(Photo : JC Photographics / Summerhill Stud)
…THE CATALOOCHEES CAME OUT “SMOKIN”
The old-timers will tell you that when a stallion dies or gets sold, look out for his runners. It’s possible our memories are dimmed by the failures, but there are so many striking examples of the truth of this statement, it’s almost worth remembering.
We were at the Ready To Run two years ago next week, when the news of Cataloochee’s passing reached us. It was a helluva blow, as we’d followed him throughout his stellar career, from the day he lathered the field in the Protea Stakes as a juvenile, to the days when he achieved the unthinkable. In the Computaform Sprint (Gr.1) of his three year old season, and again in the Golden Spur (Gr.1) a few months later, he became the only horse ever to come from behind Nhlavini and leave him for dead. Nhlavini was not only raised here, he was the only horse in history to have lined up for six consecutive Equus awards, so we know how good he was. And here was a horse who not only came from behind to beat him, but did so in the fastest time in recorded history.
From the time they arrived, we had faith in his stock, yet that faith was never greater than when we saw his first candidates at the Ready To Run. They literally came out “smokin”, and they promised they’d be good. Cataloochee duly obliged. The freshman sire with his first crop at the races, with a Group winning daughter from Summerhill, and a group-performing son from elsewhere, he rewarded our judgement. And in the past few weeks, they’ve put up their hands again, telling us that with time, they might be even better.
There was disappointment in Michael Azzie’s camp last weekend, when June Bug was scratched at the start for the Joburg Spring Fillies & Mares Stakes (Gr.3), but within 24 hours, Single Tempo had settled the dust. A candidate for the R1,5 million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, his explosive burst at the end of the Greyville “thousand” and the three lengths he put between himself and the rest of the field, told us he had benefited from a couple of months off. This weekend, it was Catechuchu’s turn, and while her 2,25 lengths margin for Ormond Ferraris was gained at 1800m, it might’ve been good enough to earn her a “cut” for the big event as well.
Though we’ve come to expect it from him, we saw two more glittering performances from the progeny of Kahal. At Turffontein on Saturday, Selborne Supremacy was the closest thing to “jet fuel” we’ve seen in a while. Sean Tarry’s own brother to Desert Links was relatively easy to back at 5-1 in a hot market, largely because of a stable perception that he might still lack maturity. That wasn’t evident though as they entered the last two furlongs, and the 4,25 lengths he put between himself and his field, happened in an instant.
As impressive as Selbourne Supremacy was in Joburg, so was Pisces Star in Cape Town within the hour. While both of these youngsters were raised at Summerhill, Selbourne Supremacy was obviously a National Sales graduate, while Pisces Star (a granddaughter of the mercurial Melting), was sensibly retained by her owners, Peter and Alex Walichnowski. Here was a case of patience and sentiment rewarded; 6.75 lengths as the measure of her supremacy.
Meanwhile, there are a fistful of Catacloohees and Kahals in the Summerhill draft for the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale, Sunday 7th November.
Dates to remember :
Saturday 6 November 2010 - Raceday
Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup
Sunday 7 November 2010 - Auction Sale
Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale