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Thursday
Apr172014

SALUTE THE BRAVE

flying cross by brave tin soldierFlying Cross by Brave Tin Soldier wins by a growing 3¼ lengths / Gold Circle (p)

FLYING CROSS
Brave Tin Soldier (USA) - Mumtazah (AUS)

If pedigree has any influence in anointing royalty, it’s a fair bet that if there was an Equine Vatican, Brave Tin Soldier would be the Pope. At $500,000, his father Storm Cat, was the world’s most expensive stallion. His mother is a sister (by the great Mr Prospector,) to one of the most famous winners of the Kentucky Derby, while his grandmother was a sister (by the immortal Danzig,) to a winner of the second leg of the American Triple Crown. As if his lineage was not on its own enough of a recommendation, his princely looks were such that the world’s best judge paid a world record price for him when he was just a few months old.

While these credentials alone would’ve qualified him for higher ecumenical office, racing makes other demands of its pretenders before they aspire to its throne. The racecourse is the final testing ground, and whatever your origins, unless you make your muster, neither your family nor your worth count for anything.

It is one of the truisms of our sport that the encumbrance of a lofty sales price is a burden few horses can bear, yet this family has carried that impost with equanimity. At $4,5milion, his uncle Fusaichi Pegasus, was the world’s highest priced yearling of his year. At $3million, Brave Tin Soldier was the most costly foal of all time. The former was the best Classic horse of his generation, the latter chose the race that launched the Juvenile career of Sadler’s Wells to demonstrate his class in the company of the best two-year-olds in Ireland.

So much for Brave Tin Soldier’s ability, so much for his precocity, yet the good stud man, seeking the final reassurance in a budding stallion, will search for that one elusive thing no great horse can do without: courage. It’s enough to recall that he returned from a career-threatening fracture to post a record-breaking performance in Graded Stakes company, and that, as much as all the other credentials at his disposal, is why no fewer than 15 individual international agents, made him their first recommendation when our “SOS” went out to the market in the autumn of 2010.

All these things help when a new stallion is greeted by his first mates in his inaugural season indeed, they are the only things that count. Thereafter, all that matters in the full cycle of racing’s affairs, is how good his progeny are.

A week ago, a handsome colt called Split The Breeze, gave notice of his talents when he flattened a blue-blooded line-up at the first time of asking. He has bigger fish to fry as the season grows in stature. In the context of today’s story, it’s appropriate that the next episode in the Brave Tin Soldier fairy tale, is about a former jockey known to his fans as “Prince”. The racing world loved “Prince”, and the heartland in Durban loved him most of all. Yesterday Robbie Hill was back at his old hunting ground with a once-raced daughter of the “Pope”, who’d come from 13th at the “400” on debut to be third over the minimum trip. For a young lass from a Galileo mare, you’d expect Flying Cross to be more at home with a bit more ground to show off her attributes, and at 1450 metres this was the answer to the Prince’s prayers. There was one obstacle though among her adversaries, a five-to-ten shot with the champion, Anton Marcus in the wheelhouse.

Taking on quality horses as a maiden however, was a challenge her dad had managed under hands-and-heels, and this was a script that looked tailored for a repeat. In his customary style, jockey Marcus was quickly into the box seat travelling like an odds-on shot, while apprentice Dillon slotted our heroine in behind. When the sticks came out as they turned for home, the favourite quickly reached the head of affairs. Meanwhile, the bent hairpin of Flying Cross’ rider was so motionless it seemed he was on any errand except the winning of a horserace.

And then he squeezed the trigger. Whoosh! In a matter of strides, it was settled. By a growing 3¼ lengths. Simple as that.

Summerhill Stud Logo

Enquiries :
Linda Norval +27 (0) 33 263 1081
or email info@summerhill.co.za
www.summerhill.co.za

Thursday
Apr172014

VISIONAIRE : FIRST CROP AT THE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE

VISIONAIRE
Grandson of Gone West

Visionaire, who like Western Winter descends from a son of a Secretariat mare,
Gone West, has his first South African-breds going under the hammer
at the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale.

