The untimely death of stallion Await The Dawn in 2014 was a massive blow for Summerhill Stud. He was arguably the one who could’ve kept the Mooi River establishment at or near the top of the logs for the next two decades. Thankfully all of us can enjoy the pleasure of seeing his offspring on the track. Even if only for a few years.
One of Tom Jones' greatest hits was the “Green, Green Grass of Home” and buyers at the forthcoming Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Sale might be humming those lyrics as they drive through the entrance of Summerhill Stud later this month.
When William Shakespeare recorded the standout event in the reign of Richard III, he couldn’t possibly have foreseen a replay almost half a millennium later in little old Mooi River. Students of literature will recall that it was on Bosworth Field that England’s good king had offered up his kingdom for a horse, and if it weren’t for the fact that the auctioneer missed his bid, we’d have no Princes William and Harry today.
For a son of Northern Dancer, Sadler’s Wells was anointed thus in honour of one of the world’s leading dance venues, which in turn earned its appellation from its original founder, Richard Sadler and the rediscovery of a monastic spring on the property, the waters of which were said to have strong medicinal powers. While we revel in the appropriateness of his association with the world of dance, just as we can in the case of his paternal half-brothers, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Lyphard and The Minstrel, there’s little doubt either about the “powers” of the stallion Sadler’s Wells, who, both as a sire and a sire of sires, was destined to become the most remarkable of all Northern Dancer’s sons.
This is a story about triumph. Napoleon erected the Arc de Triomphe at the top end of the Champs Elysees to commemorate the most prosperous period in French military history. In 1920 the French racing authorities inaugurated the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in salute to the pinnacle of Continental horse racing; on Sunday, what has become Europe’s premier racing contest was renewed for the 96th time, and what a triumph it was.
It’s a hundred and sixteen years since the turn of the nineteenth century, and in that time only eight entities have aspired to the title of Champion Breeder in South Africa, which makes it the tightest-held premiership in all of racing. That Summerhill should’ve arrived at its tenth title in twelve years through a new earnings record with hardly a “Big Five” sire in sight, tell us that besides luck, there must’ve been other factors at work. We can only marvel at the efforts of our people, the generosity of the land, and the contribution of the “boys” in the stallion barn.
"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.
BOOM filly Takingthepeace, who won two legs of the 2017 Triple Tiara after a most exciting public build-up following her spectacular wins for new, young owners Michael Shea and Murray Makepeace, will have the names of the prominent brothers Craig and Ross Kieswetter added to her list of owners.
The Grade 1 winning filly, Brave Mary by Brave Tin Soldier, a R40,000 Summerhill Ready To Run Graduate, was crowned Horse Of The Year at the KZN Breeders Awards held at a black tie affair at Fordoun on Saturday evening.
If you’re in the sales business, the one thing you need to convince customers to come back is a big horse first time around. There are few people in the sport of horseracing these days who don’t know Brian Burnard, better known as “Buffalo Bill”, who was christened that way after his buying debut at the inaugural Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run at Summerhill. There was no mucking about that day for “Buff” though, green as he was when he took on the lofty likes of Alesh Naidoo and the late, intrepid Glanville Gardner for the right to own a burly chestnut son of Kahal out of the East Cape Horse of the Year, Coastal Waltz.
In the lead up to the Summerhill Ready To Run sale, which takes place at the School Of Excellence, Summerhill Stud on Wednesday, 25th October, we thought it might be fun to encourage patrons to view the gallops and choose their favourite to stand a chance to win lunch for two at Hartford House.
Think about this. Twenty-one more Stakes winners in 2016 and 2017. Massive savings in keep costs as well as 3 payments to approved buyers*. And the advantage of “clocking” the gallops. There's no place in the world you get this kind of value. Anywhere.
"For perfect timing, it doesn't get much better than this for many-times champion breeder, Mick Goss. At next week's Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Sale he'll offer the last progeny of Await The Dawn and to say his progeny are firing is an under-statement." - David Mollett
There’s been a lot of talk about the Ready To Run Gallops, and unprecedented social media traffic. And to keep the conversation going, here’s a shortlist of “physicals” from a show judge (in no particular order). Let us know if you agree.