Friday the 30th sees the departure of “the boss” for the United Kingdom, where he will be joining up with Sheikh Hamdan’s people, in particular, Angus Gold, and recent Summerhill visitor, Kate Whitehouse, for part of Europe’s showcase breeding stock sale. While he’s there, he’ll be catching up with old friends from across the world, as well as Kerry Jack, one-time Broodmare and Sales Manager at Summerhill, now working for Dr John McVeigh & Partners in the UK.
An interesting sideline to this visit is a request from Mick Flanagan, currently a student on the Darley Flying Start Course, that he be permitted to join “our” Mick while he’s inspecting broodmares at the sale, as part of Flanagan’s practical education compliance for the Darley course.
It’s prohibitively expensive to buy at these venues, so when we do, we generally look for what we can’t buy in South Africa. Given the state of our currency, it’s always advisable to buy racing performance in a broodmare prospect locally, whilst if you’re looking for pedigrees carrying names of international celebrities, then this sort of venue is sometimes capable of producing prospects of this ilk.
Of course, there will be other aspects to the trip, including discussions about the Darley School Of Excellence with representatives of Sheikh Mohammad’s operation (Stephen Gill, who’s well known to most readers), base-touching with other figures from Sheikh Hamdan’s business, including his right hand man, Mirza Al Sayegh and Financial Director, Chris Kennard, if not Sheikh Hamdan himself. Then there are also meetings with representatives of Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms. A busy week, this sort of relationship building is all part of the Summerhill story, and it’s interspersed with time spent with our own existing English clients, who are never short of a good yarn, or wanting for a quick pint… or two!
Thursday will see the Summerhill contingent move off to Deauville on the Normandy coast in France, where the series of breeding stock sales continues, and where Mick & Cheryl will be hosted at a reception by the head of the Arqana Sales organization, Eric Hoyeau and his board of directors. This will also be a grand opportunity to catch up with France Gallops’ International Relationships Manager Elodie Garamond, who will be heading a delegation of French breeders to Summerhill in the New Year, as well as Haras du Mezeray’s Charl-Henri de Moussae. His fabled father, Paul, breeder of the Arc winners Trempolino and Subotica, was the first to come to our rescue in the “troubled nineties” and we’ve enjoyed a long and happy association with the family ever since.
Sounds like a lot of fun, and no doubt he’ll be keeping us posted with periodic postings for the blog.