2015 SUMMERHILL STALLION DAY
In a world characterised by promotional hyperbole and information overload, the events they advertise sometimes fall short of their billing. On Sunday, Summerhill held its 32nd annual Stallion Day at the School of Equine Management Excellence, and the occasion was dignified by the presence of heads of state, cabinet ministers, representatives of two royal families, close on 20 different countries and the usual multitude of guests. L'Ormarins and Haute Cabriere wine estates supplied the finest products they could muster.
It was a some occasion, as memorable, if not more so, than anything they've put on before, and in the end, the spirit of generosity of the attendees was demonstrated in a turnover approaching R500 000 for the stallion services on auction, which will go towards the School's cause. In the process, Summerhill celebrated the return of their triumphant dance troupe from the Edinburgh Military Tattoo late last year; they exalted in Ashlee Hammond's election by the English National Stud as the Top Academic Student of the year last week, becoming the third of four graduate classes to top their year at that venerable institution; and they revelled in the culinary delights of Hartford's high-flying young chef, Constantijn Handjiek, who's obviously set for the honours pioneered by former practitioners of that kitchen, Richard Carstens and Jackie Cameron. The Vodacom Durban July's newest victors, Lady Christine Laidlaw and Dean Kannemeyer, were among the revellers, maintaining a 32 year old tradition of hosting the July connections.
This week, the Winter Workshop opened up a new front in the intellectual debate on racing, and showcased lectures by some of the world's foremost authorities on their topics. We'll not spoil the party with a commentary on what we know: we'd rather you heard the lectures yourselves when they are posted on You Tube a few days from now. For the time being though, it's amazing to think that this farm, deep in the rural valleys of the KZN Midlands, could host these vital conversations which affect not only this country, but the racing and breeding world at large.
For the record, here are the details from the auction:
FIRST BID (ZAR)
SECOND BID (ZAR)
BRAVE TIN SOLDIER