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South African Racing

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL...

charl pretorius racingweb livetalk
charl pretorius racingweb livetalk

Charl Pretorius

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

“…WHO IS THE BEST OF THEM ALL?”

Who is the best of them all? The debate around the best 3 year olds in the land is hotting up, and like most things in South Africa, it is becoming an inter provincial contest.

Here are some comments from Racingweb Livetalk :

Charl

Admin

Three year old form has me puzzled… though Pierre Jourdan is standing the test of time. Congratulations to Alexander Stables.

Gregbucks

Senior Member

He’s (Pierre Jourdan) done everything asked of him; let’s see the 3 year old features in KZN…. Hopefully he takes on Noordhoek Flyer and Bravura

Tommyhotspur

Senior Member

JP, you and I both have been singing this horse’s (Pierre Jourdan) praises now for a long while. Could not agree with you more that PJ is the best 3 year old in the land by a street.

I do feel that Havasha still has something in the tank and can still run some decent races.

The thing that intrigues me most of PJ is that in my opinion his best distance will be 1800m and up. He has been winning while running over distances short of his very best.

Hold on tight boys, the KZN season is going to be a cracker!!

Organic Sloop

Senior Member

Here we go AGAIN……….

PJ wins 4 races over 1450m and 1400m and people are talking about him running and being even better over further.

1400m, or the extended sprint as it’s known, is a specialist race and often won by horses that do very very well over that distance and not so well over 1600m or 1200m.

To say PJ is in the same league as Bravura is NON SENSE. Bravura has shown that he can stay at the highest level. PJ has showed that over 1400m he is the best in the land.

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CAN YOU HEAR THE DRUMS?

can you hear the drums pi
can you hear the drums pi

Hear The Drums with jockey Gerrit Schlechter, Amoret van Zyl and Des McLachlan

(Photo : Wally Strydom)

HEAR THE DRUMS IS 4 WINS AWAY FROM SA RECORD

Review by Racingweb:

Peter Fabriciuss star sprinter and money machine Hear The Drums equalled Sentinel’s 29 career wins with a victory in the R90 000 Glendore Sprint over 1000m at Arlington on Friday. There is a popular perception that 1970s star Sentinel held the South African record at 29 wins, but Form Bloodstock’s and aro.co.za’s Jehan Malherbe provided other facts (both, by the way, are graduates of our paddocks. We breed ‘em tough here! Editors note)

“The SA record is held by Screech Owl (1955 by Janus) who won 32 races. Riza (1951 by Djask) is next with 31 wins and only then comes Sentinel (1968 by No Reprieve) with 29 successes,” said Malherbe. He noted that his statistics included SA-breds only and excluded imported horses.

With no signs of wear and tear, Hear The Drums is well within reach of this record, which will be an astonishing achievement for horse and connections whether it is set in Pinnacle Plates and with conditions to suit him or not. The cherry on top, and not an unlikely event, will be if Hear The Drums can pull off the Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship at his third attempt in January. He finished fifth to O’Caesor in 2008 and fourth to Rebel King in 2009.

However close Hear The Drums gets to the title in the next few months, South African racing enthusiasts can be proud of the unimposing son of Gold Press, a treasured gift to long-serving owner Fabricius and testimony to the skills of his trainer Des McLachlan.

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SHOT THE BOOZE...

shoot the breeze win
shoot the breeze win
shoot the breeze lead in
shoot the breeze lead in

Shoot The Breeze

(Photos : Gold Circle)

“SHOOT THE BREEZE

THE INDEPENDENT PUNTER CLUB

Well not quite, but certainly Shoot The Breeze, a three parts sister to the 2007 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup hero, Umngazi. Retained out of sentiment from an ageing Summerhill family, Shoot The Breeze went to post last weekend under the colours of the IOS Punter Club racing syndicate, whose principal protagonists, ex racing editor for the Independent Group, Chad Cooke, editor of the Independent On Saturday (IOS), Clyde Bawden, and Praveen Naidoo, PR and Communications Manager at Gold Circle, had put together a syndicate of Independent readers. Their purpose was to introduce the everyday fan to racing at minimal cost, and Summerhill obliged by leasing them the career of this beautifully bred filly.

