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National Emblem





(Photo : Summerhill Stud Archives)


(National Emblem (SAF) - Valley Mist (SAF)

The frenetics surrounding the Cape Premier Yearling Sale and the J&B Met, and the speed at which the social goings-on were taking place, made us oblivious to the fact that the World Economic Forum was in full swing in Davos. Sadly, and significantly for us, we even missed the death in relative infancy, of our ageless champion, Nhlavini. If you’re chalking up the great names of those that grew up here, he’d be up there with the best : we speak of St Pauls, Mowgli, Sentinel, Magic Mirror, Panjandrum, Dancing Duel, Imperial Despatch, Spook and Diesel, Pick Six, Igugu, Pierre Jourdan, Rebel King and Imbongi.

For that matter, the Markus and Ingrid Jooste’s colour bearer would’ve ranked with best anywhere. Apart from Pocket Power, he must be the only horse to have lined up six times for an Equus Award, where he walked away with the championship on three occasions as the nation’s leading sprinter, the last time at eight years of age. The Brits will tell you that the Zulus are feared for their exploits in battle, and Nhlavini (Zulu for “playboy”), would stand right alongside the warrior kings, Shaka and Cetewayo, as a racehorse.

A championship class campaigner by any standards, he got more than he would’ve anywhere else in the hands of Charles Sydney Laird. We use his name to emphasise his ancestory, as a clue to the expertise that made Nhlavini what he was. There was a sentimental attachment to the progeny of National Emblem in general in the Laird family, but nowhere was it stronger than it was with Nhlavini. Religiously, at the end of his winter campaigns in KwaZulu Natal, his trainer sent him home to his birthplace, where he occupied the sacred paddock which in the 60s, housed the multiple champion sire, Masham, in the shadow of the great eucalypts of Hartford House.

Rested, the brave soldier always returned to the fray, always faithful, always true. This was especially so in his latter years, when it seemed his heart was willing but his limbs could take no more. His master was always masterful, and it was a measure of his great respect for the great horse that in his latter years, there were only two races on the official calendar. The Diadem Stakes and the Cape Flying Championship, at six, seven and eight. His three consecutive Diadems and two Flying Championships (some still say three) tell us the respect was mutual. His harvest was three million and more.

His father’s tally at Summerhill alone included some fifteen Stakes winners, among a litany of Black type scorers, the best of them (Nhlavini, Rebel King, Carnadore, all champions, Decorated Hero, Princely Heir and Lotti), trained by Charles Laird, while top-liners, Fez (Gr1), Royal Emblem (Gr1) and Thekkady, were also inmates of our paddocks carrying the National Emblem hip- sticker on their backsides.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Further Information :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email


National Yearling Sales : What a Sunday!


As big days go, it doesn’t get much better, especially if you’re in the Summerhill corner. Two Group winners, three Group seconds, and an impressive juvenile in the second all added up to something approaching R600,000 accumulative earnings for the day. It could’ve been better though, as one wag commented, “If only the wind had been blowing our way, and the three seconds had made it home!”

On a day in which fortunes might have been made, if our Australian, French and English friends had kept the faith (but typically deserted us for those raised in “greener” pastures) there were a number of notable performances:

o LABEEB finally came home, notching up a consecutive treble including a double in the Derby and Oaks Trials for the one man who put his hand up very early on, Ormonde Ferraris.

o Charles Laird and Markus Jooste achieved an historic trifecta with a one-two-three in the R1million Horse Chestnut Stakes, only to notch up another graded stakes victory in the next event with Rebel King.

o If your business is selling horses, having a graded stakes winner related to one of your entries on the eve of its appearance in the ring hopefully contributes a little extra to the bottom line, so Rebel King’s swoop in the dying stages of the Senor Santa not only took him another step closer to Champion Sprinter honours, but also added value to his yearling brother Uncle Tommy, who became the sales-topper (first and second sessions) yesterday afternoon – more on that later.

o That’s not the lot though, as Lot 305, Imbongi’s half sister by Solskjaer saw her page significantly lifted this weekend with juvenile Mahubo’s Grade 3 third on debut, and Spring Garland’s magnificent defeat of the nation’s second-rated female runner, She’s On Fire in the time-honoured Gerald Rosenberg Stakes G2.

o Not to be outdone, the evening meeting at Greyville kicked off with a trifecta straightliner for KAHAL, who notched up three in rapid succession.

Another great day at the office….

National Yearling Sale '09 Update

charles laird (heather morkel)Charles Laird at the TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, Johannesburg
(Photo : Heather Morkel)


Look, let’s not forget, this is only a news flash reflecting just one night’s business, but on the face of things, a horse sale which is only 21,7% off last year’s record highs, given the state of the international economy, has to be a good result.

