summerhill ready to run gallops
summerhill ready to run gallops

Summerhill Gallops

(Photo : Grant Norval)


16 OCTOBER 2009 

charl pretorius
charl pretorius

Charl Pretorius other thoroughbred sale in South Africa has grown in stature at quite the same rate as the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale, due to be staged on 8 November at the TBA sales complex, Gosforth Park.

With a staggering 50% hike in aggregate recorded in 2008 amidst economic turmoil, the sale with its exciting ”breezing” feature looks set to attract even more discerning buyers in 2009.

The breezing of 134 lots from the 163-strong sales catalogue will take place at Summerhill Stud on Friday. They include the contingents from Summerhill, Yellow Star Stud and Highlands Farm and one lot from Main Chance. The remaining lots, including the other members of the Main Chance draft, along with those from Klawervlei Stud, will breeze at Turffontein on Sunday.

The annual sale culminates in the prestigious Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, which now carries prize money of double its 2007 inception stake - R1.5million!

Gold Circle chief operating officer Graeme Hawkins, a regular on the Ready-To-Run panel, said the value of the “breezing” is that it provides the buyer with one extra factor in his favour.

He said: “By watching the young horses gallop, one can get an overall impression of its action, the way it uses itself and carries its head. Nothing is ever foolproof but one thing is certain, the breeze-up gallops swing the probabilities in your favour. After you’ve seen your fancies in action you can match up your evaluation with pedigree and conformation and make a better-informed choice!”

Mike Azzie, whose purchases at this sale in the past included Graded-race winners Dignify, Bridal Paths and Imperial Despatch, did much of his homework two weeks ago when he visited Summerhill and opened every stable door.

“At the gallops I look for smooth movers, athletic horses, and I combine my track fancies with my stable fancies and the pedigrees. This year, however, I might just take a peep at Mike de Kock’s catalogue - he seems to get the best ones every year.”

De Kock agreed with Azzie on athleticism of young horses and said: “I like to see an economical action and how the limbs move. But I also believe I was born lucky - and I’d rather have an ounce of luck than a ton of ability!”

De Kock’s “luck” has brought the likes of Imbongi, Art Of War, Fisani and Havasha strolling into the yard from the sale in recent years.

Another panellist is Form Bloodstock’sJehan Malherbe. He believes one can forgive certain defects for an overall good impression and likes to look for horses who use themselves well in their strides.

Sean Tarry matches conformation and pedigree and will be looking for another Fork Lightening at the sale this year. He will also be on hand as a panellist this Friday.

Mick Goss, asked to comment on the preparation of the Summerhill youngsters for the occasion, commented: “It’s a complete misnomer that we’re hard on our horses to get them ready to gallop. I am a horseman and my staff consists of horse lovers. We care for our stock, this is our business.

“We look at every individual’s stage of maturity. Those with open knees won’t gallop as fast as the more-advanced ones. And even the forward ones won’t break out of half pace, three-quarters at the most. And as you know they breeze on a wonderful grass track laid decades ago on the farm by Mr Ellis. The track is kind to horses.”

Dates for your notebook :

16 October : Breezing, Summerhill Stud

18 October : Breezing, Turffontein

7 November : 2009 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup

8 November : 2009 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale

For additional info or