As it turns out, the concept got off to a startling beginning, when Mark Dixon’s charge literally “charged” home by an astonishing 6 lengths, boosting readership of the independent on Saturday by several thousand! Some people wait an eternity for their first winner; others never quite get to know what Graham Beck once famously described as “the best sensation known to man”. Let’s hope these guys don’t think this is par for the course, though with Shoot the Breeze, it looks like they can expect to be regular visitors to the most hallowed piece of real estate in the world, the Winners Circle.

email
email

For more information on the IOS Punter Club please email :

roshnee.pillay@inl.co.za

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THE JOYS OF BEING A RACEHORSE OWNER

nico kritsiotis
nico kritsiotis

Nico Kritsiotis

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

Click the play button to listen to Nico Kritsiotis calling home Water Nymph

That you can be as battle-hardened as you like, and still melt when you get a winner, was never more in evidence than at Turffontein on Saturday, when seasoned race-caller, Nico Kritsiotis, registered his first winner after more than thirty years as a player in the game. How many thousand times has Nico called home in his inimitable style, the winner of a race, yet his emotion was palpable, not only as his Michael Azzie-trained filly, Water Nymph emerged as the likely heroine at the 500m pole, but then again as he took television viewers through the race in the “post-match” interview. Nico is no softy in his daily walk, but this was something beyond the ordinary, stopping him in his emotional tracks.

Well done, old pal; we know what it means.

As one of the game’s great veterans remarked a few years ago “It’s the best sensation known to man”. That says something for the sensation of winning, coming as it does from Graham Beck, as worldly a gentleman as you’ll ever know.

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LIES, DAMN LIES, AND STATISTICS

andrew fortune
andrew fortune

www.andrew-fortune.com

We’ve already proclaimed the stats relating to Summerhill’s fifth Breeders Championship in a row and it’s time to visit a few others:

  • Champion Jockey: Andrew Fortune, against so many odds (see letter below)

His last winning ride of the season was on Summerhill-bred, Hear The Drums, recording his 25th career victory.

  • Champion Apprentice Jockey: Derreck David. Defeated a serious prospect in Keris Teetan by a single victory, and his last win of the season (the one that got him home) also came courtesy of a Summerhill-bred, Manyano. Delighted to have been of assistance!
  • The last race of the 2008/2009 season was won by a Summerhill-bred, Usimelika.
  • The first race of the 2009/2010 season was won by, yes, you guessed it, another Summerhill-bred in Bambelela.

Letter sent to Andrew Fortune

4th August 2009

Good Morning Andrew

If ever there was a triumph against the odds, it lies in your Jockey’s Championship. Coming from where you did, and overcoming what you had to, is a miracle in itself, but it’s also a tribute to remarkable self-discipline, great determination and extraordinary talent. There are few masters of your craft who’ve ever had the natural ability you were gifted with, and you’ve at last converted that to the highest honour our game can bestow on you.

At the same time, the championship comes with great responsibilities, like it or not, it casts you as a role model for so many others. Firstly, there’s the kid who comes from the underprivileged background; secondly, there’s the fellow who overcomes a chronic addiction; thirdly, there’s the exceptional talent exploiting the opportunities of life to the fullest; and finally, there’s the example of the generous rewards which racing as a sport and jockeyship as a profession, offers to the person who’s willing to risk their career at it, and work himself to the bone for it.

The Summerhill team joins me in offering our sincerest congratulations on an outstanding effort. We know what it takes to get there, and there’s no team that admires you more.

From one champion to another; well done.

mick goss signature
mick goss signature

MICK GOSS

SUMMERHILL STUD

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WINNING-MOST RACEHORSE OF THE PAST 50 YEARS

summerhill stud giants castle
summerhill stud giants castle

Sweet Pastures

(Photo : Leigh Willson)

HARK, THERE’S HISTORY IN THIS ONE

In recalling Hear The Drums’ 25th victory and that it makes him the winning-most horse in the past 30 years, reminds us that the best racehorse of the past 50 years in terms of victories, also graduated from these paddocks. Race goers of the early 70’s will remember the intense rivalry between the magnificent In Full Flight and the indestructible Sentinel, who shared the honours in the Cape Of Good Hope Guineas (Gr.1) of 1971, and then took their competition to Durban for the winter season, to the delight of every racing fan in the land.

