Mike Moon / The Times (p)

Mike Moon / The Times (p)

Sport doesn’t do cute; and horse racing certainly doesn’t. In a world of high stakes and ruthless competition, there’s no place for ooh-ing and aah-ing.
— Mike Moon / The Times

Yes, emotion is everywhere, but it’s the raw, shouty elation or fury kind, not the drippy kind.

But I challenge you to set eyes upon a newborn thoroughbred filly foal, with furry ears and tail, taking its first dizzy steps on unfeasibly long legs, and not murmur “Ag shame”. Not possible.

Racehorse foaling season is here and on all stud farms, ahem, adorable creatures are popping out. They wobble about the paddocks, never far from a doting mum, and blink at their brave new world.

This uncharacteristic bout of soppiness is because I’m fresh from the sticks, having run the rule over my latest arrival. (Gotta be careful here, the editor frowns on cuddly animal stuff in this paper.)

She is soooo cute - sorry, sorry - a healthy filly specimen, well conformed apart from being a little back at the knee, which good horsemanship will hopefully correct. An astute judge declared her “a good sturdy individual for that age” - that is, 22 hours old.

The filly was born at 10am on Sunday at The Fort Stud, which nestles in a fold of hills at Fort Nottingham in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Mum is my well-pedigreed broodmare Free Pass. Dad is Brave Tin Soldier, one of the most talked-about young stallions in the country who currently leads the freshman sire stats with 40% winners to runners. Brave Tin Soldier raced with distinction against the world’s best and his bloodline includes Storm Cat, Secretariat, Mr Prospector, Danzig and a duplication of Northern Dancer.

If you haven’t heard of that lot, rest assured it’s okay.

Brave Tin Soldier stands at Summerhill Stud at Mooi River, which won nine breeders championships in a row but was pipped at the post for a 10th crown this year by Klawervlei of the Western Cape.

Summerhill’s Mick Goss will be terribly disappointed by this, as he will be by circumstances that have caused him to withdraw his farm’s large draft of horses from October’s Ready To Run Sale - an auction which he has almost single-handedly built up from scratch into an event of international renown.

But Goss isn’t one to let setbacks get him down. A man who charms everyone from farmworkers to monarchs, he’s the most positive person you could hope to meet. And the newly printed Summerhill Sires brochure is evidence of the marketing maestro at the top of his game, suggesting he’ll be at the top of our game for a while yet.

The colourful, entertaining writing in the book is penned by Goss himself as he shares his vision and sells his product with grand allusion, sweeping metaphor and minimal mawkishness.

Speaking of mawkish, I’ve sent the editor the sweetest little photo of me and my foal. Will he use it?

Extract from The Times