(Gold Circle)

This was no ordinary July, and the betting showed it. Pocket Power was the obvious stand-out on class, but on handicap, what’s supposed to happen is that the riders should finish as close together as possible, and the handicappers couldn’t have gotten it more right with a deadheat outcome between Pocket Power and Dancer’s Daughter, and the first five finishing within two lengths of one another.

It was always going to be a great day as racing days go, but in all our time at the July, we can’t remember a more thrilling day’s racing. There were very few runaways, with just about every event contested to the line, the quality of the horses and the racing out of the top drawer. No doubt, in the aftermath, there’ll be a lot of horses departing our shores for Dubai, the United Kingdom and the United States as there was loads of talk at the Summerhill Stallion Day on Sunday of offers received in the “can’t refuse money” region.

The one race that did turn into something of a runaway, and in a  way compensated Summerhill for the late scratching of Bold Ellinore in the Garden Province Stakes (Gr.1), came in the form of the remarkable performance from the Muhtafal filly Outcome, who was a graduate of the Ready To Run at R150 000. She was bred and raised at Summerhill for Pietermaritzburg attorney Peter Brown, a man who’d been a customer here literally since the gates opened, and it was a grand triumph for trainer Mike Miller, who picked her and paid what we thought was too much for the filly at the Ready To Run.

We’re happy to concede that we’ve made that sort of mistake before, and we couldn’t be more delighted for owner Steve Sturlese, another Summerhill stalwart of many years standing. He’s not only put his money down, but he’s reaped his first Grade One reward, as far as we can recall. Our congratulations to him and his racing manager Peter de Marigny. No doubt, Steve will be singing it from the rooftops, and he’ll be hard to manage at tomorrow’s Sibaya Broodmare and Weanling Sale.