(Photo : JC Photographics / Summerhill Stud)
CANON GOLD CUP (Grade 1)
26 June 2010
A chat with trainer Dominic Zaki early this morning, revealed that our Gold Cup aspirant, Winning Leap, has travelled well, and is ensconced at his Summerveld stables, from where he will launch his assault tomorrow.
Dominic says there’s only one “stopper”, as far he’s concerned, and that is his 21 points in penalties that he’s picked up for his last two striking victories. Winning Leap has grown to almost 17 hands, he’s stays all day, and Dominic says his acceleration grows as he matures.
“He’ll be a formidable four year old, and I have unending faith in the challenge of the progeny of Labeeb”.
The circumstances of the purchase of his grandmother, Karafa, from His Highness the Aga Khan, were amusing. Mick Goss, elder brother Pat and erstwhile Summerhill general manager, Anton Procter, were attending the Tattersall’s December Sales in England in the mid 80’s, and they had devised a secret code for their agent, the late and famed Joss Collins, whereby Joss would keep bidding for as long as Pat kept his deerstalker hat on his head. Understand, it was mid-winter in the UK, snowing and hats were imperative.
When the bidding approached the 80,000 Guineas mark (around a R1 million today, and already well beyond where Summerhill normally shops), Pat, who for all intents and purposes was the trio’s banker, decided to call it enough, and raised his hand to remove the deerstalker.
The mare, however, was descended from the most famous of Aga Khan’s family’s, the one which produced the legendary stallion Nasrullah, Royal Charger and Kalamoun, and Mick and Anton would have none of this stopping. To the complete bewilderment of the auctioneer, they thrust their hands on Pats head to keep the deerstalker in place, so that Collins would not give up the pursuit.
“Was that a bid, sir?” enquired the auctioneer, and Mick Goss was quick to reply “and how, sir”, and so, at a 100,000 guineas, Summerhill became the proud owner of this wonderfully bred mare. The brothers proceeded to breed an Italian 2000 Guineas winner from the mare, before her importation to South Africa, and while the family’s been a little slow in getting going here, Summersault, dam of the Gold Cup fancy, has shown signs of a serious revival. Victory in tomorrow’s time-honoured event, could signal its greatest moment in South Africa.