History has always been kind to those who embrace the future.
It doesn’t take “rocket science” though, to divine the outcomes for Visionaire.
They’re winning by 11.5, by 10, by 8, by 5.5 and by 5.
And there are two Black type performers already.

BLOCK A

Lot 12 Commodus (Visionaire - Roman Dream) colt
Lot 71 Three Trees (Visionaire - Spring Garland) filly
Lot 86 Telekinesis (Visionaire - Success Counts) colt
Lot 89 At Long Last (Visionaire - Summersault) colt
Lot 108 Thiel (Visionaire - Tialata) colt
Lot 129 Flower Forest (Visionaire - Victory Garden) colt
Lot 209 Bar None (Visionaire - Catch Me) filly
Lot 230 Yoruba (Visionaire - Coastal Waltz) filly
Lot 306 Stokvel (Visionaire - Footsteps) colt
Lot 325 Avail (Visionaire - Grail Maiden) colt
Lot 345 Lala (Visionaire - Hlabelela) filly
Lot 366 Jet Air (Visionaire - Jet Park) colt
Lot 499 Revelation (Visionaire - Particular Passion) colt

1ST CROP.
EMPERORS PALACE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE
TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park
27-28 April 2014

summerhill stud

Enquiries :
Tarryn Liebenberg +27 (0) 83 787 1982
or email tarryn@summerhill.co.za
www.summerhill.co.za

Wednesday
Apr162014

SUMMERHILL STUD DRAFT FOR NATIONAL YEARLING SALE 2014

national yearling sale draft 2014Click above to view photos of Summerhill’s National Yearling Sales Draft for 2014
(Photos : Leigh Willson)

BLOCK A

EMPERORS PALACE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE
TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, South Africa
27 - 28 April 2014

Click here to view draft

summerhill stud

Enquiries :
Tarryn Liebenberg +27 (0) 83 787 1982
or email tarryn@summerhill.co.za
www.summerhill.co.za

Wednesday
Apr162014

BANKABLE : FIRST CROP AT THE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE

ONE TRADE, BANKED.
WE THINK YOU CAN BANK ON THE NEXT TRADE, TOO. 

Bankable won eight races and more than R20million in stakes.
He earned his 122 Timeform rating from 1200m to 2000m.
He ran world champion Raven’s Pass to one length,
giving the champion six pounds.
That placed him in the top half percent of racehorses worldwide.

BLOCK A


Lot 312 Reactive (Bankable - Four Ladies Wind) colt
Lot 338 Unnamed (Bankable - Harems Secret) colt
Lot 478 Lokshina (Bankable - National Woods) colt

1ST CROP.
EMPERORS PALACE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE
TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park
27-28 April 2014

summerhill stud

Enquiries :
Tarryn Liebenberg +27 (0) 83 787 1982
or email tarryn@summerhill.co.za
www.summerhill.co.za

Tuesday
Apr152014

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SALES PREP TEAM

“BLOCK A”
EMPERORS PALACE NATIONAL YEARLING SALE
TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, South Africa
27 - 28 April 2014

mick gossMick Goss
Summerhill CEO
The countdown has begun. Less than a fortnight, and lot 1 takes his place at the nation’s showpiece auction, the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. We had a man and his three sons make the pilgrimage all the way from Jo’burg Saturday morning for a second look at what he’d seen less than a month ago. He’s a man of business, but he also breeds horses, and he knows a good thing when he sees one. The day before, a wise man from Europe phoned, keen to know what the “Bankables” were like. He knows how good the South Africans have been abroad, and he’s looking for the next “big thing”. As the owner of a son of a first crop sire who’d been close in the Investec Epsom Derby, he knows that real value resides in the undiscovered potential of a freshman stallion. After all, New Approach gave him the thrill of his life, and he remembers that Northern Guest, Jet Master, Western Winter and Silvano were all “first season” champions at one stage.

The man from the Reef was quite specific too. Or should I say his eldest son was. He’s obviously seen the movie, and he wanted a “Secretariat”. The fact that Secretariat was a horse in a lifetime, and that with Frankel, there’d already been two in mine, was no deterrent to the young man from Hilton College, where the motto is “Orando et Laborando” and which in my loosest of translations, means all things are possible. Remembering that miracles just take a bit longer, the penny suddenly dropped for me. I recalled my childhood, when my fascination with horses ranked above everything.

