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Rebel King


rebel king klawevlei stud
rebel king klawevlei stud

Rebel King

(Photo : Kerry Jack)


Those that watched Thursday evening’s big sprint in Dubai, will have noticed that Rupert Plersch’sWar Artist came home smoking. This is not only great news for a long-time client of Summerhill, but it also franks the talents of a graduate of our paddocks. Rebel King was born into an “impossible” era of great sprinters in South Africa. As a son of National Emblem, he already had great shoes to fill from a Summerhill perspective, as he was the successor in the same yard (champion trainer Charles Laird’s) as the great Nhlavini, the only horse in history to line-up six consecutive years as an Equus Awards finalist.

As if that wasn’t enough, Rebel King also happened to arrive on the sprinting scene at a time when National Colourwas blazing her trail, and the emergence of the spectacular Mythical Flightwas taking shape. As if repelling these two horses was not already enough of a challenge, he came to the Natal Mercury Sprint (Gr.1) two seasons ago for yet another encounter with the odds-on Mythical Flight, at level weights over Clairwoods’ 1200m track.

At last, he came to conquer the horse that had beaten him in the Computaform Sprint (Gr.1) in Johannesburg, and having just got the job done, and with victory looking like it was in the bag, War Artist flashed up to beat him by a neck.

Of course, we know that War Artist has gone on to Group race glory in Europe during the past season, as well as running a narrow third in the Prix de ‘l Abbaye (Gr.1) Longchamp’s showcase for the best sprinters in Europe. Again, at Dubai’s Meydan Thursday evening, War Artist showed his mettle by lowering the colours of a strong field of sprinters, reminding us of his battles with Rebel King.

Very recently, our Bloodstock Manager, Kerry Jack, visited Rebel King at his new stallion home at the prestigious Klawervlei Stud (translated, literally, “clover vlei”). There’s hope in the Klawervlei quarter that he will be the successor to his own illustrious father, National Emblem.

Patronised by the owners of more than a hundred broodmares in his first season at stud, he’s an obvious hit, and a tribute to the horses graduating from our paddocks. His half-brother, Uncle Tommy, was 2009’s highest priced yearling at all sales in South Africa last year at R2,5 million, knocked down to the bid of Mike Bass acting on behalf of the doyen, Graham Beck.


horses running
horses running

(Photo : Leigh Willson)


13 AUGUST 2009

The 2009 Equus Awards, the “Oscars” of South African horseracing, will be presented by the Racing Association and Gold Circle at Emperors Palace in Gauteng on Thursday 13 August.

Apart from the prestigious awards made for outstanding equine and human achievement in the 2008/2009 racing season, the gala evening in the Theatre of Marcellus also features top-class entertainment in the form of musician extraordinaire Ian von Memerty in cabaret, rising star Dantaneo singing at the after-dinner party, and the Vienna String Quartet performing before and during dinner.

Athletics Superstar Oscar Pistorius will be Guest of Honour for the evening. Oscar entered the world of horseracing at the 2008 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale with the purchase of WATCHFUL by Kahal and the part purchase of INSASA by Galileo, both now in the stable of popular trainer Mike Azzie.

The master of ceremonies for the evening will be well-known racing filmmaker and television presenter Aiden Lithgow.

An important change to the 2009 awards is that both the 2008 and 2009 Canon Gold Cup results will be included in the judges’ deliberations.

The voting panel for the 2009 Equus Awards is as follows :

Colin Aitken

Jehan Malherbe

Mathew Lips

Roger Smith

Ken Nicol

Chad Cooke

Mel Kaplan

Nico Kritsiotis

Clyde Basel

Vee Moodley (non-voting chairperson)

The nominations for the 2009 Equus Awards are as follows :

Champion 2 year colt (distance immaterial)


Champion 2 year filly (distance immaterial)


Champion 3year old colt (distance immaterial)


Champion 3 year Filly (distance immaterial)


Champion older male (distance immaterial)


Champion Older filly/ mare (distance immaterial)


Champion sprinter (1000-1200 age/gender immaterial)


Champion middle distance horse (1400-2200 age/gender immaterial)


Champion stayer (2400 and up/ age/gender immaterial)


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The latest conversation with Charles Laird was a “bitter-sweet” affair, as it involved some promising young horses, and the departure of the stalwart, Summerhill-bred Rebel King, who’s just left the yard to take up stud duties at Klawervlei Stud in the Western Cape.

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MATING RECOMMENDATIONS : This is where it all begins...

Broodmare Manager, Annet Becker, with Broodmare Of The Year Aspirant, Cousin Linda, dam of this year’s Cape Flying Championship (Gr.1) Ace, Rebel King and top colt at the NYS, and nightwatch supervisor, Sizwe Ndledla with the dam of Canon Gold Cup (Gr.1) hero, Desert Links (Selborne Park). As Annet said, “It’s a great shot of them both – as well as the mares!”
(Photo : Leigh Wilson)

Our Bloodstock and Broodmare, Foal and Yearling Sales Managers, together with Assistant Managers Richard Hlongwane and Thulani Mnguni, have been scouring the paddocks during the last few weeks, alongside Mick Goss and photographer Leigh Wilson, scrutinizing the weanlings from last season as well as their mothers, with a view to the lengthy deliberations regarding the latter’s stallion mates for the forthcoming year.

