departure for johannesburg
departure for johannesburg

Departure of the first load of Ready To Run Sales candidates…

(Photo : Leigh Willson)

“Don’t underestimate the size

of the Ready To Run operation…”

Visitors to the Hartford stables at this time of year are conscious of two things; there is frenetic activity around the departure of the first load of Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sales candidates, number one, and secondly, the roses on Summerhill and those adorning the gables of the old Hartford racing yard, are in full bloom. Don’t underestimate the size of the Ready To Run operation; it’s nothing less than a military expedition, and it takes four days to complete. More than 100 racehorses, none of which have ever set foot on a transporter before, 40-odd grooms, several cooks and stable cleaners, as well as the kitchen sink.

Another crowd which generates excitement at this time of year, is the Americans. On the same day that we celebrate the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, Americans stage what they call the “World Championship of Racing”, the Breeders Cup series. Of course, Americans are quick to label their local championship series as the “world version”, yet the model version is about as close as it gets, as it attracts horses from various parts of the world, and especially Europe, Britain and Ireland, where arguably, the greatest concentration of the world’s best horses lies.

Among this year’s entries for the Breeders Cup Turf is the new star of British racing, Workforce, (since Harbinger dropped out,) and we can only guess at what a showdown between these two great horses would’ve looked like had Harbinger not suffered the untimely injury which brought out his premature retirement.

Workforce though, established a new record on firm going for the 325 year old Investec Derby in the same year as Harbinger did in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and has since claimed victory over a sloppy track in Europe’s biggest event, the Prix de ‘Arc de Triomphe, when apparently not quite fully wound up for the event.

He’s reported to be in smashing form, and Lord Grimethorpe (or Teddy Beckett, as we knew him as a young bloodstock agent at the BBA years ago,) has been uncharacteristically upbeat about the horses’ chances in the international press.

Keep tuned; we’ll keep you informed on the Breeders Cup as well as the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup on a day-to-day basis.