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Entries in Gaynor Rupert (25)

Monday
Aug052013

RAISED FOR THE HOME TURN. PROVEN ABROAD.

Thabani Nzimande - National Stud Best Practical Student 2012Thabani Nzimande - National Stud Best Practical Student 2012
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

“Excerpt from the forthcoming Summerhill Sires brochure.
Let us know if you’d like to be added to the mailing list.”

On the face of it, an institution of the magnitude of our School of Management Excellence, is an outrageous extravagance for a Zulu farm. But it was born of a conviction that this country is home to some of the world’s best stockmen, that given the chance, this could be a game-changer. It has been. We were convinced, too, that our sport was lamentably under-served in its learning institutions, and that if this was the price of education in a game that had done us well, we were willing to pay it. Some may feel they have plenty to lose in defeat, but whatever Summerhill had, we we’re ready to give up for victory. Done properly, the dreams would accrue. They have.

Talent and intelligence are spread evenly across the planet; opportunity is not. This school was a chance for students to dream, and already we’ve seen some budding Moses Thembes, Patrice Motsepes, Gaynor Ruperts and Mary Slacks, who see the world not for what it is, but for what it can become.

Our students know that the world is already very different from the one they were born into, and that next year’s, no, next month’s world, will be different again. They know too, that the commercial world has become the preserve of “big business”, sometimes sleepy places dominated by actuaries and accountants nursing warm gins and tonic. To make it these days, you need to be smarter than your lunch, otherwise you are the lunch.

They’ve also learnt that there’s a great big world out there, brimming with opportunity, and that they shouldn’t let their schooling interfere too much with their education. Besides, they understand that there is a danger to victory. Being gracious in defeat, as in victory, is not a characteristic that defines the modern sports era. What happened to being a good sport?

Already you can see them listening for the hoofbeats, yet none of them is running with the herd. So you can be sure that when the historians of the twenty-first century call out the heroes of our game, there’ll be a good number of our “dreamers” among them.

Thabani Nzimande, first recipient of the Childwick Trust’s scholarship to the English National Stud, was “Top Practical Student” at the English National Stud in 2012.

School Of Management Excellence, South Africa

Heather Morkel +27 (0) 33 263 1081
or email heather@summerhill.co.za
www.summerhill.co.za

Friday
Mar222013

FLYING HIGH

Golden Sword StallionGolden Sword (GB)
(Photo : Greig Muir)

“He was booked choco-a-bloc within weeks of his arrival…

One global stallion who’s cookin’ right now is High Chaparral. The dual Derby and Breeder’s Cup hero is yet another breed-shaping son of the almighty Sadler’s Wells, whose other celebrities at stud include Galileo, Montjeu, El Prado, and South Africa’s Fort Wood. Galileo is widely regarded as the world’s best stallion, to the degree that many pundits believe he is already a better stallion than Sadler’s Wells himself. The latter notched up an unprecedented fourteen European sire’s championships, while Montjeu has produced four of the last eight winners of England’s most famous horserace, the Investec Derby (Gr.1). Yet none of his paternal siblings could emulate High Chaparral’s feat of six individual Group One winners from his first year at stud, an achievement which ranks alongside only his illustrious father’s, though it has to be said, Sadler’s Wells got all of his from a single Northern Hemisphere covering season, whilst High Chaparral produced two in the Northern Hemisphere and an astonishing four in Australasia. We use the word “astonishing” advisedly, as the Sadler’s Wells tribe has been largely shunned Down Under, though that’s not the case with High Chaparral, where his progeny continue to be difficult to buy by dint of their popularity.

A fortnight ago, his New Zealand-bred first crop progeny, Shoot Out, took out his second consecutive edition of the Chipping Norton Stakes (Gr.1), taking his tally at the highest level to four, whilst this past weekend, at a distance considered on the short side, It’s A Dundeel skated home in the Royal Randwick Guineas (Gr.1) over the traditional 1600m trip in Sydney.

