Bankable (IRE) x Guest Gallery by Special Preview
3 Year-Old Gelding
2014 CTS Ready To Run Sale
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Bankable (IRE) x Guest Gallery by Special Preview
3 Year-Old Gelding
2014 CTS Ready To Run Sale
The Summerhill Team looks forward to welcoming you to the Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale Friday at the Inanda Club, Sandton. Lunch at 13h00 with the sale commencing 16h30!
It’s true, we all like to think our geese are swans, but it’s a fact that at last week’s gallops, the judges panel were pretty unanimous in their belief that this was as good a crop of Ready To Run horses as have ever left Summerhill; given the history, that’s some statement.
Here are Thabani Nzimande's selections for the 2014 Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale. Thabani was awarded the Top Student at the School of Equine Management Excellence in 20111 and the Top Practical Student at the English National Stud in 2012.
On a day attended by the former Premier of KZN and the current Treasurer-General of the ruling party, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, as well as a good spread of the nation’s biggest-hitters, the whole gathering enthusiastically, and at times vociferously, voted to put their fancies on the board.
Each horse is eligible for the 2015 renewal of the world's richest Ready To Run sales race, the Emperor's Palace Ready To Run Cup, with a stake of R2.5million. While we've ensured that the 2014 version carries the richest prize money in African history, the odds of getting a run next year are twice as good, with half the number catalogued.
Here are Siyabonga Bhengu's selections for the 2014 Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale. Siyabonga has always had a passion for working with thoroughbreds and has been hanging around and helping out in the stables since he was able to walk.
Here are Thabiso Mgoza's selections for the 2014 Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale. Thabiso has ridden work for top Ready To Run consigner and pin hooker in the USA, Becky Thomas.
Talk to our team. They'll tell you that whatever's gone before, the 2014 draft is the best-credentialed we're ever consigned.
Another innovation that came with the birth of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run was our annual sortie to the Australian sales, Inglis Premier in Melbourne and the Magic Millions Weanling auction at the Gold Coast.
Last week we gave you the story we dreamt up the idea of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup with the sponsors.
Click above to view photos of Summerhill’s National Yearling Sales Draft for 2014
(Photos : Leigh Willson)
He earned his 122 Timeform rating from 1200m to 2000m.
He ran world champion Raven’s Pass to one length,
giving the champion six pounds.
That placed him in the top half percent of racehorses worldwide.
Lot 312 Reactive (Bankable - Four Ladies Wind) colt
Lot 338 Unnamed (Bankable - Harems Secret) colt
Lot 478 Lokshina (Bankable - National Woods) colt
Summerhill CEOThe countdown has begun. Less than a fortnight, and lot 1 takes his place at the nation’s showpiece auction, the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. We had a man and his three sons make the pilgrimage all the way from Jo’burg Saturday morning for a second look at what he’d seen less than a month ago. He’s a man of business, but he also breeds horses, and he knows a good thing when he sees one. The day before, a wise man from Europe phoned, keen to know what the “Bankables” were like. He knows how good the South Africans have been abroad, and he’s looking for the next “big thing”. As the owner of a son of a first crop sire who’d been close in the Investec Epsom Derby, he knows that real value resides in the undiscovered potential of a freshman stallion. After all, New Approach gave him the thrill of his life, and he remembers that Northern Guest, Jet Master, Western Winter and Silvano were all “first season” champions at one stage.
The man from the Reef was quite specific too. Or should I say his eldest son was. He’s obviously seen the movie, and he wanted a “Secretariat”. The fact that Secretariat was a horse in a lifetime, and that with Frankel, there’d already been two in mine, was no deterrent to the young man from Hilton College, where the motto is “Orando et Laborando” and which in my loosest of translations, means all things are possible. Remembering that miracles just take a bit longer, the penny suddenly dropped for me. I recalled my childhood, when my fascination with horses ranked above everything.
I suspect that Trevor Bennison, the chap who had the task of teaching me the subject, may not have credited me with a sense of history. But it was always a fact, and just a shame that the characters and events from the past that he tried to enthuse me with, rarely excited me much. When, aged seven, I bought my first book on racing, what grabbed me most about the sport, was its long history. It had been around for longer than any of my other boyhood passions - cricket and rugby - and the fact it had endured so long, made it the more compelling. It did not take me long to become a pedigree nut, because that seemed the easiest way to understand the continuity in the sport. Today’s horses didn’t emerge from nowhere; they are the current representatives of a long-established breed, connecting with the great horses of the past, whose achievements had me in thrall.
