(Photo : Heather Morkel)
The Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales is an exhilarating time for us, not only for the opportunity it presents to showcase the stock emerging from the farm, but for the many visitors who travel so far to visit us at Summerhill. This year was no exception. In the immediate aftermath, we had people from Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States and from various parts of the country, descend on Hartford House, and of course there was good cause to celebrate this year on the back of a staggering sale.
Eminent among those who returned to the farm was Stephen Gill, former financial director to His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum, the late Ruler of Dubai. Stephen gave 21 years of his working life to the Maktoum cause, and has been in the employ of Sheikh Maktoum’s successor, Sheikh Mohammed for the past 25 years. He has since retired from the service of the Ruling Family, and is now pursuing his own interests, principal among which is his involvement in the breeding of horses at Summerhill and as a trustee of the Al Maktoum Trust, where he is one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Al Maktoum School Of Excellence.
Stephen expressed himself well satisfied with the foundation work which has been undertaken at the school site, and includes the development of a spectacular stretch of water at its foot.
Among the many things discussed while Stephen was here, including the curriculum, staffing, accreditation of courses, the financial aspects relative to the development was obviously the plans. We’re now in the process of finalising these, and expect that foundations will be laid in early June.