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Equus Awards

Building A Masterpiece

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Building A Masterpiece

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.

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Top Breeder Win is Tonic For Mick Goss

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Top Breeder Win is Tonic For Mick Goss

As a lawyer in his younger days, breeder Mick Goss will be familiar with the Latin phrase, “annus horribilis.” The words (“horrible year”) were famously used by Queen Elizabeth in a speech at the Guildhall in 1992, but fast forward 24 years and they certainly apply to the Summerhill Stud supremo.

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A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL

Equus Awards 2013 - Team Summerhill
Equus Awards 2013 - Team Summerhill

Watch Team Summerhill receiving the Equus Champion Breeder Award

(Image : JC Photos - Footage : Tellytrack)

SOUTH AFRICAN HORSERACING SEASON

2012/13

Mike Moon
Mike Moon

Mike Moon

The TimesWe won’t be hearing strangled renderings of Auld Lang Syne echoing through the racing barns of the land, but the year has indeed run its course, a new one has begun, and celebratory thrashes are being enjoyed.

We’re talking, of course, about the changing of the racing year on August 1 - the start of the 2013/14 season.

It’s often said that racing exists in a world of its own, and there’s truth in that. It’s a magnificent obsession for many protagonists, consuming their lives and leaving them with little time to reflect on that other tedious stuff that makes up the world around them.

Having their own year, at 180 degrees from everyone else’s, rather confirms this idea of a bunch apart. Not that racing folk are unfriendly. Oh no. But they’ve got so much to do to get those darn horses running for them that they can seem a little distracted.

Take the racehorse trainer, for example, who works longer, harder hours than most people in other jobs (certainly journalism).

He’s up in the small hours for morning gallops; then supervises feeding, grooming, medical attention, farriery, mucking-out, lunging, afternoon walking, admin, bedding, feeding again, more nursing, blanketing and even a soothing good night word for the valuable resident of each box to waft the dopey critter off to sleep.

Many other players, even punters, are also absorbed in their herculean, time-consuming tasks of making a living from a frantic, fragile, frustrating business. Some find great success and become champions - and they’re the ones partying right now and who will receive Equus Awards anon.

Mighty Mike de Kock retained the champion trainer title, just pipping challenger Sean Tarry.

Another icon of present day racing, Piere Strydom, was a runaway winner of the jockey championship - a title he dominated in the 1990s but hasn’t pursued in recent years. “Striker” notched up 210 winners, 51 more than the incumbent, Anton Marcus - who was troubled by injury.

Summerhill Stud of Mooi River took the breeders’ championship for a ninth successive season in a photo-finish from Klawervlei of Bonnievale.

The highlight of the Equus Awards banquet is always the Horse of the Year announcement. The pundit’s favourite is Variety Club, the wonder miler who was unbeaten in five races over the year, including two Group 1 contests.

But there are other candidates, including Vodacom Durban July victor Heavy Metal, who also has two Group 1s to consider. Three-year-old filly Cherry On The Top grabbed the coveted and most-elusive Triple Tiara with nonchalance.

Then there’s popular favourite Beach Beauty, a feisty little filly who landed two Group 1s and is owned by people who clubbed together to race her in memory of a beloved friend and relative who died prematurely.

We look back at all these heroics and say it’s not been a bad racing year. But, now, about this next one…

Equus Awards 2013

International Achievement Award

Shea Shea

Champion Two-Year-Old Colt

Kochka

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly

Along Came Polly

Champion Three-Year-Old Colt

Vercingetorix

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly

Cherry On The Top

Champion Older Male

Variety Club

Champion Older Filly / Mare

Beach Beauty

Champion Sprinter (1000m - 1200m)

What a Winter

Champion Miler (1400m - 1600m)

Variety Club

Champion Middle-Distance (1400m - 2200m)

Heavy Metal

Champion Stayer (2400m+)

Jeppe’s Reef

Champion Stallion

Silvano - Maine Chance Farms

Champion Broodmare

Akinfeet - Lammerskraal Stud

Champion Breeder

Summerhill Stud

Outstanding Stallion Achievement

Judpot - Varsfontein Stud

Breeder Award - Exceptional International Achievement

Shea Shea - Klawervlei

Media Award - Print

David Thiselton

Media Award - Television

Jimmy Lithgow

Apprentice of the Year

Nooresh Juglall

Champion Jockey

Piere Strydom

Champion Trainer

Mike de Kock

Owners of the Year

Ingrid and Markus Jooste

Horse Of The Year

Variety Club

Extract from The Times

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EQUUS AWARDS 2013

Equus Awards 2013 - Summerhill Stud Champion Breeder
Equus Awards 2013 - Summerhill Stud Champion Breeder

Team Summerhill receive the Equus Champion Breeder Award

(Photo : JC Photos)

EQUUS AWARDS

Theatre of Marcellus, Emperors Palace

14 August 2013

The 2013 Equus Awards were celebrated in a fine spirit of camaraderie Wednesday evening at a fitting banquet in the magnificent Theatre of Marcellus, Emperors Palace. The industry paid tribute to its Champions and top local and international achievers.

Summerhill is extremely proud to have been awarded the coveted Equus Champion Breeder Award and we congratulate our fellow Champions in their respective categories.

