When Mick Goss first met His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, the present Ruler of Dubai, he was reminded that the connection between the Arab community and Africa stretches back more than a thousand years, and that there existed a natural affinity between the two groups of people.
Within a year of that meeting, Sheikh Mohammed’s two brothers, the then Ruler, Sheikh Maktoum, and the Deputy Ruler, Sheikh Hamdan, had their first stallions safely ensconced at Summerhill.
From that date the fortunes of Summerhill and its clients have been heavily reliant on the patrimony that flowed from the presence of these stallions, and Mick Goss is the first to acknowledge the enormous role the Maktoum horses have played in putting Summerhill in its pre-eminent position at the top of the South African breeders log.
“Without them, it wouldn’t have happened, and it’s as simple as that”
The latest member of the family to align his future South African breeding activities with Summerhill is another Sheikh Mohammed, the present Ruler’s first cousin, who is perhaps best known in South Africa for his recent acquisition of the SA Oaks winner, Candy Critic, and Vodacom July fancy Money Bags.
Sheikh Mohammed is committing his young stallion prospect, Hobb Alwahatan (by Machiavellian) to South Africa and is supporting him with 30 of his own mares.
One of four horses entering stud at the Kwa Zulu Natal Nursery this season, Hobb Alwhatan could scarcely come with greater credentials. He is a three parts brother to the best horse ever to wear the Godolphin blue - Dubai Millennium. But when you consider that he is a Feature winner of six races, out of a half sister to Fort Wood , the permutations for a successful career in this country are endless.
But that’s not where the Hobb Alwhatan story starts and stops, as he was the sort of racehorse that might have won the Vodacom July had he displayed his talents on our local circuit. Anyone that witnessed the last five of his six victories (none of which were gained by a margin of less than five lengths) will tell you. Mike de Kock remarked that “any horse capable of winning four races on the trot in a single season in Dubai , as Hobb Alwhatan did, is a legitimate prospect, irrespective of his pedigree. This horse did just that, and besides his class he has one of the best pedigrees in the world”.
Interviewed on the horse’s arrival, Summerhill’s spokesperson, Heather Morkel, marvelled that the stallion’s book was already approaching two thirds full and the horse had hardly landed. "Both the generous cash incentives, and the fact Sheikh Mohammed had priced him so liberally, have obviously helped, but this is a horse whose credentials are obvious, and his fan club established itself long before we announced his fee”.