Viewing entries in
School Of Excellence

In Pursuit of Excellence


In Pursuit of Excellence

In its heyday as home to more than 900 horses belonging to owners across 22 timezones from Japan to the United States, Summerhill Stud and its associated hotel, Hartford House, was the Midlands’ most visited tourist destination. An average of 60-70 people signed the visitors’ roster at its historic main gate on a daily basis, and while that number included the plumber, the electrician and delivery vehicles, the principal magnet was its horses and its hospitality.




School of Equine Management Excellence
School of Equine Management Excellence

School of Equine Management Excellence

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)




Be sure to catch tonight’s insert on the

School of Equine Management Excellence

with production and interviews by

Jimmy Lithgow


summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email




School of Management Excellence - Class of 2012
School of Management Excellence - Class of 2012

School of Management Excellence - Class of 2012

(Photo : Leigh Willson)


Extract from the IEPUK Newsletter - December 2012

IEPUK (International Exchange Programme UK) were honoured to work with the Al Maktoum School of Management Excellence and the Childwick Trust in sponsoring Top Student of 2011, Thabani Nzimande to undertake a placement at the National Stud, Newmarket during 2012. We are delighted to be involved again in sponsoring The School of Management Excellence Top Student, Jason May, through our Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange to go to the National Stud, Newmarket 2013. Jason emerged as the Top Student of 2012 although it was a closely contested race with fellow student Thabiso Nako just missing out. Jason has a talent for handling difficult horses and is particularly interested in international breeding. During his placement he will be completing his IntSCA Development Programme which validates the skills he achieves.

Graduating as Top Student 2011 from the Al Maktoum School of Management Excellence, Thabani Nzimande has set a serious benchmark for his successors. As the first recipient to benefit from the Childwick Trust Scholarship, IEPUK were delighted to sponsor him through their Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange to attend the National Stud in Newmarket. Thabani worked hard and completed his training, and gained the National Stud’s Best Practical Student 2012 Award. A natural horseman and hardworking individual, on returning home to South Africa at the end of his placement he was appointed Assistant Sales Manager with Summerhill Stud. He is enjoying his new role especially his involvement with customers at the sales. He is still keeping in touch with fellow students.

School Of Management Excellence, South Africa
School Of Management Excellence, South Africa

Heather Morkel +27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email


School of Excellence preparations well under way

Colin Powell once said: “Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude”, and this philosophy is the driving force behind every element of preparation for both the building and the curriculum for the Al Maktoum School of Management Excellence.

While the agricultural team oversees the site preparation for the school, and the design is being tweaked to ensure maximum functionality while taking full advantage of the magnificent site which has been cleared, work continues behind the scenes on the development of a curriculum which will be worthy of international accreditation.

The curriculum is being designed to firstly offer entry-level candidates the opportunity for practical, hands-on training in the breeding operation as a whole and, secondly, to offer more advanced candidates the opportunity to specialise and to study a broad range of management studies which are pertinent to the industry and to the efficient running of a breeding operation.

Managers and business partners alike are hard at work adapting and collating the best study material possible, and the team is working towards finalising the final drafting process during the month of May.

Al Maktoum School of Management Excellence

maktoum school of excellence


The great thing about the horse business, as we’ve said before, is that every day there’s new history being made, some big and some small.

Today is a big day for Summerhill, as it signifies the beginning of one of the more spectacular milestones in our thirty years on this property. It’s two decades this year since we first commenced our association with the Ruling Family of Dubai, and one of the enumerable benefits that have accrued from that relationship has been the upliftment of our previously disadvantaged people. The presence of the Maktoum stallions at Summerhill has not only contributed in large part towards the enhancement of the genetic integrity of the South African Thoroughbred as we know it, but it has created many hundreds of jobs in our province, not only at Summerhill, but on neighbouring properties housing mares which patronise these stallions.