International Achievement Award

Shea Shea

Champion Two-Year-Old Colt

Kochka

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly

Along Came Polly

Champion Three-Year-Old Colt

Vercingetorix

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly

Cherry On The Top

Champion Older Male

Variety Club

Champion Older Filly / Mare

Beach Beauty

Champion Sprinter (1000m - 1200m)

What a Winter

Champion Miler (1400m - 1600m)

Variety Club

Champion Middle-Distance (1400m - 2200m)

Heavy Metal

Champion Stayer (2400m+)

Jeppe’s Reef

Champion Stallion

Silvano - Maine Chance Farms

Champion Broodmare

Akinfeet - Lammerskraal Stud

Champion Breeder

Summerhill Stud

Outstanding Stallion Achievement

Judpot - Varsfontein Stud

Breeder Award - Exceptional International Achievement

Shea Shea - Klawervlei

Media Award - Print

David Thiselton

Media Award - Television

Jimmy Lithgow

Apprentice of the Year

Nooresh Juglall

Champion Jockey

Piere Strydom

Champion Trainer

Mike de Kock

Owners of the Year

Ingrid and Markus Jooste

Horse Of The Year

Variety Club

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email linda@summerhill.co.za

www.summerhill.co.za

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CLIMBING EVEREST

Summerhill Stallion Barn
Summerhill Stallion Barn

Summerhill Stallion Barn

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

SOUTH AFRICAN BREEDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

Season 2012/13

mick goss
mick goss

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOWe finally did it. We don’t know what the margin is, but judging from the sms’ and emails, the telephone calls and the television announcements, there are enough people out there who do know, and they’ve been generous in their praise. These are humbling moments, because they remind us of the millions of hours our people put into delivering them, and of the courage and talents of our horses in claiming victory. In its present form, Summerhill is thirty-four years old, and it took 25 of those to produce the first championship, historic for the fact that it was the first time in the game’s annals that the pendulum had swung East. That it’s remained here for the past 9 years is a tribute to guts, determination and a work ethic that goes way beyond the call of duty. I have to confess, as thrilling as it always is to know that you’re part of a championship, it’s an even greater satisfaction to know that for the next year, you can look forward to the sunrise knowing that you’re going to work with one of the world’s great teams, and that you’re getting to work with the Lord’s greatest creation.

The daunting thing though, now the job is done, is that this very day, your tally winds back to zero, and the whole thing kicks off again. There’s no respite, the competition is keen, they’re resourceful and just as determined, and the numbers (and the odds) are overwhelming. You’d think that keeping a team like ours interested after nine years at the top and keeping them motivated would be something of a challenge, but these guys know that the first thing they have to do, is to keep their feet on the ground. Horseracing is an unforgiving business, one moment you’re cruising, the next you’re bruising, and there’s little time for the fallen. It prefers to hail its survivors, and the best thing to do at times like this, is to remember your heroes: Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Gary Player, Jan Smuts, the Dalai Lama and Vincent O’Brien and you quickly get sense of perspective. So as soon as the back-slapping is over, it’s back to the grindstone. The horses don’t know yet that we’ve won the championship, and they need to be fed.

One of the first calls we received last evening, came from this farm’s fine friend, the King of Lesotho: that His Majesty should have the time and the inclination to remember these things in a frenetic schedule, is the best proof of the value of relationships and the beguiling impact that horses have on the human spirit. Another call came from a fellow champion, our once-again crowned leading trainer, Mike de Kock and his wife Diane, whose margin of victory over a dogged foe, Sean Tarry, was about as tight as ours was over Klawervlei. De Kock was garnering his eighth trainer’s title, but as we like to remind him, we reached that milestone a while back!

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email linda@summerhill.co.za

www.summerhill.co.za

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KING OF THE MOUNTAIN

Equus Awards 2013
Equus Awards 2013

South African Breeders’ Championship 2012/2013

(Image : Summerhill Archives)

SOUTH AFRICAN BREEDERS’ PREMIERSHIP

Season 2012/13

mick goss
mick goss

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOWhen I was growing up, convention decreed that when under pressure, you kept it to yourself, you internalised your thoughts and you worked it out. Being stoic about your struggles was the gentlemanly thing to do well into the late decades of the last century. Then suddenly doctors of the mind began to tell us that we should share our issues, that we should unburden ourselves of the weight on our shoulders.

These days, it’s as though the world has turned a complete circle. People want to know how you feel, they want you to share your innermost thoughts, and so that’s what we’re going to do right now. In case you thought we were suffering some serious psychological disorder, be at peace. South Africa’s is about the most tightly-held Breeders’ Premiership on the planet, one which, since the beginning of recording, has been held by just six entities, and to the best of our knowledge in the pre-recording era, just one or two others have aspired to the mountaintop.

Ours though is unique for a couple of other reasons, the first of which is our locality. Since the breeding of racehorses first kicked off in the Western Cape several centuries ago, no farm on this side of the Drakensberg had ever been there until we won our first title in the 2004/2005 season. We’d been close before, agonisingly so the previous year, but winning it was a milestone not only for Summerhill, but for the fabric of racehorse production across the country. At last it put to rest the widely-held theory that you couldn’t breed a decent horse in these parts, and we have to concede, it took more than a year or two for us to believe it was true, and that is was repeatable.

