David Mollett
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.
— David Mollett / Business Day
Ready To Run Sale Summerhill Stud

Ready To Run Sale Summerhill Stud

The Ready-To-Run - the brainchild some 30 years ago of the Mooi River farm's supremo Mick Goss and the late top bloodstock consultant Chris Smith - returns to its spiritual home on October 25 with 65 two year-olds due to come under the hammer.

The attendees at the first sale on the farm back in 1987 included two South African sporting legends in Gary Player and Mike Proctor and little did this duo know then that the concept would catch on like wildfire in South Africa.

Chris Smith, a close friend of one of the world's most famous racing personalities of that era Robert Sangster, died suddenly in 2001 and his passing was a huge blow as he had so much more to offer to the sport. He would, however, be happy that the Ready-To-Run remains an important date in the racing calendar.

When breeders place adverts in the racing newspaper The Sporting Post, they often refer to past champions but - in reality - what prospective buyers find more relevant is what particularly farms have achieved in the past 12 months.

Rabada - Daily News 2000 Gr1

Summerhill can hold their head high in this regard as - during the last season - they sent out 18 big race winners. For the record, they were Brave Mary, Champagne Haze, Anna Pavlova, Rabada, Purple Diamond, Africa Rising, Witchcraft, Intergalactic, The Elmo Effect, Heaps of Fun, Commanche Brave, Easy Street, Illitshe, Wukkin Up, No Worries, Belle Rose, Purely Atomic and Hong Kong victor, Horse of Fortune.

It's an impressive list and there's every reason to expect that the youngsters on offer in 13 days time could also progress to great heights in the racing world.

The catalogue includes the last progeny of Await The Dawn, a son of Giant's Causeway, who sadly passed away in 2014. His six career wins included the Gr 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Several shrewd judges believe Await The Dawn could have made it as a top stallion and they include Dean Bayley, co-owner of Summerhill-bred, Brave Mary, who won a Gr 1 race at Scottsville in May. The filly was later sold to well-known American owner-breeder, Barry Irwin.

Bayley commented: “The death of Await The Dawn was a blow to the industry - I have always liked the way he stamped his progeny and we'll be having a close look at what's on offer (at the sale).”

Brave Mary - Gr1 Allan Robertson