Sean Tarry has always been high on Jet Master’s gifted racing son, Lance. He should know. He’s trained several of the family, including his Group One-winning brother Liege, yet Lance was always his pick of the tribe. When Lance stripped the sheen off Louis The King’s burgeoning reputation in the Secretariat Stakes, Tarry was quick to proclaim him a Gr.1 horse in waiting.
If you weren’t around in the late 1800s and the early part of the twentieth century, you’re most likely to remember Hartford, the farm, for the exploits of its famous racehorses. In 1939, the late Raymond Ellis and his family acquired the property as a country retreat, a refuge from their beachfront hotels and property holdings in Durban.
In its heyday as home to more than 900 horses belonging to owners across 22 timezones from Japan to the United States, Summerhill Stud and its associated hotel, Hartford House, was the Midlands’ most visited tourist destination. An average of 60-70 people signed the visitors’ roster at its historic main gate on a daily basis, and while that number included the plumber, the electrician and delivery vehicles, the principal magnet was its horses and its hospitality.
On 20 June 2019, Bjorn Nielsen’s homebred Stradivarius galloped to victory in the Ascot Gold Cup. The sun was out, it was Frankie Dettori’s fourth win on the card, it was even money favourite Stradivarius’ second consecutive Gold Cup victory and the Ascot crowd rightly lifted the grandstand roof.
To European racegoers of a certain age, there was only ever going to be one contender for the title of the greatest trainer of all time: O’Brien of Ballydoyle. The past couple of decades have caused many to reassess their opinion as a challenger has emerged: O’Brien of Ballydoyle. In one sense, Vincent O’Brien’s achievements will never be surpassed. He created the Ballydoyle empire from scratch, re-shaping the international racing landscape through the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s after having sent out multiple winners of the great jumps races in the post-war years—the Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.
The National Yearling Sale catalogue is still close by for reference, we had the Mistico broodmare and weanling sale last week, as well as the emotion-charged Moutonshoek dispersal. And then there’s the Klawervlei Farm Sale coming up in a few weeks. The BSA KZN yearling sale catalogue is already available online.
Hat Puntano comes with some priceless silverware in his genetic cabinet, a son of one of the best milers of the breed-shaping Sunday Silence in Hat Trick (already sire of a major French stallion in Dabirsim) from a daughter of the stellar “shuttle” horse, Bernstein (by Storm Cat).