The second unique feature of this championship, is that no farm has held it for eight consecutive years since the seemingly “interminable” reign of the famous Birch Brothers in the early 1980s. The title had resided with them ever since recordings began in 1947, and it was uninterrupted for 36 years. We can’t see a repeat of that in the modern era, given the depth, the power and the excellence of the opposition these days. Historically, the breeding of racehorses was the preserve of farmers, stockmen who lived on their farms, and raised horses as part of a mixed enterprise. They did so with limited means, and those that knew their stock best and applied the smartest of intuitions, climbed the mountain. These days, the world of racehorse breeding in South Africa is entirely different. It is dominated by big money and big business, people with the means to buy virtually what they want in the way of genetics, to acquire the best of land and to employ the best of management. The kind of people who used to own the farms in those days are now running them, and they have at their disposal the personnel, the equipment and all the trappings of big enterprise, at their disposal.

Summerhill stands on its own in the top half dozen studs in the land as a pure farming entity, funded through the endeavours of its people alone, and carried along by the achievements of the horses it raises. Few properties of Summerhill’s ilk finance themselves on the quality of their horsemen. These people know what they owe, and they understand the responsibility of living in the shadow of Giant’s Castle. If it does nothing else, Summerhill is a beacon for those who would want the world to be a better place, and who have hopes of one day repeating the feat.

We used the word “eight” advisedly at the beginning of this story, because it isn’t “nine” yet. Technically, it’s still possible for our pursuers to get their hands on the pot of gold, but with a lead of marginally more than R300,000 this morning, and just two days to go, we’d rather be sitting in our seat than anyone else’s. It’s been a close run thing, and it’s been a clean-run thing, and for that we must thank our competitors. It’s a compliment to them and their efforts, that we’ll have to hold our cheers until midnight on Wednesday, lest we should “lose our ventures”.

Editor’s note: Business Manager Ferdi Heinen, last evening, put together a projection of what principal rivals, Klawervlei, will need to do today and tomorrow to wrest the title from us with their engaged runners. The exercise assumes Summerhill will have no earnings in that time.

Klawervlei potential stakes
Klawervlei potential stakes
summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email linda@summerhill.co.za

www.summerhill.co.za

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THE BREEDER'S EQUATION

South African Breeders Championship
South African Breeders Championship

South African Breeder’s Championship 2012/2013

(Image : Summerhill Archives)

SOUTH AFRICAN BREEDER’S CHAMPIONSHIP

Season 2012/13

The most frequently asked question of the Summerhill team at the moment, is how we’re feeling about the Breeder’s Championship. I guess we’d be less than frank if we didn’t admit to a little apprehension! Though the degree of our anxiety depends on whose records you are consulting, the Sporting Post or Tellytrack? According to the former, going into the weekend, Summerhill held an advantage of R333,357, while Alistair Cohen’s revelation on Tellytrack on Saturday, suggested that our margin over Klawervlei was just about identical to the gap between Mike de Kock and Sean Tarry in the trainer’s log. Somewhere in the “one-hundred-and-ninety-thousands”.

Both championships will go to the line, and the forthcoming weekend’s Gold Cup meeting will probably be decisive. Problem is, while de Kock and Tarry have their destinies in their own hands and are both amply loaded for their encounter, any student of form worth his salt, will tell you that the dice are stacked in Klawervlei’s favour for the Breeder’s Premiership. Besides, they have one other distinct advantage, and that rests in the fact that at least two of their principals, Markus Jooste and Chris van Niekerk, are among the country’s biggest owners and have been piling up their Klawervlei-bred entries at the races for a couple of weeks now, with an armada of runners. All season, we’ve been saying the numbers have become overwhelming, and it’s only because Summerhill-breds run more often than most other farm’s products, that we’ve been able to maintain a semblance of relevance.

We’re sure we don’t have to persuade any of our readers that we are not defeatists at Summerhill. On the face of it though, the Klawervlei hand is particularly strong. As the only Group One winner in the Gold Bracelet, Thunder Dance is unbeatable in theory; on the strength of her victory in the Golden Slipper (Gr.1) on July Day, For The Lads looks to be exactly that, insurmountable on form; and on the back of his runaway march in the Gold Vase, Kolkata is a massive runner in the Gold Cup (Gr.1). Add to these the presence of Desert Sheik in the top division Handicap, and the signs could be ominous fairly early in the proceedings. That said, for eight consecutive years, the products of this farm have demonstrated that they will not go down without a battle, and there’ll be more on that as the week goes on.

Let’s not underestimate it though; the Breeder’s Championship means an awful lot in the life of any farm, as it defines all the things you stand for. The South African version is the tightest held premiership in international breeding, with only seven entities having aspired to the mountain-top in well over a century. The yardstick by which we are all measured, is the incredible story of the Birch Brothers, who from the time formal recording was commenced in 1948, remained unbeaten for a period of 36 years, a history unlikely to be surpassed given that the competition these days is significantly sterner, and the money invested at unprecedented levels. That in itself puts our own eight consecutive championships into a more recent perspective. No farm since 1984, has strung together that many in a row, and if it never happens again for us, we’ll rest in the knowledge that we gave it our best shot!

