padrino ran up 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the race that kicks off the KZN Winter season.

FOREST PATH and GYPSY'S WARNING : The Big Stakes Weekend

gypsy's warning (michael nefdt)KwaZulu Natal-bred Gypsy’s Warning
Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic Champion 2009
(Photos : Team Valor/Summerhill)

The world’s eyes were on Dubai this weekend, but South Africans were torn in where to fix their focus. Phumelela were celebrating one of two pinnacles in their autumn season with six Graded Stakes races on the menu, while the richest meeting in the world was spewing out surprise after surprise, which had parallels only in the tipping rain which preceded the meeting by a day and a half.

The Dubai World Cup might well have been one of Mike de Kock’s more “ordinary” days at the office, but such is the man and his team that they still produced the winner of South Africa’s richest race for three year olds, when Bridget Oppenheimer’s Forest Path, got home in a stirring tussle for the R2million SA Classic (Gr.1). As if to emphasize the growing “internationalism” of our racing, America’s Team Valor ran off with the spoils in the Fillies’ equivalent, albeit with the KwaZulu Natal-bred Gypsy’s Warning.

MUHTAFAL : The General Has Spoken

MUHTAFAL
“WHEN THE GENERAL SPEAKS, THE TROOPS STAND TO ATTENTION”

We’ve always said, if we were going to war, Muhtafal would be our man, and no statement could be more emphatic than his leadership, once again, of this season’s Stakes winners log.

As dependable a “getter” of Black type runners as any stallion in the nation, Muhtafal’s enduring occupation of the top echelons of our sires’ ranks, is a tribute to a horse who’s only just getting the opportunities he deserves.

Bottom line: Get in before they get out of reach.

 

LEADING SIRES BY STAKES WINNERS 2009

MUHTAFAL 4*
NATIONAL EMBLEM 4*
WESTERN WINTER 4
STRIKE SMARTLY 4
JET MASTER 3
AL MUFTI 3
JALLAD 3

Figures : Sporting Post 22 March 2009
* Made it at Summerhill


View the Summerhill Draft
Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales

3-6 April 2009

The Toyota of South African Racing

“Everything keeps going right…”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of our involvement in the breeding business. In all that time, the need to provide the best bang for a man’s buck, has never been greater.

 

It’s a matter of pride to us that we’ve developed a reputation for the production of stock with the attributes South Africans admire most: excellent quality, unparalleled dependability, and outstanding value.

 

In a manner of speaking, you’d be forgiven for labeling the Summerhill racehorse the Toyota of South African racing. At the end of the day, they’re the only horses to have delivered up four consecutive Breeders Championships in the past thirty years. And champions are what this game’s about.

 

As they used to say in the classics, (and occasionally in that famous jingle), for us, everything keeps going right .

 

View the Summerhill Draft
Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales

3-6 April 2009