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!
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.
A quick update on plans for this year's CTS Joburg Ready To Run Sale, scheduled for the evenings of the 24th & 25th November at Randjiesfontein Training Centre. In contrast to recent years, the gallops will no longer be staged at Summerhill, but for the convenience of their customers, CTS have scheduled them for Randjiesfontein on Monday 21st November, as part of the Summer Cup festival the following weekend (26th November).
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!
Intergalactic’s victory over some of Joburg’s best just reminded us. Rabada, Champagne Haze, Heaps Of Fun, Witchcraft, Africa Rising, Miss Turbo, Unagi and Copper Pot. To a man and a woman, all Classic performers or Classic aspirants. CTS Ready To Run Sale: 24th & 25th November.
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.
If there’s one fellow attendees at the world’s biggest gathering of our sports aficionados that doesn’t need an introduction, it is Andrew Harding, Director, Racing Authority of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and convenor of the Asian Racing Conference.
Steeped in more than 140 years of history, South Africa’s Summerhill Stud, located about two hours west of Durban on the eastern side of the country (930 miles from Cape Town), is by any definition a powerhouse.
Described by Arqana's leading vendor Henri Bozo as the “stallion of the century,” Galileo snatched back the spotlight from his outstanding son Frankel at Arqana on Monday when two fillies collectively brought more than €2-million within minutes of each other.
It’s difficult to imagine any other place quite like it. When Summerhill first aspired to the coveted title of South Africa’s Champion Breeder, we became only the sixth entity in history to do so; little did the team know then, that we’d be enjoying the tenth renewal of this coveted title in 2016.