Despite the modern tendency of breeders to avoid the use of stallions after their first season at stud for purely commercial reasons, it seems the High Chaparral legacy has maintained its momentum through to the third generation, where his unbeaten Group-winning two-year-old of last season, Toronado, is a hot contender for line honours on the first Saturday in June at England’s Epsom racecourse. His seasonal high point was an impressive cruise in Doncaster’s Champagne Stakes (Gr.2).

High Chaparral’s highest-rated Northern Hemisphere runner is a barnmate in the Summerhill Stallion complex, where he’s held in the joint ownership of the farm, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifah Al Maktoum, Mary Slack’s Wilgersbosdrift Stud, Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud and Moutonshoek. Clearly, South African breeders know the value of the strain, as he was booked choco-a-bloc within weeks of his arrival at the property.

Summerhill Stud Logo

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

Thursday
Dec062012

EBONY FLYER TO BE BRED TO GALILEO IN 2013

Ebony FlyerEbony Flyer
(Photo : Action Racing Online)

EBONY FLYER (SAF)
Jet Master - Sunshine Lover

Classic Cape Fillies Guineas heroine, Ebony Flyer, will enter quarantine next week in Cape Town before being shipped to Ireland in May 2013 for a Southern Hemisphere date next fall at Coolmore Stud with the world’s leading sire Galileo.

Co-owner and manager Barry Irwin finalized plans on Wednesday with Coolmore Stud farm manager Christy Grassick.

Ebony Flyer was as brilliant as she was consistent, winning three Grade 1 races in South Africa, in spite of having to undergo two throat operations to correct a problem with her wind.

The Jet Master mare’s best race came against South African Horse of the Year, Igugu in the summer at 3 when she remained unbeaten by winning the Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas over a mile at Kenilworth. Earlier this year the 17-hands-plus mare showed how versatile she was in beating a top class field to win the Grade 1 South African Fillies Sprint at Scottsville racecourse. Also earlier this year, she won the Grade 1 Majorca Stakes over a mile at Kenilworth.

Ebony Flyer retires with a record in 13 starts of 8 wins and only 2 unplaced efforts in a career that saw her finish first or second in 10 of 13 efforts racing at 2, 3, 4 and 5. She raced for Barry Irwin’s Team Valor International, Mrs. Gaynor Rupert of Drakenstein Stud and Anant and Vanashree Singh of Durban.

Irwin had bought an older half-sister to Ebony Flyer for $27,000 as a yearling in South Africa named Captain’s Lover. Before that filly became a Champion at 3, a Classic winner, a Grade 1 winner and a major winner in South Africa, France and the United States, Irwin bought Ebony Flyer at her dam’s side.

Sunshine Lover, Ebony Flyer’s dam, made international history by having her first two foals to race both become Classic winners by taking the Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas.

As part of a business plan of the partnership that owns Sunshine Lover, Ebony Flyer was offered at the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale in Germiston, South Africa, where Irwin bought her for his own account. Irwin then formed a syndicate to race her and just before the Guineas sold a significant interest to Mrs. Rupert, who also now owns Champion Captain’s Lover on an equal basis with Team Valor International.

Extract from Team Valor International

Wednesday
Jul112012

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH

Summerhill Zulu Dance Troupe

Summerhill Zulu Dance Troupe perform at the Investec Stallion Day
(Photo : Leigh Willson)

“A GREAT DAY IN THE COUNTRY”
by Anne Wilson
Thoroughbred Daily News, 9 July 2012

It has been nicknamed “racing’s greatest day out” by the media, and despite the weather threatening to put a serious dent on the day’s proceedings, the annual Investec Stallion Day went off smoothly and without any hitches.

The day was held again this year at the Al Maktoum School of Excellence, the only facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. The Summerhill Stallion Day has become something of a “must attend event,” with people from over 20 nations in attendance, coming from far and wide to listen to and witness why Summerhill Stud has been South Africa’s champion breeders for seven consecutive years.

This year witnessed the introduction of two new boys on the block to the stallion ranks; Traffic Guard, the 123 Timeform-rated son of More Than Ready and Golden Sword (GB), the G3 Chester Vase winner and son of the influential High Chaparral (Ire). CEO and owner, Mick Goss regaled the assembled crowd with stories of the various stallions as they were led past by their handlers, and it is clear to see that he is a great marketer and raconteur.