Tragically, In Full Flight succumbed to a heart attack while preparing for the J&B Met of that summer, while Hartford’s Sentinel went on to become one of the great warriors of the game, racing well into his 7th year. This remains fairly recent history in the annals of our sport, and it’s almost unthinkable to recall a horse that chalked up 30 wins in his career. Yet that’s the record of this horse of steel, who was born and raised in the Hartford foaling barn (now the Sentinel Conference Centre, just behind Suites 5-8 at Hartford House). To the best of our knowledge, there’s no other horse to match his record in the past 50 years.

We raise them tough, and we raise them well here at Summerhill, and it’s a matter of pride to us that the two winning-most horses of the last century, should’ve known the sweetness of our pastures.

HERE COMES THE “BULLDUST!!”

writing brochure
writing brochure

(Photo : Chris Greene/Summerhill)

Those who’ve known us for a long time, and those who’ve tried to get hold of him in recent weeks, will know where the boss is.

Not being a natural propagandist (!), he tucks himself away and spews out the next version of the farm’s brochure. We then share excerpts from it in the weeks leading up to publication, and we thought the most appropriate, given next Saturday‘s event, would be this one.

THE WINTER GAME

Though why it’s called a “game” is beyond us. True, its time for the hats and the pearls to come out, but its also time for the gloves to come off. Because its time for the toughest sport of the lot.

Racing is a game in which horses are the religion, and the fans are there to be entertained. Our people are “Saturday” people, especially in winter when the biggest of the big race days find their way to the Garden Province. Those marquee days you long for. Like the First Saturday in July.

Yes, Saturday afternoon in the city: the Summerhill horses will be there. How do we know? Well, they’ve been there before, you know. And there are places they still want to go.

On the way, there’s something they will encounter which is every bit as contagious as the equine flu. They call it “July” fever, for which there is no known vaccine. On big race days our fellows know what it takes. Some never do.

The parade for the Vodacom July is the telling moment in racing. Its history is as old as the game itself, and we cherish its traditions. That’s why we’ve chosen to polish it, rather than overhaul it.

Among the cheering crowd, it’s safe to say, there’ll be several people who’ve made significant investments in the horses passing by. It’s at times like these, when the money’s down, that you want to know that yours has the foundations. The place, the pedigree and the upbringing. Most times, that’s as good as money in the bank.

Later on when the sticks are out, and they’re calling for the reserves, the penny just drops.

summerhill logo
summerhill logo

IF YOU WANT TO BE A CHAMPION, JOIN THE CHAMPIONS

BIG DAY FOR ASCOT : BIG DAY FOR SUMMERHILL

Solskjaer

Solskjaer
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

Two things happened yesterday. The first was the draw for the R3.5 million Vodacom Durban July, “Africa’s Biggest Horse Race”, and the second yesterday afternoon, was the jewel in the crown of Royal Ascot, The Gold Cup.

We’ll start with the latter, as it constituted a new record. The imperious Yeats cantered away to his 4th consecutive victory in one of the world’s most famous horseraces. We know of no archy event on any calendar anywhere in which one horse has been so utterly dominant, and the fact that Royal Ascot witnessed it’s biggest crowd ever, is testimony to the belief that they came to worship him.

Of course, from a Summerhill perspective, the noteworthy feature of Yeat’s victory is that he is a 3/4 brother to our resident stallion, Solskjaer, who might even have been more talented were it not for the cruelty of injury. This is not a time though for comparisons as any 4 time winner of a race of this stature deserves his time in the sun, perhaps forever. As television’s John McCririck ventures, no other horse will ever do it again.

The finest compliment Solskjaer could pay to his younger brother, was in posting the highest average at the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales in April, where he not only secured the top Filly of the Sale, but out-pointed the Champion Sires Jet Master, Western Winter and Fort Wood, with his first crop.

