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Sires Brochure 2007/2008

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A personal tribute to MULLINS BAY

mullins_bay_stallionMullins Bay
(Summerhill)

 

mick goss ceoMick Goss Summerhill CEO

I chose to personally write this article because of the attachment we have developed with this horse at Summerhill. We think he’s as important a sire prospect as we’ve been associated with.

I was born into a horseracing family, and ever since I can remember, my roots have been drenched in the game. We grew up in one of the remotest parts of South Africa, and while it was an idyllic existence, one of its biggest drawbacks was that it took the Post Office a fortnight to deliver the Duff’s Turf Guide.

My grandfather owned the 1946 Durban July hero, St Pauls, yet neither he nor my father ever dreamt of owning a runner in an English Group One. I have to admit, it never entered my head that it might happen to me either. But then, there’ve been many things we never believed possible at Summerhill.

Who would’ve thought, for example, that the Ruling family of Dubai, the world’s largest owners of racehorses, might one day choose to keep such a fine collection of stallions and mares on our farm, of all the farms in the world, ten kilometres outside the dustiest little “dorp” in Zululand?

Besides having a horse good enough to run in England’s Champion Stakes, imagine the thrill when that same horse took Summerhill and an old varsity mate, to the ringside of the Dubai World Cup meeting with a “live” chance.

Such a horse is MULLINS BAY, whose association with us started five years ago. I was at the Tattersalls Houghton sale in England with Sheikh Hamdan’s Racing Manager, Angus Gold. We arrived at the Meon Valley Stud yard to find the Coolmore brains trust looking at a big, athletic colt. Their inspection took unusually long, and it was strange, because it wasn’t their “style” to buy a son of MACHIAVELLIAN, a Maktoum stallion.

It didn’t take much to realise why. Here was a horse with a prince’s pedigree, the looks of a demi-god and the movement of a panther. He wound up one of Europe’s most expensive yearlings and Coolmore got their man, outgunning Sheikh Mohammed.

MULLINS BAY ’s racecourse debut was delayed several times on account of a recurring injury, but from the time of his first imperious triumph, we knew he was as talented as his pedigree said he should be.

By the time we “got” him, he was already a multiple Stakes and Group winner, and Timeform’s Black book had acknowledged his talents with a 121 rating. That’s four pounds superior to FORT WOOD, and a tad better than FOVEROS, and placed him in the top 1% of racehorses worldwide.

No doubt, you’ll tell me there’s a lot of sentiment riding on the back of this horse for the Summerhill team. You’re right, and that’s why I’ve written this tribute personally. So in order to get some objectivity into the discussion, let’s rather let Mike de Kock do the talking.

He’ll tell you he inherited a “cripple”, that the horse never quite got over the chips he carried in his fetlock, and he was continuously bothered by a “suspensory”. Yet he’ll also tell you he’s as talented a horse as he’s had in his hands, that whenever he worked with ORACLE WEST, he “towed” him. And we all know how close ORACLE WEST came to winning the Dubai Sheema Classic (Gr1).

Because he was restricted to training him in the pool and on the treadmill, for most of the time he was limited to running him at distances short of his best. Yet MULLINS BAY produced two sparkling performances at a mile against the World Champion RAMONTI, and on World Cup night in the Godolphin Mile.

The only way I’ll be able to share the privilege of an association with a horse like MULLINS BAY, is to invite you personally to Summerhill. Better still, if you can make it to our Stallion Day on the first Sunday in July, we’ll show you both MULLINS BAY and STRONGHOLD. We don’t believe we’ve had two smarter horses in our lives.

Posted by Mick Goss

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Mullins Bay Pedigree

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Watch Mullins Bay in the John Smith Magnet Cup

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Watch Mullins Bay in the 2007 Godolphin Mile


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LINDA NORVAL - DNA of Champions

linda norvalLinda Norval

A legend of our own time manages the Summerhill Farm office. This one was here the day the gates opened, when the office was just a part of the passage in the old farmhouse. Yes, the same farmhouse built by the Deputy Prime Minister, old Colonel Richards, the one that housed the Royal Family.

This is the daughter-in-law of the legend that bred every great horse that ever deserved a mention among the legends that made Hartford the greatest thoroughbred nursery of its era. She is the same legend that last season single-handedly sold something like 20% of all the stallion seasons traded in South Africa. She’s the voice behind the telephone the world has come to know as Linda Norval. Celebrity, champion, institution.

Like the rest of the team, she’s come to appreciate the enormity of a third Breeder’s Championship. She didn’t just appreciate it though: she’s one of those that made it. With all it’s thrills and spills, she’s lived it, and like the rest of us, she’ll never forget it.

But she’s also one of those that’s never forgotten where we all come from. There are no short cuts to the top. Blood, sweat and sacrifice are the DNA of champions, and the day after the celebrations end, she’ll be back at work. Ahead of time, as usual.

