Saturday’s racing was one of most spectacular meetings we’ve had the pleasure to attend. The racing was thrilling, competitive, and just reward to Gold Circle for everything they put into it. This was a great display, not only of the organizational talents of racing in this country, but it was also a great compliment to the horsemen involved. The horses were turned out spectacularly, they were ridden by some of the best jockeys in the world, and they were prepared to the minute by some of the finest conditioners anywhere.
In the end, we (Summerhill) didn’t have a great time in the July itself with our three runners, with Pick Six joining his Three Year Old compatriots, Kildonan & Jay Peg, in proving once again to the handicappers that you can’t expect three year olds to carry 55 kgs against their elders at this time of the year under Group One handicap conditions. These three horses were set what history tells us to be a nigh impossible task, and it showed in the end. The truth is, Buy & Sell’s exceptional run for second place in receipt of 2 kgs from the other 3 year olds, was the best indication of the impact of weight, and the old adage that “weight stops trains”, was never more evident than it was on Saturday.
In the end, the race was a triumph for Mauritzfontein Stud and the Oppenheimer family, as their gallant horse Hunting Tower came from the back of the field to mow down a wave of aspirants right on the line. There was less than a length covering the first six home, as the race unravelled precisely as most people had predicted. This was a high class gathering of horses, and there were more than a few people who said that there were a dozen horses with a chance. The Mauritzfontein team were on hand at the Summerhill Stallion Day on Sunday to celebrate their historic win, and everyone here joins in congratulating them on their fifth home-bred winner of this fantastic event.
Most of us spend a lifetime trying to breed one winner of the July let alone five, and this was a great achievement on the home-breeding front. Yet it wasn’t the end for the Oppenheimers, as they won the race for the sixth time with a horse they bought in the form of Spanish Galliard.