It’s appropriate then, as we pen these lines, that Sheikh Hamdan’s Kahal bestrides the leader-board on the General Sires Premiership, a timely reminder of what today means in the annals of the Champion Stud.

About a year ago, Sheikh Mohammed, the current Ruler of Dubai, proclaimed the foundation of the Al Maktoum Trust. Under the guidance of the Deputy Ruler, Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud, it has been decided the best way to honour the life of the late Ruler, Sheikh Maktoum, and the family’s contribution to the affairs of South African racing and breeding, was to erect a memorial of lasting consequence. This will take the form of the Al Maktoum School of Management Excellence, and while there has been considerable work done in establishing curricula, the recruitment of lecturers and the raising of funds, the actual foundations will be laid this morning.

The earthmovers will be on site within hours of this note, where we’ve selected a position of staggering beauty, for the location of a facility which is set to contribute substantially to the education and growth of management skills in the South African horse business.

For the record, Summerhill has just concluded its 32nd annual international scholarship, (mainly Zulu graduates) to the farms of the Sheikhs Maktoum in the USA, Ireland and England. In a programme which kicked off more than a dozen years ago, we’ve seen the growth of people beyond all expectations, and a new realisation of their self-worth and an infection in the rest of our people of standards hitherto unknown.


Have you ever been to Summerhill?

Our Zulu Dance Troupe performing on Stallion Day
(Summerhill Stud)

There are those who’ll tell you it’s one of the rare places on earth.

That it has a soul so deep and so spectacularly surprising. That its originality and its history are defining dimensions.

That for all its “busyness”, it also has its sanctuaries, hideouts and nesting places for our wild friends and their natural habitats. Places we look after by leaving them strictly alone.

And then there are things we never let go, like .

For those of our pals with the frenetic timetables, of the civilized, increasingly crowded and belligerent world, who “visit” us for their daily rush of racing’s news, views and the business of breeding, we’ve installed the most advanced therapy in the technological world.

Many will tell you that if you’ve never been to Summerhill, you’ve hardly been anywhere. Imagine the stories you could tell if you had. And while you can never beat the real thing in the real world, the virtual one will do for now.

It’s a little known fact that following the alarming events which ensued in South Africa in the latter part of 1989, with the collapse of the Rand on the default of the nation’s international debt repayments, that the enterprise of this business initiated a delegation to England to attract people into racing and breeding in South Africa.

Such a success was the visit that among those who were lured to the southernmost tip of what our civilized neighbours to the north call the “darkest continent”, were the Maktoum family, whose association with this farm celebrates 20 years next March.

Besides the horses belonging to Dubai Rulers, Summerhill has become home to more than 300 thoroughbreds belonging to friends and investors spanning seven time zones, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Dubai (of course), Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Monaco, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

It’s remarkable what you can achieve when you’re desperate, and today it’s a source of pride at the farm to know that this is the largest concentration of foreign owned thoroughbreds on any one property, anywhere in the world.

You’d sometimes have to ask yourself (if not pinch yourself) what it is that attracts these people into keeping their horses here so far from their homes, and it’s probably an answer that lies in the long history of the province of KwaZulu Natal. Let’s not forget that the Zulus who populated this area almost 1300 years ago, fought tooth and nail, in the first instance to amalgamate their own nation, and thereafter to preserve the territory they owned, against all odds. In the early 1800’s with the influx of European migrants principally from Britain and Holland (in the form of the Boers,) dominion over what was seen as some of the finest and most productive farm land in the world suddenly become an issue, to the extent that three nations (the British, the Boers and the Zulus) witnessed the greatest moments in their respective military histories within two hours of Summerhill.

The great battles of Isandlwana and Hlobane, Rorke’s Drift, Colenso, Majuba and Spioenkop sit deep in the breasts of these people, while its an intriguing fact of history that the greatest Englishman of all-time, Winston Churchill and the greatest African of all time, Nelson Mandela, were both captured within half an hour of Summerhill in 1899 and 1961 respectively. Don’t forget though, the liberator of India, Mohandas Ghandi, spent 22 years in this province, and that he turned up the battle of Spioenkop as a stretcher bearer in a scrap he had nothing to do with.

