|Investec Summerhill Stallion Day 2012
A phenomenal racing week consisting of the Suncoast KZN Yearling Sales as well as the Vodacom Durban July race day was rounded off in style at the annual Investec Summerhill Stallion Day, traditionally held on the Sunday following the Vodacom Durban July.
It was a cool morning on arrival at Summerhill in Mooi River with a warm welcome by Summerhill staff with visitors, guided to the School Of Excellence where the event was taking place. The School Of Excellence lives up to it’s name in every way possible and has to be the best facility of its kind to be found anywhere in the world. Greeted by champagne, orange juice and delicious canapes, it was a small taste of what was to come – never surprising from Summerhill Stud where every detail is covered to perfection.
600 of horse-racing’s finest from around South Africa and the world gathered to view the stallions and included such dignitaries as the King and Queen of Lesotho. Mick Goss was, as always, in high spirits, and even more so after Smanjemanje ran a brave second to Pomodoro just the day before. As Mick so rightly said, he was the Vodacom Durban July winner one stride before the finishing post and one stride after.
Mick went onto give a moving tribute to the racehorses on his farm, describing in goose-bump detail how he was driving around the farm and came across a string of 15 young racehorses, with their chiselled features, pricked ears and a swaggering walk that no other breed of horse can match.
Mick introduced four of the farm’s resident champion geldings that have flown the Summerhill name to success, and as Mick pointed out, all deserved their place at Summerhill after each earning cheques of R1 million plus. They included 27-year old sprint champion Senor Santa, South Africa’s all-time overall winning Hear The Drums who retired earlier this year, champion stayer Amphitheatre and finally Vangelis.
It was a moving sight watching the aged Senor Santa lead the parade, a great honour to see this son of Northern Guest in the flesh who clearly commands the respect of his fellow champion paddock mates, thereafter an impressive display of Summerhill’s Zulu dancers gave an energetic and beautifully choreographed display of a war dance which left everyone spellbound.
The time had come for what everyone had been waiting for – the magnificent stallions of Summerhill Stud. First to be led in was the newest acquistion, the dark bay Golden Sword(GB). A very balanced and athletic individual with a good length of rein, he would have been one of the top racehorses of the world had he not raced during the time of Sea The Stars and in fact ran just 2 lengths off the spectacular horse himself in the Epsom Derby. The first son at stud in South Africa of sire High Chapparal (by Sadler’s Wells) out of a Salse/Ahonoora mare, he attained a Timeform Rating of 122 which made him a worthy candidate for Summerhill – who maintain their high standards by only standing stallions who have achieved a rating of 120 or higher.
The next was another new acquisition for the season, the impressive Traffic Guard(USA). He has let down to be substantial individual with a very good walk. By sire of the moment More Than Ready (sire of Gimmethegreenlight) out of a Zafonic/Golden Fleece mare, he acheived a Timeform rating of 123, and ran second in both the UAE 2000 Guineas Gr 3 and Irish Champion Stakes Gr 1.
Mullins Bay was presented next and what a strong individual he is, a very likeable stallion indeed. He has already produced his first winner this season in Croke Park and we are sure to see much more from the big son of Machiavellian as he has covered some of our top mares in KZN including Pelican Brief, the dam of Vodacom Durban July winner Dunford.
Brave Tin Soldier was next to make an appearance and it is crystal clear why he was a $3-million USD weanling. He has let down into a stunning bay stallion with a beautiful head. He produced his first foals last season and the whispers are doing the rounds that they are impressive babies indeed. He carries an immaculate pedigree which reflects his good looks – being by world champion sire Storm Cat out of Bless by Mr Prospector. His second dam Angel Fever (Danzig out of Rowdy Angel by Halo) is the dam of Kentucky Derby winner, Fusaichi Pegasus.
The sire of Waywest Goddess and Extra Zero, the very good-looking dark bay Way West made an appearance and Mick informed the crowd that should this son of Danehill with a mouth-watering pedigree pass his tests for export, he will be sold to the Northern Hemisphere and due to leave after our coming breeding season.
