Summerhill has much to offer at sale of youngsters
One of Tom Jones’s greatest hits was Green, Green Grass of Home and buyers at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale might be humming those lyrics as they drive through the entrance of Summerhill Stud on October 25.
The Ready To Run — the brainchild about 30 years ago of the Mooi River farm’s supremo Mick Goss and the late top bloodstock consultant Chris Smith — returns to its spiritual home with 65 two-year-olds due to come under the hammer. The attendees at the first sale on the farm in 1987 included Gary Player and Mike Proctor and little did this duo know then that the concept would catch on like wildfire in SA.
Smith died in 2001 and his passing was a huge blow as he had so much more to offer.
When breeders place adverts in the racing newspaper The Sporting Post, they often refer to past champions but — in reality — what prospective buyers find more relevant is what particularly farms have achieved in the past 12 months.
Summerhill can hold its head high in this regard as — during the last season — it sent out 18 big race winners. For the record, they were Brave Mary, Champagne Haze, Anna Pavlova, Rabada, Purple Diamond, Africa Rising, Witchcraft, Intergalactic, The Elmo Effect, Heaps of Fun, Commanche Brave, Easy Street, Illitshe, Wukkin Up, No Worries, Belle Rose, Purely Atomic and Hong Kong victor Horse of Fortune.
It is an impressive list and there is every reason to expect that the youngsters on offer in 13 days’ time could also progress to great heights.
The catalogue includes the last progeny of Await The Dawn, a son of Giants Causeway, who passed away in 2014. His wins included the grade2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Several shrewd judges believe Await The Dawn could have made it as a top stallion and they include Dean Bayley, co-owner of Summerhill-bred Brave Mary, who won a grade1 race at Scottsville in May. The filly was later sold to US owner-breeder Barry Irwin.
"The death of Await The Dawn was a blow to the industry. I always liked the way he stamped his progeny. We’ll be having a close look at what’s on offer [at the sale]," said Bayley.
Golden Sword is another Summerhill stallion producing the goods — Belle Rose was a feature winner for him last term — and his daughter Flipflash has a chance of notching the second win of her career when she runs in the sixth race at the Vaal on Thursday. Owned by the Phumelela International syndicate, the four-year-old hinted she was coming back to form when fourth last time out and jockey Anthony Delpech has been booked for the ride.
The chief threat to Flipflash in this 1,600m contest could
be another Summerhill-bred, Monarch Air. This AP Arrow mare has been placed in her last two outings and should be in the money once again.
Muzi Yeni has been among the winners on the Highveld in recently and he will be hoping to get another Summerhill-bred mare, Wottahottie, home in the final leg of the Pick 6.
As he is now six years old, the Kahal gelding is no banker bet, but he should take a hand in the finish along with Neuf De Pape, William Grace and Await The Dawn’s unbeaten three-year-old colt, Genesis.
In the second race, another Await The Dawn three-year-old, Till Dawn, will have his supporters following a close second at Greyville in August, but much will depend on the strength of Mike de Kock’s Aussie import Yakeen in the betting market.