(Photo : The Vineyard)
“The Vineyard, our Cape Town
home away from home”
Summerhill Stud CEOIf you’re out of town, you want to make sure that wherever you’re visiting, you’re entirely “at home”. By “out of town”, we mean away from Mooi River, where the views are tranquil, life is slow and the atmosphere is peaceful. When we’re in Cape Town, home away from home, for us, is The Vineyard, one-time home to the Mother City’s most famous socialite, Lady Ann Barnard. These days, The Vineyard belongs to the Pitousi family, legendary hoteliers, whose Buffetesque values are everywhere in evidence. Any morning in the foyer, you’ll find “Mama” Pitousi (said to be in her nineties) on patrol. Not much passes her unnoticed, and her hand and that of her daughter in the many murals, paintings and creations, is pervasive. The trademark frugality that stamps the life of Warren Buffett is part of the way of doing things in this family, too, not in their business, but at home. Material belongings are a means to an end, not a form of worship, and the bulk of what this wonderful business stands for, is a reflection of the fact that what it generates is largely reinvested in its facilities, and importantly, in the growth of its people.
Cape Town is heavily “hotelled” at the moment, and renowned brands like The Taj, the One&Only, Orient Express and the like, abound. But the one that’s stood the test of all time, the real “one and only”, is The Vineyard. Great quality, great value and great dependability, the values South Africans (and it appears, foreign visitors, too) appreciate most, are fundamental to this shrine. On any one morning at breakfast, you might find a cabinet minister, a captain of business or the King of Denmark, on the patio. Like us, they like the tranquility, the slowness and the peace.
And speaking of Royalty, the “Queen” came to Kenilworth today, though how Igugu can be expected to continue the form that crowned her Horse of the Year, we don’t know. She’s hardly recovered from the set-back that eliminated her from the Paddock Stakes, and now she’s subjected to a quarantine protocol in the middle of the racecourse, which means that not even Mike de Kock, who’s capable of doing almost anything, can get closer to her than a glance through the window. Even the world’s best trainer is going to find it tough to have her at peak for Saturday’s J&B Met from a distance. “I don’t need anyone to tell me her preparation hasn’t been ideal” quoted the big man, when he and Gary Player made their pass at the Summerhill boxes yesterday.
Somehow though, we think she’s that good that she’ll be good enough to get there, even if it means the rest might be a tad closer. Our other man in the race, Smanjemanje is subject to the same quarantine constraints. It seems the gods are not happy with us right now, though, the way Extra Zero (by 5 lengths) and Blonde Ambition (4,50 lengths) came home yesterday, you’d have to think otherwise.