With international bourses down 40-50% and our own stock market in a 30% retreat, you’d have expected at least a similar outcome at the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. But those who tuned in to Alec Hogg’s interview with Summerhill’s Mick Goss on Moneyweb’s business affairs programme last evening, would have been buoyed by the news of the number of “wannabe” buyers parading through the TBA’s sales complex at Gosforth Park, in the days leading into the sale, and his prediction that the “ponies” would outperform the market.

Like the three kings of biblical fame, they’ve come from the UK, the USA, Hong Kong, Australia, France and Singapore, to pay their respects to the cream of South African breeding, and from what we’ve heard, they’ve not been disappointed at what’s on show.

In the end, an average of R306 500 was a pleasing return, especially in the light of the fact there were only three millionaires in the evening to influence matters, and nothing approaching R2million.

Battle of the night, despite a top price of R1,5million, was the right to own the Spectrum half sister to Warm White Night and dual Gold Cup hero, Highland Night, in which the formidable combination of Markus Jooste and Charles Laird finally prevailed at R1,3million.

What is evident thus far, is that the gap between the progeny of the big three sires and those of the next tier, is no longer so glaringly apparent. Emerging sires Kahal, Muhtafal, National Emblem and Captain Al are growing in popularity with every sale, which the Summerhill team has to be delighted with the first showing of Cataloochees (2 fillies at R350k and R210k respectively), while Solskjaer is expected to kickoff in a big way Sunday.

Highlights of Summerhill’s evening were a R450k Kahal, brother to Gold Cup winner, Desert Links, (sold for the late Sheikh Maktoum’s Financial Director Stephen Gill, and Greig and Michelle Muir’s Muhtafal own sister to Alejate, at a cool R425k from the indomitable Michael Azzie.

Click here to listen to Alec Hogg’s interview with Mick Goss


KZN Breeders Awards 2006

KZN Breeders celebrated their Annual Breeder Awards Dinner on 17 November 2006. Summerhill secured the following trophies:

REBEL KING (National Emblem x Cousin Linda)
Bred by Summerhill Stud

NHLAVINI (National Emblem x Valley Mist)
Bred by Summerhill Stud

BOLD ELLINORE (Kahal x Ellinore)
Bred by Summerhill Stud

NHLAVINI (National Emblem x Valley Mist)
Bred by Summerhill Stud

ALBARAHIN stands at Summerhill Stud

VALLEY MIST (Mount Hagen x Misty for Me)
Summerhill Stud

MUHTAFAL stands at Summerhill Stud

Summerhill Stud



Out and About 25 July 2006


The ‘class of 2005’ were under scrutiny today, 145 weanlings individually assessed to determine whether they would be retained by their owners or channelled into National Sale or Ready to Run preparations. Mick Goss plus broodmare managers Kerry Jack and Annet Becker & Ready to Run and Yearling manager Tarryn Liebenberg spent the better part of 8 hours immersed in detailed conformation assessment, pedigree updates, and how the weanlings have come on in the past months. The inevitable clutter of clipboards, pens, Palm Pilots - and sunglasses - oversaw quite a few early stand outs.

My personal favorites were a Muhtafal filly out of Queen of Savannah and a Muhtafal colt out of Snooty Lady, both of whom were (in Australian parlance anyway) “absolute crackers”. It’s hard to pick out one stallion over another but Kahal (as always) has some exceptional youngsters as does Albarahin, Malhub and Labeeb.  

One point that came up on a number of occasions today was the good bone on these youngsters. We leave it to you to validate that opinion when the wraps come off these yearlings next year.  

A “few to watch” include:


Malhub x Kefaah’s Secret
Malhub x Paris to Dakar
Labeeb x Blushing Summer
Kahal x Shoe Dance
Requiem x Love’s Desire
National Emblem x Longfields
Malhub x Greet the Greek
Muhtafal x Squiddgy
Labeeb x Dance on Silver
London News x Chorus Line
National Emblem x Western Flash
Muhtafal x Mazoon
Malhub x East Africa


Rambo Dancer x Competitive Edge
Albarahin x Civil Affair
Rambo Dancer x Fidelity Bond
Malhub x Miss Wonderful
National Emblem x Balsam
Indigo Magic x Vinn Fizz
Labeeb x Hill of Plenty
Rakeen x Queen of Aspen
Albarahin x Particular Passion
Fort Wood x Tudor Vino
Albarahin x Western Glow
Lavery x Beyond the Call

Photo [L-R] Annet, Tarryn and Mick. For additional photos from today please visit our photos page “A Day in the Life Of …” at the following URL and scroll through to the photos of the weanlings.