barry watsonBarry WatsonWhat a build up to a most successful day at the Ready to Run Gallops. Summerhill has been a hive of activity in preparation for the day. Horses and jockeys alike have been “under the whip”, so to speak, to present us with some spectacular strides, speed and stamina. The much needed rains created a slight upset on the day with Barry Watson throwing a blue fit as he watched cars skid across his prized eragrostis. Great fun for those with 4X4’s, not such fun for those of us with more humble vehicles.

The entire Summerhill team were recruited and took on entirely out of the norm roles. From grooms saddling horses, to parading up the track in gladiator uniforms, they tackled the tasks with bright smiles (did pies and bunny-chow have anything to do with it?).

ready to run tentDecorating the tentThe marquee, decorated and carefully laid out by the Vuma ladies, showed style and finesse which complimented the natural farm setting and provided guests with warmth and comfort while watching the gallops.

ready to run knightsDouw and TimA grand highlight of the day was the opening parade. Tim and Douw, kitted out as gladiators, as a tribute to the sponsors Emperor’s Palace, in gleaming silver helmets and breast plates, rode gallantly up the track on their noble steeds, flying the Emperor’s Palace flags.

ready to run jockeysThe Ready To Run JockeysNot even Douw and Tim in all their pomp and glory could match the little men in whites. Our very own Summerhill jockeys did a fine job and gained much respect and admiration with their riding. Sporting the white, green and gold silks of the farm, they truly brought to light each horse’s best performance. Even under the watchful eye (and clock) of Mike de Kock and other prominent trainers, our jockeys did us proud. The horses showed great promise and some potential champions caught the eye of many. It must’ve been a daunting task for the panel of experts who had to nominate three fillies and three colts, as their picks.

We were privileged to have such an exalted panel sharing their views and wisdom gained from many years of experience at the coal face.

(posted by Kayleigh Lesegang)