What was it then, in the subconscious of these people that attracted them here, and continues to tug at the heartstrings of the many who are part of the Summerhill story these days? We guess it must have something to do with the splendour of our environment, one of the best climates in the world, and of course, the people who live and work here. The Zulus are some of the most enchanting, respectful and hard-working people in the world, and it’s a tribute to their creativity and their appreciation of the performing arts that our little dance troupe, which has already ranked second and third respectively in the World Traditional Championships in Tokyo and Hong Kong that they’re off to the United States towards the end of the year as cultural ambassadors for South Africa. This time, though, we think they could come home the World Champions.

Until we meet again.




SUMMERHILL’S 4TH CHAMPIONSHIP : Another ground-breaker.

team summerhill stud equus awardsMick and Cheryl Goss with (from top) Greig Muir, Michael Booysen, Velaphi Mbanjwa,
Linda Norval, Catherine Hartley, Siyabonga Mlaba, John Motaung, Kerry Jack,
Heather Morkel, Doug Couperthwaite, Marlene Breed and Tarryn Liebenberg
(JC Photographics)

When Summerhill first aspired to the coveted title of South Africa’s Champion Breeder, it became only the sixth entity in history to do so.

For the first time, the most tightly-held trophy in racing found its home on the eastern side of the Drakensberg, and in a sense, the centre of the universe moved a little to the right, if you’re thinking of horses. On Thursday evening at Emperors Palace, Summerhill was acknowledged as the first awardee to receive four consecutive Championships in any category, since the inception of the Equus Awards.

But what really was significant, was the number of people that shared in its celebration. Summerhill is not about one man or one family’s ambitions. It has raised generations, educated children, staffed other farms and opened the world to many who might not’ve known life otherwise. It’s a monument to hard work, sacrifice and innovation.

Besides those that earn their crust at Summerhill, on the podium we shared the joys of the Premiership with at least 300 others, those who work alongside us, and those who partnered us in the horses that took us there. Without them, we’d still be running for place money.

To show how much it meant to all of us, we painted the City of Gold in a colour which matched this morning’s sunrise, just to let them know the Summerhill team had been visiting.

After four consecutive visits, we’re getting to know our way around Jo’burg too. It’s one helluva town, if our memories serve us properly.

Remember this though, if you want to join the party, it’s never too late.

Just dial the Champions.



Summerhill Sires Brochure Launch

summerhill stud staffTarryn Liebenberg, Annet Becker, Douw Coetzee, Robert Mbhele and Prince Mdunjane
(Grant Norval)

This past Friday saw the launch of the 2008/2009 edition of the Summerhill Sires brochure. This is the 20th anniversary of the brochure with Mick Goss at the helm, and the 10th year that Xpressions Advertising & Design has headed up the creative team.

Mick and Cheryl Goss celebrated the occasion with all senior Summerhill, Vuma and Hartford staff in the Summerhill Stud boardroom. Also present were Rob Caskie of Fugitives Drift Lodge and Karen de Haan, previously of Hartford but now also at Fugitives. Karen celebrates her 50th birthday this week - congratulations Karen.

As Felicity Hayward, CEO of Xpressions, presented the first brochures, she mentioned that this year’s edition is really “home-grown”, with significant photographic contributions being made by members of the Summerhill Team. This edition of the Sires brochure is as grand and exciting as we have come to expect, with a moody, textured look and brimming with stories, ideas and tributes. The cover is a work of art in itself; finished with the finest quality matt lamination, gold foiling and spot UV varnish.

Brochures will be mailed to all clients and connections of Summerhill within the next couple of weeks, and we do hope you get months of enjoyment from your original. 

