(Photo : Kerry Jack)
LIVING IN CLOVER
Those that watched Thursday evening’s big sprint in Dubai, will have noticed that Rupert Plersch’sWar Artist came home smoking. This is not only great news for a long-time client of Summerhill, but it also franks the talents of a graduate of our paddocks. Rebel King was born into an “impossible” era of great sprinters in South Africa. As a son of National Emblem, he already had great shoes to fill from a Summerhill perspective, as he was the successor in the same yard (champion trainer Charles Laird’s) as the great Nhlavini, the only horse in history to line-up six consecutive years as an Equus Awards finalist.
As if that wasn’t enough, Rebel King also happened to arrive on the sprinting scene at a time when National Colourwas blazing her trail, and the emergence of the spectacular Mythical Flightwas taking shape. As if repelling these two horses was not already enough of a challenge, he came to the Natal Mercury Sprint (Gr.1) two seasons ago for yet another encounter with the odds-on Mythical Flight, at level weights over Clairwoods’ 1200m track.
At last, he came to conquer the horse that had beaten him in the Computaform Sprint (Gr.1) in Johannesburg, and having just got the job done, and with victory looking like it was in the bag, War Artist flashed up to beat him by a neck.
Of course, we know that War Artist has gone on to Group race glory in Europe during the past season, as well as running a narrow third in the Prix de ‘l Abbaye (Gr.1) Longchamp’s showcase for the best sprinters in Europe. Again, at Dubai’s Meydan Thursday evening, War Artist showed his mettle by lowering the colours of a strong field of sprinters, reminding us of his battles with Rebel King.
Very recently, our Bloodstock Manager, Kerry Jack, visited Rebel King at his new stallion home at the prestigious Klawervlei Stud (translated, literally, “clover vlei”). There’s hope in the Klawervlei quarter that he will be the successor to his own illustrious father, National Emblem.
Patronised by the owners of more than a hundred broodmares in his first season at stud, he’s an obvious hit, and a tribute to the horses graduating from our paddocks. His half-brother, Uncle Tommy, was 2009’s highest priced yearling at all sales in South Africa last year at R2,5 million, knocked down to the bid of Mike Bass acting on behalf of the doyen, Graham Beck.