Observant students of this weekend’s Cape Flying Championship (G1), might’ve noticed that the top three in the merit ratings have one thread in common; they all grew up at Summerhill. While they represent three different generations, it’s a tribute to their upbringing that the current top three horses in any category in a nation, should emerge from one place, and that surely says something about the environment in which they were raised and the people that had their hands in the mix.
The honour of carrying the number one saddle-cloth rests with Des McLachlan’s millionaire, HEAR THE DRUMS, presently the winning-most racehorse in South Africa, with 21 victories to his credit. Number two is Charles Laird’s REBEL KING, whose forte as a top athlete has been complicated by the fact that at five years old, he’s had to contend with the spectacular talents of NATIONAL COLOUR, MYTHICAL FLIGHT, JJ THE JET PLANE and WAR ARTIST as his adversaries; a collection of some of the most formidable sprinters in history. In any other era, he might have been a Champion several times, yet he’s had to content himself more often than not, with the role of bridesmaid.
The competition? No doubt the stiffest will come from last month’s impressive Diadem Stakes winner, BLUE TIGER, and Glen Kotzen’s in-form filly, LADY WINDERMERE, who goes to post in the name of Gary Player, and Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud, among others.