Should you not be on our mailing list and would like your own personal copy, please contact us at



Launch of Summerhill Sires Brochure 2008/2009


Today marks an historic day for Team Summerhill with the official launch this afternoon of the much anticipated, and eagerly awaited, 2008/2009 edition of the Summerhill Sires Brochure.

See our men; Albarahin, Cataloochee, Hobb Alwahtan, Kahal, Malhub, Muhtafal, Mullins Bay, Ravishing, Solskjaer, Stronghold and Way West as they’ve never been seen before, get an insight into the talented and dedicated individuals that make up Team Summerhill and see stunning images of arguably the most beautiful thoroughbred estate in Africa, which we are honoured and privileged to call home.

If you are already on our mailing list, we will be sending you your personal copy of this exquisite publication next week. If you’re not, we invite you to email us your details and we’ll ensure that you don’t miss out :





The 2008/2009 edition of the Summerhill Sires Brochure is about to be released. Are you on the mailing list? If not, e-mail us now with your details : .



"Ubuhle bendoda zinkomo zayo"... as the Zulu saying goes.


For a nation whose renown has come from their heroism in battle, it might seem strange that their quaintness is most often the source of Zulu intrigue these days.  The Zulus have a saying in their language that goes “Ubuhle bendoda zinkomo zayo”, which means that a man’s attraction is often judged by his cattle.  This connection  with the stock we raise is as old as mankind himself, and it has endowed our people with an instinctive understanding of Thoroughbreds, remarkable patience and beautiful, sympathetic hands when they’re on board a youngster.

Every year, in the European spring, we send a half dozen or so of our young people abroad to work a season on the Irish, American, and English farms of the Rulers of Dubai, the Sheikhs Maktoum.  Those that have worked with them from around the globe will tell you of their competence, their composure and their diligence.

They are admired everywhere for their boldness, their character and of course, for the stories they tell. Zulu legend and custom remember, is in the mouths of its custodians, not in the history books.  These are the people that serve our mares, deliver the foals and raise them to maturity.  They school the youngsters, prep them for sale and teach them to run.  Well, not quite.  You don’t have to teach our freshmen to run, but you might well play a part in helping them realize their potential and develop their confidence.

You see, the Thoroughbred has been bred to run.  His genealogy is the best recorded history of any species, including mankind’s. For the best part of 300 years, every ancestor of the Thoroughbred has been carefully tabulated and throughout this time it’s been selectively bred for its speed, its courage, stamina and durability, its grace and elegance, and that’s why it’s the noblest of God’s creatures.  What during that time have we been selecting for in the evolution of homo sapiens? Probably not much more than fame and fortune, and that’s why so often we are what we are.

The Summerhill-bred is a genetic masterpiece, the product of a painstaking process of identifying the superior genes from the best blood over a period of seven decades.  An assembly of these magnificent creatures can be likened to a gallery of the Old Masters. They have the capacity to impress your friends, and in their acceleration, to leave your enemies behind.



Summerhill Stallion Day : A bit of History

Summerhill Stallion Day
(Photos : Michael Nefdt)

The Summerhill Stallion Day was a rousing success, with visitors from across the whole racing world. Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, France, Turkey , Germany, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and the length and breadth of South Africa. In the end, we fed more than 700 people, and we’re almost frightened to look at the booze bill this morning!

The new horses, Mullins Bay, Stronghold and Ravishing were at their brilliant best, and the business undertaken by our stallions booking department through the afternoon was a testament to their class. We know the times are supposedly tough across the economic spectra of the world, but you’d be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about if you’d attended the auction. South Africans have long been known for their generosity, but yesterday the world was here, and they opened their hearts and emptied their pockets in no uncertain manner. This has long been one of the best parties in racing, but Sunday was a spectacle for everyone, and those who won the bidding duels will have their names carved forever upon the bricks at the Al Maktoum School Of Excellence, which will be a work in progress by the time of next year’s Stallion Day. We have some ambitious plans for this school.