On Saturday, I had to draw on all my childhood research to satisfy the young Hiltonian. We didn’t have a Secretariat, but we sure as hell had some of his blood. Earlier in the week, Brave Tin Soldier had registered his first South African winner. Visionaire, who like Western Winter descends from a son of a Secretariat mare, Gone West, has his first South African-breds going under the hammer. We were making progress; both carry the blood of “Big Red”.
When I told the young man that for me, a stallion had to be top class as a racehorse, able to hold his own in the best company, I could see his eyes beginning to respond. The stallion needs to have some mystique to his pedigree, and an aura about his ability. He needs to inspire belief, and I could see that both the Hiltonian and I were becoming believers when it came to the “Visionaires”. His score is already on the board: eight winners from a handful of American juveniles, a Stakes winner and a Stakes performer among them, and the young man was a convert.
In the Stallion Prediction Stakes, it’s two strikes and you’re out. There are really only three things people consider when a horse goes to stud: pedigree, performance, physique, in no particular order. A Stakes-winning juvenile at six furlongs, and a record-breaking miler as an older horse when, Lazarus-like, he’d risen again from the ashes of a crippling injury, Brave Tin Soldier answered the other two criteria in a matter of a few syllables. He was, and still is, the record-priced foal of all time. You wouldn’t want to be betting against either of them.
Watching our grooms when we arrived at the Final Call Yearling yard, you’d think they were rubbing down the most valuable racehorses in the world. It’s like they’re as delicate as some precious artefact from the Cradle of Mankind, to be handled gently, reverently, because one careless touch might undo everything that’s led to this day.
You see the successes of our horses are a culmination of so many factors. When a foal hits the ground, all things are equal. Before and after, there can be vast differences. Those two things are in the hands of those of us who are privileged to care for them.
The second phase starts within minutes of birth, and here we are, 18 months on, working with the fruits of our labours. Among the youngsters are the brothers and sisters to Love Struck, Fakazi, No Worries, Emperor Augustus, Onehundredacrewood, Highly Decorated, Alejate, Salutation, Phunyuka, Aces Wild, Winning Leap, Negev, Fox Hunt and Extra Zero; the sons and daughters of millionairesses, Classic heroines, blinding speedsters and doughty stayers. Their grooms are kneeling in the straw of their boxes removing the “putties” and tightening the surcingles. A pigeon scrambles out, frightened from its wits by the stable cat. The horses are immediately taller, alert and mildly agitated.
The grooms, still kneeling at the altars of their straps and buckles, offer a fretful look. Whatever lunacy is this? And a fair question, too. But these youngsters are not that easily stirred. They have faith in their “sidekicks”, it’s the Summerhill way. In the soft light and brisk air that passes for an early Summerhill Saturday, the yearlings are ready for their morning walk. We are watching the rituals that produced the likes of Mowgli, Sentinel, Magic Mirror and Panjandrum, and in a more recent age, Nhlavini, Rebel King, Spook and Diesel and Pick Six, Igugu, Imbongi, Hear The Drums, Pierre Jourdan, Blueridge Mountain and Fisani, who in the space of the past nine years, have delivered up more Breeders’ titles for Summerhill than any other farm in modern history.
Editor: The yearlings depart for Block “A” at the TBA Sales complex this Thursday.
As a racehorse, Timeform rated him in the top half percent of racehorses in the world.
Now the inspection panel are telling us that whatever he did on the racecourse,
he’s passed on to his stock.
To the point that he has seven qualifiers for the National Yearling Sale.
Click above to view photos from our National Yearling Sales inspection / Ricardo Christian (p)
Summerhill CEO“Scrutiny”, says the Oxford Concise, means “critical observation or examination”, and that’s what happens at this time of year when we put our stock up for the inspection of the Yearling Sales panel. For a stud man, depending on how long you’ve been at it and how much faith (or lack of it) you have in your draft, this can be a moment of angst or insouciance. The outcomes wield an inordinate influence over your financial fortunes for the year ahead, they mould the expectations of buyers, they influence the mating plans of breeders for the future, and they can raise or destroy the hopes of those customers who keep their horses on our farms.