Meanwhile, you can be assured that the Summerhill team long ago identified other markers by which it wants to be measured: nobody owns a monopoly on a championship. Our people know the equations others often forget; great harvests come from arid sources. A modern-day record in Breeder’s Premierships, the winners of four Durban Julys, three J&B Mets, three Summer Handicaps, and they all sprung from nowhere. The other thing that drives this team, is knowing that one day you are going to be beaten: it’s the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose; you are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email linda@summerhill.co.za

www.summerhill.co.za

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EQUUS AWARDS 2012 : RESULTS

Equus Awards 2012
Equus Awards 2012

Equus Awards 2012

(Image : EBI / Summerhill Archives)

EQUUS AWARDS

Emperors Palace

8 August 2012

Champion Two-Year-Old Filly

All Is Secret

Champion Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding

Soft Falling Rain

Champion Three-Year-Old Filly

Princess Victoria

Champion Three-Year-Old Colt / Gelding

Variety Club

Champion Older Filly / Mare (four+)

Igugu

Champion Older Male (four+)

What A Winter

Champion Sprinter (1000m - 1200m)

What A Winter

Champion Middle-Distance Horse (1400m - 2200m)

Variety Club

Champion Stayer (2400m+)

In Writing

Special Achievement Award

Diane de Kock

Champion Stallion

Jet Master

Champion Broodmare

Golden Apple

Champion Breeder

Summerhill Stud

Breeder Award - Exceptional International Achievement

Maine Chance

Breeder of the Year Award

Maine Chance

Work Rider of the Year

Abram Makhubo

Media - Print

David Thiselton

Media - Television

Andrew Bon

Apprentice Jockey of the Year

Nooresh Juglall

Champion Jockey

Anton Marcus

Champion Trainer

Mike de Kock

Owner of the Year

Ingrid & Markus Jooste

Horse Of The Year

Variety Club

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THE CUP RUNNETH OVER

Northern Guest Champion Broodmare Sire
Northern Guest Champion Broodmare Sire

Northern Guest

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

SOUTH AFRICAN HORSERACING

Season 2011/2012

If you’ve been reading these columns, you already know the bursting pride with which Summerhill is celebrating its eighth consecutive Breeder’s Championship. This is a country with a rich tradition in horsemanship, and we are surrounded in the racing game with professionals whose talents match those of others across the world. We’ve often pointed to the achievements of our trainers in the international realm, and the fact that one of the most sought-after jockey’s titles, (Hong Kong), has been in South African hands for 19 of the past 20 years. It follows then, that back at home, you can expect matching achievements among those who ply their trade in South Africa, and there are several.

Lest he should be lost in the wash, the winningmost achiever is Northern Guest, Summerhill’s most famous resident of all-time. He clinched his tenth Broodmare Sires’ title this year, beating the modern day record of Mr. Prospector in the process.

Mike de Kock ascended to his seventh Trainer’s title, his third in a row, and to put these into perspective, remember, several of his best horses are abroad, yet his earnings this season were almost 50% better than his nearest pursuer.

Jet Master made it six Sires’ premierships, with five Group One winners - quite astounding! In any normal year, horses like Silvano and Var, who chalked up the most stakes winners with two champions respectively, would’ve been standouts; but they were relatively pale by comparison with Jet Master, who should finally be recognised as “the greatest stallion of all time”. We need to recall here that he was a R15,000 weanling, that there were no stakes winners in his first four dams (the family resided here, so we know it intimately), and that he has made it in the most competitive stallion environment in our history.

Markus and Ingrid Jooste have aspired to their fifth Owner’s title, and Anton Marcus, who contributed handsomely to that award, took the Jockey’s Championship for the second year running. Spare a thought here for young Gavin Lerena, who rode his heart out (and broke it in the process), in going down by one winner on the last day of the season. Both these fellows were exemplary in their professionalism, and both are grand ambassadors for the game. Lerena will have his day, and many of them to boot, but for now, Anton continues to be the standard by which our jockeys are measured, not only for his riding talents, but for elevating the profession from the perspective of his conduct, his gentlemanliness and the adage that there’s no substitute for hard work.

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EQUUS AWARDS 2012 : NOMINATIONS

Equus Awards 2012
Equus Awards 2012

Equus Awards 2012

(Image : EBI / Summerhill Archives)

EQUUS AWARDS

Emperors Palace

8 August 2012

Two-Year-Old Filly

All is Secret, Rumya, Straight Set

Two-Year-Old Colt / Gelding

Potent Power, Soft Falling Rain, Tha Hangman, War Horse

Three-Year-Old Filly

Bambina Stripes, Ilha Bella, Princess Victoria, Thunder Dance, Viva Maria

Three-Year-Old Colt / Gelding:

Gimmethegreenlight, Jackson, Master Plan, Pomodoro, Variety Club

Older Filly / Mare (four+):

Dancewiththedevil, Ebony Flyer, Europa Point, Igugu, Val de Ra

Older Male (four+):

Shea Shea, Smanjemanje, What A Winter

Sprinter (1000m - 1200m)

Delago Deluxe, Shea Shea, Val de Ra, What A Winter

Middle-Distance Horse (1400m - 2200m)

Dancewiththedevil, Europa Point, Igugu, Jackson, Pomodoro, Princess Victoria, Variety Club

Stayer (2400m+)

Blake, Gorongosa, In Writing, Pomodoro, Royal Bencher, Seal

Horse Of The Year

To be awarded following final voting.