And now for the July. The draw for any big race is a critical issue and so yesterday was a critical day for local owners, trainers and jockeys connected with the Vodacom July. For the past 3 years, Summerhill has had as many as 25% of the runners engaged, and while we’re not quite there this year, we will still have 3 in the Post Parade for the big one. Amazingly they drew 7, 8 and 9 - Thandolwami, Catmandu and Outcome), and while they’re not dominating the betting by any stretch, any one of these horses is capable of an upset on his or her day.

More on the July in the next few weeks.

vodacom durban july field linkClick above to view the
final field and draw for the 2009 Vodacom Durban July

VODACOM DURBAN JULY : Final Field 2009

vodacom durban july logo

NO DRAW HORSE AGE WEIGHT MR TRAINER JOCKEY
1 12 POCKET POWER 6 58 121 MIKE BASS B FAYD’HERBE
2 2 OUR GIANT (AUS) 5 55 115 CHARLES LAIRD A MARCUS
3 13 BUY AND SELL 5 53 111 SEAN TARRY F COETZEE
4 5 KAPIL 6 52.5 110 STAN ELLEY P STRYDOM
5 17 SMART BANKER 4 52.5 110 CHARLES LAIRD B NYAWO
6 15 RIVER JETEZ 5 51.5 108 MIKE BASS G HATT
7 10 BIG CITY LIFE 3 51 107 GLEN KOTZEN G CHEYNE
8 1 TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS) 6 51 106 DUNCAN HOWELLS B LERENA
9 20 FOREST PATH 3 51 105 MIKE DE KOCK W KENNEDY
10 16 LIKEITHOT 6 51 105 CHARLES LAIRD A FORBES
11 18 ALUMINIUM (ARG) 4 51 103 GEOFF WOODRUFF M KHAN
12 8 CATMANDU 5 51 102 ANDRE KIRSTEN K DERERE
13 7 THANDOLWAMI 4 51 102 CRAIG EUDEY R DANIELSON
14 14 BOUQUET-GARNI 3 51 101 MIKE DE KOCK M BYLEVELD
15 6 METEOR SHOWER (IRE) 6 51 100 MIKE BASS R FOURIE
16 3 THUNDERING JET 4 51 100 MIKE BASS M YENI
17 4 CAPE TOWN 4 51 97 GAVIN VAN ZYL K TEETAN
18 11 LONDON GUEST 6 51 97 TONY RIVALLAND D DANIELS
19 9 OUTCOME 5 50 103 MICHAEL MILLER G SCHLECHTER
20 19 ZIRCONEUM 3 50 103 MIKE DE KOCK A DELPECH

J J THE JET PLANE : All Summerhill and Hartford

Northern Guest
(Photo: Summerhill Stud)

You read our piece on J J The Jet Plane’s fine performance in the Leisure Stakes last week. A few notes on his origins.

Firstly, he’s another example of close and successful in-breeding to the grand old man of the game, Northern Dancer. But closer to home, J.J. is out of Majestic Guest, who was bred and raised at Summerhill, the daughter of the fellow who’s paid for most of what you see around us today, Northern Guest. Of course Northern Guest, is the most decorated broodmare sire in South African history, so it’s no surprise that one of his daughters pop up with a horse of J.J’s ilk.

That said, Majestic Guest was a product of a granddaughter of the one-time incumbent of our barn, Home Guard, from a family which is all Hartford, going back to the days of the Ellis family. Majestic Guest’s granddam, Fantastic, was a winner of the Grade One Breeders Champion Fillies Stakes, in turn a daughter of one the best racers to grace the Hartford paddocks, Panjandrum.

As for Jet Master himself, J.J’s sire, his great granddam resided at Summerhill as the property of the late Dickie Dunn, and her daughter, Jolly Laughter, was bred and raised at Summerhill. To complete the circle, Jet Master’s own mother Jet Lightening, was sold for the paltry sum of R10,000 at the annual KZN Broodmare Sale, which in those days was hosted in Malhub’s paddock alongside the Summerhill office. Talk about rags to riches.

There’s a lot of sentiment riding on J J The Jet Plane’s entry at Royal Ascot in a fortnight, particularly in this quarter, and we’re tipping him to make it a double notwithstanding the Aussie assault from Takeover Target. Both the King’s Stand Stakes (Gr.1), and the race which made Malhub famous, the Golden Jubilee Sprint (Gr.1), beckon.