The assembled crowd was then treated to a spellbinding dancing performance by the resident Summerhill Zulu Dance Troupe, who entertained with their enthralling and energetic routines. A three-course catered lunch followed inside a Bedouin style-tent attached to the school. This year, for the first time, the lunch was catered by well-known Hartford House celebrity chef Jackie Cameron. Jackie and her team have led Hartford House to some impressive culinary accolades over the years, winning the 2010 Visa/House & Leisure best restaurant in KZN, as well as Eat Out top restaurant in South Africa for two years running in 2010 and 2011.

The Land of Legends, a collection of the top hotels and resorts around KwaZulu-Natal then presented the Ingwazi Awards to two people who have given exceptional service, not only to the tourism industry in KZN, but to the country as a whole. Past winners include: KZN Premier Dr. Zweli Mkhize, and the legendary conservationist Dr. Ian Player. This year the awards were posthumous: Francois Anthony, widow of the famed ‘elephant whisperer’ Lawrence Anthony, accepted the first award on behalf of her late husband for his work in elephant conservation. The second award was accepted on behalf of the Rattray Family and its iconic head, David Rattray, by famed storyteller and motivational speaker Rob Caskie. David was known for his work not only as a tour guide of the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, but for his lectures at the Royal Geographic Society in London, which attracted huge crowds. Rob was his protege and is a worthy successor to the title and mantle of storyteller.

The pace and excitement of the afternoon was kept up with an auction of stallion services and a massive bottle of L’Ormarins wine, autographed by Gaynor Rupert. Bidding was enthusiastic and steady throughout the sale, led by well-known racing commentator Graeme Hawkins. All monies raised in the stallion auction go to projects for the disadvantaged, and that knowledge certainly helped the bidding and the prices.

The day finished off with music by the well-known local musicians, Afritude, who certainly managed to get the crowds dancing along to their tunes.

The Investec Stallion Day is an event which is worthy of its billing as racing’s greatest day out, and the whole team is to be congratulated for its organisation and staging of a magnificent day.

Monday
May282012

J.C. SUPERSTAR

Ebony Flyer Horse

Ebony Flyer - South African Fillies Sprint (Grade 1)…
(Photo : Gold Circle)

Scottville’s Festival of Speed
26 May 2012

There were plenty of first-time racegoers at Scottville’s Festival of Speed, witnessing a feast of four Group One sprints. The sponsors, the Golden Horse Casino, which shares the racecourse complex, must’ve been delirious with the outcome, and there’ll be more than a few in the crowd who’ll be back for sure. Racing is meant to be fun, and it was.

But for the connoisseur, this isn’t how it’s meant to be. Track biases are sometimes figments of the mind, yet on an occasion which celebrates more Group One sprints down a straight 1200 metres on one day than any other in the world, it’s a pity one side of the course can sometimes be so much quicker than the other. Not a single outside (standside) drawn horse came home (in five 1200 events all told), despite the fact that in three of the five events all carried level (sex and age-adjusted) weights, and several of the best-credentialed runners occupied outside post positions. Nothing beyond the 11 slot even made the frame on the day, and as a result, we saw a hotch-potch of outcomes.

The two Juvenile divisions have been in disarray all season, and after the weekend, we’re no less confused. The “big one” of the day, the Golden Horse Sprint, is a handicap which by its nature, is designed to upset from time to time. While the victor, Delago Deluxe, is an obvious talent and already a Group One winner in the Juvenile colt’s race at the same meeting last year, he was nonetheless lightly treated at the weights with a modest 54 kgs on his back. What he certainly is though, is thoroughly happy back in the yard of former Champion trainer, Charles Laird. His form prior to his departure for the Cape last summer as well as this season, was in marked contrast to his sojourn in the Winelands. You can chalk this one down as a definite “Shark”, as opposed to the Western Cape’s local rugby franchise, the Stormers, who bit the dust against the Sharks in Durban the same evening.

