Friday, 17 October 2014

Each horse is eligible for the 2015 renewal of the world's richest Ready To Run sales race, the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, with a stake of R2.5million. While we've ensured that the 2014 version carries the richest prize money in African history, the odds of getting a run next year are twice as good, with half the number catalogued.

Summerhill's contribution to the stake is the biggest breeder sponsorship of a horserace in Africa, and the surest indication of the faith we have in this year's draft. Besides God, we owe our position in the pantheon of the nation's all-time leading breeders, to our horses. The roll of honour speaks of a racehorse of abiding talent and indomitable spirit, an animal that knows what he owes. IGUGU, PIERRE JOURDAN, SMANJEMANJE, LOVE STRUCK, NO WORRIES, BLUERIDGE MOUNTAIN, FISANI, IMBONGI, PARIS PERFECT, HEAR THE DRUMS, DESERT LINKS, CEREUS, SHOWMETHEWAY, CHECCETTI, BLUE VOYAGER, HOLLYWOODBOULEVARD, MANNEQUIN, ICY AIR, EMPEROR NAPOLEON, PICK SIX, REBEL KING, NHLAVINI, AMPHITHEATRE, DISAPPEAR, FORK LIGHTNING, CATMANDU, PHUNYUKA, OUTCOME, BIANCONI, BOLD ELLINORE, FANYANA, VANGELIS, MAJESTIC SUN, DYNAMITE MIKE, BHEKINKOSI, GALANT GAGNANT, UMNGAZI, TALAHATCHIE, TOMORROW'S MISS and SALUTATION.

Since we first dreamt up the idea of the Ready To Run Cup, graduates of our Ready To Run programme (including the sale itself,) have posted an enviable record:

  • A remarkable 59 have become Stakes winners. Even more remarkable, fifty seven of them graduated from Summerhill.
  • At national or provincial level, an astonishing eight became Horses of the Year; twenty three were crowned Champions.
  • Eleven of them were victorious in Group Ones or Classics, and a further two won races now designated Group One.
  • Five of the seven "Cup" aces to date, came from Summerhill.
  • Twenty six made millionaires of their owners, if they weren't already.

Pound-for-pound, no sale can match this record, and if you'll forgive us saying so, no farm comes close either.

In another "first" for South Africa, the draft this year includes the progeny of three of the past four Champion sires of Australia, as well as one from the "king-in-waiting": Redoute's Choice, Exceed And Excel, Encosta Da Lago and High Chaparral. That's never happened before, and at the current rate of exchange, it's not likely to happen soon again. Quite rightly though, South Africans also have a healthy respect for our own household names and rising luminaries: Var, Captain Al, Silvano, Fort Wood, the last Summerhill-bred crops of Kahal and Muhtafal, as well as Brave Tin Soldier and Admire Main. There is always anticipation around the first crops of young sires of high virtue, and no stallion could've asked for a better start to his career than Visionaire in America. He is joined among the freshmen by Bankable, the horse that pricked the senses of so many South African racing fans at the World Cup Carnival. There are obviously a few "stallion-making" opportunities in the catalogue, while there hasn't been a more appropriate moment for overseas investors to dabble in the South African market with the Rand at five year lows.

Seven years ago, for the first time at any sale anywhere, we introduced the concept of a judges' panel, comprising champion trainers, jockeys, leading bloodstockers, racing commentators, TV personalities and auctioneers, among them Dean Kannemeyer, Sean Tarry, Mike de Kock, Alec Laird, Jehan Malherbe, Michael Roberts, Graeme Hawkins, Craig Peters, Nico Kritsiotis and Grant Knowles. Another "world first" this year lies in the invitation to the audience to "judge for themselves", and keep the panelists honest when the field lines up this time next year for the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup. For what it's worth, our team believes this year's draft is without peer, the best we've consigned to a Ready To Run. Let's see how good they are, too.

Finally, no country has ever known a sale in which the major vendor offers 100+ horses with the right to settle one's purchases at 90 days, interest free. As evidenced by the pamphlet above, "there is a horse for everyone in the Ready To Run," and with these terms we can ensure that everybody gets a roll of the dice in a sale which, Rand-for-Rand, has become the premier source of Feature race performers in the land.

Access to this year's draft on the Summerhill website and the opportunity to log their daily progress through interviews with their riders, has proven a boon to would-be buyers. You wouldn't want to be conceding an advantage to anyone here, so why not click the button below to view the latest updates, photos, video footage, our jockeys' choices - the Ready To Run Diary, as well as what the panel has to say after the Gallops.