Time was when the legendary establishments of our many-times champion breeders, the Birch Bros, simply brought the horses in off the veld, pulled their manes and tails a bit, gave them a “spit” and a brush, and they were on parade, kicking and bollocking. It wasn’t much different anywhere else either, and it took a proper judge to separate a good horse from an ordinary one. Coats were fluffy, burs and blackjacks were everywhere, and the horses knew nothing about deportment. Remember, the racehorse is a flight animal, little different from a zebra, and in strange circumstances, his instinct is to run, and to do it like blazes. These days, the game is a little more sophisticated, though at Summerhill, we’ve never forgotten that horses are “horses”, not humans, and their preference is to live out, roaming the great plains of the continent, free as the wind. Here, within a fortnight or so of birth, our foals and their mothers leave the sanctuary of the Final Call Foalcare yard for the open country, and unless illness or injury intervenes, never to return until it’s time for the sales.
Just a few weeks ago, the candidates for this year’s National Yearling Sales were brought “in”, reluctantly I should add, to a routine so strange, so far removed from the liberty of their endless paddocks, and to a discipline more akin to the basic training of army recruits. “Prepping” is a bonding process, designed to grow their faith in their handlers, to slow down the tempo of their natural inclinations, to attune them to the confinement of an overnight stable, to bring order to a free and uninhibited mind, and to learn some basic manners. Thank God the horse is open to such domestication: otherwise, our histories would’ve been very different, for they were written on his back.
It’s time now for the judging to start, and our senior judge is a stalwart of 27 years, John Kramer, who ranks with the best anywhere. There’s not a farm in this country he hasn’t visited, not a yarn he hasn’t heard, and there’s not been a horse through a sales ring he hasn’t inspected. Alongside, Kerry Jack, who served her apprenticeship in the trade during her 13 years at Summerhill, is his assistant, and she counts many hours of doing exactly that right here. She learnt her trade well, and she brings a natural eye and a keen sense of commercial “nous” to the proceedings. Among the bystanders is a clutch of curious managers, and an American graduate of marketing in the equine field: they know it’s not only about the yearlings, it’s also about the first crops of our new stallions, which are as much under scrutiny as the yearlings themselves.
We’re lucky, as I’ve said so often, to live where we do: the climate is kind, the environment is good, and our people are gifted, so gifted there are a number of budding “Monty Robertses” among the team handling the yearlings. The process takes several hours, and for the most part, the youngsters are compliantly waiting their turn, the only sign of impatience a flick of the odd tail at an irritating fly. The trickle of running water in the rills somehow calms and cools at the same time, while the silent intent of business is apparent only in the eyes of the judges and the occasional scribble of their pens. Nothing ruffles the horses, not even the sight or the sound of the scanner, which confirms their heritage with a hiss of approval from the microchip implant.
This year, the grapevines have forewarned us there’s a big entry, the bar has been lifted and the rejections are plenty. There’s no time now for second-guessing though, and for the first of the “Visionaires” and the “Bankables”, it’s judgement day, with a capital “D”. The training yards are buzzing too, with expectations for Brave Tin Soldier’s first juveniles, though we like his second crop even better. We’ll have to see at the end of it all, whether our judges agree.
There are 45 in the draft, the show kicks off at 9am and by mid-day they’re all back in the kikuyu pens we know as the “BBs”. The judges comments are handed down, and we’re asked to sign them off. The verdict is in, and there’s nowhere to hide. It seems we were right though - this is a vintage crop, and we’re especially delighted by the vindication of the Visionaires, about whom we’ve been talking since the first one arrived. From a handful of runners in the United States, the stallion has already chalked up a Stakes winner and a Black type performer; they’ve been winning by daylight, and the hopes are high. The gods have been listening too, it seems: three Visionaires among the “nines” (which means “outstanding”). The Bankables have sparkled as well, with nothing less than an “eight”, and there are high-fives again for the Brave Tin Soldiers, who’ve weighed in with a fistful of big scores. The draft is deep, the horses look good, and the year ahead looks rosy. What else could a stud man want?
Bankable / Summerhill Archives (p)
Bankable had eight wins, four at Group and Stakes level, from 1200m to 2000m and more than R20million in earnings. Massive performances against Group One winners Raven’s Pass, Eagle Mountain and Passage Of Time.
And a Timeform rating of 122lbs.
Click above to watch a tribte to Kelso…
(Image : TVG - Footage : Vintage Horse Racing Videos)
The breeding season has started, and the first foals have hit the ground running, literally. There’s always an air of anticipation around the first of a new stallion’s progeny, and at Summerhill, that means in most years. This time it’s the turn of Visionaire and Bankable, and you’re always gratified as a studman to see some parental resemblance in the progeny. Typically, the Visionaires are good square types, with big engines and beautiful sculpted heads, while the Bankables are leggy and athletic with the scope of their father.