Those that honoured the day by putting up their hands for this very worthy cause were:

Horse                  Advertised Price   Auction Price    Buyer

Albarahin            R10 000                 R5 000            Invermooi Stud
Cataloochee       R20 000                  R22 000         Dr. Jim Hay
Hobb Alwahtan  R12 000                  R18 000         Jo de Nys
Kahal                  R50 000                  R55 000         Chips Pennells
Malhub                R20 000                 R20 000          Koos de Klerk
Muhtafal             R60 000                  R110 000       Dr. Jim Hay
Mullins Bay         R30 000                 R42 000          Ronnie Napier
Ravishing            R10 000                 R20 000          Barry Clements
Solskjaer            R20 000                 R32 000          Robert Harrison
Stronghold          R40 000                 R42 000          Chips Pennells
Way West           R16 000                 R20 000          Rupert Plersch
                                                          R386 000

1 x 3L magnum Waterford Cab Sauv (2004) R13 000   Fitri Hay

Total Raised                                            R399 000

In the event, with just one exception, the stallions all made at least their service fees and in some instances, considerably more, a tribute to their quality and a statement on the atmosphere that marked the occasion. By some stretch, this was the biggest price ever for a mangnum of Waterford Cab.

For the record, Stallion Day’s equivalent of Man of the Match, or Underbidder of the Day, went to Highlands Farm’s Mike Sharkey who had a crack at both the Muhtafal, the Kahal services, and then underbid on the Waterford Cabernet. He, Marsh Shirtliff and  Jet Master’s Devines were all here to celebrate their big day at the Vodacom Durban July where Pocket Power and Dancer’s Daughter chalked up the first deadheat in 41 years.



An insight into Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum

sheikh mohammed bin khalifa al maktoum

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum
(Nicholas Goss)

charl pretoriusCharl Pretorius FreeracerOn Sunday 27 April, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum became the first member of the Maktoum family to attend a race meeting on Hong Kong soil. He flew in with his entourage to see his charge Archipenko go to post in the QEII Cup at Sha Tin racecourse.

Punters on the island failed to see this as a good omen for the Mike de Kock-trained runner - he was easy to back at around 14-1. Barring Terry Spargo, the pre-race presentation team didn’t give Archipenko a top-three chance, ignoring Mike De Kock and jockey Kevin Shea’s widely publicised confidence. Of course, he won.

The racing world will sit up and take notice. De Kock and his Dubai-based patron’s achievements at the 2008 Dubai Racing Carnival signalled the turning of the ignition of what could well become the luxury vehicle of world thoroughbred racing.

In Hong Kong, De Kock’s foot stepped on the pedal. Now, the conquering of the English racing world awaits and not many will bet against the high-riding South African trainer and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum speeding away from the opposition like a sports-model Bentley.

The image of a smart white Bentley flared up when I was asked to describe my few encounters with Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa and to interview him for Racing Express.

Two incidents sprung to mind.

The first: In his Dubai Palace, packed with many important invitees sitting in a large circle around his reception hall, Sheikh Mohammed stands up when his eight-year-old grandson joins the guests. His associates and guests rise as one, following suit. The boy touches noses with his grandfather, then steps around the room to greet the others with a handshake. Then, we all sit down. While this might be an Arabic tradition, the Sheikh performs the ceremony with a touching humbleness.

The second: After a lavish Palace dinner, around 9pm, everyone walks up the road leading from the Palace to the Sheikh’s stable complex. The Sheikh himself is driven there in his Bentley. He shows us his newly built stables, every one about as large as a one-bedroom apartment. When the group disbands to go home, De Kock paces back down the road to the Palace parking lot. He is some way ahead of us. The Sheikh’s magnificent car stops next to him and the window rolls down. He offers Mike a lift.

