Mick Goss of Summerhill Stud
Mick Goss of Summerhill Stud

Mick Goss - Summerhill Stud CEO

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)


There are those who will tell you that this year’s three-year-old colts are a vintage lot, and there are those who will say that recent form is beginning to separate the wheat from the chaff. Bang in the line of fire, is the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, principally because of its remarkable record in the past five seasons. Four Guineas winners in three years, a Horse of the Year, a Vodacom Durban July exacta, and the biggest earners of the last three consecutive seasons. Inevitably, people will look to it for clues on the classic crop, and just as inevitably, as good as it’s been, it won’t be able to deliver the same results every year. There’s been a bit of “hanna-hannering” of late, on Freeracer :

Dear Freeracer,

I am a firm supporter of the Ready To Run concept and the Emperors Cup, it has produced so many top horses over the last five years, Igugu, Imbongi, Pierre Jourdan to name but a few.

I have also always believed that the race should carry a Graded status and I am certainly not changing my mind.

My worry this year is that the form behind Red Barrel is not standing up. We’ve seen about eight runners from the formline, including Extra Zero, Frontino Gold, Blaze Of Fire and Saucy Savannah and they’ve all been below expectations.

Does this mean our three-year-old crop is not as good as they are made out to be, or am I pre-empting things? To Mr Goss of Summerhill, this is by no means a critcism of you and your Ready To Run race, just have to name it to illustrate my view.

Thank you,



Dear Charl,

Many thanks for copying us in on the comments on the Ready To Run cup. We agree, the form of the race is not inspiring at the moment, but we guess that there will be the odd year when it turns out that way.

The graded stakes committee rates the form of the first four runnings at least at Group 2 level, and given that not every horse through the sales ring is ready to compete over 1400m on the 1st Saturday in November, it’s a wonderful tribute to the quality of the horses we’ve sold to date.

I have to confess though, we were a little concerned, going into the sale in 2010, that the class of the draft might not necessarily measure up to its predecessors, and while it is so that we shouldn’t judge them too hastily (as several of you have commented), on the bare facts, they don’t seem to compare at this stage. Of course, we know that both Mike de Kock and Sean Tarry hold Red Barrel, Frontino Gold and Verrochio in fairly high esteem, so we’ll have to see what lies ahead.

That said, on the face of it, the three-year olds in general, looked a high class lot until now, though the outcome of the Guineas on Saturday and one or two races leading into it, is beginning to separate the men from the boys.

Finally, I should add that our Ready To Run team was quite bullish about the horses we sold in 2011. We’re looking forward to a good showing from them.

All the best to you for the festivities.

As always, this comes with our warmest regards.

Mick Goss

Summerhill Stud