The gallops are behind us and phase 1 is complete. In the yard as we write is the doyen of Highveld trainers, Ormond Ferraris, hot-as-hell Gary and Dean Alexander and champion trainer Sean Tarry. If ever a measure of the quality of the horses was needed, I guess these three gents say it all.
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%.
In a week in which the Admire Mains displayed their fighting talk, juvenile Unagi made it two-in-a-row when he demolished his elders by five lengths for the Alexanders, Pravin Chetty, Bruce and Jo Gardner, Greg Sadie and Darren Simpson.
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.
Horsemen the world over hold strong views on how best to breed a decent horse, and while the traditional need for a good individual will rank high on the list, the one indispensable ingredient at the top of most people's lists, is pedigree.
Summerhill Stud produced three good feature winners over the past week and it was the 4 year old Admire Main filly Mamasita, the lesser fancied of the Weiho Marwing duo, who led all the way to win the R120,000 Umsinzi Handicap at Scottsville on Sunday.
On Sunday, Summerhill held its 32nd annual Stallion Day at the School of Equine Management Excellence, and the occasion was dignified by the presence of heads of state, cabinet ministers, representatives of two royal families, close on 20 different countries and the usual multitude of guests.
The rising giant of the comparatively modern world of thoroughbred breeding, is undoubtedly Japan. Like the sun in that part of the world, for the past couple of decades, the Japanese racehorse has emerged inexorably from something of a waste product in a forgotten frontier, to a symbol of class wherever racing is taken seriously.