(Photo : JC Photos / Summerhill Stud)
EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN SALE
6 November 2011
Nico KritsiotisWhere in the world do you get the package on offer at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run? Besides the R2million jackpot up for grabs the day before, the innovations connected with the sale are unique, not only to South Africa, but anywhere.
The first is the vast range of prices and the number of exceptional racehorses to emerge from the ranks of its candidates for modest sums of money. Since they’ve had the longest and the largest association with the sale during its 23 year history, I visited the Summerhill website to see what I could find. It’s a mine of information, and listing the “bargains”, their costs and their earnings will fill several pages of this newspaper. It’s enough to say that there are literally dozens of graduates of the Ready To Run that have recouped their purchase price many times over (and it’s a fascinating trip of its own going to www.summerhill.co.za (Click on Sales and then Ready to Run Graduates).
In an attempt to facilitate the participation of as broad a spectrum of participants as possible, more than a decade ago, the concept of extended payments was introduced and with several vendors, it’s now possible to pay for one’s purchases in as many as six instalments, depending on your aggregate spend. For example, if you spend R60,000 or more, you get the opportunity to pay in three instalments and that puts the likes of Pierre Jourdan, Hear the Drums, Dynamite Mike, Imbongi and Icy Air within the reach of the smaller investor. It also gives you a ticket in the R2million sweep for the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, which, confined only to horses graduating from the sale, represents not only the country’s third richest race, but the best odds in racing anywhere.
In the next few weeks we’ll be sharing a number of other innovations introduced to the sale, but one I do feel compelled to write about early in the piece, is the panel of judges who attend the gallops. Where in the world (again) do you find an assembly of experts whose generosity extends to sharing with their fellow horsemen, their observations of the best horses in the sale, and which ones they think are most likely to have an impact on the next year’s renewal of the Ready To Run Cup? If you attend the gallops staged at Summerhill, you will find the likes of Mike de Kock, Jehan Malherbe, Joey Ramsden, Sean Tarry, Graeme Hawkins, Dean Kannemeyer, Michael Roberts and Craig Peters on hand to dispense exactly that, and here we need to remind ourselves that their collective experience in the racing game exceeds 250 years. An intriguing part of the gallops is the revelation at the “dinner of the year” at Hartford House the evening before, of the success (or otherwise) of the best “pickers” among them, and the seriousness with which they address their tasks the next day. There is no pressure like peer pressure, and these guys are not top of their class for nothing. When the chips are down, the competition is really on.
Is it worth attending the gallops? The answer is an emphatic “yes”. Why? Because the winning trainers in each of the first four renewals, Mark Dixon, Mike Miller, Gary Alexander and Charles Laird are all regulars, and if you look at those that filled the minor places (anything but minor, when there’s R2million on offer!), you’ll find the same kind of diligent personnel.
BLAZING SUNSET, a R60,000 graduate of last year’s sale, stakes his claim for a place in the R2million Ready To Run Cup, with a 5.5 length runaway win at Turffontein on Saturday.
Extract from www.sportingpost.co.za