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6TH EQUUS CHAMPION BREEDER AWARD FOR SUMMERHILL

equus awards champion breeders summerhill stud
equus awards champion breeders summerhill stud

Equus Champion Breeder - Team Summerhill Stud

(Photo : JC Photographics)

EQUUS AWARDS 2010

“Extract from The Witness”

In what must be the tightest held championship in horse racing, Mooi River-based Summerhill Stud won the National Breeder’s title for a sixth consecutive year at a glittering function at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, on Thursday evening.

In all of its 112 years of recorded history, the Breeders’ Premiership has resided in the hands of only six farms, and Summerhill is the first on this side of the Drakensberg.

“It’s a great tribute to a fine stock-raising environment, a great climate and one of the best teams in the world. Racing in South Africa is as competitive as it comes, and you have to give your A-game every time your horses step onto a racecourse, because there are thousands of spectators out there commentating”, said an obviously delighted Mick Goss, CEO of Summerhill.

The Midlands nursery not only eclipsed their nearest rivals by more than R10 million, but they also produced the highest stakes earner for the season, with Pierre Jourdan amassing R3,175 million from eight starts. Just a fortnight ago, another product of the farm, Hear The Drums, became the winning-most horse in history, with thirty-three victories.

Another signal achievement on an evening of many outstanding feats, fell to Mike de Kock, who set a new earnings record of more than R22 million. His achievements across the globe are legendary, and there are many in racing internationally who rate De Kock the best in his profession anywhere.

summerhill stud south africa
summerhill stud south africa

For more information please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

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2010 EQUUS AWARDS WINNERS

equus awards 2010 at emperors palace south africa
equus awards 2010 at emperors palace south africa

Mick Goss celebrates with fellow 2010 Equus Champions

(Photo : JC Photographics)

THE EQUUS AWARDS

Season 2009 - 2010

South African horseracing’s Equus Awards for the 2009-2010 season were presented by Racing South Africa at a plush black-tie function at Emperors Palace last night and the coveted “Horse of the Year” title went to the Millenium Stud-bred son of Dynasty, Irish Flame, who is owned by Larry Nestadt, Bernard Kantor, Gary Barber and Percy von Molendorff and trained by Mike de Kock.

Nicci Garner writes that Irish Flame was a revelation during the 2009-10 racing season. He started his career with Dean Kannemeyer in the Cape and won three of his first four starts, including the Politician Stakes.

After running a disappointing race behind Bravura in the Investec Cape Derby, original owner Percy von Molendorff sold a majority share in him to Larry Nestadt, Bernard Kantor and Gary Barber and he was transferred to the Highveld yard of champion trainer Mike de Kock in March.

Irish Flame then proceeded to set the world alight and some two months after his arrival in Johannesburg landed his first Grade 1 win when trouncing Triple Crown contender Pierre Jourdan in the SA Derby. He went on to win both the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and Gold Circle Derby (Grade 2).

He then very nearly won the country’s premier race, the Vodacom Durban July, but giving 0.5kg was thwarted by a length by his top-class stable companion Bold Silvano.

Little wonder then, that the Equus Awards panel not only voted him “Horse of the Year” but his owners received two other awards for their star runner - Champion Three-Year-Old Colt / Gelding and Champion Stayer.

Bold Silvano’s connections, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and Gill Thomson, were not left out of the Equus Award celebrations because their Silvano colt was voted Champion Middle-Distance Horse.

The Mike de Kock stable dominated the awards, taking home nine trophies. De Kock took the Champion Trainer award after his runners earned a record R22.2 million in stakes and he also trains the champion two-year-old and three-year-old fillies for last season in Mahbooba and Here To Win respectively as well as the champion older filly or mare, Mother Russia.

Irish Flame, Bold Silvano, Here To Win and Mahbooba are en-route to Dubai and Mike de Kock has big plans for them in the desert.

In addition, Lizard’s Desire’s breeder, Albert Boshoff, received a the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s International Achievement Award.

De Kock, of course, handled Lizard’s Desire’s overseas campaign and the Lizard Island gelding, who is still fighting off life-threatening laminitis, finished a close second in both the Dubai World Cup and the QEII Cup in Hong Kong before winning the Singapore Airlines International Cup.

Many experts believed that lightning-fast J J The Jet Plane had done enough in winning two G1 races - the Golden Horse Casino Sprint and the Mercury Sprint - to win the Horse Of The Year title. While they will be disappointed the country’s highest-ranked horse did not get the award, they can take comfort in the two trophies the Jet Master gelding’s connections did receive. He was named Champion Sprinter and Champion Older Male.

JJ The Jet Plane was bred by Pat Devine and is owned by Hennie du Preez, Coenie Strydom, Thea Boyens and his trainer, Lucky Houdalakis.

Summerhill Stud secured the Champion Breeder Award for the sixth consecutive year and newly crowned South African record holder, Hear The Drums, won the Equus Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The awards were decided by a panel chaired by Phumelela’s Betting Executive Vee Moodley. The voting panel comprised Phumelela Horseracing Executive Patrick Davis, Gold Circle Chief Operating Officer Graeme Hawkins, Phumelela Marketing and Communications Manager Robert Garner, Tellytrack head Nico Kritsiotis, Form Organisation’s Jehan Malherbe, KZN commentator Sheldon Peters and the National Horseracing Authority’s chief handicapper Roger Smith.

