EMPERORS PALACE SUMMER READY TO RUN SALE
School of Management Excellence
Summerhill Stud, Mooi River
Tuesday 18 February 2014
Summerhill CEOI must be getting old. Whether it’s because they’re getting tired of seeing Summerhill’s name at the top of the breeders log or whether I’m just looking a whole lot older this year, I don’t know, but at the Cape Sale last week, at least three people enquired what I was going to do when I retire. I’m not sure when or whether that day will dawn, but if it does, I guess it will give me a bit more time to spend blissfully working on the farm rather than being caught up in all the peripheral things that occupy us these days.
The wonderful thing about life at Summerhill, is that there’s never a dull day. Just yesterday we were greeted as we came to work with the ominous sight of smoke, following an epic thunderstorm in the wee hours. It soon became obvious that one of Hartford’s lakeside units had taken a hit, and was smouldering away as the first of us came to work around 6am. The occupants were a pair of British celebrities, (a knight of the realm, nogal) who’d spent a torrid few hours hoping it would all go away. Thankfully, our man had earned his knighthood in the trenches, and among many things, as a war correspondent in Vietnam, and was quick to label the incident an act of God. Be assured, in the hotel trade, they’re not all this long-suffering! (The unit, by the way, was saved and will be back in action in a few weeks.)
That said, I can’t remember a time in our lives here when there wasn’t something, no matter how small, to make our day, and that’s what happened at the Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run gallops on Wednesday afternoon. Every year at Summerhill, there are what the press have christened the “left overs”, the late foals, the later developers, the injured, the unwanted urchins of previous sales, and those to whom the good Lord was a little less generous in the allocation of their “engineering”. Given the luminaries this group has counted over the years, you’d have to believe that the “leftovers” is a name given in affection rather than scorn, because there’s never been a year, as far as we remember, in which there hasn’t been at least a handful of outstanding racehorses among them. History tells us that all of Bold Ellinore, Imbongi, Paris Perfect, Hear The Drums, Amphitheatre, Emperor Napoleon, Black Wing and Vangelis were among this crew, and two of them, No Worries and Corredor, lined up for the L’Ormarins Queens Plate (Grade 1) a fortnight ago.
The 18th February (Tuesday) celebrates the third renewal in our School of Management Excellence, of this new initiative which provides our customers both on the farm and those who buy them, with a last shot at making a trade. The first lot included, besides No Worries and Corredor, the winners of both the colts (Sithela) and the fillies (Rooi Nooi) editions of the Sophomore Sprint, and any number of runners of distinction that cost relatively little and who’ve brought happiness to a broad spectrum of people (a five-time winner, for example, for only R7,000).
Apart from the sublime weather (it was a spectacular 31ᵒ with a mild breeze blowing down the track), we all got a warm, fuzzy feeling when the first couple of lots put up their hands and told us they were not about to be forgotten. In all the years I’ve been here, I’ve known the occasional thrill of a horse that lights up the “National Emblem”, that 2400m stretch in the floor of the valley, which many have called the best piece of private turf on the continent. Wednesday gave us that feeling again, and we would say with some confidence, this lot are up there with the best vintages we’ve known, the only difference being there are twice as many of them.
If you’re at a loose end on Tuesday 18th February, make a dent in your diary right now. Whatever happens, we have a racehorse sale on our hands.
P.S. Three more graduate winners this week from last year: Tora Tora (cost R60,000) for Scott Kenny, now two wins and a second from 3 starts and headed for the “tops”; Hana, a winner, a second and a third from 3 for Gavin van Zyl and a man who earned his name, “Buffalo Bill,” at this sale 2 years back; and Josie’s Girl, for one of the sale’s stalwarts, Mike Miller - she’s also made the money, every time out so far.
08h00 to 11h30
Viewing of horses
Viewing of Gallops at School Of Management Excellence Theatre
- We would recommend a visit to the farm ahead of the sale day if you’re wanting to make your eyes count.
- Our usual six cheque payment scheme applies to approved buyers. Kindly see below.