Extract from Summerhill Sires Brochure 2007/2008

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LAND OF LEGENDS : STORIES FROM THE AMAHLUBE TRIBE

Summerhill, Giant's CastleSummerhill, Giant’s Castle
We’re lucky to live where we do. So many people have told us so, and looking around us, we think they’re right.

We see it everyday on our way to work, and we’re reminded of it regularly when the banter begins. It isn’t known as the Land of Legends for nothing.

One of the great stories belongs to the tiny amaHlube tribe, who sought the refuge of the buttresses of Giant’s Castle as long ago as 1816, under threat of their lives from the Zulu King, Shaka. Despite their diminutive numbers, their own moment of greatness was not too long away, with the arrival of the Colonial army some sixty years later. A punitive expedition against their Chieftain, Langalibalele (“the Sun Burns”), led by the same Colonel Durnford of Isandlwana fame, ended in disaster. And while the Brits contributed more than once to the greatest military moments in the histories of several nations, this one should never have happened.

The only “Chieftain” to suffer the ignominy of retreat in the Langalibalele action, was the trusty steed of the same good Colonel Durnford. Not that we’ve any problem with the idea of being British, by the way: we have it in our own veins,  as well as a great many of our horses, we must confess. We’re just telling it the way it was.

Extract from Summerhill Sires Brochure 2007/2008

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The DNA of Champions

We’re lucky to live where we do. So many people have told us so, and looking around us, we think they’re right.

We see it everyday on our way to work, and we’re reminded of it regularly when the banter begins. It isn’t known as the Land of Legends for nothing.

mare and foalA mare and foal grazing below The GiantOne of the great stories belongs to the tiny amaHlube tribe, who sought the refuge of the buttresses of Giant’s Castle as long ago as 1816, under threat of their lives from the Zulu King, Shaka. Despite their diminutive numbers, their own moment of greatness was not too long away, with the arrival of the Colonial army some sixty years later. A punitive expedition against their Chieftain, Langalibalele (“the Sun Burns”), led by the same Colonel Durnford of Isandlwana fame, ended in disaster. And while the Brits contributed more than once to the greatest military moments in the histories of several nations, this one should never have happened.

The only “Chieftain” to suffer the ignominy of retreat in the Langalibalele action, was the trusty steed of the same good Colonel, Durnford. Not that we’ve any problem with the idea of being British, by the way: we have it in our own veins, as well as a great many of our horses, we must confess. We’re just telling it the way it was.

Another legend of our own time manages the Summerhill Farm office. This one was here the day the gates opened, when the office was just a part of the passage in the old farmhouse. Yes, the same farmhouse built by the Deputy Prime Minister, old Colonel Richards, the one that housed the Royal Family.

This is the daughter-in-law of the legend that bred every great horse that ever deserved a mention among the legends that made Hartford the greatest thoroughbred nursery of its era. She is the same legend that last season single-handedly sold something like 20% of all the stallion seasons traded in South Africa. She’s the voice behind the telephone the world has come to know as Linda Norval. Celebrity, champion, institution.

Like the rest of the team, she’s come to appreciate the enormity of a third Breeder’s Championship. She didn’t just appreciate it though: she’s one of those that made it. With all it’s thrills and spills, she’s lived it, and like the rest of us, she’ll never forget it.

But she’s also one of those that’s never forgotten where we all come from. There are no short cuts to the top. Blood, sweat and sacrifice are the DNA of champions, and the day after the celebrations end, she’ll be back at work. Ahead of time, as usual.

Extract from Summerhill Sires Brochure 2007/2008

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Champion Sire of 2007 : The Meteoric Rise of Jet Master

The knockout story of 2007 has been the emergence of Jet Master as a stallion of serious consequence. For all the fine achievements of Fort Wood and Western Winter, in terms of international parallels, you have to go back to Northern Dancer’s early crops in the sixties to find a comparison. Before that, rewind to Hyperion in the 1940’s.

jet master
Jet Master was the product of the single mare operation of our old friend, Hugh Jonsson. He was sold as a weanling for R15 000, and his mother a year later for just R10 000. Most times a horse of these modest origins would, at the very least, end up a gelding. It’s a compliment to his owners that he isn’t, and its amazing to think that on such slender threads hang fame, fortune and the foundation of stud books.

By contrast, we read recently that the Big Five, as they’ve come to be dubbed, have produced very few Three Year Old Stakes winners between them, and one wonders how much that has to do with the fact service fees are getting beyond the reach of the genuine breeder. No doubt, stallions of such considerable class will continue to get runners of stature, and may yet prove otherwise, but we’ve been there ourselves, and we’ve known history’s judgement.

Consequently, our policy of setting our fees within the reach of most proper students of the art, will be maintained for as long as it’s in our power to do so. Why, Summerhill is a monument to the small breeder, and for as long as he has a cause, we’ll be his Champion.

The rules governing thoroughbred economics are at variance with those prescribed for other disciplines to a degree that almost defies gravity. Unless you’re in this game for more than just the “bottom line,” you’re in for a tough time.

Extract from Summerhill Sires Brochure 2007/2008

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