A very big strong chestnut, Visionaire was very gentlemanly and there is much excitement in the Midlands about the prospects of this son of Grand Slam. An impressive racehorse with a Time From equivalent of 126, the Summerhill Sires’ DVD gave an impressive account of Visionaire as a racehorse, to come from last to win the King’s Bishop Gr 1 by by two and three quarter lengths in a time of 1 minute 21.9 seconds over 1400m, defeating America’s top Three year olds in the process.
The best performed son of multiple champion sire KZN-bredJet Master in the country at stud, Ravishing (who lives up to his name in every form) followed. The Grade 1 SA Derby winner has let down into a breath-taking stallion, eyecatching with his flaxen mane and tail and powerful hindquarters. A R1,1-million yearling from the first crop of Jet Master, he has already produced his first winner in Little Chikitita, and Kingofmountain who has placed 4 times from 5 starts. Ravishing carries one of the best dam-lines in South Africa being a descendant of the great mare, his third dam Lily. This family includes multiple Bold Black Type winners such as Villandry, Geordoba, Day Lily Delight, Fort Defiance, Bold Thatch, Strelitzia, Vega and Royal Messenger. Ravishing is a half-brother to Red Badge, winner of the Gr 2 J&B Reserve Stayers and Gr 2 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup.
The only son of Sunday Silence on the continent followed, Japanese bred Admire Main. Another stallion that has let down beautifully and has impressive movement, his first filly sold this year at the National Yearling Sale, bred and consigned by Backworth Stud for R140 000 named Too Much Fun. At the Suncoast KZN Yearling Sale held last week, Clifton Stud sold another daughter of his for R120 000, named Barefoot Lady. Admire Main earned US$ 2-million as a racehorse and looking at his pedigree, something of interest catches the eye. His third dam is Yes Please, and she is sired by Mount Hagen(FR) – a sire that found his way and stood successfully for a time at Summerhill Stud many years ago.
The last stallion to make an appearance was the big 16.2 hand son of A.P. Indy, A.P. Arrow(USA). A powerfully built, short coupled stallion with a lovely top-line and handsome head, he was led by Stallion manager Greg Muir. A Time Form Rating of 125, he placed six times in Gr 1 company including the Dubai World Cup as a five year old. He won the Gr 1 Clark Handicap over 1800m and had to have been a very sound individual to have raced till seven years of age. Another stallion out of a Mr Prospector mare, his eldest progeny are yearlings and a colt, Piper Arrow, sold at the National Yearling Sales for R220 000 – bred and consigned by Summerhill.
Following a sabrage performed with the Queen of Lesotho assisting once again as she did last year, a delicious lunch was served courtesy of five-star restaurant and Hotel, Hartford House.
The Summerhill Sires’ DVD was played with an impressive cinematography of the stallions racing feats as well as spectacular footage of them on the farm, presented by Ikind Media. This is short documentary not to be missed and it is sure to be flighted on Tellytrack soon.
Mick Goss awarded several Ingwazi Awards to those who had assisted Summerhill Stud over the years. Guest speaker Professor Nick Binadell gave a moving tribute to Dave Rattray who received an award posthumously with the Summerhill Sires’ services auctioned by Graeme Hawkins, in aid of the School Of Excellence headed by Heather Morkel.
A graduate of the School Of Excellence, Thabani Nzimande, received an award for his amazing acheivements and he recently returned very successfully from the National Stud in England. Starting out as a stable cleaner at Summerhill he progressed through Summerhill’s School Of Excellence to a scholarship at the fabled stud in Newmarket, England. On Friday, Thabani graduated from the course with distinction winning the Best Practical Student Award. Mick thanked Investec, the Cape Breeders’ Club, N3 Tolcon and Phumelela for their contributions towards sponsoring the scholarship.
Their annual Winter School begins today, runs for three days, and consists of lectures by the most powerful trainers, owners and business managers in the racing game – and should not be missed. For more information regarding the Winter school, please click here.
Congratulations must go to Mick Goss and Champion breeders’ Summerhill Stud for another successful annual Stallion Day celebrated in style; we look forward to what is to come from their exciting new stallion acquistions which is equally exciting for KZN Breeders and South Africa alike.
Check our Facebook Page, KZN Breeders, for the gallery of photos of the Investect Summerhill Stallion Day 2012.