I suspect that Trevor Bennison, the chap who had the task of teaching me the subject, may not have credited me with a sense of history. But it was always a fact, and just a shame that the characters and events from the past that he tried to enthuse me with, rarely excited me much. When, aged seven, I bought my first book on racing, what grabbed me most about the sport, was its long history. It had been around for longer than any of my other boyhood passions - cricket and rugby - and the fact it had endured so long, made it the more compelling. It did not take me long to become a pedigree nut, because that seemed the easiest way to understand the continuity in the sport. Today’s horses didn’t emerge from nowhere; they are the current representatives of a long-established breed, connecting with the great horses of the past, whose achievements had me in thrall.

On Saturday, I had to draw on all my childhood research to satisfy the young Hiltonian. We didn’t have a Secretariat, but we sure as hell had some of his blood. Earlier in the week, Brave Tin Soldier had registered his first South African winner. Visionaire, who like Western Winter descends from a son of a Secretariat mare, Gone West, has his first South African-breds going under the hammer. We were making progress; both carry the blood of “Big Red”.

When I told the young man that for me, a stallion had to be top class as a racehorse, able to hold his own in the best company, I could see his eyes beginning to respond. The stallion needs to have some mystique to his pedigree, and an aura about his ability. He needs to inspire belief, and I could see that both the Hiltonian and I were becoming believers when it came to the “Visionaires”. His score is already on the board: eight winners from a handful of American juveniles, a Stakes winner and a Stakes performer among them, and the young man was a convert.

In the Stallion Prediction Stakes, it’s two strikes and you’re out. There are really only three things people consider when a horse goes to stud: pedigree, performance, physique, in no particular order. A Stakes-winning juvenile at six furlongs, and a record-breaking miler as an older horse when, Lazarus-like, he’d risen again from the ashes of a crippling injury, Brave Tin Soldier answered the other two criteria in a matter of a few syllables. He was, and still is, the record-priced foal of all time. You wouldn’t want to be betting against either of them.

Watching our grooms when we arrived at the Final Call Yearling yard, you’d think they were rubbing down the most valuable racehorses in the world. It’s like they’re as delicate as some precious artefact from the Cradle of Mankind, to be handled gently, reverently, because one careless touch might undo everything that’s led to this day.

You see the successes of our horses are a culmination of so many factors. When a foal hits the ground, all things are equal. Before and after, there can be vast differences. Those two things are in the hands of those of us who are privileged to care for them.

The second phase starts within minutes of birth, and here we are, 18 months on, working with the fruits of our labours. Among the youngsters are the brothers and sisters to Love Struck, Fakazi, No Worries, Emperor Augustus, Onehundredacrewood, Highly Decorated, Alejate, Salutation, Phunyuka, Aces Wild, Winning Leap, Negev, Fox Hunt and Extra Zero; the sons and daughters of millionairesses, Classic heroines, blinding speedsters and doughty stayers. Their grooms are kneeling in the straw of their boxes removing the “putties” and tightening the surcingles. A pigeon scrambles out, frightened from its wits by the stable cat. The horses are immediately taller, alert and mildly agitated.

The grooms, still kneeling at the altars of their straps and buckles, offer a fretful look. Whatever lunacy is this? And a fair question, too. But these youngsters are not that easily stirred. They have faith in their “sidekicks”, it’s the Summerhill way. In the soft light and brisk air that passes for an early Summerhill Saturday, the yearlings are ready for their morning walk. We are watching the rituals that produced the likes of Mowgli, Sentinel, Magic Mirror and Panjandrum, and in a more recent age, Nhlavini, Rebel King, Spook and Diesel and Pick Six, Igugu, Imbongi, Hear The Drums, Pierre Jourdan, Blueridge Mountain and Fisani, who in the space of the past nine years, have delivered up more Breeders’ titles for Summerhill than any other farm in modern history.

Editor: The yearlings depart for Block “A” at the TBA Sales complex this Thursday.

summerhill stud

Enquiries :
Tarryn Liebenberg +27 (0) 83 787 1982
or email tarryn@summerhill.co.za
www.summerhill.co.za

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