Saturday’s running of the Acacia Handicap (Gr3) was a real turn up not only for Summerhill in general, but specifically for our Ready To Race programme. In a desperate finish, Spring Garland, bred in partnership with our old Aussie mate, Barry Clements, got up in the shadow of the post to deny the luckless Alejate (bred by our Stallion Manager Greig Muir and his “Summerhill accounts” wife, Michele Muir) in one of the day’s most thrilling finishes. Alejate had been a very narrow second on her previous start in the Flamboyant Stakes (Gr.3), so this was her second hair’s breadth on-the-line defeat and her day must surely come. That wasn’t the end of the story though, as Outcome (also bred at Summerhill by Muhtafal) flew up from the back end of the field in farm-friend Steve Sturlese’s black and white colours for fourth. That means 75% of the place-getters in the race were bred and raised at Summerhill, and that in itself is something of a cause celebre.
Also on the card was the Wolf Power Handicap (Listed) in which Catmandu manfully lugged 60kgs into second place coming from last, while Gymnast (like Spring Garland trained by one of the hottest “teams” in town, Gary Alexander & crew) was another impressive “deliverer” on the day in the Tony Ruffel Handicap (Gr.3) which showcased this season’s rising three year olds. Catmandu’s vanquisher was the very impressive Buscador, though it has to be said the latter was receiving 4.5 kgs from our home-grown man, while Gymnast was beaten in a desperate finish by the Vuma-fed and Sean Tarry trained Horatio.
All told, a great day’s racing, though it would be remiss of us if we didn’t mention the fourth Feature on the card in which Charles Laird’s imported Acoustical (also Vuma- fed) went away with the laurels in the Three Troikas Handicap (Gr.3) on only her third racecourse performance. The victory celebrated Charles’ 50th birthday, and the Summerhill team were quickly on the phone to welcome him to the “club” to which some of us have belonged for some while now!