Inevitably, there will be the odd one that doesn’t measure up to your expectations, and just occasionally, because it’s natures way, there will be a runt in the litter. If you happen to own one, don’t despair. When her Count Fleet mare, Maid of Flight produced a tiny non-descript colt at her Woodstock Farm in Maryland, USA in the spring of 1957, the fabled American breeder, Allaire du Pont was despondent. By any measure, he was a “squib”, the most unlikely runner in the whole darn crop, but in the end, he was the runt who would live to be king. For five consecutive years (1960-1964) the dark bay son of Your Host, whom racegoers would know as Kelso, would dominate the Sport of Kings like no other before or after him. New York was his domain, and he frequented the headlines of the city’s newspapers to a degree that when he was finally retired, as august a paper as The New York Times exclaimed “It just won’t be Saturday without Kelso”. To this day, Americans believe his five consecutive Horse of the Year titles remain the most unattainable feat in American racing, along with Secretariat’s 2:24 clocking in the Belmont Stakes (Gr.1).
The title of “greatest gelding of all-time” is always a contentious matter, particularly when his competitors include Forego and John Henry; among the trio, they were a major force in racing for a span of 20 of 25 years, winning 84 Stakes races and 25 championships, including ten Horse of the Year titles. In the end though, Kelso was supreme. In the weight-carrying category, Kelso, who remained the “runt” of the three in terms of size, (he was just a pony next to the massive Forego), made 24 starts carrying 130 pounds or more, and finished in the money in 19 of them. He carried an average weight in these races of 131.5 pounds. Amazingly, he scored some of his greatest triumphs while burdened with heavy weights. He came from sixteen lengths back under 136 pounds in the 1961 Brooklyn Handicap (Gr.1), completing a sweep of New York’s Triple Crown. In the 1963 Suburban Handicap, he carried 133 to victory, conceding 22 pounds to the runner-up, and in the Aqueduct Stakes (Gr.1) that same year, under 134 pounds he defeated Crimson Satan (broodmare sire of Royal Academy and grand broodmare sire of Storm Cat).
In the category of consistency, Kelso won eight consecutive races in 1963, all stakes, with six of those victories under a 130 pound burden or more. As for versatility, Kelso was a major star on the grass, while Forego never competed in a single grass race. Kelso could run short, winning the Met Mile and the Jerome Mile, and a number of allowance sprints, but no horse in history could match his accomplishments at long distances on the dirt. Not only did he win the two mile Jockey Gold Cup five times, setting a track record in three of them including one which still stands. He won seven of eleven starts at 1,5 miles or longer. He also won the Woodward three times, the Whitney three times, the Suburban twice, the Aqueduct Stakes twice, and the Brooklyn, Gulfstream Park Handicap and Hawthorne Gold Cup, at different venues. Following three seconds in the Washington DC International, Kelso nailed down his fifth Horse of the Year title at age 7 by defeating his arch rival Gun Bow, by 4.5 lengths in the 1964 version, setting a track and an American record in the process.
Speed is relative, but the one trademark of Kelso which stands out is his remarkable closing acceleration, which gave him victory over 11 champions or classic winners: Never Bend, Jaipur, Mungo, Carry Back, Bald Eagle, Roman Brother, Decidedly, Candy Spots, Crimson Satan, T.V.Lark and Quadrangle. He was retired at age 9, with 39 victories, twelve seconds and two thirds from sixty three starts, and when that time came, he became the idol of a new set.
The Du Ponts are famed for their association with the textile and explosives industries, and at Woodstock Farm following his retirement, he was pampered like the noblest of kings. He had his own private mail box to accommodate the flood of fan mail. His name graced the welcome mat, and he slept on a bed of sugar cane fibres, with a specially embroidered blanket, and drank only bottled spring water from Arkansas, costing a dollar a gallon. His fan club numbered in the thousands, and his sweet tooth was often pacified with ice-cream sundaes or lumps of sugar, individually wrapped in special paper bearing his name and picture. Allaire du Pont was a champion herself, an Olympic Trap shooter and a champion tennis player. She knew the look of a champion.
So there you are: if you happen to have had a disappointing foal, there’s always a Kelso to provide the hope. And we can name a few too; Pierre Jourdan, the Guineas winning heroine, Mystery Guest, Hear The Drums, and the Group One winners Bridal Paths, Bianconi and Icy Air. The list is long, it’s eminent and it’s always refreshing.
