The untimely death of stallion Await The Dawn in 2014 was a massive blow for Summerhill Stud. He was arguably the one who could’ve kept the Mooi River establishment at or near the top of the logs for the next two decades. Thankfully all of us can enjoy the pleasure of seeing his offspring on the track. Even if only for a few years.
One of Tom Jones' greatest hits was the “Green, Green Grass of Home” and buyers at the forthcoming Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Sale might be humming those lyrics as they drive through the entrance of Summerhill Stud later this month.
When William Shakespeare recorded the standout event in the reign of Richard III, he couldn’t possibly have foreseen a replay almost half a millennium later in little old Mooi River. Students of literature will recall that it was on Bosworth Field that England’s good king had offered up his kingdom for a horse, and if it weren’t for the fact that the auctioneer missed his bid, we’d have no Princes William and Harry today.
For a son of Northern Dancer, Sadler’s Wells was anointed thus in honour of one of the world’s leading dance venues, which in turn earned its appellation from its original founder, Richard Sadler and the rediscovery of a monastic spring on the property, the waters of which were said to have strong medicinal powers. While we revel in the appropriateness of his association with the world of dance, just as we can in the case of his paternal half-brothers, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Lyphard and The Minstrel, there’s little doubt either about the “powers” of the stallion Sadler’s Wells, who, both as a sire and a sire of sires, was destined to become the most remarkable of all Northern Dancer’s sons.
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.
It’s a hundred and sixteen years since the turn of the nineteenth century, and in that time only eight entities have aspired to the title of Champion Breeder in South Africa, which makes it the tightest-held premiership in all of racing. That Summerhill should’ve arrived at its tenth title in twelve years through a new earnings record with hardly a “Big Five” sire in sight, tell us that besides luck, there must’ve been other factors at work. We can only marvel at the efforts of our people, the generosity of the land, and the contribution of the “boys” in the stallion barn.
The National Yearling Sale catalogue is still close by for reference, we had the Mistico broodmare and weanling sale last week, as well as the emotion-charged Moutonshoek dispersal. And then there’s the Klawervlei Farm Sale coming up in a few weeks. The BSA KZN yearling sale catalogue is already available online.
The Ato gelding Chijmes confirmed again that he is no slouch when leading all the way to win the R150,000 Listed Sea Cottage Stakes at Turffontein on Sunday to give claiming apprentice Denis Schwarz his first feature success.