Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

In his four decades at the helm of Summerhill Stud, 10-times champion breeder Mick Goss has supplied the media with memorable quotes.

One of them looks particularly relevant as the stud nears the end of its online dispersal of its stock. Goss said: “We must prepare for life after the dream.”

For the past fortnight Summerhill has been fielding bids for its strong band of broodmares, yearlings and weanlings. But — rather like the final hours of specials at a supermarket — prospective buyers will have to get their skates on to grab a late bargain.

The plan is to bring the curtain down on the sale at the close of business on Monday. Prospective buyers need to go to info@summerhill.co.za.

When Goss announced the dispersal of the stud's stock — with no reserves — it was a traumatic moment for the man who gave up a promising law career to switch to breeding thoroughbreds.

The industry will be forever thankful he did and they rewarded him with a “lifetime achiever” award at the 2018 KZN awards.

Regarding the sale, Goss said: “Those who have known Summerhill for the past 40 years will know how painful it is to be parting with our horses. They have been the mainstay of our lives and the farm was built on their backs. But the time has come and the timing couldn't be less opportune.

“The dispersal of our stock will undoubtedly be characterised by of the game's greatest bargains. The broodmares include daughters of celebrated stallions such as Galileo, Kingmambo, Giant's Causeway, Pivotal, Mastercraftsman and Fusaichi Pegasus.”

Commenting on the online trade to date, Goss said: “We have been pleasantly encouraged by the scale of internet traffic. It has been boosted by the government's opening of the e-commerce sector.

“While the opening bids were on the modest side, there has been a surprising level of interest including making use of local judges such as Jane Thomas, Bruce le Roux and Peter Choice to vet the horses.”

Meanwhile, while racing prepares to resume in the UK hopefully on June 1 and definitely in Ireland on June 8, owners will have to get used to competing for far less prize money than in previous years.

It has been announced that stakes for a number of classic races have been slashed — the English 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas (scheduled for June 6 and 7) have each had their original amounts halved.

In Ireland, the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas are both worth 37,5% less than originally intended, cut from €400,000 to €250,000.

Prize money for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby has been halved to €750,000 and the Kerrygold Irish Oaks to €250,000.

Curragh CEO Pat Keogh said: “We’ve dealt with our sponsors all the way along. It’s an ongoing process and the priority is to keep them in place, but we recognise those sponsors are facing their own challenges.”