While it does not speak of the money which characterizes the more elaborate establishments, there are few more soulful places built in honour of the thoroughbred than Summerhill. Besides, when you’re dealing with Summerhill, you’re dealing in history.
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.
We are sad to report that with the considerable pressure on government finances for universities following the “Fees Must Fall” campaign, educational support for other institutions (all SETAS) including the CATHSSETA which has been a major provider of funds not only for our Winter Workshop, but principally for our annual scholarships, have fallen away.
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.
South Africa’s latest Triple Crown winner Abashiri is not among the 27 entries for the R2-million, Grade 1 Daily News 2000 on Saturday 28 May 2016 at Greyville Racecourse but the rest of the three-year-olds likely to challenge his status as the best of his age this season have been nominated including the champion’s stable companion and Canon Guineas runner-up Rabada.
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.