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).
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
Maine Chance farm is having the time of its life, with big race winner after big race winner, week in and week out. It happens to coincide with the early retirement of their talisman, John Slade, whose crowning distinction in his final months at Maine Chance was to breed the first three past the post in Africa’s greatest horserace, the Vodacom Durban July.
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.
Time was when weekends were "TV time for the marquee events of our sport. Yet ever since the de Kock caravan decamped for its pioneering pillage of the riches of Dubai, Thursday evenings have become "ritual for South African fans. For all the big names that thrilled our sitting rooms over the years, none of them exceeded the worship of the original globe-trotter, Linngari. Here was the redefinition of the international racehorse, a handsome, zestful dual-Group One hero who never ducked a fight. From 1200 to 2000metres, he posted major race performances in eight different countries on four different continents. Linngari was a racehorse, pure and simple.
The Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic produced a major upset as 50-1 shot Juxtapose ran on strongly down the outside of the track to get up close home and touch off 8-10 favourite Negroamaro by 0.40 lengths with She’s A Dragon (14-1) the same distance back in third. Fourth place went to KwaZulu-Natal visitor Princess Varunya, who looked a likely winner 400m from home.