The countdown to the Emperor’s Palace National Yearling Sales is well under way, and there’s a stream of people moving through the TBA complex in Germiston as this report is posted, sifting out the ones they like. Tarryn Liebenberg has taken the trouble to speak to our grooming staff on a daily basis, and this is her report on one of our longest serving groom’s picks. He is Mali (Money) Zuma, whose family are renowned among visitors to Summerhill, as the team who’ve staffed our stallion barn for most of the past two decades. Mali’s been around almost that long, and there is very little that he doesn’t know about what’s happening at Summerhill and its horses.
For what’s it worth, his pick of the colts is Nhlavini’s own brother (Lot 32) Keep Striding, who is a scopey, athletic sort with the walk of a tiger on him. Markus Jooste has raced this family with great distinction, as he also had Nhlavini’s other brother, Optima Maximo, winner of four in a row and five all told, and was just touched off in the Java Handicap. Of course, Nhlavini has the record for the most number of podium finishes a the Equus Racing Awards, where he made the finals in six consecutive years, and took home the bounty as Champion Sprinter on no fewer than three occasions (2001, 2005 & 2006). Mali knows what he’s talking about, and perhaps his name (literally interpreted, “money”) was appropriately given!
Another old-timer, and a fourth generation member of the staff, is Robert Mbhele, who joins Mali in his choice of Keep Striding, and as readers will have noted, was one of the six grooms that went for Nontanda (Lot 22) the half-sister to early SA Guineas favourite, Lostintranslation, from the family of J&B Met hero, Angus and Golden Slipper heroine, Dignify.