You’ve heard about the two “new kids” on Summerhill’s block, Act Of War and Willow Magic, now it’s time to see them in action. In their collective presence, it’s arguable that in thirty-seven summers, Summerhill has never been better endowed in young stallion material than right now. Don’t take our word for it – watch for yourselves.
With the word “plagiarism “very much in vogue in American politics at the moment, let me start with an acknowledgment: the article you are reading is the work of our old friend, Andrew Caulfied, one of the foremost authorities on bloodstock and pedigree analysis, and a regular contributor to the world’s most widely-read e-daily, the Thoroughbred Daily News.
A multiple Stakes-winning juvenile, winner of six in-a-row and the hero of the country’s Number One “stallion-maker”, the Cape Guineas, few freshmen go to stud as decorated as ACT OF WAR, son of Dynasty.
The day after South Africa's most prestigious race, the Group 1 Vodacom Durban July, was captured by Australian-bred The Conglomerate at Greyviille Racecourse on July 2, racing journalists from nine countries joined breeders and racetrack officials to raise a toast at Summerhill Stud in Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal.
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 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.
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.
Following a somewhat tepid fortnight, the sparks flew for Summerhill this past week with action on both the racecourse and off it. It’s part of our history though, that hard on the heels of a setback, such is the nature of the racing beast that if you keep your tail up, the good news quickly follows the tough tidings.
Little blood was spilled on the Kenilworth battlefield as owners Ingrid and Markus Jooste and trainer Joey Ramsden swatted aside the opposition, winning race after race at Saturday’s prestigious Cape Guineas meeting. Their day of triumph was crowned by the thumping victory of Act Of War in the Grade 1 Grand Parade Cape Guineas.