Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen, 1995 was a landmark year in my life as a racehorse breeder. It was the first time South Africa had been invited to participate in the Asian Racing Conference after the democratisation of our politics, and it was also the last time I had the honour of addressing the International Breeders’ Conference in Paris, when we negotiated our first export protocol with the European Union.
We hear plenty about Galileo (Ire), and rightly so. He is the stallion of our generation whose influence will be discussed by pedigree aficionados for decades, if not centuries, to come. For as much as I'm glad to be alive and writing about breeding under his reign, I've long harboured a preference for Galileo's erstwhile stablemate Montjeu (Ire), who was lost to us almost five years ago.
The race that defined the stallion careers of the colossi, Jet Master, Captain Al and Dynasty, the Cape Guineas, was also the race that anointed Capetown Noir and Act of War as potential stars of the breeding firmament. It takes place at Kenilworth on Saturday 17th December at 3:50pm, and Summerhill hopes rest on the ample shoulders of Africa Rising, whose ancestry traces one of our original foundation mares Final Wonder. She was the only foal in the last crop of the multiple Champion sire Persian Wonder, and has since spawned a veritable dynasty.
For the past 20 years, Seamie Heffernan has been the ultimate team player at Ballydoyle: self-effacing, patient, uncomplaining, a shoulder to the wheel. But his maiden Breeders' Cup success, unmistakably, was the result of an inspired and vivid exhibition of individual flair.
Looking at the slots for the R2.5million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup and the R1million Emperors Palace Charity Mile on Saturday, you’d swear we were being punished for having a hand in “state capture”!
Despite the wide draw, trainer Brett Crawford has opted to run Rabada in the R1-million Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday 5 November. The final field for the Grade 2 race on the Standside track was unveiled at a function at Emperors Palace yesterday, when the charities and their celebrities met for the first time.
'Tongue-tied' is not a term you’d ordinarily apply to Aidan O'Brien, a man who just last week was named number one trainer in the world. It’s a common practice among racehorse conditioners to apply aids like blinkers, visors, hoods, cheek pieces and tongue ties to assist in the regulation of things like gate and cruising speed, lethargy, concentration and easier breathing, and nobody it seems, pays more attention to these details than the top man in his profession.
Ah good, Book II. Even better, Book IV. This is the week when the dealers in the obvious start to get a little queasy. You know the sort: the guys whose shallow convictions can be conveniently hidden in the deep pockets required at select sales. Did they read about the possible Raphael discovered in an Aberdeenshire manor the other day? Last valued in 1899 as a £20 copy, it may now be worth closer to £20 million. Some pin-hook!
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.