"It’s never easy to admit to the ravages of age, so I’ll confine myself to a confession that horses have been a part of my life since the day I was born, and that this is my 40th year in the commercial stud business." - Mick Goss / Summerhill CEO
The old adage “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”, has never been truer. Breeding racehorses is as competitive now as it’s ever been, which means that to play a winning hand, you need to hold the aces. All of them.
At the time, Willow Magic’s father, Dubawi, was an unknown quantity, the son of a largely disappointing Dubai Millennium. Nobody had the slightest inkling then that by 2015, Dubawi would be the fastest stallion on either side of the Atlantic to register 50 Group winners. Ever.
More than once, Markus Jooste has acknowledged the role of Summerhill in floating his “breeding” boat, and while in Klawervlei, the former Champion Breeders had spawned a Gulliver in their own Lilliput, Act Of War’s occupation of his new stall in KwaZulu-Natal not only marks a vote of faith in the region’s breeding community, but he also represents the salivating prospect of accessing one of the best-performed sons of one of history’s best stallions.
I’ve had to make some hard decisions in my life, one of which was buying Summerhill in the days when I was penniless, the other exchanging our family home in Hillcrest for Hartford at a precarious time in South Africa’s political history and giving up a rewarding life in law. There have been many others, but the most painful of all was letting Visionaire go on the weekend. He is not only our and the province’s flagship stallion, but he’s a lovable character to whom every last soul on the farm has an attachment. Mick Goss / Summerhill CEO
We’re not the only ones lamenting the early demise of Giant’s Causeway’s best racing son of 2013, Await The Dawn. There’s an old saying about familiarity breeding contempt, and while contempt is much too strong a word in this context, pedigree guru Andrew Caulfield was right to say that in the racing game “familiarity often unravels into boredom”. Time and again we see the elder statesmen of the stallion landscape coming out second-best in the popularity stakes against their “hot” young rivals, most of whom never come close to emulating the old boys’ achievements. In this case, he had in mind the 19 year-old Giant’s Causeway.
While the Asian Racing Conference in India may have been a matter of the recent past, for those who are accustomed to hearing from Summerhill and Mick Goss on a regular basis, the deafening silence from those quarters may have mystified the folk who were not aware that he had returned from India in a very poor state of health that has seen him confined to hospital three times already. He was discharged a fortnight ago and placed under ‘house arrest’ by his doctors who banned him from the daily activities of the business which are his lifeblood for the next four to six weeks. The Sporting Post learns that, unfortunately, following further complications he was readmitted on Easter Sunday and remains hospitalized.
Described by Arqana's leading vendor Henri Bozo as the “stallion of the century,” Galileo snatched back the spotlight from his outstanding son Frankel at Arqana on Monday when two fillies collectively brought more than €2-million within minutes of each other.
It’s difficult to imagine any other place quite like it. When Summerhill first aspired to the coveted title of South Africa’s Champion Breeder, we became only the sixth entity in history to do so; little did the team know then, that we’d be enjoying the tenth renewal of this coveted title in 2016.
No owner-breeder can be totally happy when a mare or filly culled from their broodmare band goes on to shine for her new owner. The practicalities, though, are that quite a few fillies and mares have to be sold simply to keep an operations numbers manageable, especially so if the breeder is keen to keep adding new blood to the genetic pool. In reality, occasionally letting something worthwhile slip through the net is the best way of ensuring that demand stays high and that the surplus mares and fillies achieve maximum value.
There were 390 yearlings and foals sold from 479 offered July 11-12 at the JRHA Select Sale at Northern Horse Park for record receipts of ¥14,942,100,000 ($147,437,068), an increase of 13% on last year. The overall average rose 15% to a record ¥38,310,000 ($378,044). The clearance rate came in at 81.4%.
The hallmark of a good sire is getting one better than himself. Rabada (by Brave Tin Soldier) is the only colt of his generation to win Group Ones at Two and Three. That’s why Gee Racing spent R260k on Rathmor’s Brave Tin Soldier at the KZN Yearling Sale.
It may still have problems with African Horse Sickness and the resulting quarantine issues, but Thoroughbred horseracing and breeding in South Africa is in rude health, with more and more in-the-know international buyers, including many from Europe and America, now making significant investments there.
The edge begins at the Ready To Run. With a Summerhill-bred. First seven, then six, now eight. No, they’re not the winning lottery numbers, they’re our weekly winners, but they could win you a fortune.