Smangaliso (Kahal) winning the 2008 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup
(Photo: JC Photos)

david thiseltonDavid ThiseltonMike Miller celebrated the biggest stakes win of his training career on Saturday when Robbie Hill brought home the Kahal filly, SMANGALISO, to win the R1,25 million Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup over 1400m at Turffontein.

The Summerveld yard is riding high this year. They won their first ever Grade I race on Vodacom Durban July day with Outcome (Muhtafal), who won the Garden Province Stakes, and on Friday night the very promising three-year-old Parade Leader colt, Monterey Boulevard, ran a fine third in the Listed KZN Guineas Trial in just his second visit to the racecourse.

Mike Miller said yesterday, “I thought Smangaliso had the fillies beaten as she had been working very well with Outcome. But you never know how good the Highveld colts are. Up there they always want champions so will talk horses up.”

He added that Smangaliso had come out of the race very well.

She was on her way back from Johannesburg yesterday with El Padrino (Muhtafal) and four horses that Mike Miller bought at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale on Sunday.

Part-owner Michel Nairac, the CEO of Gold Circle, was over the moon with Smangaliso’s victory, which happened on his birthday.

He wasn’t on course to cheer her home as he was attending the wedding of the son of Gold Circle director, Moga Pillay.

“I listened to the commentary on my cellphone on the way to the wedding,” said Michel Nairac. “I was shouting and screaming and my wife was shouting at me because I missed the turn off to the temple! It was very exciting and a lovely birthday present. We watched the race at home later and I was surprised at how easily she won. In the live commentary it sounded as if she had just got up. Robbie Hill weaved his way through as if they were standing still. On that performance she must be one of the best three-year-old fillies in the country.”

Michel Nairac had been quite confident before the race. “On Friday night at Greyville Robbie Hill told me that I had better back my horse because she was going to win. I thought with the stake money it was pointless having a bet, but my friends all backed her, and my son, who is a student in Cape Town, was smiling after putting 100 rand on her.”

Michel Nairac’s fine weekend was enhanced when another of his horses, Lizard’s Lust, won at Scottsville on Sunday.

He has always had luck at the Ready To Run Sale from which, as a bloodstock agent, he selected such horses as Respectable, Golden Words and Young Harvest.

He owned Young Harvest, who went on to win the Grade I Gilbey’s Stakes (today the Golden Horse Casino Sprint).

The other owners of Smangaliso, the Baron and Baroness of Bergsma, were out on holiday from the UK and were there to lead Smangaliso in. Mike Miller and his wife Rae also have a share.

Summerveld almost had cause for a double celebration after the Craig Eudey-trained Thandolwami flew home and only just failed to win the Grade 2 R600 000 November Handicap.

Thandolwami arrived back at Summerveld on Sunday morning and Craig Eudey said that the four-year-old Woodborough gelding would have three or four days rest before preparations for the Grade 1 Summer Cup over 2000m on the same Turffontein standside course would begin.

Craig Eudey said that Thandolwami had come back from his recent rest a more relaxed horse and would prefer the 2000m trip.

“I just hope we can get a nice draw for a change,” he added. “With him it doesn’t make too much difference, because we drop him out anyway, but it would be nice to have horses going around us instead of us having to find a position.”

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Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup 2008