ADMIRE MAIN : Africa's First Son of Sunday Silence

admire main africa rss

Many people appear to think this is not a sensible time to be investing in assets of any kind, let alone racehorses. Yet in the annals of the Goss family, it’s only a matter of history repeating itself. When Pat Goss snr found himself in the winner’s circle in the aftermath of St Pauls’ victory in the 1946 Durban July, he immediately set out to acquire a son of the world’s pre-eminent stallion at the time, Hyperion, applying the entire first prize to the purpose.

Just a month ago, the Summerhill contingent returned to the farm from a triumphant National Yearling Sale. Within a matter of weeks, they’d applied the entire proceeds (and then a bit) to the acquisition of two new stallion prospects, one of which, A.P.Arrow, was the subject of this column a fortnight ago.

In another ground-breaking event in a long-standing history of “firsts”, the nation’s leading breeders have teamed up with Japan’s perennial Champion establishment, Shadai Stallion Station and Northern Farm, in bringing this continent its first son of Sunday Silence. While it would insult his fame to repeat the detail of his achievements here, it’s fair to say, Sunday Silence has had as profound a breed- shaping impact on the evolution of the thoroughbred as any stallion of the modern era.

THE FESTIVAL OF SPEED

Thunder Key
(Photo : Gold Circle)

As a country with something of an obsession for speed, the South African racing calendar honours our sprinting talent on a regular basis. No gathering of the nation’s best sprinters however, expresses this more forcibly than the Festival Of Speed, a four race bonanza of Grade One events scheduled for this weekend. The top event on the card is always the Golden Horse Casino Sprint, which has been thrown open this year by the early retirement of Summerhill-bred, Rebel King, and his stable companion, Warm White Night. Nonetheless, the farm is represented by Pegasus Emblem, bred and raised here for our long-serving patrons, Malcolm Wishart and Luigi Cirigiliano, while Muhtafal has the game winner of his last start, Thunder Key, under starter’s orders.

While the betting for the S.A. Fillies’ Sprint is likely to be dominated by Charles Laird’s Merlene de Largo (four wins from five starts to date), Bruce Gardiner and Co’s Lisa Anne (Summerhill-bred by the late lamented Rambo Dancer) makes her Grade One debut for the Alexander stable under the capable tutelage of Kevin Shea. Also in the field (and not without a squeak) is Anthony Delpech’s mount, Noble Heir (by Kahal), a promising second to Moccachino in Gauteng’s Camellia Stakes just over a month ago.

Kahal’s loss is Malhub’s gain:

Rare for a race in which we’ve supplied two of the last three winners, we are without a runner in the Gold Reef Medallion (for two-year-colts). The field is packed with the progeny of the first season sire, Var, and two interesting runners by leading Australian sires, Redoute’s Choice and Exceed and Excel for Mike de Kock and Charles Laird respectively. The form here is not that well exposed, and the winner could come from any quarter.

Turning to the subject of our headline, ‘Kahal’s loss is Malhub’s gain’, the Alan Robertson Fillies Championship (for Juvenile Fillies) has been robbed of its one star attraction in the form of Kahal’s daughter, Spring Clover, widely touted as the top juvenile filly in the country. This does however open the race to a number of possibilities, and a strong claim can be made for Malhub’s talented daughters, Ashjaan (bred at Summerhill for Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud), who was just a length and a quarter behind Spring Clover in their last meeting, and the unbeaten Onehundredacrewood, both graduates of the Summerhill draft at last November’s Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run, where they cost R190 000 and R85 000 respectively.

We’d have to concede that for a horse of his own world-class, Malhub’s first crop was something of a disappointment to us, but he has more than made up for it with his second crop of juveniles, in much the same way as our standard-bearer Northern Guest, did in his time. Three of Malhub’s 2009 models have already earned Black type, and the fourth (Onehundredacrewood), is thus far unbeaten.

By Monday morning, it’s possible Malhub might’ve ascended back to the heights of that memorable day at Royal Ascot, when he got to meet The Queen after slaughtering the champions Johannesburg and Invincible Sprit in the Golden Jubilee Sprint (Gr.1).

