summerhill breeze up gallopsHorse and rider prepare to GALLOP.
(Kayleigh Leisegang)

charl pretoriusCharl Pretorius FreeracerFriday’s Summerhill Breeze-up Gallops, two weeks before the Ready To Run Sale, gives prospective buyers an opportunity to see their fancies gallop on track.

Besides the fact that this week is Summerhill Stud’s Breeze-Up week – Friday 17 October is the date on which a number of potential champions will be put through their paces at the Mooi River farm – big news is that the Emperors Ready to Run Cup will be contested with a full field of 16 runners.

With the permission of Phumelela there will now be two additional runners in what promises to be a cracking line-up of R2R Graduates on 1 November at Turffontein, a race which, as noted, set the standard for three-year-olds classics last season.

Summerhill will be laying it on this Friday, providing a very smart venue in the form of a fully draped, glass-fronted marquee overlooking the track, with a top-class meal and some fine wines.

This sale is being recognized as the premier source of major race performers , pound-for-pound,  in the land, and the gallops are a great opportunity for horsemen not only to see how their picks walk, canter and gallop, but to entertain their guests at the expense of Summerhill and its sponsors.

Moreover prospective buyers have a chance to talk to the grooms who have prepared the 2008 Summerhill contingent. Go to and make a note of those grooms who have been consistently successful in picking the “good ones” at recent sales. They could hold a few aces for you this year.

Of additional help will be the popular Summerhill panel, this year comprising of Dean Kannemeyer, Jehan Malherbe, Michael Roberts, Eamon Cullen, Sean Tarry, Graeme Hawkins and Mike Azzie. They will present their handful of individual choices and comments for the notebook after the gallops.

Mike Azzie, who bought former champion IMPERIAL DESPATCH for R52 000 off the Ready To Run Sale after seeing him move at Gosforth Park, has had several other decent buys off the sale and says: “Summerhill are South Africa’s premier breeders and we have to support them, they are the best.”

“I’ve had good fortunes at the sale, IMPERIAL DESPATCH aside there was DIGNIFY, she was a R100 000 purchase and a Group winner, and of course THEKKADY, who has already won the Strelitizia Stakes. She was my choice on last year’s sale. She moved well and covered a lot of ground.’’

Mike Azzie says he watches the gallops of every horse at the breeze-ups, without looking at the pedigrees. “My wife Sharon assists me, I give each one a mark out of five and then, when the physical sale takes place at the TBA, I give them a conformation mark on the ground and look at their bloodlines.’’

His advice: “There are many good movers at the breeze-ups and one must distinguish between the very speedy, precocious sorts and ones who move well but may take more time. A lot of the guys will be looking carefully, you need to pay attention here or you will lose out.’’

We discussed trainer Paul Matchett’s FAKAZI in last week’s column and the words weren’t cold when the daughter of Albarahin won Saturday’s Listed Goldfields Sprint at Turffontein, beating a strong field and staking an early claim for the big race on 1 November. A R140 000 purchase, she’s already returned R230 000 for her owners, with more to come!

Mike Miller’s
SMANGALISO (Kahal) and Glen Kotzen’s UNYAZI (Fantastic Light) also won at the weekend, the latter making sure that he will be in the final line-up on 1 November.

Looking down the list of  “cheap’’ buys (under R100 000) at the Ready To Run Sale, one can be forgiven for thinking that the dream of getting a champion for next to nothing is not as impossible as it may sound.  

The likes of ICY AIR (R60 000, earnings R1,26 million) HEAR THE DRUMS (R40 000, R976 000), FORK LIGHTENING (R75 000: R965 000), CATMANDU (R60 000: R810 000), BRIGADIER PARKER (R47 000: R682 000); DYNAMITE MIKE (R50 000, earnings R570 000); ALEJATE (R80 000: R513 000); FANYANA (R95 000: R613 000) and BHEKINKOSI (R65 000: R429 000), keep the dream alive and well with reach.

Perhaps, as Mike de Kock likes to say, “good horses find you!’’ – there is a special one waiting to “find you’’ this week.

Dates to remember:
17 October: Summerhill R2R Gallops
Phone +27 (33) 263 1081 to book your spot

1 November: Emperors Ready To Run Cup and Charity Mile.

2 November: Ready To Run Sale, TBA Sales Complex