EQUUS AWARDS WINNERS

12 August 2010

Winner

Owner/s

Trainer

Breeding

Breeder

Champion Two Year Old Filly

Mahbooba (AUS)

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum

Mike de Kock

Galileo-Sogha

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum

Champion Two Year Old Colt / Gelding

Link Man

Larry Nestadt, Greg Blank and and G Z Burg

Dennis Drier

Toreador-Western Smoke

Tawny Syndicate (Nom: Mr L M Nestadt)

Champion Three Year Old Filly

Here To Win (BRZ)

Messrs B E Lobben and M Myhre

Mike de Kock

Roi Normand-Ascot Belle

Haras Santa Ana Do Rio Grande

Champion Three Year Old Colt / Gelding

Irish Flame

Larry Nestadt, Bernard Kantor, Gary Barber, Percy von Molendorff

Mike de Kock

Dynasty-Clock The Rock

Millennium Stud

Champion Older Filly / Mare

Mother Russia

Wilgerbosdrift (Nom: Mrs M Slack)

Mike de Kock

Windrush-Russian Muse

Normandy Stud

Champion Older Colt / Gelding

JJ The Jet Plane

Hennie du Preez, Coenie Strydom, Lucky Houdalakis and Thea Boyens

Lucky Houdalakis

Jet Master-Majestic Guest

Mrs P J Devine

Champion Sprinter

JJ The Jet Plane

Hennie du Preez, Coenie Strydom, Lucky Houdalakis and Thea Boyens

Lucky Houdalakis

Jet Master-Majestic Guest

Mrs P J Devine

Champion Middle-Distance Horse

Bold Silvano

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and Gill Thomson

Mike de Kock

Silvano-Bold Saffron

Ascot Stud

Champion Stayer

Irish Flame

Larry Nestadt, Bernard Kantor, Gary Barber, Percy von Molendorff

Mike de Kock

Dynasty-Clock The Rock

Millennium Stud

Equus Outstanding Achievement Award

Hear The Drums

Peter Fabricius

Des McLachlan

Gold Press-Winning Glory

Summerhill Stud

Champion Stallion Award

Jet Master

Stands at Klipdrift Stud

Rakeen-Jet Lightning

Mr A H Jonsson

Outstnding Stallion Achievement Award

Dynasty

Stands at Highlands

Fort Wood-Blakes Affair

Wilgerbosdrift

Broodmare Of The Year

Stormsvlei

From(Zandvliet Stud/Out Of Africa Stud)

Prince Florimund-Distant Echoes

Mr E W Miller

Breeder Of The Year

Ascot Stud / Normandy Stud

Breeder Award For Exceptional International Achievement

AJ Boshoff (Lizard’s Desire)

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum

Mike de Kock

Lizard Island-Annsfield

Mr A J Boshoff

Champion Breeder

Summerhill Stud

Work Riders Of The Year

John Nel / Andile Ndongo

Apprentice Of The Year

Aldo Domeyer

Champion Jockey

Anton Marcus

Champion Trainer

Mike de Kock

Owner Of The Year

Ingrid and Markus Jooste

Horse Of The Year

Irish Flame

Larry Nestadt, Bernard Kantor, Gary Barber, Percy von Molendorff

Mike de Kock

Dynasty-Clock The Rock

Millennium Stud

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THE EQUUS AWARDS 2010

northern guest
northern guest

Northern Guest

(Photo : Summerhill Stud Archives)

The Equus Awards

As we write, the Summerhill delegation of twelve is bussing its way to Jo’burg, for this evening’s gala function, which hails the Champions of 2010. It has been a banner year for racing, featuring one of history’s strongest crop of Three-Year-Old Colts, headed by the season’s biggest earner Pierre Jourdan, bred and raised at Summerhill by the Farm and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum.

He is joined on the podium by Irish Flame, Bold Silvano, Noordhoek Flyer, Bravura and Orbison. It must be decades since any category of finalists was adorned with such illustrious names.

Of course, lest anybody should think we’re getting complacent, we’re as excited about the 6th consecutive National Breeders’ title as we were the first time our team occupied the stage. This time, our leadership of the breeding ranks is punctuated by a record margin of more than R10million, and the added lustre that comes with Hear The Drums, eclipsing the all-time record number of wins, just a few days before the season’s end - and our most famous resident, Northern Guest’s world record-equalling 9th Broodmare Sire’s title.

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NOMINATIONS FOR THE EQUUS AWARDS 2010

south african equus racing award
south african equus racing award

THE EQUUS AWARDS

12 August 2010

The Equus Awards will for the first time be sponsored by Racing South Africa, the company established to represent the major stakeholders of South African horseracing and breeding; namely the breeders, operators and owners.

This black tie event will honour last season’s Champions and will be staged at the Emperors Palace Centre Court in Johannesburg on Thursday, 12 August 2010.

The format for this year’s Equus Awards takes on a very different feel with presentations being conducted in a cinematic environment with the opulent Banquet following and the coveted “Horse Of The Year” award to be announced at the end of dinner by Racing South Africa Chairman, Mr Vidrik Thurling.

