NYS Lot 231 Highly Decorated (Captain Al - Spring Garland)
(Photo : Leigh Willson)
Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale
TBA Sales Complex, Germiston, South Africa
27 - 29 April 2012
Any Stakes victory against international competition in a foreign country is a story worth telling, but this one happened at Aqueduct in New York, and there’s no pushover Stakes race in the Big Apple.
Mahubo (which means “hymns” in Zulu) was chalking up his 5th career victory in the Three Coins Up Stakes (Listed) over 1 1/16th mile at the fabled race track, claiming his first bold Black type after placing third as a maiden in a juvenile Group Three some years back. He was a little fellow, afflicted as a weanling with a viral setback which left him and another accomplished youngster, stripped of all recognisable condition. He recovered though, almost miraculously, in time for the National Sale, and turned up there a smart but little fellow with more than a bit of character. In the end, nobody wanted him though, and he was brought home and prepared for the Emperors Palace Ready To Run. By November, he’d told us he had the makings of a racehorse, and he fell to a R900,000 bid by Herman Brown Jnr on behalf of the internationally renowned Dr. Jim Hay and his wife, Fitri, of Cape Blanco, Fame And Glory and Traffic Guard fame.
Mahubo gave glimpses of his talent again at three with a classy fourth in the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, South Africa’s third richest horserace, before setting off for Dubai, where he was once again victorious at their Racing Carnival. We’d lost trace of him since, until Saturday morning, when we received news courtesy of the TDN of his courageous effort in New York. His big win is a tribute to the enterprise of Jim Hay, who sent him Stateside to the yard of Kiaran McLaughlin after his stint in the desert, and gave him the chance to be what he’d been bred to be.
Mahubo’s story is quite extraordinary, given where his mom came from. Garden Verse arrived at Summerhill with a broken hip and no race record, and was put out to run with the cows, when she first came home. Today, she could keep an accountant busy for days, totting up the millions her offspring have generated at the sales and the races. One of them, Imbongi (the “praise-singer” in Zulu) was an international globe-trotter with a Voyager Platinum card. Besides being the top South African miler of his generation, he chalked up Graded Stakes victories in Dubai and the United Kingdom via Hong Kong, and was the earnings victor ludorum at the 2010 Dubai Racing Carnival. In all, he raked in some R8million in earnings, not bad for another unwanted urchin of the sales ring, who was eventually sold to Ronnie Napier and Michael Fleischer following a private gallop at the foot of the farm on a Saturday morning. Between them, Mahubo and Imbongi have an illustrious sister, Spring Garland, a multiple Group winner for Gary Alexander, whose victories included the prestigious Gerald Rosenberg Stakes (Gr.2,) one of the best weight-for-age races for fillies in South Africa.
A nice touch all of this, some might say, but Summerhill is somehow a farm before it’s a business, only as good as its current batch of runners, and what it puts back into the land and its people. Spring Garland’s first foal is a stand-out representative by Captain Al, in this year’s Summerhill National Yearling Sales draft.