David Thiselton
An interesting sideshow this week will be the race for the Breeders Championships. KwaZulu-Natal kingpins Summerhill Stud look set to wrest the trophy from reigning champions Klawervlei Stud and thereby land a milestone tenth national title.
— David Thiselton / Gold Circle

On Saturday Glen Puller and Heavelon van der Hoven helped Klawervlei close the gap on Summerhill by winning the Grade 3 Final Fling Stakes over 1800m at Kenilworth with Harlem Shake, who became Warm White Night’s first stakes-winning daughter.

By close of play on Saturday Klawervlei on R19,782,625 were R610,187 behind Summerhill, whose runners had earned R20,392,812 in the season up until then.

The two biggest stakes earning opportunities on Super Saturday are in the Grade 2 R1,25 million eLan Gold Cup and the Grade 1 R1-million Mike & Carol Bass Champions Cup and Summerhill are the only one of the pair represented in either race.

The Dean Kannemeyer-trained Summerhill-bred five-year-old Kahal gelding Solar Star showed he will likely stay every inch of the Gold Cup 3200m trip when staying on for a 2,3 length fifth in the Grade 3 SABC Gold Vase over 3000m on Vodacom Durban July day, despite having no cover the whole way. He will be better off in the weights with all four who beat him and is now drawn in pole.

The Summerhill-bred five-year-old Geoff Woodruff-trained gelding Arch Rival is by the stamina influence A.P. Arrow and is another with a fine chance, despite a wide draw of 14. In his last two starts he has won the Grade 2 Gold Bowl over 3200m and a Pinnacle Stakes event over 2450m, both at Turffontein. In the latter event he beat the ruling Gold Cup favourite Enaad by 0,4 lengths and is now 1,5kg better off.

In the Champions Cup over 1800m the Gavin Van Zyl-trained Summerhill-bred six-year-old Kahal gelding No Worries bounced back to form with two fine performances over 2400m, but then proved this had little to do with a step up in trip when running on strongly off the back of a slow pace to win the KZN Breeders Million Mile. He is drawn nine on Saturday.

Klawervlei might close the gap early in the meeting with their sole representative in the Grade 2 R300,000 Debutante Stakes. Vaughan Marshall has had a fine SA Champions Season, sending out 49 runners for ten wins, a strike rate of 20,41%, and included among them are two Grade 1s and a Grade 3. His runner in the Debutante is the Klawervlei-bred Philanthropist filly Flash Fire, a long striding sort who did not find the necessary extra from a high draw in the Listed Devon Air Stakes over 1400m on the Greyville turf last time out. Her previous two runs had also been over 1400m and yielded a win at Scottsville. She now steps down to 1200m, albeit from another tricky draw of seven. If breaking well she is a dark horse as she is not without speed.

Both Summerhill and Klawervlei have a runner each in the Grade 2 R300,000 Umkhomazi Stakes over 1200m. The Tony Rivalland-trained Visionaire gelding Count Von Count won the Eightfold Path KZN Breeders Juvenile 1200 in eye-catching style on the poly and from a good draw of three should be able to use his fine turn of foot to good effect again. He will also have a 2kg weight advantage over the Sean Tarry-trained Klawervlei-bred Trippi colt Flying Myth, who beat the useful Rivarine on debut before finishing third in the Grade 3 Protea Stakes and then romping home in a Juvenile Plate event over 1160m at Turffontein. Flying Myth has a fine chance, but faces a tough draw of eleven.

Summerhill have a runner in both the Grade 1 R600,000 Thekwini Stakes and the Grade 1 Premiers Champions Stakes, both over 1600m, while Klawervlei are not represented in either race. The Mike Azzie-trained Summerhill-bred Golden Sword filly Oasis Queen won over 1450m at Turffontein with second time blinkers on and then, despite odds of 25/1, finished a two length second to Safe Harbour over 1400m. She relaxed well in front in the latter event and being by Golden Sword, who won a Grade 3 over twelve-and-a-half furlongs, out of a National Assembly mare who has produced both a 2000m and an 1800m winner, she should enjoy the step up in trip in the Thekwini. She could be the dark horse from a plum draw.
In the Premiers Champions Stakes the Sean Tarry-trained Summerhill-bred Visionaire colt Africa Rising could be anything having caught the eye on debut when running on strongly to win over 1200m. He was backed in from 6/1 to 2/1 and beat the hard-knocking Rock Of Africa by 0,75 lengths and there was a further 5,25 lengths back to the rest of the field. The athletic sort is out of a Braashee mare, so might enjoy the step up in trip.

In the Grade 2 R400,000 Gold Bracelet over 1800m, Klawervlei are not represented while Summerhill have the Sean Tarry-trained Kahal filly Intergalactic and the Doug Campbell-trained Visionaire filly Lala. Intergalactic is course and distance suited and is the joint second highest merit-rated horse in the weight for age event, while Lala has a tough task being the joint second lowest rated horse.

In the Listed R150,000 Umgeni Handicap over 1200m on the poly Klawervlei have the widely drawn Charles Laird-trained filly Beloved Country, who will need to improve on her last run.

Klawervlei’s slim hopes of retaining the title appear to rest on them having an exceptional week in the minor meetings and doing well with their few big race opportunities on Super Saturday, while they will also have to rely on Summerhill failing in all of their many big race opportunities.

South African Breeders' Championship

Farm Stakes (ZAR)
Summerhill Stud 20 649 238
Klawervlei Stud 20 001 100
Maine Chance Farms 12 331 138
Highlands Farms Stud 12 076 638
Lammerskraal Stud 12 073 850
Wilgerbosdrift 10 324 425
Mauritzfontein Stud 9 591 075
Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs G A Rupert) 9 309 225
Scott Bros 9 078 412

Courtesy of NHRA / Correct as at 24 July 2016