Though it’s always a welcome distinction, LABEEB’s ascendancy to the Freshman Sire Championship on Thursday, was no great surprise to us at Summerhill. After all, in his first life in the USA he had already earned the respect of the world’s greatest stallion commentator, Bill Oppenheim (who deserves to join the Queen’s honours list for his intellectual contribution to the game), and so we had enough right to expect that LABEEB would follow up as an influential stallion in South Africa.
What may have been a little surprising is that he did it with his first crop of juveniles, because he is hardly known for his prowess in that sphere. Hopefully it’s a good sign of what might be coming. Certainly on the evidence of what we saw at the Ready to Run gallops, we knew that his premature death would be a significant loss to South Africa, and yesterday’s crowning was a ringing endorsement of that realisation.