“No, thank you Sheikh Mohammed, I need the exercise,’’ quips Mike. At this point, Sheikh Mohammed opens his door, steps out and says: “I will walk with you!’’ He takes his walking stick and together they strut down the dimly lit road, talking away, with the Bentley in slow pursuit. Looking at them from behind, in deep conversation, almost arm-in-arm, one realises that this is a partnership built to last.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum is a calm, humble and soft-spoken man - one wouldn’t say that he is the highly energetic type who actually cycles and spear-fishes in his spare time. In the often brash boldness of Mike he has found a somewhat contrasting personality that is nonetheless one that enchants him, one he can perfectly relate to.

Mike represents Sheikh Mohammed’s racing vision for the future and they get on like a house on fire. “He is a teacher, he is a superstar, perhaps the best in the world,’’ says the Sheikh when we sit down to tea in his office in downtown Dubai.

In racing circles Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum is sometimes confused with his first cousin, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the owner of the all-blue Godolphin thoroughbred empire.

But Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa (son of Khalifa) is the Minister of Land Affairs in Dubai, a position he has proudly held since 1971. His cousin, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid (son of Rashid) is the Ruler of Dubai and also Prime Minister of the seven-state UAE.

They grew up together, went to school together and then received tertiary education in England at the Bell School of Languages, being taught English as a first language. When Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa came back to Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid went to military school in the UK to further his interests in the military.

Time for a question: How much has he, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, had to do with the emergence of Dubai as one of the most attractive tourist destinations for South Africans and other international travellers?

He stresses: “The Dubai that you see today is the result of the vision of Sheikh Rashid, an extraordinary man whose ideas were and are being implemented by his son, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. He is a similarly gifted visionary. He was his father’s eager student, his father’s beautiful vision for the UAE lives on in him.

“As for me, I was appointed by Sheikh Rashid 37 years ago. He gave me his trust and my department has carried out his vision for Dubai, we have followed his instructions implicitly.’’

He adds: “The great city you see today, in 2008, will look remarkably different if you were to come back in 2015. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has created this sprawling metropolis, but I assure you this is only the beginning!

“Dubai and the UAE are not dependent on oil at all, that is the wrong perception. Our income now and in the future lies in tourism and property development. Dubai will not stop growing. It is amazing what today’s architects can do and they can do it anywhere they want, regardless of the quality of the soil, which incidentally is better away from Dubai and deep into the desert than in Dubai itself.

“We have some challenges, like roads and transport, but the solutions are a part of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s master plan. He has created this to invest in our people, to empower them. He already knows the way ahead, but he is not a one-man show. He asks for expert advice, everyone works closely together.’’

The United Arab Emirates, with Dubai as its flagship, is a world leader in the fields of tourism, architecture, construction and finance.

The Department of Land Affairs conducts business to the value of an astonishing AED 3 billion and more per month (the equivalent of about R6 billion). Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa and his staff are charged with administrating, streamlining and regulating the incredible demand for property and the awarding of business rights to foreign investors.

He explains: “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has instituted a new law to protect local and foreign investors. Foreigners are allowed to develop land here, but they are required to fully complete their existing projects before they can go on to the next ones. This way all their financial commitments are concluded without ramifications and other investors get a chance to enter the market.’’

Dubai is proud model of the peaceful blending of Arabic and Western cultures, something that seems impossible in other parts of the world. My next question is obvious: How did they achieve this?

“We have stable traditional rule in Dubai with no political upheaval, and we achieve harmony by making people feel welcome in our land. How do you feel when you come here? You feel good, you are respected and you respect us in return. We are a peaceful people and we are sharing our vision of the world with everyone.’’

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa’s love for thoroughbreds grew only in the last decade. He formerly trained and rode Arabian horses in endurance races of up to 120km, which were completed in a day. He also kept and trained camels along with the other Sheikhs.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Maktoum were the horse lovers since their early years. I liked the marathon horses. It was only when Sheikh Hamdan gave me four horses as gifts back in 1996 that my interest was kindled. One of them was Map of Stars, who won first time out, and we were delighted. But they were later sold.’’

