Nureyev was bred by Seth Hancock at Claiborne Farm. Like his father and grandfather before him, Hancock had an impressive stallion roster of his own to choose from at a time when his barns were decorated by the likes of Mr. Prospector, Nijinsky, Secretariat, Round Table, the former South African champion Hawaii and Forli, but also like his ancestors, he acknowledged a good horse on another farm’s roster. Nureyev’s mother, Special, who was bred to Northern Dancer in 1976
Long before he became the world's first (and only ever) to command a million dollar stud fee and a yearling sales average in the vicinity of $3million, Northern Dancer had a few more tests ahead of him.
This is a story about triumph. Napoleon erected the Arc de Triomphe at the top end of the Champs Elysees to commemorate the most prosperous period in French military history. In 1920 the French racing authorities inaugurated the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in salute to the pinnacle of Continental horse racing; on Sunday, what has become Europe’s premier racing contest was renewed for the 96th time, and what a triumph it was.
From a South African perspective, outcomes at yesterday’s session of the world’s strongest yearling sale of 2016, begged the question: what price a Group One winning son of Dubawi, given his opening day average of 853.215 guineas (R15,357,87) of the stallion’s only Group One winning son in Africa, Willow Magic, first season incumbent of the Summerhill stallion barn. We speak of course, without bias!
There were many oddities in the story of Kelso. For one thing, he was a perfect gentleman but he was named for a lady. Mrs duPont was actually hoping for a filly when she bred Maid Of Flight to Your Host, as she wanted to name it for a friend, Kelso Everett, whom she considered the most perfect hostess she’d ever known.
KwaZulu-Natal's Equus National Champion Breeders Summerhill Stud dominates the various categories in the 2016 KZN Breeders Awards with 14 nominations, amongst them the likes of Rabada, No Worries, Heaps Of Fun, Intergalactic, Witchcraft and Arch Rival.
You’ve heard us say before that the stallion barn is the soul of Summerhill. The Gosses have been chasing stallions for the best part of a century now, and in many respects our lives on the turf have been shaped by them. As a family, our first real taste of the potency of a stallion’s influence came courtesy of Teddy’s grandson, Asbestos II, sire of my grandfather’s diminutive Durban July hero, St Pauls, yet it wasn’t until almost four decades later that Northern Guest was destined to launch a veritable nation.
You have to love this story just as much as you love the way Chris McGrath tells it. His favourite story of the week is also a perfect story for the time of year; a time when all of us, the dreamers, and the cynics, and everyone in between, follow each new yearling round the ring much as gamblers do the ball bouncing round the roulette wheel. Of course, the business needs the guys who pile millions on odd-or-even, red-or-black. But it also needs them to watch in bemusement, from time to time, as their chips are scooped by the fellow who has staked his modest all at far more precarious odds. The ball bounces, wobbles, and finally snags into a numbered groove: the wrong colour for many, but exactly the right number for one. And, because this game calls for skill as well as luck, that man will often turn out to be Bobby O'Ryan.
People waste countless hours debating whether thoroughbred racing is a sport or a form of gambling, when the answer is simple: it’s both. Without wagering, the economic fuel behind the racing game, the raising of horses would be the preserve of wealthy eccentrics, as if they were breeding champion orchids or poodles. Without the emotional impact the sport has on gambling, racing would be little more compelling than jai-alai or slot machines, just another form of generating numbers and payoffs.