Star #kznbreds of their day, Imbongi and Pierre Jourdan made a guest appearance at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday afternoon, showcasing ex racehorses in their next careers after racing. Both Summerhill stars, both retired to their farm of birth, were enthusiastically received amongst the other horses that were presented and have gone on to be dressage horses, showjumpers and eventers.
KZN Breeders proudly sponsored the first race on the card of the day to support the Coastal Horse Care Unit, based at Cato Ridge.
Pierre Jourdan (Parade Leader – Vin Fizz) sold for just R60,000 at the 2008 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale and retired with a bankroll of R4,598,175.
A nine-time winner, his career had been somewhat chequered due to soundness issues forcing long periods of rest. Most experts believed he had the world at his mercy when he won the Gr1 SA Classic in 2010 but he only won three more races. It has been said, however, that the gelding’s most gallant efforts came in defeat – in the 2450m Gr1 SA Derby in 2010 when he found the distance too far in heavy going and finished second to Irish Flame and in the 2011 Vodacom Durban July in which he got closest to winner Igugu – “a great run,” commented his trainer.
After that he won two races after that effort, including the 1600m Gr2 Charity Mile in 2011.
Imbongi was unsold at the 2006 Ready To Run Sale, a son of Russian Revival out of Garden Verse by Foveros,
was gelded after ‘throwing away’ the Emperor’s Palace Ready to Run Cup and the Dingaans due to coltishness. He then came back to win the Gr2 Gauteng Guineas, the Gr2 KZN Guineas and became the first 3YO to win the Gr2 Drill Hall in 40 years, beating the likes of Pocket Power, Bold Ellinore and Rebel King.
Having stamped himself the best 3YO in the country, international challenges beckoned. He won the John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes at Newmarket in 2009 and was the highest earner at the 2010 Dubai World Carnival, winning the Gr1 Zabeel Mile and earning the victor ludorum.
Christophe Soumillon got off one day and said “This horse is prepared to burst his lungs to win.” He doesn’t know when he’s beaten and doesn’t know there’s anything he can’t do. Everything he does, he does like a champion. Despite passing through the sale ring without a bid, he came back and showed the world that he was an unbelievable champion. He held his own and more.
Sheik Mohammed was so impressed with part racehorse owner Michael Fleischer’s dedication to Imbongi who wanted to keep him after retirement, that he paid for the horse’s return trip to South Africa and Imbongi had been at top show jumper Bill Johnson’s Ascot Equitation Centre until his retirement to Summerhill Stud very recently.
Images: Candiese Marnewick
Extracts from sportingpost.co.za and Summerhill.co.za