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BETTING WORLD 1900 : Pointer to Vodacom Durban July

Thandolwami
(Photo : Gold Circle)

Tonight’s Grade 2 Betting World 1900 at Greyville sees a highly competitive field lining up for this traditional pointer to the Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July.

With four Summerhill graduates prepped for battle; Thandolwami, Catmandu, Dynamite Mike and Let’s Get Started (Reserve), it is sure to be a cracker.

Jack Milner writes for Tab Online that the on-fire Thandolwami must be every owner’s dream. Purchased for just R80,000, Thandolwami (Woodborough x My Sweet Love) has amassed R820,150 in stake-money and can become another “Equine Millionaire” if victorious in tonight’s R350,000 feature.

Summerveld-based trainer, Craig Eudey, has done a great job with this talented four-year-old, who seems to be getting better with every run. A useful three-year-old, he has now come of age and following some high-class recent efforts, is overdue to record a big win.

Thandolwami’s recent form is most consistent. He finished second to Likeithot in the Charity Mile November Handicap, fifth behind Rudra in the Steinhoff Summer Cup, a fast finishing second to Pirate’s Gold in the King’s Cup and a one-length third behind Smart Banker in last month’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein.

He has saved some of his best performances for Greyville racecourse though, having won three of his six starts at the track and placing on three other occasions. A strange phenomenon if one considers how he loves to challenge from well off the pace.

Thandolwami will once again be partnered by jockey Raymond Danielson, who has established a fine understanding with the gelding. He has piloted Thandolwami in his last seven starts for two wins, three places and two close-up fifths.

Catmandu (Makaarem x Gypsey Spirit) is in superb form and is another fighter who loves the Greyville track. In last year’s running of this very race he was denied by a nostril at the hands of Jet Master’s full sister, River Jetez. After a couple of mediocre performances, Gauteng trainer Andre Kirsten’s charge seems to have regained his touch and last time out in the Grade 1 Champions Challenge, Catmandu ran just 0.75 lengths adrift of Thandolwami, despite having to switch for a clear run.

Other big names in the race include Charles Laird’s Crown Of Power; Mike Bass’ Thundering Jet, Air Combat and Judged Excellent; Gavin van Zyl’s Cape Town and Duncan Howells’ Tropical Empire.

The big race kicks off at 20:40.

R350,000 Betting World 1900 Grade 2
Final Field

No Horse Kg MR Dr Jockey Trainer
1 Singing Sword 60.0 104 7 D Masour Tyrone Zackey
2 Thundering Jet 59.5 103 17 B Fayd’Herbe Mike Bass
3 Catmandu 59.0 102 9 G Wrogemann Andre Kirsten
4 Thandolwami 59.0 102 10 R Danielson Craig Eudey
5 Vision Of Grandeur (Ire) 58 100 2 F Coetzee Justin Snaith
6 Tropical Empire (Aus) 57.5 99 11 B Lerena Duncan Howells
7 Wonder Lawn 57.5 99 8 S Randolph Dean Kannemeyer
8 Air Combat 56.5 97 1 G Lerena Mike Bass
9 Crown Of Power 56.5 97 6 A Marcus Charles Laird
10 Pirate’s Gold 56 96 18 S Cormack Glen Kotzen
11 Cape Town 55 94 14 K Shea Gavin van Zyl
12 Dynamite Mike 55 94 5 K Jupp Kumaran Naidoo
13 Full Power (Arg) 54.5 93 13 D L Habib Geoff Woodruff
14 Judged Excellent 54.5 93 12 A Delpech Mike Bass
15 Al Pasha 53.5 91 16 M Byleveld Dean Kannemeyer
16 Kiribati 52 92 15 D Daniels Sean Tarry
17 Mr. Esplendid (Arg) (Reserve) 52 88 4 Reserve 2 Joey Ramsden
18 Let’s Get Started (Reserve) 52 81 3 Reserve 1 Alyson Wright

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Breeding Racehorses : A Matter of Family

 goss family

The Goss Family
(Summerhill Sires Brochure 2008/2009)

 

The tradition of producing quality racehorses goes back almost eight decades among the Gosses. But their admiration for horses as a family has its origins in ancient Ireland, before the Battle of Boyne.

