Await The Dawn

(Photos : Summerhill Archives)

Stallion masters are always seeking out the next “big thing”

Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOLet’s be frank about this, we wouldn’t be penning this note if there wasn’t a commercial advantage in it. But there’s a strategic message in it as well, for any breeder who’s looking for an “edge”. Stallion masters are always seeking out the next “big thing”, and in that cause, they’re trying to identify the source of the most likely lineage of pre-potency. Getting in before the word gets out, gives you a head start, not only from a financial perspective, but especially in providing your broodmare pool with fresh prospects for exploitation.

For a while now, we’ve been watching the first of the “Giant’s Causeways” to go to stud, commencing with Shamardal, who was one of his first outstanding racers to enter a breeding shed. Now ranked in the vanguard of the best European stallions, Shamardal was an instant hit, while his contemporary, the unbeaten Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand, has proven a very effective sire, after being a touch slow out of the starting blocks. Sharmadal’s tally of Group One winners already sits at ten, while Footstepsinthesand has a brace of them. Across the Atlantic, First Samurai is quietly carving a name for himself at Claiborne Farm with Group One performers of his own, mainly on the dirt, which speaks for versatility.

Just this past weekend, the former Dewhurst Stakes (Gr.1) hero, Intense Focus gave notice of a promising career when his first crop son, Astaire, was a game all-the-way winner of the Middle Park Stakes (Gr.1) at Newmarket. There aren’t many Giant’s Causeways at stud yet, so it might be early to be casting a judgment, but on this evidence, there are few exceptions we can’t at least call “respectable”. By comparison, Sadler’s Wells took what seemed like an eternity to blossom as a sire of sires, yet with Galileo, Montjeu, High Chaparral, El Prado and Fort Wood, you’d have to concede, he’s the “business” right now. Team Coolmore could not have wished for a better compliment to Giant’s Causeway’s early reputation of a sire-getter, and while his profile has obviously been enhanced by his own trio of American sires’ championships, these young stallions were conceived long before he made it to the mountaintop.

So here’s the commercial: a year ago we came agonisingly close to acquiring the splendidly bred and well-performed Viscount Nelson, but if we’d known then what we discovered subsequently, the one we’d have always preferred was Await The Dawn. It was just that at that particular time, Await The Dawn looked way beyond our reach. It is a sad statement on the value of our currency that we are unable to compete for the most accomplished of the world’s stallion prospects. We occasionally have to prosper through the adversity of others. A life-threatening illness put a line under the horse’s career; unfulfilled promise becomes the “kiss of death” in circumstances like these, and suddenly he was a possibility for the Summerhill paddocks. We weren’t alone in our belief that in Await The Dawn, we’d seen one of Europe’s best middle distance performers of his generation. The world’s most respected rating agency declared him a Group One winner in waiting, but the only ones waiting now are those of us who are trying to be part of the “second coming”.

Await The Dawn has attracted as good a book as we’ve known at Summerhill in recent years: he deserves it. The general consensus here is that he ranks with the best stallions we’ve been associated with, and that’s saying something in a line-up that’s stronger now than at any previous time in our history.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

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