Lot 121 Matambo (Rock of Gibraltar) galloping at the Summerhill track
(Grant Norval)


charl pretoriusCharl Pretorius www.freeracer.co.zaIt has long been the chant of South Africa’s champion breeders, Summerhill Stud, that the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale offers, pound-for-pound, the best value in the world. That’s some kind of statement, but it bears examining, because they’re probably right. For a nation producing fewer than three thousand foals a year, and given the remoteness of the country’s location, the achievements of South African runners on the world stage have been quite exceptional, and it’s a well-known fact that at this year’s edition of the richest race meeting in the world, the Dubai World Cup, no fewer than three winners of the six races carded, had South African connections.

The real secret behind the Ready To Run Sale (slated for Sunday 2nd November) rests in the remarkable number of Black type performers which have emerged from its ranks, as well as the fact that the sale is attached exclusively to the fourth richest race on the South African calendar, the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, contested the day before the sale for R1,25 million, and expected to exceed R1,5 million next year.

Distinguished graduates of the sale read like the who’s who of the past season, and include 2008 KZN Horse Of The Year, IMBONGI; recent Grade One winners, OUTCOME, DESERT LINKS and DISAPPEAR; millionaires HEAR THE DRUMS, EMPEROR NAPOLEON and BOLD ELLINORE; DYNAMITE MIKE (who took down the colours of dual international Group One hero, JAY PEG in last year’s Guineas); Grade One performers GALANT GAGNANT and CATMANDU, as well as 2008 East Cape Horse Of The Year, PARIS PERFECT among close to twenty Stakes winners. On its own, that’s a formidable list, but considering that all of them come from one farm, Summerhill Stud (which supplies something of the order of 70% of the entries) and that the sale is limited to just 150 horses, it says something for a sale of humble origins, which has become its own centre of excellence.

At the time of writing, four of the fourteen that lined up for last year’s inaugural edition of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup have been the subject of multi-million Rand bids, and if they weren’t already there, their owners are now multi-millionaires. Five of those Stakes performers of the 2008 season are winging their way right now to Dubai for the 2009 Racing Carnival.

As the new season dawned, another two won Grade One events, the Garden Province Stakes and the Canon Gold Cup, two of South Africa’s time honoured Championship events.

This year, the Champion breeders are joined for the first time at the sale by previous holders of the title, Highlands and Maine Chance, and the sale includes the last three southern hemisphere-bred progeny of Champion European Sire elect, Galileo.

A pointer to the value in the sale rests in the fact that just a week ago, a horse bred at Summerhill by an Irish partnership and sold for a tad over £2,000 won his twentieth race, and in the process, became the Eastern Cape’s first millionaire. The top horses seldom make more than £30,000 and there are a number of champions and millionaires that have graduated from the sale in the past few years. With the Pound, the Euro and the Dollar now at record levels against the Rand, this has to be a sale that attracts the attention of anyone who’s serious about the international racing stage.

Ready To Run Sale Brochure

For further details, go to www.tba.co.za and www.summerhill.co.za.