Click above to watch a tribute to Bankable
(Image and footage : Summerhill Sires Film 2011/2012)
Racing people have always been superstitious, and Friday 13th has long carried its own demons. For Summerhill, it was a black day with the sudden death of the Dubai star, Bankable. South African racing fans, and especially the team at Summerhill, had developed a deep affection for a horse whose trademark was to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and he had developed a legion of supporters since his arrival at Summerhill. He died quickly from severe complications arising from colic, which had become inoperable.
Winner of eight races (including four at Stakes level), it was Bankable’s versatility from six furlongs to ten under the expert tutelage of Herman Brown Jnr, that appealed most, besides his 560kg physique, though it’s arguable that his best performances were in defeat. In England, he was second to the world champion miler Raven’s Pass in the Celebration Mile (Gr2), giving the winner six pounds, and his track record going down a short head to Eagle Mountain in the Darley Stakes (Gr3) sticks in memory to this day.
“He was a lovely horse, both as a specimen and as a personality, and he’d grown into an imposing stallion. His manners in the covering yard were exemplary, and his fertility was excellent, to the point that he will have exceeded 90% in foal by the time the final returns come in”, said Greig Muir, who has been managing the stallion barn at Summerhill for close to a quarter of a century now. “It’s a great loss not only to us, but to President Kadyrov, who had developed a special affection for the horse, to the degree of supporting with 24 of his own mares, all of which are tested in foal. All told, we will have of the order of 70 of his progeny on the farm, and hopefully there will be a couple of champions among them”.
He went on to say “there are parallels in the case of Dubai Millenium, Sheikh Mohammed’s favourite racehorse, who died in similar circumstances at the end of his first season at stud. The Sheikh’s affection for his horse led him to buy almost all of Dubai Millenium’s first crop, wherever he could get his hands on them, and he was handsomely repaid by the performances of Echo Of Light and Dubawi, who was not only a world-class racehorse, but also an international stallion of great significance. We have every hope of some déjà vu”.
(Photo : Cheveley Park Stud)
Investors in renaissance art are aware of the fortunes some have made in their pursuits of the works of the Dutch masters, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, Caspar Netscher and Floris van Dijck. Their works are priceless, and we know of at least one friend who made a personal fortune through her inheritance of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, so much so that in her lifetime at least, there was no longer a need to get up with the sparrows in the morning to attend a day job like the rest of us.
No doubt, the connections of the most precocious English two-year-old of the 2006 season, were hopeful that this miracle might be repeated for them when they named him Dutch Art, whose appeal to Blanford Bloodstock’s Tom Goff was such that he put his hands on him for 16,000 guineas at the Doncaster Yearling sale. The son of Medicean was a very smart juvenile, and included among his victories the stallion-making Middle Park Stakes (Gr1), contested since 1866 at October’s Champion Stakes meeting at Newmarket. As a three-year-old, he claimed the Greenham Stakes (Gr3) on his way to a third in the English Guineas, and looked like the real deal.
Retired with a Timeform rating of 124 to Cheveley Park Stud, home of his own sire, Medicean, Dutch Art has his first runners at the races this year, and to say that he is making a meal of things is an understatement. He already has 21 individual juvenile winners, including the aptly-named, Caspar Netscher (Gimcrack Stakes, Gr2), and several other Stakes performers. He’s not only a shoe-in for the title of Champion Freshman Sire, (from some formidable opposition, mind you, including the similarly named Excellent Art, who stands at Coolmore), but he could well turn out Europe’s overall champion sire of juveniles.
From a Summerhill perspective, the news is encouraging. Like our own Kahal and Darley’s American-based Street Cry, Medicean is another successful son of Machiavellian (also sire of Summerhill resident, Mullins Bay), and just arrived at the farm, is another equally well-performed son of Medicean, Bankable, a much-loved racehorse among the South African public for his exploits at the Dubai Racing Carnival over the past couple of years. Bankable proved his mettle against world champion Raven’s Pass, as well as Eagle Mountain and Passage Of Time in England, and while the rush for services to Bankable is probably due more to local fans appreciation of what we knew of him in Dubai, the news of Dutch Art’s early success is bound to rub off on his bookings. We don’t know Dutch Art in the flesh, but he’d have to be a helluva horse to match the physical attributes of our man, who weighed in at a hefty 560kgs in training with Herman Brown Jnr.