(Photo : JC Photographics / Summerhill Stud)
“WHEN OUR BRAND GOES ON,
THE CLASS IS INSIDE”
Continuing the extracts from the Summerhill Sires Brochure for 2010/2011. Are you on the mailing list? If not then please let us have your details and we’ll gladly ensure you get a personal copy when it’s published on the 1st August.
“This is some sales ring. As the colt leaves, there is no murmur from the buyers in the black-backed chairs of the pavilion. They are a congregation of sorts. They merely turn the catalogue page as more conventional worshippers turn the pages of hymnals. A quarter of a million for a youngster is nothing special here. Rich men seek the Holy Grail, rather than mere racehorses.
Summerhill is different though, because Summerhill has made it that way. We’ve always said, there’s a horse for everyone here. You might not take on the Harry Oppenheimers of the world in the boardroom, but at the races you can. On the turf, as well as under it, all men are said to be equal. And while you might be justified in believing that buying from the Champions could be costly, racing abounds with its own fairytales.
Every graduate of the Summerhill paddocks is an individual creation. Shoppers at our “A” Block sales yard are looking to be reassured. They want a nice horse, but an inherently precious one, a piece of art. All our horses start out this way, and all of them are brought up this way. Truth is though, we are not the masters of God’s engineering, nor are we purveyors of fashion.
The result is the peculiar democracy of the South African turf that enables every one of Amphitheatre, Icy Air, Dynamite Mike, Hear the Drums, Catmandu, Salutation, Winning Leap and Pierre Jourdan, all of them millionaires, to be bought for R60,000 or less. Imbongi suffered the indignity of never raising a bid, yet this year he was anointed Victor Ludorum at Dubai’s Racing Festival. Taxi drivers and muck-shovellers could’ve invested in the lot.
These horses remind us why we like racing. They are defiant in the face of improbability. They triumph despite their “wheels” or their lack of illustrious parentage. They can be splendidly unscientific, often doing what they shouldn’t be able to do. In the age of computers, satellites and DNA, the racehorse is proof that two and two doesn’t always make four.
At least that’s the case when you’re dealing with Summerhill. You know when our brand goes on, the class is inside. That every youngster emerging from our paddocks, has been given the identical chance, that he’s a handmade product of the best upbringing of a horse known to man.
After that, we’re in the lap of the gods. It does seem though, looking at the Leader Board, that in the eyes of the gods, some men are more equal than others.”
SOUTH AFRICAN BREEDERS CHAMPIONSHIP
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Sporting Post as at 11 July 2010
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