jake white and julie alexander

Jake White and Julie Alexander at Race Day 2007
( www.phumelela.com )

With the gallops now firmly behind us, the Summerhill gang are heads down as we enter the final stages before our big weekend at the end of the month and the beginning of the next one. The horses leave next weekend for Germiston, and so will most of those connected with them. We’ll be on hand to show the horses to would-be investors throughout the week commencing the 26th October, and of course we’ll all be there to greet you, feed you and water you up to and including the sale on Sunday, 2nd November.

One of the highlights of the weekend is Big race day on the 1st, when we’ll witness not only the R1,25 million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, but the first of the big Graded race programmes announcing the beginning of the Spring season in Gauteng, the “top biller” alongside the Ready To Run Cup being the R500,000 Charity Mile, over 1600m. There are nine Summerhill horses among the 33 entries (just short of 30% of the field,) all of them graduates of the Ready To Run. Quite remarkable.

However, before we even get to RACE DAY, we have the cocktail party on Friday evening the 31st October, which honours the runners in the “Cup”, where the confirmed invitees included several of South Africa’s biggest celebrities including Rugby World Cup heroes, Percy Montgomery and Jake White; Nelson Mandela’s much loved granddaughter Zinzi; Radio and Televison personality David O Sullivan, Johannesburg’s biggest social drawcard Edith Venter; Miss SA’s Claudia Henkel and Vanessa Carreira (two of the best of recent times, and in Vanessa’s case, from nearby Estcourt), celebrity couple Danny K and Leanne Liebenberg, television personality Kuli Roberts, outstanding comedian Siyabonga Ngwekazi and two of South Africa’s best known modelling faces, Tammy-Anne Fortuin and Liezel van der Westhuizen. There are others in the wings, and we’ll announce their names over the next couple of days, as we get closer to the event.

What it all boils down to though, is that this is no “commoner garden” horserace. There’ll be any number of top trainers, jockeys and breeders in attendance, together with the owners of most of the Ready To Run field.