Emperors Palace Ready To Run Gallops at Summerhill Stud
(Photo : Gareth du Plessis)
EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN GALLOPS
Summerhill Stud, South Africa
14 October 2011
We’re just a week from one of the unique events in the South African sales calendar: the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Gallops at Summerhill. Friday 14th marks the day, 11am is the time, and if you can believe our fellows, for all the heroics of their predecessors, this is the best crop of youngsters we’ve had the privilege to consign. The Ready To Run has a distinguished history, going back twenty-three years to when it became only the second sale of its kind in the world. In those days, it served as the backstop for what was left on people’s farms: today, from a Summerhill perspective at least, it’s probably fair to say it’s the showcase of what we stand for.
Only yesterday, we counted up the millionaires to have emerged from the sale in recent times, and there were fourteen of them, six of them multi-millionaires. If their owners weren’t already there, they became millionaires through their association with their Ready To Run graduates, and some of them have gone on to reap multiple fortunes through the sale or the campaigning of these horses overseas.
The Summerhill version of the Ready To Run is altogether unique, as it is connected to another initiative of the farm in the R2 million Ready To Run Cup, the richest race of its kind in the world, and the joint third richest race on the South African racing calendar after the Vodacom Durban July and the J&B Met. That’s some statement, and for good measure, it’s celebrated with the finest trophy in racing, a beautifully embossed gift from King George V’s sister-in-law Princess Alice.
Perhaps its most extraordinary feature though, is the introduction four years ago of a panel of judges comprising some of the nation’s finest horsemen, whose function it is to select the horses they believe most likely to win the following year’s Cup, or alternately go on to become the biggest names in the game. For what it’s worth, their collective experience covers almost three hundred years; this oddity compounded by the fact that they also comprise some of the sale’s biggest investors, notwithstanding that it’s their function to betray their “picks” of the sale to an audience which last year exceeded more than 250! Visit counts to the Summerhill website after the gallops reveal that the judging panel’s selections and their commentaries on the horses are the most viewed of all items on display, so clearly there is appreciation among the sale’s fans for the views of these men. Let’s not forget, this is the sale that produced the first two past the post in this year’s Durban July, Igugu and Pierre Jourdan, but just to prove that the judges are not infallible, none of them put their fingers on Pierre Jourdan at the 2009 version.
Here are some pen pics of the judges for your interest :
MIKE DE KOCK
He’s the man everyone wants to know. He’s become the idol of a social set to which he never belonged, and to which, you suspect, he never wanted to belong. De Kock knows the rich and famous, he has himself become rich and famous. Yet fame has not changed him, not outwardly anyway. He doesn’t conform. He can’t; he isn’t like anyone else.
Has a pedigree as deep as the game itself. On his way to the mountaintop. Takes a few scalps en route. His CV includes “Picked Igugu”. His obituary will say the same.
Horses from his toes to the top of his head. Nothing left to prove. One of the best. Dean’s charges do the talking for him. They speak well.
Taught the British how to ride. A legend long before his time, from Japan to the United States.
Simply put, ‘Mr Racing’. Commentator, auctioneer and administrator, he sees them coming, while others search for clues.
Serves some of the biggest names in racing. When he wants to, he can say absolutely nothing with a stare that would guarantee him high political office if ever tired of his commentary rituals at Kenilworth.
to name a few. A meteoric rise through the ranks, this rocket’s got momentum, and it ain’t stoppin’ here. The powder’s dry, and the bullets are blasting.
Master of his profession, and a walking encylopedia on the game. His binoculars bring a special dimension to the gallops.
Special international guest Kip Elser is one of the leading exponents of the art of prepping Ready To Run horses in the USA. Kip’s triumphs include 2011 Kentucky Oaks (Gr1) heroine,
, and Garden City (Gr1) ace
, as well as champions
Memories of Silver
, and a further two Kentucky Oaks winners in
Gal In A Ruckus
has several times sold the top priced horse at the American Breeze-Ups.
The Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale
Sunday 6th November
*Six cheque payment scheme for qualifying buyers.