KZN BREEDERS AWARDS 2010
There is something to be said for recognition by your neighbours. Jan Smuts, one of South Africa’s most famous sons, was loved by some, despised by many. Yet, in the world at large, he was revered as one of the planet’s great statesmen.
Closer to home, in the racing world, our most successful jockey ever, Michael Roberts, spent a lifetime trying to establish the faith of the locals, and had to earn himself a British Jockey’s title before he had the respect of his countrymen.
That’s just the way it all works : hero abroad, villain at home. So while our six South African Breeders’ titles sit high in the echelons of national achievement, we’ve never been short on reverence for local endeavour.
Friday night was the occasion of the KwaZulu Natal Breeders Awards. For the record, Summerhill (and our partners) scooped nine categories in a year in which we led all breeders on the continent by more than R10million in earnings. We mention the latter in the context in which it seems this was a “whitewash”. It wasn’t. There were many commendable achievements among our colleagues, not the least of which were three daughters of Kahal, all Group One winners. The list follows at the end, but before that, a few notes :
Salutation’s award was a fitting tribute to an old friend, Robert Sangster, the man from whom we acquired two Summerhill legends, Northern Guest and Home Guard. Salutation’s sire was appropriately named Requiem, whose acquisition coincided with Robert’s passing. We looked upon it as his “Last Post”, but as Salutation is Requiem’s only major race winner, it was almost Summerhill’s final note as well. She hails from one of our oldest families, that of Final Wonder and her classic winning son, Last Watch, and was bred with our English friends, Mike and Marty Meredith of Hong Kong Jockey Club fame.
Pierre Jourdan was Horse of the Year. For a horse who reignited the spirit of our sport, it was a richly deserved honour. Somehow, an honour that had eluded the likes of Nhlavini, Angus and Rebel King in recent years. The trophy, generously donated by another legend, the late Chris Smith, is one of the finest in the game. It will enjoy a place worthy of its status in the new Al Maktoum School of Excellence.
Broodmare of the Year, Garden Verse is another of those whimsical stories that engage the minds of racing people. Sold for a mere R50,000 as a yearling, it didn’t matter that she came from the family of Robert Sangster’s Champion Turncoat, or that she was a daughter of the “Emperor”, Foveros and a sister to Wild Cocktail. The fact is, she dropped a hip in her early training, and was pretty much “dumped” on us by her owner at her original purchase price as an offset for unpaid debt.
In what might be termed “poetic justice” or more appropriately “lyrical” justice, today Garden Verse belongs to the even more august family of Victory Moon, Kelly, etc, and is the dam of no less than four major race performers, including Spring Garden and this season’s Dubai Carnival victor ludorum, Imbongi. Here, we remember a varsity mate, Barry Clements, who acquired his interest simultaneously with the dam of another national champion, Icy Air. It’s what the blue collars call “arsy”.
Then finally, a word about Way West. Remarkably, for a stallion of his breeding and performance, he’s never been quite the flavour of the month. He was good enough to be contemplating a stud career at one of the world’s great nurseries, Arrowfield, when our old pal John Messara seduced us into a helicopter ride up the Sydney Coast and into the Hunter Valley to see him. We paid the penalty, but only on condition that Messara retained an interest. He did. And on Friday night, when our team fetched the Stallion Prospect silver, some of that faith was repaid. Now our colleagues need to have faith.
THE HONOURS ROLL
Outstanding 2 Year Old
Outstanding Sprinter Female
Outstanding Sprinter Male
Outstanding Middle Distance Female
Outstanding Middle Distance Male
Outstanding Stayer Female
Outstanding Stayer Male
Outstanding 3 Year Old Filly
Outstanding 3 Year Old Colt
Outstanding Older Female
Outstanding Older Male
RJ & Mrs Clarkin
HEAR THE DRUMS
Broodmare Of The Year
Stallion Of The Year
Horse Of The Year