Please click videos above to watch a memorable weekend in Summerhill history
Hear The Drums, Pierre Jourdan, Fisani and Imbongi
(Footage : Summerhill Stud)
BETTING WORLD 1900 (Grade 2)
Greyville, Turf, 1900m
20 May 2011
Summerhill CEOIn the old scheme of things, the 31st May was a public holiday, recalling the first act of Union in 1910. In Summerhill parlance, we remember the first Prime Minister, Louis Botha, who took the reins over the Boer forces on our farm in November 1899. Racing fans flocked to Greyville racecourse that day every year since, where the last big event before the Durban July has been run, and the field usually attracted a number of the July’s major protagonists. I especially remember the 1960 renewal, when Syd Laird’s Left Wing, walked off with the laurels, and followed up in the July under saddlecloth No. 13. The All Blacks were on tour in South Africa, and this was a portent to the first test, where left wing Hennie van Zyl, wearing jersey No 13, scored the winning try among South Africa’s score of 13 points. There must have been many good horses to have won the race in between, but the next distinct memory I have is of Mazarin completing the double again for Syd Laird, who made a ritual of sprinting his horses over six furlongs first, taking them through the Union Day (or Gordon’s Gin, as it came to be known), and then on they went to the big one on the first Saturday in July. It worked for him, as he snared seven July wins, on an all-time record.
This weekend, the race is the country’s principal feature, and is renewed under the guise of the Greyville 1900 (sponsored by Betting World), and our interest is piqued by Fisani’s acceptance for the race. She’s in cracking form right now, having just come off consecutive Group victories and a 1,5 length win under 60kgs in the Gerald Rosenberg Stakes (Gr2). She carries Sheikh Mohammed, Ronnie and Bev Napier and the farm’s colours against stablemate, Alderry. The latter was a facile winner of one of the country’s top handicaps, the Germiston November, a few months back, and at her best, she’ll give the Summerhill-bred a bit of a rev. That said, in their last two meetings, Fisani has been clearly the better of the two, though it’s no two horse race, given that the manly sex has a few smart performers in its ranks, and that Fisani has never performed at her best in KZN.
Pedigree buffs will want to know a bit more about our Guineas heroine, whom race fans will remember contributed to a memorable weekend for the farm last season when Pierre Jordan took the colt’s version of the Guineas on the same day, Imbongi won the Zabeel Mile in Dubai, and Hear The Drums became the winning most racehorse in South African history. Fisani comes from an old White Lodge Stud family in the UK, and is related to three Classic winners of the same year, Teenoso (English Derby), Old Country (Italian Derby), and Give Thanks (Irish Oaks). Little wonder she’s as good as she is, and stays as well as she does.
She is a half sister to millionaire, Catmandu, and to ten-time time winner, Ecole Militaire, so her Coastal mum, Gypsey Spirit, was something of a blue hen. It’s topical to remember that it was Coastal who spoiled the remarkable Spectacular Bid’s 1979, American Triple Crown aspirations in the final leg. And Coastal lived to a ripe old age of 30 here at Summerhill, and at one time was the oldest surviving American classic winner in the world.
BETTING WORLD 1900 (Gr2)
TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS)
Mike de Kock
Mike de Kock
IN WRITING (ARG)
HAWK’S EYE (GB)
Mike de Kock
DANCE AT DAYLIGHT