 

Ever since, they’ve held a warm affection for the sport of horseracing, and especially for the animals at the heart of it. The custodianship of that association was never more proudly revered than under the stewardships of Mick’s great grandfather, Edward, his grandfather Pat, and his own father Bryan, and today the manifestation of their obsession lies in everything you see at Summerhill.

 

It is true that in modern times, Summerhill” is a splendid, much-envied brand. Because in the eighty years since they first started breeding racehorses on a tiny scale at The Springs in east Griqualand, the Goss family have never breached the founding principles of excellence and audaciousness, laid down by the man who embodied them.

 

What you’re looking at here, all over again, is history. And more history, in the making. And you’re more than welcome to join us in making some of your own. Because there’s one thing that’s as true today as it was at the Battle of Boyne. We only win if you do.

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HIGHVELD BREEDER OF THE YEAR 2009

Catherine Hartley accepts the award for Breeder of the Year on behalf of Summerhill Stud from Peter Miller  at the 2009 Highveld Racing Awards
(Photo : JC Photographics)

It may not be the National title, but it’s certainly one we’ve always coveted, and we’re very proud to hold. For the second consecutive year, Summerhill was last night named Highveld Breeder Of The Year, and Vuma’s Catherine Hartley was on hand to pick up the silverware. Gauteng is the most competitive racing environment on the continent of Africa, and we’ve always counted ourselves lucky to be among the finalists for this prestigious award.

It’s probably an appropriate moment to revisit our standing on the National Breeders Log as well, where our lead is approaching R5 million. We’re reminded at this time of an advertisement we wrote in May 2005, as we marched to our National Breeders’ Premiership, and we thought we were reasonably comfortable with a R2 million margin. While the big lady still has a bit of singing to do, it’s a comforting thought that there is a sound buffer between us and our pursuers.

We never forget though, the sacrifices our people have made towards this achievement. It’s a sobering thought that, in our 30th year in business, that we should be so deeply indebted to so many, who’ve given up so much in getting us there.

sporting postClick here to view
South African National Breeders Log

AUTUMN IN SOUTH AFRICA

 
AUTUMN IN SOUTH AFRICA
MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE

The rains have stopped now in our part of the world, the days are blue and there’s hardly a cloud in sight. From now until September, the one thing that’s constant with us, is day after day of sunshine, the only difference lies in temperature. From nature’s perspective, Mooi River’s world goes to sleep for a few months and takes a well earned rest after so much output, so much given from September until now.

But for those of us who live here, we’re just entering another era of furious activity, weaning mares, preparing the winter pastures, preparing ourselves for the breeding season and the marketing of the stallions, assessing all the horses on the farm, particularly the mares, with a view to the forthcoming breeding season, and then writing the recommendations to our many customers around the world.

Of course, KwaZulu Natal, Africa’s racing capital, enters its Champion’s Season as we write, and so the sports are only just starting.

It’s a beautiful time at Summerhill and Hartford, and it’s not only the wonderful weather but the changes that come with the seasons, the briskness of the mornings, the warmth of mid-day and the coolness of the evenings. It’s an invigorating time, energies are lifted, and while the land and the environment go to rest, we have a little respite in which to get stuck into our intellectual pursuits.

And then we have a few things to look forward. Next month we have a draft of five yearlings arriving from Australia, two filles by the reigning European champion sire, Galileo, and colts by the celebrated international stallions, Red Ransom, Anabaa and Hussonet. On the same flight we will have a brace of new stallions, two men who will hopefully have a breed-shaping influence on our lives for many years to come.

These are momentous events in the life of a thoroughbred stud, the arrival of two progenitors who’ve been especially selected to take us to new levels.

But this little story is about autumn, not new stallions, and that is a story for another day.

Of Charl Pretorius, Cocoa Rose and Jacuzzi's

 

 

“NOW THIS IS A STORY WORTH TELLING”

When Cocoa Rose steamed home in the Juvenile event at Scottsville on Sunday, the fact she was Kahal’s second highlighted youngster winning on the weekend, was not the only remarkable thing about the race.