This is a painstaking affair, with every detail being noted concerning the mares’ breeding histories, the progeny they’ve already produced, the trainers and the work rider’s views, and now of course, with the benefit of hindsight, we’re looking to the future.

Summerhill farm clients know that over the next few months, they’ll be receiving the first of the proposals from our mating team, whose work spans the wee hours of May, June and July.

There’s a reason why we get so many horses to the races, and why so many train on well into their sixth, seventh and eighth years, and that’s because of the work that gets done in such detail right now.

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If you take a walk down memory lane, you’ll very quickly reach the conclusion that the Computaform Sprint is in all probability the defining race on the South African sprinting calendar. In the last ten years alone, the names of Tommy Hotspur and Golden Loom (2 x’s) precede a succession of quite the most outstanding sextet of sprinters imaginable. Starting in 2002 with Laisserfaire, National Currency, Cataloochee (who had to get past six times Equus Awards nominee, Nhlavini to take the honours,) National Colour, Mythical Flight and J.J.The Jet Plane, you’re quick to realise what kind of a contest we’re in for.

This year is no different, as the horse who’s constantly had to take on these famous exponents of the art of sprinting, the Summerhill-bred Rebel King, is among those going to post, and he really is the one carrying the standard for the older brigade, though the second highest rated of the older horses is another graduate of our paddocks, Battlestar Express.

That said, the talk is about the youngsters right now, and here Warm White Night and Private Jet carry the tag of the young pretenders. Interestingly, stable jockey Anton Marcus has opted for the mount on Warm White Night, while Andrew Fortune is aboard our gladiator. They’ll have to be good, we think, as a win here for Rebel King would almost certainly close the door on the sprinters’ championship.

Karel Miedema reviews National Yearling Sale 2009

Uncle Tommy
(Photo : Jean Stanley)

karel miedemaKarel Miedema Sporting PostThe world can look in wonder at South Africa’s flagship National Sale, the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. True, the sale’s aggregate and average price followed world-wide trends downward, but closer scrutiny tells a remarkable story, writes Karel Miedema for the Sporting Post.


“The sale as a whole was down on the 2008 record breaker. Last year 501 lots accumulated a total of R200million, compared to 490 lots for R152million this time round. That’s a drop of R48million. Taking the top 10% of lots by sex for 2009, we find 26 colts selling for R750k or more, totaling R29million.


Similarly, 24 fillies sold for R500k or more, totaling R18million. Added together this gives R47million. Last year 40 colts went for R750k or more, and 43 fillies for R500k and up. Together they made for a total of R93million. The difference between these two top 10% totals is R46million – just about the amount by which the sale went down. In other words, the drop in R47million aggregate can be entirely attributed to the pricedrop amongst the top 10% of lots sold.


Median prices by sex tell their story, too. The median price is the mid-point between highest and lowest price, and in the case of horse auctions tells a truer story than a straight average would, because the high (extreme) prices have a lesser effect. The median price for colts in 2009 was R250k, down only 9% from R275k in 2008. As was predicted based on what happened at previous yearling sales this year, demand for fillies fell through the floor. The 2009 median for the weaker sex was R200k, down 20% versus the R250k in 2008. The overall median was down 15%, to R220k from R260k last year.


Given this background, the conclusion must be that South Africa is still on a high and that pre-sale doomsayers are eating humble pie, indeed. The future looks rosy.


Post sale comments from visitors echoed these sentiments. “In the current economic climate the South African National Yearling Sale is without a doubt the best performing thoroughbred sale in the world,’’ said Australian buyer Paul Guy, echoing auctioneer Steve Davis’ earlier assessment that this was his “strongest sale in the last six’’ he’d conducted around the globe.

Team Valor International’s Barry Irwin, on his fifth successive visit, secured eight foals and summed up the event, saying, “The value here is superb, it is a joy to come to this sale and I’ll be booking for next year.’’


Barry Irwin, renowned as one of the shrewdest buyers on the planet, described his purchase of Klawervlei Stud’s Lot 587, a daughter of Captain Al from Grade 1 winner Roxanne, as “incredible, because I would have gone to well over R1million for her and paid only R600k.’’ He added: “She’s probably the nicest looking filly I’ve seen. They don’t come better looking than this.’’


South Africa’s Champion breeders Summerhill Stud reaped the rewards for their great achievements of the last few years, selling the top-priced colt and filly at the sale. The Kahal colt, Uncle Tommy, a half-brother to Rebel King, was knocked down to Mike Bass for R2.4 million, while Team Valor bought first-season sire Solskjaer’s daughter Matara Garden for R1.5 million.”

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….