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.
Visionaire's daughter Heaps Of Fun scored an eye-catching victory in the Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas for Champion trainer, Sean Tarry, owner Nchakha Moloi and breeder, Summerhill Ready To Run Manager, Tarryn Liebenberg.
Racing must be the toughest game in the world: you only have to look at the squabbles they have in Formula One to know that winning means everything. Yet when you get down to the nitty-gritty, I can't believe that anything quite as "soulless" as a mechanically propelled projectile could ever stir the emotions quite as much as the flesh and blood of a thoroughbred.
Rupert Plersch is an extraordinary man in his own right, a great supporter of South African racing, and a devoted international horseman. Among all the good horses he’s been associated with though (remember War Artist?), the apple of his eye has always been Linngari. And for all the big names that thrilled our sitting rooms on Dubai’s Thursday evenings, none exceeded the following of Linngari in those early days. Nothing could be more appropriate then, than for his progeny to return the thrill to those same people on South Africa’s racetracks at last.
Summerhill-breds were once again making a name for themselves in this weekend’s big races. 1st – Arch Rival for Geoff Woodruff and Neil Smith in the Gold Bowl (Gr.2), 3rd – Heaps Of Fun for Sean Tarry, Nchakha Moloi and Chris van Niekerk in the Camellia Stakes (Gr.2).
Whatever the day, whenever the race, when it comes to the big ones, Summerhill Ready To Run graduates are never too far away: No Worries and Solar Star were the first two past the post in the Highland Night Cup, not forgetting Vilakazi’s standout performance in the Winter Guineas (Gr3) and Supercilious’ Black-type performance in the Sweet Chestnut’s Stakes (Listed).
The recent CTS Emperors Palace Select Yearling Sale yielded exciting results, and even more so for the likes of deceased first season sire Await The Dawn, proven sire Toreador and last season’s Champion Freshman sire, Visionaire.
Members of South Africa’s Horse Import Export Task Team (HIETT) have requested the racing industry and the public at large not to over-react to the death of a horse diagnosed with African Horse Sickness (AHS) in the surveillance zone near Paarl, Western Cape, last week.