Longstanding Chairman of the organizing committee, Mr Larry Wainstein, is confident guests will enjoy the changes and all is set for an evening of great celebration!

The 2010 voting panel consists of Vee Moodley (Chairman), Patrick Davis, Graeme Hawkins, Robert Garner, Nico Kritsiotis, Jehan Malherbe, Sheldon Peters and Roger Smith.

THE EQUUS AWARDS 2010

NOMINATIONS 

Champion Two Year Old Filly

CHOCOLICIOUS

HAPPY ARCHER

MAHBOOBA

WAYWEST GODDESS

Champion Two Year Old Colt / Gelding

COPPER PARADE

GOLD ONYX

KAVANAGH

LINK MAN

Champion Three Year Old Filly

GIBRALTAR BLUE

HERE TO WIN

IMPERIOUS STAR

Champion Three Year Old Colt / Gelding

ANCESTRAL FORE

BOLD SILVANO

BRAVURA

IRISH FLAME

NOORHOEK FLYER

ORBISON

PIERRE JOURDAN

Champion Older Filly / Mare

CAPTAIN’S GAL

MOTHER RUSSIA

NOBLE HEIR

RIVER JETEZ

Champion Older Male

BIG CITY LIFE

J J THE JET PLANE

POCKET POWER

SMART BANKER

Champion Sprinter

J J THE JET PLANE

NOBLE HEIR

Champion Middle-Distance Horse

BIG CITY LIFE

BOLD SILVANO

IRISH FLAME

PIERRE JOURDAN

POCKET POWER

Champion Stayer

ANCESTRAL FORE

IRISH FLAME

Equus Outstanding Achievement Award

HEAR THE DRUMS

Champion Stallion Award

Outstanding Stallion Achievement Award

Broodmare Of The Year

Breeder Of The Year

Breeder Award For Exceptional International Achievement

Champion Breeder

Work Riders Of The Year (Gauteng and Western Cape)

Apprentice Of The Year

Champion Jockey

Champion Trainer

Owner Of The Year

Horse Of The Year

Nominations courtesy of Racing South Africa

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NORTHERN GUEST'S EIGHTH BROODMARE SIRE TITLE

northern guest stallion
northern guest stallion

Northern Guest

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

Please click photo to enlarge

“LITTLE NOTICE FOR A BIG ACHIEVEMENT”

The least heralded of last week’s National Championships was that of theleading Broodmare Sire for the past season, yet in Northern Guest’s eighth consecutive title, he went where no other South African Broodmare Sire has been, and he needs only one more championship to equal the world record held by Mr. Prospector in the United States.

Many chapters have been written about his influence on this farm and its affairs, not the least of which that his daughters have been major contributors to everything we’ve achieved here, including our fifth championship. That no other person or entity has ever won five consecutive Equus Awards in a single category says enough about that achievement, but it wouldn’t have happened were it not for the contributions of Northern Guest’s daughters.

That said, we should remember at times like this that he altered the commercial landscape in the stallion services trade, almost single-handedly redefining the territory and reshaping the terms of business, as well as the number of mares a stallion could handle in a season, forever.

Long before he became a national treasure, the news broke that his two world class Champion brothers, Try My Best and El Gran Senor, were both seriously low on fertility, and we still recall the day that Michael Watt, the then chairman of Britain’s greatest auction house, Tattersalls, wired us with the news and reminded us of the value of the asset we were sitting on.

By then, Northern Guest’s first foals were on the ground, and while we hardly needed the reminder, this was a welcome reinforcement of the belief that perhaps, very early in our lives at Summerhill, we’d gotten “lucky”. For all his influence as a pre-eminent sire of champion juveniles in his later life, his first crop were slow to register their merit, and by the time he’d come to his fourth season, he was all but written off. And then they came, Senor Santa, Northern Princess, Rip Curl, Gun Drift, Mystery Guest, Gentleman Jones, Royal Thunder, Picture Search, Another Minstrel, _ _ bang, bang,one after another. And he’d hardly begun to register the Classic horses that were to follow.

It was to be his distinction in the end that he should sire no fewer than six Grade One or Classic winning fillies (a portent of what was to become of them in the broodmare department, we guess,) and besides the later likes of Dance Every Dance, Golden Apple and Imperious Sue, who together with Angus made up (a pair ofJ&B Met winners, the one enduring memory which stands out, was the last great match race in South African history.

One New Years Day, 1989, his November Handicap (Gr.1) winning daughter, Northern Princess got up in the dying strides to deny the perennial Champion Sprinter, Senor Santa for the biggest match prize in history. The “grudge” behind the race was the elimination of “The Senor” from South Africa’s richest mile event on the grounds of his brilliance as a sprinter and the unlikely fact he would stay the mile, yet all the race did was to prove once and for all, that the mile was well within his compass, a point he made so emphatically in the First National Bank Stakes (Gr.1) a year later over the gruelling 1600m at Turffontein.

Not only did Northern Guest provide this farm with the profile all emerging operations would dream of, but such was the demand to visit his court, they came from every corner of the Southern African continent, and around us sprang up any number of new boarding farms, several of which are part of the enduring fabric of KwaZulu-Natal today. It’s arguable that Northern Guest did more for the creation of employment in this part of the thoroughbred world in his era than any collection of human beings did, and it’s a fact that there’s little on this farm today that was erected in his time, that he didn’t contribute to in one way or another.