In 2000, when Sheikh Mohammed and his right-hand man Mohammed Khaleel drove by the Dubai Polo Grounds on the way to his Palace, they decided to stop over and soon became involved in polo; the Sheikh played some polo himself. This led to another venture into thoroughbred racing and he invested in Sir Clive, by Bigstone, bought in New Zealand before the NZ Derby and placed second in the that race and the AJC Derby.

It is here that the picture started to unfold. Mohammed Khaleel began a study of thoroughbred pedigrees and the Sheikh expanded his Australian operation with more racehorses under the banner of “Al Adiyaat’’.

The growing popularity of the Dubai Racing Carnival on his doorstep prompted Sheikh Mohammed in 2006 to expand his operation to Dubai and Mike de Kock was recommended as a trainer to support him. They met with Mike and Mohammed Khaleel visited South African on the Sheikh’s behalf and liked it.

Mike suggested Candy Critic as a first purchase; the deal was secured just a few weeks before the SA Oaks, a race which the daughter of Candy Stripes won in good style. And so Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa’s first SA runner was a winner, like his first Dubai runner 10 years earlier.

Late in 2006 Sheikh Mohammed sent Mike to Argentina to buy rising star Husson, by Hussonet, but the price changed a few times and the deal fell through. On the same trip Mike, Jehan Malherbe and John McVeigh found Asiatic Boy, a one-time winner who had finished second to Husson, and secured him at a better price. Asiatic Boy’s sparkling performances since then include the 2007 Dubai Triple Crown and a second in the 2008 Dubai World Cup.

Out of the blue, in 2008, came another one-time winner in Honour Devil, who swept away the opposition in Dubai and won the Grade 2 UAE Derby, and Archipenko, from relative obscurity in the UK to glory in Dubai and Hong Kong.

With three aces in his hand of cards, Sheikh Mohammed is keen on making a huge success of Mike’s English raid this year and says he will support his trainer with whatever is required, including a stable complex with its own track and first-class facilities.

“It is the aim of Al Adiyaat to buy horses anywhere in the world, it doesn’t matter where. If Mike finds the right ones, we will buy them as we’d like to win big races all over the world, in the UK, the USA, Australia and South Africa!’’

Does that mean that Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum will be launching a challenge on the world stage to Godolphin? Does he wish to be as big and prominent as Godolphin?

He states: “I can be that, if God so wishes, but it is not in my hands at all. If things go that way, I will be happy. It is in the hands of God. But there will never be a contest for glory or world racing domination between myself and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. We are healthy competitors on the racetrack, like we were years ago when we rode against each other in endurance races. But that is where it stops.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid does everything to the glory of God and Dubai and so do I. If he were to come to me tomorrow and asked if he could have my horse Honour Devil for Godolphin, I will oblige, I will give the horse to him. All to the glory of Dubai.’’



Summerhill Stud : Fine Dining with Fine Company

                                          Annet Becker, Kevin Mitchell, Mick Goss, Peter Brown,
                           Greig Muir, Stephen Gill, Tarryn Liebenberg, Alistair Gordon

After the National Yearling Sales we hosted auctioneer, Steve Davis to lunch at Summerhill. Accompanying him was trainer, Alistair Gordon. Also present were our Evergreen clients, Kevin Mitchell and Peter Brown.

Our VIP guest was Stephen Gill, representative of Darley Stud, UK, and champion of our School of Excellence. The establishment of this management school will add considerable value to the educational envioronment in the industry in which we operate. We were delighted and privilaged to host him again.

Posted by Linda Norval 



STEPHEN GILL : The Al Maktoum School of Excellence

stephen gillStephen Gill Also on board at the moment is Stephen Gill, former financial director to the late Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum al Maktoum, and now CEO of Rabbah Bloodstock, one of the present ruler, Sheikh Mohammed’s companies.

His purpose is the new Management School of Excellence, which we plan to have on stream for this time next year. This is as significant a development for Summerhill as anything in our history, and we’ll be sharing news of it over the next few days.