One event on the card though, which lived up to every inch of its billing, was the South African Fillies Sprint, featuring two distaff superstars and one, Welwitchia, who had hinted at stardom when her trainer, Mike de Kock, suddenly relented to her being the sprinter her pedigree suggested she had to be. One of de Kock’s most disarming attributes is his candour when he gets things wrong, (yes, he does very occasionally) and he volunteered in the lead-up that he’d tried to make Welwitchia “stay” for too long. Those who saw her destruction of a quality field of colts on Champions Day a month back, were not only quickly converted to de Kock’s new-found faith, but most of us were fully expecting her to settle the superstars here as well.

For the record, the “glamour girls” in the line-up were the much-exalted Ebony Flyer (who counts a smashing victory over Horse of The Year, Igugu, among many highlights in a remarkable career thus far,) and the sensational Princess Victoria, queen of the Three-Year-Old division, whose only defeat in her past 8 visits to the races, came at the hands of Joey Ramsden’s Variety Club, one of the brightest milers we’ve seen in decades.

Both these deities enjoy cult status among the sports’ fans, and this was a day to savour. Princess Victoria’s well-being was advertised only a week ago, when Beach Beauty, among her vanquished last outing, produced the season’s most stirring “July” trial in the Astrapak 1900 (Gr.2). But “the Princess” was drawn 10 this time,  and that sadly tells the tale of a race in which she never threatened, even for a stride. So it was down to Mary Slack’s Welwitchia, whose sustained run from the rear looked to have it stitched up entering the final furlong, and Ebony Flyer, starting at (for her) the generous odds of 6/1. Yet, as good as Welwitchia absolutely is, she was mown down in a matter of strides by this Amazon of racing, flashing up this time in the emerald and red of Team Valor and Anant Singh, and adding another string to the bow of the already formidable band of females under the command of Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud.

But hey, listen, this was no ordinary training feat. Justin Snaith has always said this filly was not just extraordinary, he claims she’s a freak, a statement Glen Kotzen has always reserved for Princess Victoria, too. She’d been off since winning the Gr.1 Majorca Stakes in January, she’d been under the knife, and this was supposed to be a “prep” for things to come. It wasn’t the script we’d have penned beforehand, but it went something like this:

Her jockey, Bernard Fayd’Herbe, isn’t exactly a born-again Christian, but his Mauritian ancestory guarantees he’s a good Catholic boy, with a sound reverence for his creator. As he entered that hallowed piece of turf they call the Winner’s Circle (on big days, on the track in front of the grandstand at Scottsville,) Fayd’Herbe cast his head heavenwards as most god-fearing sports people do these days, and as he’d been taught at his Catechism classes, he looked to “cross” himself in acknowledgment. Good natured cat-calls echoed from the boisterous throng pressing on the running rail. No one was doubting the power of the Lord, but it seemed that just about everyone in the crowd knew of another eternal truth. When it comes to racehorses, and especially Ebony Flyer, the initials to look for are J.S, not “J.C.”.

Best back that up in case we’re accused of a new form of blasphemy, such was Justin Snaith’s faith in this filly, whose “roaring” wind affliction is as well known at the Phillipi work track as stopwatches are, that he’d ordered a second wind “op” just a few months back. This performance must’ve been the “second coming”. But just to prove the Snaiths are as human as any of us, as the filly returned to scale, Justin and his brother Jonathan quickly flipped the switches to vaudeville. The winter sun played on their faces, and there were some who thought they’d seen a bit of moisture in their youthful eyes.

Editor: Ebony Flyer’s sire, Jet Master is arguably the best South African stallion of all time. Certainly, he has been the dominant stallion among what has undoubtedly been the most formidable assembly of stallions in living memory. Yet he was afflicted by “wind” issues so severely that his racing career (encompassing 8 Group One victories) was limited to races of 1600m or less. That he is known to share this problem with a good proportion of his progeny, tells us that with modern technology, when they’re good enough, “wind” is no longer a reason to decry an otherwise outstanding sire prospect.

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