The fact is, for as long as there are races to be run and victories to be won, in our lifetime at least, his name will live on in the best pedigrees of the day.

As it was in those days when he passed the Farm office on his way to his paddock at the end of the driveway, with his characteristic limp garnered in his younger days on Vincent O’Brien’s Ballydoyle gallops, the farm management are standing in salute. Our hats are off!

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ENVY : REFUGE OF THE LOSER

summerhill stud equus champion breeder trophies
summerhill stud equus champion breeder trophies

Equus Champion Breeder Trophies

2005 - 2009

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

Please click photo to enlarge

It is so that Summerhill and its many clients have just garnered their fifth consecutive National Breeder’s title. It is also an irrefutable fact that we did so by almost doubling the earnings of our nearest pursuer, excellent producers of racehorses in their own right. It’s not our practice, as those who know us well will attest, to gloat over these things, and we prefer to be gracious in victory, just as we’ve always been in defeat. However, from the time we displayed our effectiveness at this business, there’ve been those that would put us down, and who, despite the repeat of our latest championship, are unable to accept the merit of it. They persist with the belief that numbers, and numbers alone, have made it possible. It’s time for a response:

  • There’s an old saying (the Afrikaans version of the “tall poppy” syndrome) that “die hoogste boom vang die meeste wind”, and for our foreign visitors, that means “the tallest tree catches the most wind”. That goes with the territory, and we accept it as our lot; that’s why you so seldom see any attempt at self-justification in these columns. Yet that doesn’t mean we should simply lie down and die. Our fans deserve to know the facts.
  • Ever since the origin of racing’s championships, numbers have mattered, and if you look at the history of South African breeding, and those who’ve dominated, you’ll find it has been no different. The Birch Bros, one of the six entities to have held the title in all its history, are reputed to have won something approaching sixty times, yet their earnings (which is the basis for calculating the champion stud) were the sum of the contributions of three different families who traded under the name of Birch Brothers. The renowned Koster Bros earned their championships the same way, with contributions from the stock raised by several families. That shouldn’t detract from the undeniable truth that they bred a damn good horse, and plenty of them. We are a single entity, for what it’s worth, which had the necessity (and the enterprise, if we may say so,) to draw a broader church into our activities.
  • Ominously for Summerhill, this season Klawervlei Stud are anticipating the arrival of the order of 240 foals, all of which will be registered as Klawerveli breds, almost double the number we’re anticipating foaling in the name of Summerhill. These, in the end, are overwhelming numbers, and how else could you meet that challenge, but through doing your level best and perhaps doing things differently, as we always have, and to a degree, by having the numbers. At last week’s gala function, in a magnanimous address as recipient of the Owner of The Year award, Klawervlei’s “senior partner”, Markus Jooste gave notice that they had their sights firmly on Summerhill’s title!.
  • What our detractors overlook is that, despite the export of the five top runnersfrom this farm at the end of last season, we managed to achieve our Championship with earnings per runner not far short of R60 000, a figure which would’ve been significantly enhanced had the exports been retained on South African soil, contesting our best races. We speak of course, of the outstanding international performers of the past season, Imbongi, Art Of War, Paris Perfect, as well as Galant Gagnant and Desert Links, whose absence affected either our numbers or those of their sires (or both), to a marked degree. Two of them were not officially bred by Summerhill, but we’re proud to say they were graduates of our paddocks, and together with the Group One winning filly, Outcome (similarly bred here, but not under our banner), they signalled to the world the ongoing quality emerging from Summerhill. That we achieved this result with the “second” string, makes this year’s title all the more satisfying.
  • Equally, in a recent observation on soundness, Robin Bruss pointed to the fact that Summerhill has the highest number of starts per horse in training, it’s worth adding that in recent seasons, we’ve been represented by the nation’s leading seven and eight year olds; Nhlavini(who holds the record of six consecutive appearances as a finalist at the Equus Awards), Red Carpet Style and Brigadier Parker, all of whom were Stakes winners in their dotage years. And right now, in fact this last weekend, Hear The Drums endorsed the durability of our graduates with his 26th victory, making him the winning-most racehorse in South Africa in the past thirty years.

It’s easy to point fingers, but there are other means of achieving their own satisfaction for our critics, and that is to get on and make their own mark through the establishment of their own standards of excellence. That way, they’ll earn their personal fulfilment, and have less to worry about in the success of others. Just last month, Fortune magazine carried the stories of the twenty most successful Americans of the past few decades, and the best advice they had received. While we’ll provide a little more in time in the way of insights from these icons, it’s worth noting that Bill Gates emphasized the value of fanaticism (saying that it was underrated as a force in success), and that both he and Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, were fanatical about certain things; Colin Powell speculated on the value of a work ethic, and what it took to become a successful general, and in the context of this article, perhaps the most sage advice came from Scott Boras.

Boras is one of the most successful managers of sportsmen and celebrities of all time, and he related a story of the advice he received from his counsellor following victory in a court case at an early stage in his career.

“You will find,” opined the counsellor, “that if you are especially effective at what you do, 95% of what is said about you will be negative”. We didn’t realise that things were that tough in our game, but if those that swipe at our championship are anywhere near those odds, we take it as a compliment.

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