Left to Right : Solskjaer, Stronghold, Way West
(Photos : Summerhill Stud)
(Please click photos to enlarge… )
…THREE HIGHLY PERFORMED SONS OF DANEHILL :
WAY WEST, SOLSKJAER AND STRONGHOLD
Readers of these columns must be tiring of our lament on the tardy response of South Africans to the influence of the only stallion in history to achieve Champion Sire status in both hemispheres. While breeders of the generation spanning the latter four decades of the twentieth century, will always point to Northern Dancer as the king of all stallions, given the substantially greater competition internationally and the fact that he did it in all spheres, on all surfaces and over all distances, it’s an arguable proposition that his grandson, Danehill, was at least Northern Dancer’s match, if not his superior.
Yes, the percentages don’t quite stack up the way Northern Dancer’s did, but then he had the benefit of much smaller crops, and a far greater concentration of the best broodmares as a result. The fact is though, Northern Dancer’s influence in the southern hemisphere was always quite limited, though that might also have been attributable to the lesser quality stock which represented his male line in these realms.
Whatever, Summerhill has championed the Danehill cause for some years now, and we’re proud hosts to no fewer than three highly performed sons, Way West, Solskjaer and Stronghold. The first two of these were represented in the opening Juvenile Stakes event of the current season on Saturday, the Ruffian Stakes (Listed) over 1000m at the Vaal. Having mystified her connections by running unplaced in her first racecourse appearance, Waywest Goddess went to the start friendless on Saturday at odds of 50-1, despite looking the part in the pre-race parade, and going down as fluently as any of them.
It was a different story altogether when she came home, picking up the lead almost from the jump, and cruising away from the opposition in the last furlong and a half to post an almost unbelievable 4,25 length margin over her nearest and hotly fancied rival, the Mike de Kock-trained Empire Rose.
Encouragingly, Solskjaer’s daughter, Giggs, who’d been short of pace in the early stages of the race, showed that she’ll appreciate another furlong or two next time, as she flew up from the back of the field to claim her first Black type cheque, and in the process doing the same for her sire (another by Danehill) in the process. Fourth in the event, for what it’s worth, was the daughter of yet another Summerhill Freshman sire in Cataloochee, the rather quirkily named Oochee Agent, making it three of the first four home for the Summerhill first season stallions.
For the record, Waywest Goddess was selected at the Ready To Run gallops at Summerhill by the “returning trainer”, Louis Goosen, who went public on Racingweb with his reflections on the gallops and his admiration for the Way Wests. The man’s been rewarded with this effort, which draws new attention to his fledgling yard. Louis has the pedigree to be a top trainer, as he comes from a long line of horseman, and of course his sister, Beatty, is married to champion jockey Piere Strydom.