Like IMBONGI, the KAHAL colt, VANGELIS, was another horse we were unable to sell. Another product of the Summerhill Ready to Race programme, he was retained when, despite showing us talent at home, nobody appeared to want him. That is until American Robert Muir turned up with his safariing pals at Hartford House.
As Ronnie Napier did with IMBONGI, Robert accompanied us to the farm gallops one morning, and he didn’t need much persuading once he saw VANGELIS whistle past. The horse’s racecourse debut was delayed by a shoulder injury for more than a year, and out of concern for his soundness, we sent him to Port Elizabeth, where the going is generally forgiving most of the year. VANGELIS rewarded us with a five and a half length trouncing of his first-start opposition, and followed up with a narrow second on his next appearance. Turns out he swallowed his tongue on that occasion, so this time, with it secured, he bolted home comfortably in the manner of a good one.
Gavin Smith seems to think we could have a Black type horse in the making, and knowing that his close relative TRAVEL NORTH was a South African Stayer of the Year, it could also be we’ve not yet seen the best of this fellow.
There’s a lesson in all of this, and that is there are always others of his ilk on the farm in good work, ready to be bought. The list of exceptional horses that’ve come from our Ready to Race programme makes formidable reading, and like hindsight, buying what you see, as opposed to what you think you see is 20/20. This is, after all, a running game, and if you can watch them run before you buy, you give yourself an extra dimension.
If you’ve become a victim while reading this, go to www.summerhill.co.za and click Sales Link to see what’s for sale.