Cocoa Rose has run just three times following her purchase for R70,000 just a few months ago at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale. This victory and her close-up second to the Graded Stakes performer, Ashjaan, has already virtually repaid the outlay of her 10 owners.

The real fable here though, is that five of her owners are “first-timers”, converted to “victimhood” by none other than one of the great scribes of the game, Charl Pretorius (of Racingweb fame www.racingweb.co.za), seen here celebrating at an address we daren’t disclose, judging by his company in the Jacuzzi!

DEVON AIR’S Group 1 winning relative comes to Stud

She’s On Fire arrives at Summerhill Stud
(Photo : Leigh Wilson)

 “MEMORIES OF THE 1983 DURBAN JULY”

Durban July watchers will remember with great affection the escapades of the fine mare, Devon Air, who took Africa’s greatest horse race end-to-end, and then proceeded to pulverize a quality field in the Canon Gold Cup (Gr.1) over the marathon two mile trip at the Greyville circuit a month later. Toiling behind Devon Air on the first Saturday in July was a Summerhill-bred, Versailles, so for us, there was added significance in this grand dame’s victory.

This week, a Group One winning granddaughter (by Jet Master out of Cream Of The Crop, by Concertino out of Devon Air) arrived back for her new career at stud. 6:30pm Sunday evening, to be precise.

We need to be precise about these things, because these are momentous events on stud farms. There are precious few horses in the world that carry the title of “Group One winner”, and She’s On Fire is one of those, having distinguished herself not only at that level among her own sex, but having put up Grade One performances against the colts as well, notably in last year’s renewal of Africa’s richest race, the Gomma Gomma Challenge (Gr.1).

We’ve written about Team Valor’s Barry Irwin and his “picking” talents before and anyone looking at the photograph of She’s On Fire on arrival, will know what we ‘re talking about. And when they come from Ormond Ferraris you can see the hand of a maestro.

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MATING RECOMMENDATIONS : This is where it all begins...

Broodmare Manager, Annet Becker, with Broodmare Of The Year Aspirant, Cousin Linda, dam of this year’s Cape Flying Championship (Gr.1) Ace, Rebel King and top colt at the NYS, and nightwatch supervisor, Sizwe Ndledla with the dam of Canon Gold Cup (Gr.1) hero, Desert Links (Selborne Park). As Annet said, “It’s a great shot of them both – as well as the mares!”
(Photo : Leigh Wilson)

Our Bloodstock and Broodmare, Foal and Yearling Sales Managers, together with Assistant Managers Richard Hlongwane and Thulani Mnguni, have been scouring the paddocks during the last few weeks, alongside Mick Goss and photographer Leigh Wilson, scrutinizing the weanlings from last season as well as their mothers, with a view to the lengthy deliberations regarding the latter’s stallion mates for the forthcoming year.

This is a painstaking affair, with every detail being noted concerning the mares’ breeding histories, the progeny they’ve already produced, the trainers and the work rider’s views, and now of course, with the benefit of hindsight, we’re looking to the future.

Summerhill farm clients know that over the next few months, they’ll be receiving the first of the proposals from our mating team, whose work spans the wee hours of May, June and July.

There’s a reason why we get so many horses to the races, and why so many train on well into their sixth, seventh and eighth years, and that’s because of the work that gets done in such detail right now.

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Hong Kong Champions Mile Group 1 : POST MORTEM


Champions Mile Gr1 2009
Sha Tin, Hong Kong

Mike de Kock is back in South Africa, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The man is a national treasure, and when it comes to the reputation of South African racehorses and their exportability, nobody’s done more for the game. We picked up on him shortly after he landed, and his feelings about Imbongi’s run (he finished just on two lengths behind the winner), was that he would’ve been a lot closer had he not lost ground on the bend. There was no explanation for it, other than the horse had a little bit of the “slows” midway through the race, yet he ran on resolutely, to get within two lengths of the winner, winding up 6th with a cheque in hand.

Mike’s feeling is that the setbacks his horses suffered in Dubai in the month leading to the World Cup, left them a little short in terms of their preparations, and he feels we’ll see a good bit of improvement when they start up their motors in England in the next month or two. Stay with us, there’ll be more to come from Imbongi.